My Life - MONSIGNOR SARKIS OUZOUNIAN

"I lived in an Armenian way; I worked in an Armenian way, I did in an Armenian way all my work, my job, my mission, my everything."

Mgr S Ouzounian (2005)

I was born in 1922, April 22, in Lebanon. Exiled by the genocide of 1915, the deportations... No, I was not born then. But my parents suffered. My brothers, all of them who were born in Cilicia suffered, except me who was born in Lebanon.

We are originally from Hadjn. Hadjn is in the Tavros Mountains, where the first principate of the Kingdom of Cilicia was established.

In 1932 I went to the monastery of Zmmar as a Neophyte seminarian in the Armenian language. When ten-year old I entered the monastery.

I was ordained by Archbishop Abrahamian in 1945, by the hand of Archbishop Sarkis Abrahamian. I was ordained priest and he said 'Your name is Sarkis, keep it and be Sarkis in my memory'.

 

Bzommar Chapel, where I started my vocation
Bzommar Chapel, where I started my vocation

Priestly Vocation

At the age of 10, I entered he monastery of Bzommar

 

Prayer for Priestly Vocations

Lord Jesus, good and valiant Shepherd,
You who wants none of your sheep to be lost
and looking carefully to the return of the lost.
You who sees that many of your faithful are deprived of spiritual cure,
We beg thee , awaken august youth in our families who
thirst for bliss and passion of devotion,
feel ready to devote themselves to the salvation of souls.

In the Christian world, 
many believers, and we are some of them,
Wish to enrich their knowledge of you,
And among non- believers
many people of good will
wish to hear the message of your peace .
"The harvest is plentiful, the laborers are few. "
We pray to you Lord do arouse workers for your harvest: 
missionaries, educators and pious believers
ready to meet infinite spiritual needs of the world
to serve you, your church and our country without any fee. Amen.

 
 The vocation: synonym, definition and types  
A vocation is a grace of God given to man. There are several kinds of vocations. We can be a priest, doctor etc... However, the most sublime vocation is the priesthood. Indeed, despite all the thanksgiving that man can do, he feels unworthy of having such vocation.

He must progress (advance) with this vocation with his whole being and follow Christ.

The Church is God's dwelling place. The faithful are the flock of Christ. Clerical vocation (religious or priestly) is a gift that comes from heaven. We must implore fervently that God grant it to young enthusiasts, inflamed by his love.

Priests in order to support vocations should serve as a zealous, modest, active and cheerful model of missionary life. They must know how to love and respect each otherís.

They must work together, be open to young vocations and direct them towards the priesthood.

Bishops, in their turns, are invited to encourage the faithful to care about vocations.

However, the most effective way is to pray and organize days for vocations and to teach catechism in scholar and educational institutions (Vat. II, 2)?

Any vocations motivation must arise primarily within the family, later in our schools: no vocations without schools. Indeed, most vocations come from schools.

These people must have a clear idea about the vocation: they are called neither by human will nor ecclesiastical but divine authority: it is Christ who calls them.

 

  
Msgr. Sarkis Ouzounian Msgr. Sarkis Ouzounian Msgr. Sarkis Ouzounian Msgr. Sarkis Ouzounian

As an archimandrite. And my first mass was in Burj Hamud in the church Saint Savior.

I was the principal of the school from 1945 to 1946.

The Mesrobian School is a special school of Bzommar

In 1946 the Patriarch sent me to Baghdad, Iraq.

in 1946 the Catholicos- Patriarch sent me as an envoy to Baghdad. I served there from 1946 to 1948 May

I taught religion studies there. 

Msgr. Sarkis OuzounianIn '48, September '48 I returned to the Mesrobian School, in Burj Hamud, Beirut, where I was again the principal of the school and the parish priest. I founded the Catholic Armenian Youth... I reorganised the Catholic Armenian Youth Union. Msgr. Sarkis Ouzounian

also I founded the Catholic Armenian Menís Group (Scouts).  

I was sent to Kesab, Syria. Kesab is a village where all are Armenians. The archimandrite, who was the parish priest, had gone to Paris to see his brothers. I was sent there temporarily

 
 
Msgr. Sarkis Ouzounian

I was sent as a parish priest to Damascus. From 1951 to 1954, I served the catholic Armenian community in Damascus.

in '54 the Catholicos moved me to Zahlah, Lebanon, to serve in the catholic Armenian Church... And to the school... The Catholicoses are free to move the archimandrites as they wish.  Subsequently I was called to be a parish priest

there were many Armenians, the nuns, our nuns had a school. I taught religion there, courses of Armenian language and served the people as a parish priest. Until 1962.

In 1962 I was sent to Amman. Jordan. I stayed there from 1962 to 1967, serving also to the Armenian people.

 
Australia 
Msgr. Sarkis Ouzounian

In 1967 - in 1963 Australia had opened its doors for immigration. And the Armenians, from Middle East, from all around Middle East were coming to become Australians. They were migrating, migrated. I was the cause to send a lot of families, either apostolic, or catholic, to Australia.

In 1968, the immigrants, the immigrants in Sydney wanted me from the Catholicos Patriarch to come and serve them. They felt the lack of a clergyman, of a church. Yes. They applied to me because I was in Middle East, in Amman, in Jerusalem; I was not in Jerusalem officially.

I was the first priest, the first archimandrite who came to Australia. I organised the catholic Armenian people, the catholic Armenian people in Sydney.  Yes. I knew English... but not very well. I improved my English in Sydney. I carried it to a certain level. I was useful to the people. I organised - how do you say a "census" in Armenian? I did a census. I bought a church for them, in Sydney. It was a Protestant church; now, today it is a splendid church in Lidcombe, Sydney.

Msgr. Sarkis Ouzounian

In December 22, 1980, I went to Melbourne to rest, the Australian archbishop (Little) wanted me to stay here in Melbourne, and because I speak French, Italian, English, and Armenian. I also speak Turkish. I also speak Arabic. I do not know to say all these, anyway, six languages.

Yes, He wanted me to be the responsible priest of the French speaking people. Their priest retired. He went to Mauritius

let us strive to keep our youth as Armenians, to give them Armenian instruction, Armenian Christian faith. I do not say catholic. I do not say apostolic. I say Armenian Christian faith.
 

     
   

 

Our Church in Lidcombe
Mgr Sarkis Ouzounian
in 1978.

Follow in the footsteps of our dearly beloved Msgr Sarkis Ouzounian in the service of God and our community.
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