His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Eastern United States, recently initiated a unique opportunity for professional development of the Prelacy Clergy. In cooperation with the Prelacy's Religious Council, a self-evaluation survey was developed and prepared and distributed to each clergyman at the beginning of the year. After filling it out, each clergyman was invited by Archbishop Oshagan for a brief one-on-one meeting to discuss ways in which to try to improve and develop ministerial skills and practices. The meetings took place at St. Stephen's Armenian Apostolic Church in Watertown. His Eminence travelled from New York specifically for this occasion.
Following the meetings, Srpazan Hayr arranged for a fellowship meal at the Armenian-American Social Club nearby the church. There the clergy had a wonderful opportunity to break bread together and celebrate their ministry as priests of the Armenian Apostolic Church, as it was the eve of the Feast of Sts. Ghevontyants, a group of priests who were martyred during the Vartanants battles of 451 A.D. St. Ghevont the Priest and his companions, commemorated annually on the Tuesday before the start of Great Lent, served as spiritual advisors to the Vartanants Warriors and were martyred alongside them in their defense of the homeland and spiritual identity of the Armenian People.
The clergy of the Eastern Prelacy would normally gather during these few days for a conference partially devoted to fellowship and partially to professional development. This year, since the clergy of all three North American Prelacies (Eastern United States, Western United States & Canada) will meet together in Montreal in October (for reasons of convenience and accessibility), the usual February conference did not take place. This gathering brought the New England clergy together with their spiritual father in its stead.