Thousands mourn passing of beloved pastor Vartan Kassabian
Published: Wednesday March 25, 2009
Michael Varadian, Norwood, Mass.
"I am really sad for losing my Der Hayr. God made the world. God made the people. I hope God does not take anyone else away that I love. He was the greatest priest of all."
Drtad Hazarvartian, 7 ½, North Andover, Mass.
"Der Vartan encouraged me to read the Bible. He gave me strength, enlightenment, hope and love, like a second father. I shall always remember him for his sense of humor, passion and friendship. I am also considering a life of the church in his memory and that of my grandmother Isabelle Varadian."
Melkon Megerdichian, Providence
"When my wife Susan was undergoing surgery this month, Der Vartan was beside her in prayer, always optimistic toward a successful outcome. It was his faith, love, and genuine caring during the final phase of his life that pulled us through our ordeal successfully."
John Kulunjian, board chairperson, St. Gregory Church, North Andover, Mass.
"The legacy of one so prominent as Der Vartan's is to carry on all those qualities he brought to his daily life and the mission he valued so dearly."
Jack Mardoian, chairperson, Prelacy's Executive Council
"Growing up, I remembered how Der Vartan would walk along listening to the Badarak on his Walkman. The man had a vision and he fulfilled it. When he came into a room, he brought the sunshine with him."
Kenny Topalian, Providence
"He brought our community in Portland, Maine, together, during his many visits. We don't have a church. Der Vartan kept us connected to our spiritual traditions and made our Armenian Christmas celebrations that much more meaningful."
Jirair Kiladjian, president, Armenian Cultural Association of Maine
"During a Ghevontiantz celebration in Springfield a decade ago, he told our priests how you can kill the body, but not the spirit. Even in death, it is that spirit that will continue to guide us all to future prosperity."
Deacon Avedis Garavanian, North Andover, Mass.
"Der Vartan's sense of humor was unprecedented. I'm waiting for him to jump out of his casket and tell us all that this was a big joke."
Steve Mesrobian, Framingham, Mass.