bishop2022-06-07T12:37:46+02:00

Bishop Serovpe Isakhanyan

Primate of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Germany

Bishop Serovpé Isakhanyan has headed the diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Germany since April 2018. In apostolic succession he is responsible for the diocese entrusted to him with more than 60,000 Armenian Apostolic Christians in Germany. Preserving the Armenian identity is just as important to him as maintaining ecumenical togetherness and serving people.

"The Armenian Church
is the birthplace of my soul"

HE Bishop Serovpé Isakhanyan

Born on August 20, 1963 in Hazarjrib / Iran
Ordained a priest on June 7, 1987 in Surb Etchmiadzin
Episcopal consecration on May 12, 2019 in Surb Etchmiadzin

I was born outside of Armenia, in Iran. My ancestors lived away from home in a Muslim country for around four hundred years, but they did not lose their identity and their Christian faith. This is the best and living testimony of the work of the Armenian Church.

My ancestors recognized their identity in this church, it was here that they came to know Jesus Christ, learned their language and accepted their faith. They have made the church their spiritual home and thanks to it have preserved and passed on their Armenian Christian identity for centuries. They firmly believed that through the Armenian Church they would not only find salvation for their souls, but also would keep alive and transmit from generation to generation its history, language and culture dating back to the times of creation.

My parents showed me the way to church at a young age. And later I went this way independently, consciously said yes to God's call and became a servant in the field of the Lord.

With around 35 years of experience in spiritual ministry and in my new position as diocesan bishop, I see my main task as enabling the current Armenian believers to find their spiritual home in the Armenian Church, where they do not feel alien and their to find the way to God and to God himself. It is my goal and my vision that we in the church will become a spiritual family in which both adults and young people feel at home. With so many different challenges in today's world, there is a need for a place where one can find peace and reflection, find hope and blessings, not feel alone but be a valued part of the community.

I pray that the Lord will give me faith and wisdom to "sow the mustard seed of the kingdom of God, which is very small, but can grow and become great." (see. Mark 4:31-32)

I was born outside of Armenia, in Iran. My ancestors lived away from home in a Muslim country for around four hundred years, but they did not lose their identity and their Christian faith. This is the best and living testimony of the work of the Armenian Church.

My ancestors recognized their identity in this church, it was here that they came to know Jesus Christ, learned their language and accepted their faith. They have made the church their "spiritual homeland" and thanks to it have preserved and passed on their Armenian-Christian identity for centuries. They firmly believed that through the Armenian Church they would not only find salvation for their souls, but also would keep alive and pass on from generation to generation its history, language and culture dating back to the times of creation.

My parents showed me the way to church at a young age. And later I went this way independently and consciously said yes to God's call and became a servant in the field of the Lord.

With around 35 years of experience in spiritual ministry and in my new role as diocesan bishop, I see my main task as enabling the current Armenian believers to find their “spiritual home” in the Armenian Church, where they do not feel alien and can find their way to God and to God Himself. It is my goal and my vision that we in the church become a spiritual family in which both adults and young people feel at home. With so many different challenges in today's world, there is a need for a place where one can find peace and reflection, find hope and blessings, not feel alone but be a valued part of the community.

I pray that the Lord will give me faith and wisdom to "sow the mustard seed of the kingdom of God, which is very small, but can grow and become great." (see. Mark 4:31-32)

HE Bishop Serovpé Isakhanyan was born with the baptismal name of Razmik on August 20, 1963 in the village of Hazarjrib in the Iranian province of Peria (pers. Fereydan). In November 1968 he emigrated to Armenia with his parents and other family members. First, the family settled in the village of Khanjyan in the Hoktemberyan region (now Armavir Province), then from 1974 in the city of Etchmiadzin.

He received his schooling in the years 1970 – 1974 in the village school in Khanjyan (Armavir) and afterwards from 1974 – 1980 in Secondary School No. 1 in Etchmiadzin. After successfully graduating from school, in September 1980 he started at the Gevorkian Theological Academy of the Holy Mother See Etchmiadzin enrolled. In November 1981 he was drafted into the Soviet Army for military service. After two years of military service, he continued his studies at the Theological Academy. On February 14, 1986, for the feast of Tyarnendaraj (Presentation of the Lord), he was ordained a deacon by Archbishop Husik Santourian. In 1986 he graduated from the Theological Academy and defended his thesis on "The Ethical Views of Barsegh of Mashkevor", which was awarded with "Excellent".

On June 7, 1987, at feast of Pentecost, Deacon Razmik was ordained a celibate priest by Archbishop Nerses Bosabalian and given the spiritual name Serovpé. In November 1989 he successfully defended his ecclesiastical doctoral thesis "The Ten Commandments and Christ". On November 12 of the same year, he received the Vardapete dignity from Bishop Ashoghik Aristakesyan in the Tatev Monastery.

Between 1987 and 1995 he did church service in Armenia, Moldova and Uzbekistan. In 1995 he began his ministry in the Diocese of the Armenian Church in Germany. Between 2010 and 2018 he was, with a short break, Episcopal Vicar of the Diocese.

