Thursday, October 4, 2012

In Memoriam: Archbishop Aghan of Sydney

Archbishop Aghan (Baliozian) of Sydney, ruling hierarch of the Armenian Orthodox Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, has fallen asleep in the Lord at the age of sixty-six. Born Yeghia in 1946 to Armenian parents in Aleppo, Syria, the future archbishop was educated in his native city and at the seminary of the Armenian Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, where he became a member of the Patriarchate's Brotherhood of St. James.

In 1968 Yeghia was ordained a monastic priest with the name of Aghan by Patriarch Yegishe (Derderian) of Jerusalem. Fr. Aghan spent the next 6 years serving the Gevorkian Theological Seminary in the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic, returning to Jerusalem briefly before entering the Yerevan State University in Armenia. In 1974 Fr. Aghan again returned to Jerusalem to serve as dean of the Armenian Orthodox Patriarchate's Jarangavorats Theological Seminary.

In 1975 Fr. Aghan moved to Australia with the blessing of Catholicos Vasken (Baljian) of Echmiadzin to serve as vicar general of the Armenian Orthodox Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, and in early 1982 was consecrated to the episcopacy and enthroned as the new ruling Bishop of Sydney, Australia, and New Zealand. After eleven years of service in the Diocese Bishop Aghan was elevated to the rank of archbishop.

In addition to serving the Armenian Orthodox Church in Australia and New Zealand Archbishop Aghan also oversaw the Armenian Orthodox parishes in India and the Far East, served in the central administration of the Catholicate of Echmiadzin, and represented the Armenian Orthodox Church in Australian and international ecumenical organizations.

Archbishop Aghan died on 22 September 2012 in Sydney of heart failure. May his memory be eternal! More on his life can be found here.

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