Rev. Dr. Vahan H. Tootikian
Rev. Dr. Vahan H. Tootikian is the Minister Emeritus of the Armenian Congregational Church of Greater Detroit and the Executive Director of the Armenian Evangelical World Council. Born in Kessab, Syria, Rev. Dr. Tootikian received his early education at the Armenian Evangelical Schools in his hometown, and his secondary education at Central High School in Beirut, Lebanon. He received his college and seminary education at the American University of Beirut and the Near East School of Theology, where in 1959 he was awarded both a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Diploma in Theology degree with honors. He did his graduate work at Hartford, Harvard and Andover Newton Theological seminaries, earning two masters and a doctorate.
Since 1959, he has served the Armenian Evangelical Church in many capacities. From 1959-1960, he was Pastor of the Armenian Evangelical Church of Damascus, Syria and Principal of the local school; from 1960-1965, he was Minister of the Armenian Evangelical Congregational Church of Cairo, Egypt; from 1965-1975, he was Minister of the Armenian Memorial Church of Watertown, MA; and from 1975-2005 he was Minister of the Armenian Congregational Church of Greater Detroit, MI.
Along with his pastoral calling, Rev. Dr. Tootikian was engaged in educational work. He was a lecturer at Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, MI from 1975-2005, and lectured at the University of Michigan from 1985-1989. His courses included: The Bible as Literature (Old and New Testament), History of Christian Thought, World Religions, Contemporary Christian Thought, Ethics and Western Armenian.
Minister, lecturer, administrator, scholar, prolific writer, and community leader, Rev. Dr. Tootikian is a member of many religious, educational, and philanthropic organizations, and a recipient of numerous awards. He was a member of the American Association of University Professors. He was elected to membership in the Community Leaders in America for high quality of leadership; and membership in the International Platform Association, where he was also awarded the title of “The Man of Achievement.” He is also the recipient of a Gold Medal from Armenia’s Ministry of Diaspora for his many contributions to the Armenian Cultural Heritage.
In recognition of his pastoral and public service, his church and the Armenian community have celebrated his 25th, 35th, 40th, 45th, and 60th Anniversaries, each time establishing an Endowment Fund in his honor at the Armenian Congregational Church of Greater Detroit, the AMAA and the AEUNA.
Rev. Dr. Tootikian was a charter member of the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America (AEUNA) in 1971, and the Armenian Evangelical World Council (AEWC) in 1978. He was elected Moderator of the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America four times (1974-76, 1986-88, 1998-2000, and 2000-2002). He also served as Secretary (1986-87) and President of the Armenian Evangelical World Council (1989-91 and 2000-2002). Since January 2003, he has held the post of Executive Director of the AEWC. He began serving the AMAA Board in 1967 and since then has been on the Board intermittently over 52 years, either as an elected or ex-officio member.
Scholarship is another aspect of Rev. Dr. Tootikian’s many-faceted activities, and it is a significant one. He is a regular contributor to several papers and magazines, and the author of 43 books, six of which have been used as college textbooks in North America and overseas.
Rev. Dr. Tootikian was married to the late Juliette Nazarian in 1959 and was blessed with three daughters. Upon the untimely death of Yeretzgin Juliette in 1985, he married Rosette Pambakian in 1991. They presently live in Royal Oak, MI and are the proud grandparents of six grandchildren and a great grandson.
Rev. Dr. Tootikian is a man of many talents; he is esteemed for his visionary leadership, his scholarly productions, and his performance in teaching, preaching and pastoral vocation, and as a warm and personable clergyman.
(Excerpted from the 60th Anniversary Testimonial Committee Presentation)