MEET OUR PASTOR
Pastor Rev. Fr. Ashod Khachadourian
Next month will mark one year since Fr. Ashod Khachadourian joined Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church as Parish Priest.
When he arrived, he could have never imagined that five months later a pandemic would force the way the church operates. It’s no doubt been a challenge, but Fr. Khachadourian has been overcoming adversity his entire life.
He was born in Aleppo, Syria, in 1995, with the baptismal name, Moses. He’s the youngest son of Kevork and Zarouhi Khachadourian. He has two brothers, Sako and Tony and a sister, Ani.
“My childhood was hard for me and my family as I was born under difficult circumstances,” Fr. Khachadourian says. “I suffered several illnesses up until the age of ten.”
He had yellow fever (twice), typhoid fever, blood deficiency and underwent surgery to have his appendix and a hernia removed.
“With the prayers of my family and others, known and unknown, we overcame these difficult times,” Fr. Khachadourian said. “I still remember how tough it was for my parents to deal with such circumstances. They worked tirelessly and did everything they possibly could, pushing their limits, to overcome these difficulties.”
While prayer was important to the Khachadourian family, they didn’t spend much time in church. They’d attend on Christmas and Easter and would light a candle, pray, and leave.
“During these years, I had little idea about Christianity,” Fr. Khachadourian recalls.
That changed after he graduated the sixth grade and was accepted to Seminary at Antelias. It’s not uncommon for Armenian children living in places like Syria to attend Seminary. It’s a safe choice in a region that sees so much violence and uncertainty.
“It was a blessing to be in the Seminary because it gave me spiritual, mental and physical nourishment,” Fr. Khachadourian says. “It was hard for a 12-year boy to leave his parents and study abroad. Also, it is hard for the parents to see their children grow up far from their sight.”
During Seminary, the Der Hayr liked what he saw in the young Khachadourian boy. So much so, he asked if he wanted to continue his studies at the Seminary in Lebanon.
At first it didn’t go over too well with his parents. They were confused. They worried about their son’s health. They were concerned he was too shy to be a priest. Ultimately they agreed to let him go because they knew being in Seminary would keep him safe.
After nine years of study, Fr. Khachadourian was ordained as a celibate priest. He stayed in Lebanon for two more years. He assisted the dean and taught hymns classes before moving to the Catholicosate, in Antelias, to work as the dean of the Cilicia Museum.
“One day in my second year, I remember the secretary of His Holiness Aram I, our Vehapar, called and told me that the Vehapar wanted to see me. I went to his office and we talked for couple of minutes, and then he told me that he was thinking of sending me to U.S.A. That was the biggest shock of my life because immediately I thought of my age, my abilities and my language capabilities.”
In October 2019, Fr. Khachadourian arrived in the United States for the very first time. He came directly to Fresno, to take over as Parish Priest.
“It is a huge responsibility to have a Parish to take care of at a young age,” he says. “It is a great experience that I am gaining in this marvelous Armenian community.”