The Archdeacon Manuel Shehirian Library opens in Toronto

The St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church’s Archdeacon Manuel Shehirian Library officially opened on Jan. 29, a year after the passing of the Church’s first Deacon and Choirmaster. 

Master of Ceremonies Subdeacon Armen Artin welcomed guests and parishioners at the Hovnanian hall following Sunday Mass and presented Archdeacon Shehirian’s biography. “Diratsou Manuel loved Armenian literature, the Armenian Apostolic Hymns and Canticles, and biblical scripture,” Artin said. 

Following his opening remarks, Artin thanked Archpriest Rev. Fr. Datev Mikayelian, who worked tirelessly for over a year to grant Shehirian his final wish of opening a library at the Church. 

“A library is like a University, a place that teaches a person something new every day. It provides new opinions, new ways of thinking, and new perspectives on life. The more one reads the brighter their life becomes. Blessed is the person whose permanent friend is a book,” Fr. Datev said in his remarks. 

St. Mary’s pastor explained to guests and parishioners that in his final days, Shehirian was worried about the fate of his book collection. “One day, when he was sitting in my office, I asked him, ‘Diratsou, why are you so worried?’ He responded, ‘Father, Armenian literature is a treasure, and when I die, I want my books to be in safe hands so that others can enjoy those treasures,'” Fr. Datev described. 

Following Archpriest Mikayelian’s remarks, Artin invited St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church’s Ranks of Deacons and Acolytes to sing a hymn. The Right Rev. Fr. Vartan Tashjian then delivered the closing remarks. “Archdeacon Manuel was one of the pillars of our Church. With the opening of this library, that pillar will remain and live forever within this Church.” The event concluded with a Requiem Prayer and the singing of “Cilicia.”