WASHINGTON — Rev. Vertanes Kalayjian died on Sunday, August 7.
In 2011, friends, family, and former parishioners gathered in Silver Spring, Md., to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ordination of Kalayjian into the holy priesthood.
Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), presided over the event. “Der Vertanes’s preaching, his kindness and generosity, have affected people throughout our entire Diocese,” Barsamian said at the time. “He has inspired many of our people to answer the call of service to Christ and to make service to our Lord a more central and conscious part of their everyday living.”
He was born in Aleppo, Syria. He attended the local parochial school and was admitted to the Seminary of Antelias in 1953. In 1958, he transferred to the Seminary of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem where he was ordained as a celibate priest on February 7, 1960.
In 1964, after several years of service in the Middle East, Kalayjian arrived in the Eastern Diocese, where he served at St. George Church of Waukegan, Ill.; Holy Cross Church of Union City, N.J.; and St. Stepanos Church of Elberon, N.J. He served as the pastor of St. Mary Church of Washington, D.C., from 1976 until his retirement in 2007.
“I consider my satisfaction as being able to reach out to people in diverse needs,” Kalayjian said in 2011, noting that he has assisted families and individuals with issues ranging from marriage counseling to immigration.