After the retirement of Archbishop Karekin Bekdjian, Serovpé Vardapet was elected lieutenant (locum tenens) of the diocesan bishop by the diocesan advisory board. On April 18, 2018, the diocesan assembly of delegates in a secret ballot elected Serovpé Vardapet Isakhanyan as primate of the diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Germany. The election was confirmed by His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II on April 19 of the same year.

On May 12, 2019, on Red Sunday, HE Bishop Serovpé Isakhanyan was consecrated as a bishop in Surb Etchmiadzin by His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II. On May 24, 2019, he was inducted into his office as primate with a festive service.

HE Bishop Serovpé Isakhanyan was born with the baptismal name of Razmik on August 20, 1963 in the village of Hazarjrib in the Iranian province of Peria (pers. Fereydan). In November 1968 he emigrated to Armenia with his parents and other family members. First, the family settled in the village of Khanjyan in the Hoktemberyan region (now Armavir Province), then from 1974 in the city of Etchmiadzin.

He received his schooling in the years 1970 – 1974 in the village school in Khanjyan (Armavir) and afterwards from 1974 – 1980 in Secondary School No. 1 in Etchmiadzin. After successfully graduating from school, in September 1980 he started at the Gevorkian Theological Academy of the Holy Mother See Etchmiadzin enrolled. In November 1981 he was drafted into the Soviet Army for military service. After two years of military service, he continued his studies at the Theological Academy. On February 14, 1986, for the feast of Tyarnendaraj (Presentation of the Lord), he was ordained a deacon by Archbishop Husik Santourian. In 1986 he graduated from the Theological Academy and defended his thesis on "The Ethical Views of Barsegh of Mashkevor", which was awarded with "Excellent".

On June 7, 1987, at feast of Pentecost, Deacon Razmik was ordained a celibate priest by Archbishop Nerses Bosabalian and given the spiritual name Serovpé. In November 1989 he successfully defended his ecclesiastical doctoral thesis "The Ten Commandments and Christ". On November 12 of the same year, he received the Vardapete dignity from Bishop Ashoghik Aristakesyan in the Tatev Monastery.

Between 1987 and 1995 he did church service in Armenia, Moldova and Uzbekistan. In 1995 he began his ministry in the Diocese of the Armenian Church in Germany. Between 2010 and 2018 he was, with a short break, Episcopal Vicar of the Diocese.

After the retirement of Archbishop Karekin Bekdjian, Serovpé Vardapet was elected lieutenant (locum tenens) of the diocesan bishop by the diocesan advisory board. On April 18, 2018, the diocesan assembly of delegates in a secret ballot elected Serovpé Vardapet Isakhanyan as primate of the diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Germany. The election was confirmed by His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II on April 19 of the same year.

On May 12, 2019, on Red Sunday, HE Bishop Serovpé Isakhanyan was consecrated as a bishop in Surb Etchmiadzin by His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II. On May 24, 2019, he was inducted into his office as primate with a festive service.

Episcopal regalia

The pectoral cross is given to an Armenian monk-priest after defending his ecclesiastical doctorate together with the associated designation Vardapet (Arm: ????????????? Transl. Teacher of the Church). It is a sign of belonging to Christ. The Armenian cross is usually without the crucified Christ, for he has risen and conquered death.

After the episcopal consecration, the newly consecrated bishop receives a Panagia, which he wears on his chest as a bishop's dignity. A medallion with the image of the Blessed Mother holding baby Jesus on her lap. Panagia means "Most Holy". The term refers to the Holy Mother of God, the Virgin Mary.

The crosier is an ornate staff that the bishop carries during the service. It is a symbol of the ecclesiastical authority bestowed on the bishop by God's grace.

The bishop's ring (similar to the wedding ring) stands for the faithfulness and solidarity of the bishop with the church.

During services, the bishop stands on a small round or oval carpet called the Eagle Carpet, which depicts an eagle soaring over a city. This symbolizes his dominion over the city, and the eagle is meant to remind the bishop that he must rise above his flock by teaching and living and setting an example of hope for the kingdom of heaven.

Sermons, speeches, texts

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Here we present some of Bishop Serovpe Isakhanyan's writings:

S. Isakhanyan, The Moral Views of Barsegh by Mashkevor, Etchmiadzin, 1986;
S. Isakhanyan, The Ten Commandments and Christ, Etchmiadzin, 1989;
S. Isakhanyan, Pocket Prayer Book, Translation, Armenian & German, Etchmiadzin; 2010;
S. Isakhanyan, Sacrament of the Holy Liturgy of the Armenian Church, Translation, Armenian & German, Etchmiadzin, 2011;
S. Isakhanyan, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church, Echmiadzin, 2012.

Meetings with the bishop

bishop's office

Diocese of the Armenian Church in Germany

HE Bishop Serovpe Isakhanyan

Allensteiner Strasse 5, 50735 Cologne
Phone: +49 221 7126223
Fax: +49 221 7126267

bischof (at) dakd.de

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