Nicosia, April 2010: “We Armenians are Easter people”. This is how Rev. Dr. Vartkes Kassouni
challenged the Armenian community during the Armenian Evangelical Church Easter service held in
Nicosia on April 3, 2010.
Rev. Kassouni’s sermon was based on Acts 2: 22-24: “But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power”. He said, “Today, we are among you for exactly the same reason. The Risen Lord has made us alive with him, and we have lived a life of witness and celebration of that fact, beginning in Cyprus and literally taking us around the world with this glorious message”.
Rev. Kassouni’s message was a challenge to be “energized by the Easter Faith because we are Easter people”. He then concluded, “We commemorate today the 95th year of the Armenian Genocide,. Something much more powerful than human strength has carried us through the hell of genocide to the new life in 2010, to which we are all witnesses today. It is the living Christ who first descended into hell and then he rose the third day”.
Mr. Hrayr Jebejian led the service. Mrs. Lynda Kassouni-Walker (Rev. Kassouni’s daughter) and her husband, Mr. Steve Walker (on guitar), together with Rev. Kassouni sang a beautiful hymn. Vahe Jebejian led the hymn singing on the piano, and Alik Jebejian offered a musical piece on the flute from Haydn. Memorial testimonies were also held during the services for two family members who went to be with the Lord, Mrs. Khatoun Barsoumian and Mr. Varouj Chirkinian.
During his stay, Rev. Dr. Vartkes Kassouni had the opportunity to meet with the leadership of the Armenian community in Cyprus. He was a guest in the home of the Armenian Representative in the Cyprus Parliament, Mr. Vartkes Mahdessian. He visited the Armenian Prelacy and met the Prelate, His Eminence Archbishop Varoujan Hergelian. He also visited Nareg School in Nicosia and
met with the headmaster, Mrs. Vera Tahmazian. Rev. Kassouni also met with painter and educator, Mr. Vartan Tashjian. Mrs. Sossy Der Torossian interviewed Rev. Kassouni and broadcast it from the Armenian program of the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation on Saturday, April 10.
This was Rev. Kassouni’s first “come back” to his own community in Cyprus since he left for the US 60 years ago. Rev. Kassouni was born in Larnaca, studied in the American Academy and immigrated to the US to pursue his theological training. He has served in a number of Armenian Evangelical churches and para-church organizations in the US as well as within local constituencies.