About the Parish Priest

Rev. Fr. Krikor Zakaryan – Biography

Rev. Fr. Krikor Zakaryan was born on November 29, 1977, in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Manuk and Elena Zakaryan.

Fr. Zakaryan received his primary education at the “Dimitar Blagoev” school in Plovdiv. He continued his education at the “Victoria and Krikor Tutundjyan” Armenian school in Plovdiv and graduated in 1992.

In Plovdiv’s “Knyaz Alexander Battenberg” secondary school, Fr. Krikor Zakaryan studied Biology, Humanitarianism and French. He graduated in 1995. As one of the finest students of the French language, Fr. Zakaryan had been selected to travel to France on an educational tour.

From 1997 to 1999, he served in the Bulgarian army. Because of his exemplary service, Fr. Zakaryan was promoted within the ranks of the army.

In 2003, he was admitted to the “Alex and Marie Manoogian Seminary” of the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem. His dedication to the seminary and his high marks earned Fr. Zakaryan numerous awards. He graduated from the seminary with excellence in 2007.

Fr. Krikor Zakaryan received his Fourth-Degree Acolyte of the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church from His Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem and was ordained to Diaconate by His Eminence Archbishop Nourhan Manoukian. With his strong vocal abilities, Fr. Zakaryan received vocal training from Mr. Setrak Erganyan, a well-known composer. Fr. Zakaryan often sang as the soloist in the Choir.

Fr. Zakaryan has written spiritual/religious articles which have been published in Bulgaria and in Jerusalem.

On August 5, 2007, Fr. Krikor Zakaryan married Miss Anoush Yazadzhiyan in Bulgaria. In 2008, he was invited as a Priesthood-Candidate by His Eminence, Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America.

On August 10, 2008, he was ordained to the Diaconate by the Primate in the La Canada Armenian Church.

Fr. Zakaryan had served at St. Vartan Armenian Church in Oakland, California, prior to his appointment as the Deacon-In-Charge of the Armenian Church of the Desert in Rancho Mirage, California. They are blessed with two Daughters.

Rev. Fr. Krikor Zakaryan has been ordained and consecrated to the Priesthood on October 13, 2009 by His Eminence, Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America.

The Rev. Fr. Krikor Zakaryan celebrated his first Divine Liturgy on Sunday, November 8, 2009 at the social hall of the Armenian Church of the Desert in Rancho Mirage.

During his pastorate, the Sanctuary of St. Garabed’s was built and completed. The Consecration of the Sanctuary took place on Sunday, January 7, 2012. On April 26, 2013 the Altar of St. Garabed was consecrated, both by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian.

The Rev. Fr. Krikor Zakaryan completed his Masters Degree in Theology (Major – “Ministry, Leadership and Service”) in 2014 at Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, CA.  Fr. Zakaryan also completed a Youth Ministry Certificate program at Fuler Seminary, Pasadena, CA in 2017. At the present time Fr. Zakaryan is also involved as a Religious Advisor for the Diocesan Christian Education Council (CEC), Camp Committee and Camp Board, serving the youth ( ages 0 to 17) on a Diocesan level.

Rev. Fr. Krikor Zakaryan is the Parish Priest of St. Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church of the Desert 2009 – present.

The Priest and the Church – Episode 2 from Western Diocese on Vimeo.

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About our Church

St. Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church of the Desert – Past and Present

The first Divine Liturgy in Palm Desert was celebrated by Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian in 1976 at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church. In 1977 a meting was held to begin the organization of a parish, during which time an interim Parish Council was appointed led by Vagharsh Bedoian. Church services continued at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church from 1977 to 2004, with priests and deacons provided by the Diocese. A choir directed by Anna Bedoian sang the Liturgy accompanied by organist Velo Herbekian.

In 1978 the Ladies Society was organized under the leadership of Anna Bedoian, and during a meeting in 1979 the Primate appointed an official Parish Council with Vagharsh Bedoian serving as the first chairman. In September 1980 Archbishop Hovsepian presided over the first Parish Assembly, and in November the Armenian Apostolic Church was formally established.

From 1981 to 2004 Church services have been held six times a year. Parishioners have been instrumental in gathering the necessary funds for the continuity of the parish. In 1999 a land of 4.6 acres was purchased in Rancho Mirage and a Building Committee was formed to begin construction of a Church. The following year the consecration ceremony was held presided by Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian. Ground was broken in 2003 and construction began.

On December 19, 2004 Rev. Fr. Mikayel Kyuregyan celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the newly constructed Kirkjan Family Hall.

On January 29, 2005 His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate, presided over the Dedication of the Hall. As part of the Dedication celebrations the Primate celebrated Divine Liturgy on January 30.

From 2005 to 2009 the parish was receiving visiting clergies who were performing the Divine Liturgy twice a month at Kirkjan Family Hall. On October 13, 2009, St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church became the scene of the Ordination of the first Armenian Priest of Coachella Valley performed by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate and from that moment on the Parish received its permanent spiritual leader, Rev. Fr. Krikor Zakaryan. This event opened a new page in the history of the community, as it transformed to  a spiritual formation as well.

In August, 2009 the building efforts of the new sanctuary started, which was built for an year. The construction of the new Sourp Garabed Church was made possible through the very generous support of Mr. Edward Halvajian and parishioners. The new Sanctuary had been Dedicated on October 9, 2010 by the Primate, the Parish Priest and guest clergies.

Saint Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church of the Desert was consecrated on January 7, 2012 by the Primate, His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian and Reverend Father Krikor Zakaryan. Among the respective guests were the family members of the late Grand Benefactor Edward Halvajian, as well as Godfathers, Members of Parish Councils, Building Committees, Parish Organizations, City Officials and community members.