Ordained Deaconess Serve at Altar for Armenian Orthodox Christmas-Nativity Liturgy in Tehran-Iran

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Hratch Tchilingirian – 12/1/18

Photos – MEHR News Agency 

Tehran- Iran: As an update to my previous post, without much fanfare, Ani-Kristi Manvelian (24-year-old anesthesiologist) was ordained a deaconess, on September 25, 2017, in Tehran’s St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral by Archbishop Sebouh Sarkissian, the Primate of the Diocese of Tehran. The photos show Deaconess Ani-Kristi serving on the altar during the Christmas Eve (Ճրագալոյց) Divine Liturgy on January 5th.

Even this is a most welcome step by Archbishop Sebouh Sarkissian and the Diocese of Tehran (Catholicosate of Cilicia), the Armenian Apostolic Church has yet to formally restore the office of female deaconate as part of her apostolic mission to the Armenians.

What is special and novel about Deaconess Ani-Kristi Manvelian’s ordination is that she is a “lay” or a “parish” deacon — that is, she is not a nun or a member of a convent, like the Kalfayan Sisters in Istanbul or Gayanyants Sisters at Birds Nest in Jibel, Lebanon, who have a few sisters among their ranks and are not ordained deaconesses; one in Istanbul is ուրարակիր, a stole-bearer.

(see “Alik”: https://goo.gl/WLUTsA; also Philippe Sukiasyan’s “Ordination d’une diaconesse à Téhéran” in *NH Hebdo* (Paris) 4 janvier 2018, p. 9-10).

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