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The biography of Bagrat Archbishop Galstanyan
19:00, 02.05.2024 |
9757 | 1

Archbishop Bagrat Galstanian was born in Gyumri, Armenia, on May 20, 1971, and was given the name Vazgen at his baptism. His parents are Iranian Armenians from the village of Sangibaran in Iran. In 1971, the whole family settled in Gyumri, then in 1977 they moved to Yerevan.
In 1978-1988, Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan studied at Yerevan School No. 156.
In 1988-1994, he studied at the Gevorkian Theological Seminary. Having attended the Gevorgyan Seminary of Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, in Armenia, he received the ordination of deacon, in 1994 by Bishop Anania Arabajyan.
In 1994 he received excellent mark for his thesis on “The Commentary and Theology of Khosrov of Andzev on Daily Prayers of our Church.”
In 1995, On July 23 on the feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ, the Catholicos of All Armenians, Karekin I, ordained Vazgen a celibate priest, in the honor of Archbishop Bagrat Vardazarian, who was martyred in 1937 repressions.
In 1995, while holding the position as director of St. Gregory the Illuminator Sunday School in Holy Etchmiadzin, Archbishop Bagrat was appointed as vice-president of the newly established Centre of Christian Education and Preaching. During this period, his responsibilities included the teaching of the Holy Liturgy, Church History and Theology and Armenian Church hymns, in the Gevorgyan and Vazgenyan Seminaries in Armenia.
In 1996 he became editor-in-chief of Etchmiadzin, a monthly official publication of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Also, he was involved in the preparation of religious teachers in five regions of Armenia through the Christian Education and Preaching Centre. These included the American University in Yerevan, and in the regions of Etchmiadzin, Armavir, Masis, Artashat, and Aparan. He was one of the founding members of “Gantegh” religious television programming.
From 1996 to 1998 Bishop Bagrat assisted Karekin I as secretary in his pontifical visits to South America, Moscow, U.K., and Austria. In Austria, he participated, as a delegate, in the second Council of European Churches in Graz.
On the recommendation of Karekin I in 1998, he was sent to England to study at the University of Leeds. He attended studies at the Holy Resurrection Theological College of Mirfield and the University of Leeds, at the same time assuming the position of visiting priest of Manchester’s Holy Trinity Armenian Church, until the year 2000.
From 1996 to 2000 Archbishop Bagrat was an active contributing member of the organizing Executive Committee of the celebrations for the 1700th anniversary of the adoption of Christianity in Armenia as a state religion.
In 2000, upon the completion of his studies in England, Archbishop Bagrat returned to Armenia where the Catholicos of all Armenians, Karekin II appointed him as the principal of the Vazgenyan Theological Seminary (Armenian:Վազգէնեան Դպրանոց), in Sevan. At the seminary he taught Theology of St. Paul, Theology of St. John, and Church History. Under his leadership, the “Lousavorich” (Armenian: Լուսաւորիչ) polyphonic choir was formed. Subsequently they produced two compact discs, “Arevagal in Geghard and “Komitasian Patarag”. The choir held concerts in Yerevan, and performed to audiences in Etchmiadzin, Sevan, and throughout Armenia. The Vazgenyan Seminary also published its first annual theological magazine, “Sourp Arakelots” (Armenian: Սուրբ Առաքելոց).
While at the Seminary, Archbishop Bagrat introduced the subject of “Green Theology” for the first time in Eastern European and the former Soviet Republic and its churches. In cooperation with World Council of Church’s office in the Mother See “Round Table,” this subject was brought to the Seminary, and thus introduced to the Armenian Church.
In 2002 he received the rank of Vardapet (Archimandrite) for his thesis on “The Problem of the Sacrament of anointing of the sick in the Armenian Church.”
At this time Archbishop Bagrat was appointed as the head of newly founded department of Media, Relations and Communications of Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. This position also included directorship of spiritual programming on Shoghakat TV television. He became the moderator on his own series, “To Know the Gospel”. This series consisted of weekly sermons and commentaries on the New Testament, including numerous episodes of debates and discussions on religious topics. Archbishop Bagrat Galstanian has published numerous articles on theology, social, cultural spheres concerning Armenia, and the Armenian Church.
