SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — An upbeat throng of almost 400 well-wishers crowded the Cultural Hall of St. John’s Armenian Church for a festive four-hour celebration of the 90th birthday of Fr. Diran Papazian, pastor emeritus, following church services on Sunday, February 17.
The party was organized by Diran Papazian’s daughter, Elise, with the support of his son and daughter-in-law, Garo and Donna Papazian, of Holden, Mass., his brother and sister-in-law, Drs. Dennis and Mary Papazian, of Woodbridge, Conn., his niece and her husband, Louise and Dr. Haig Yardumian of St. Petersburg, Fla., Fr. Garabed Kochakian, pastor of St. John’s, and a host of parishioners and former parishioners from near and far.
The Badarak was celebrated by the Rev. Hratch Sargsyan, pastor of St. Gregory of Nareg Armenian Church of Cleveland, Ohio, a parish which Fr. Diran Papazian served for several years while on leave from St. John’s. Sargsyan’s firstborn, Mare, is the honoree’s goddaughter.
Large arrangements of flowers for the occasion were sent by the Oulubegian/Nahabedian families of Arizona and the Saints Joachim and Anne Armenian Church of Palos Heights, Ill., which Papazian also served for many years.
Fr. Diran Papazian’s daughter, Elise, arranged for a continuing pictures slideshow that was projected on the big screen, illustrating many aspects of his life, which included his wife, Yeretzgin Rosalie, his son, Garo, his daughter, Elise, and numerous in-laws and friends.
Entertainment was provided by violinists Harry Hovakemian, who played Armenian melodies. The honoree, himself, sang an emotional rendition of Eem Yerke (My Song), when he spoke, which brought tears to many eyes.