This Palm Sunday, March 20, 2016, Mark Bourghol, Sub-Deacon of St. Thomas Armenian Church, will be ordained to the Deaconite of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The ordination will be performed by His Eminence, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America during the Divine Liturgy, and assisted by our Pastor, the Very Rev. Fr. Papken Dz. V. Anoushian.
“Ordination of the Holy Orders is one of the important sacraments of the Church. Through ordination, men receive the power and grace to perform the sacred duties of a clergyman of the Church. Ordination is a sacrament by which the Holy Spirit offers the elected person the right to perform the sacraments and to feed Christ’s flock.” (http://www.armenianchurch.org)
Mark was born in May of 1981 in Nyack, NY, and grew up in the nearby town of Congers. His parents, Lucy and Alex Bourghol, had been married at St. Thomas Armenian Church and have always been enthusiastic and faithful supporters of the church. He also has a sister, Nora, and lives in close proximity to a large extended family. Both Mark and his sister became members of St. Thomas Church early on, after having attended the Sunday School. They formed a second “family” at St. Thomas as well. Having grown up within a tight-knit Armenian family whose love of each other, faith in God, and involvement in the church speaks highly of Mr. and Mrs. Bourghol and was an inspiritation to Mark to continue in these virtues as an adult.
His childhood was spent at St. Thomas, where years after his baptism there, he began to serve on the altar. Mark attended the St. Thomas Sunday School between 1989 and 1997, after which he served as a Sunday School teacher for the second grade between 1998 – 1999. While he was a student, he sang in the St. Thomas Youth Choir between 1992 and 1993, and he was an active member of the ACYOA (Armenian Churches Youth Organization of America). After graduating the Sunday School, Mark regularly attended the Bible Study classes taught by the Very Rev. Fr. Papken Dz. V. Anoushian. Mark says “I always loved the teachings of Christ.”
Mark graduated from Clarkstown North High School in New City, New York. During that time, he worked at his family’s jewelry business, Bourghol Brothers Jewelers, in nearby Congers. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree from Fordham University, with a major in General Science and a minor in Business, he attended the Gemological Institute of America for further studies and completed with a Graduate Gemologist degree.
Sub-Deacon Mark attended the 1700 Years of Christianity Pilgrimage in Armenia and a summer conference at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary in Armonk, New York, after having lost touch with the church for a period during his college years. It is a testament to his faith to have pursued the pilgrimage and conference. Both helped him tremendously in getting through a a challenging time in his life and ultimately brought him back to the church. Mark indicates “I will always be grateful to Christ for carrying me through this, and thus I dedicated myself to the church to honor Him.”
It was after this experience that he began his service to the church, on the altar, in 2001. He is fond of the great friendships he made with Saro Tovmassian and Deacon Viken Demirjian since the years of being a student in the Sunday School. Together for several years, they have been serving on the altar at St. Thomas every Sunday. With training from the Very Rev. Fr. Papken Dz. V. Anoushian, encouragement from long-time Deacon Krikor Afarian, and voice instruction from Dr. Levon Capan of our choir, Mark was elevated to the rank of Sub-Deacon on Palm Sunday of 2003.
Mark was also a member of the Antranig Dance Ensemble for ten years, between 2001 – 2011. It was during practice that he met his wife, Melanie. After getting to know Mark, Melanie also joined in the activities of St. Thomas Armenian Church, and she joined our choir in 2004. They married in June, 2008, and were blessed with two beautiful daughters who are now two and five years old. Their daughters are already actively involved at St. Thomas. Their older daughter attends the Kirikian Armenian School and sings in the church choir along with her mother, and the younger daughter has started her first year in the St. Thomas Sunday School this year.
As a Sub-Deacon, mark has humbly and faithfully served the church alongside the Very Rev. Fr. Papken Dz. V. Anoushian every Sunday morning during the Morning Prayer Service and Divine Liturgy. He continues to uphold the sacred traditions of the Armenian Apostolic Church with selfless devotion and commitment. Mark has said “It brings me great joy to serve our church, and makes me even happier that my family follows my example and serves with us.”
St. Thomas Armenian Church congratulates Mark Bourghol and his family upon his Ordination to the Diaconate. May God continue to bless him and his family, and give him strength to continue his service to the Lord and the Armenian Apostolic Church.
Material contributed by Madlen E. Setian