In 2002, he was appointed Vicar General of the Diocese of Aragatsotn in Armenia. He founded a children’s dance group and choir in Oshakan, expanded and restructured the Christian Education Center, and established “Youth Computing Centers” in Ashtarak, Aparan and Talin. There were 17 monasteries and churches re-obtained from the government with their adjacent lands which historically belonged to the Mother See, but were annexed by the previous Soviet regime. He acquired a day care, youth centre in Talin, under the spiritual guidance of the Diocese of Aragatsotn.
The General Assembly of the Canadian Diocese elected Galstanian as Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of Canada in May 2003. Subsequently, on June 22 of the same year, Karekin II elevated and consecrated him to the rank of bishop, in the Cathedral of Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, on the feast of Holy Etchmiadzin.
During his leadership years, he founded the organization "Hay Tun" for the purpose of charity to serve the elderly and the sick, as well as to support the Iraqi Armenians who emigrated from Iraq to Canada due to the war, formed youth groups, a children's choir, initiated the building of “Ararat” old age home.
In November 2012 Archbishop Galstanian completed his post-graduate studies at Concordia University Montreal and was awarded a Master of Arts Degree in Theological Studies. His area of study was, Theology and Bioethics, and his chosen thesis, “The Health Care System in Armenia: The Historical, Social, and Theological Perspective: Past, Present, and Prospects.
On January 6, 2013, in Montreal, QC, Galstanian was presented with the Diamond Jubilee Medal of Queen Elizabeth II. Alexandre Boulerice, Member of Parliament for the Rosemont, presented the medal on behalf of Thomas Mulcair, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Outremont.
In 2013 Head of newly established “Creation of the Social Doctrine of the Armenien Church”department in Holy Etchmiadzin.
Since 2014, he is the spiritual director of the international spiritual festival of contemporary art "FRESCO".
In 2015, he was awarded the presidential medal of the Republic of Armenia of the II degree "For Services to the Motherland", and the "Andranik Ozanyan" order of the RA Ministry of Defense.
In 2021 he was awarded “St. Ghevondyants” medal by His Holiness and the Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II.
Since 2015 Primate of Tavush Diocese appointed by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.
Since 2017, he is a member of the Supreme Spiritual Council.
He is a member of the board of trustees of "City of Smile" charitable foundation.
In 2019, Ambassador of Goodwill of "Aurora" Forum, “Pahapan” foundation.
In 2015 On September 21, on inaugurated the diocesan Youth Union and the Central Council was formed.
His established a TV program "The Bible in our life" on "Ijevan" TV station.
2016 to 2020, "One community, one school" Sunday schools program was implemented in 43 communities of Tavush with 2000 students.
In 2015, he founded the children’s choir of the Diocese of Tavush, which was later renamed “TaLuys” Choir of the Diocese of Tavush.
In 2016, he founded the social-educational centers “Arevik” in Ijevan and “Paponts Tun” in Noyemberyan.
In 2016, founded “Telik” social entrepreneurship program for women to revive the handcraft traditions.
In 2022, he created “TaUzh” schools in 4 cities of Tavush, as a leadership training program developing physical, spiritual and intellectual abilities of the young generation.
Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan was in Artsakh during the Artsakh war in the 1990s, during the April four-day war in 2016 and the 44-day war in 2020.
Archbishop Bagrat keeps the Armenian army and the families of our martyred heroes under his special paternal care.
Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan is an active public figure.
On February 17, 2023, he was bestowed with the honor of archbishop by the Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II.
He teaches at the Gevorkian Theological Seminary and at the Komitas State Conservatory of Yerevan.
He has published numerous theological, social, cultural articles, sermons and the following books:
“Thoughts” (Montreal, 2008),
“The Problem of Sacrament of the ‘Anoiting the Sick’ in the Armenian Church” (Echmiadzin, 2001),
“Words and Thoughts” (Echmiadzin, 2019),
“The healthcare system of Armenia: historical, social and theological aspects, past, present and the prospects” (Yerevan, 2021),
“Bishop Khosrov of Andzrez" (Yerevan, 2022),
“With a vision of the Promised Land” (Yerevan, 2023).

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