Rev. John Avedis Zarifian
By Mihran Jizmejian, President AMAC
The Rev. John Avedis Zarifian was born in Marseille, France in 1926. A few years later the family moved to Aix-en-Province, a university city near Marseille. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1944 from “College du Sacre-Coeur” in Marseille. He was called to military service from October 1947 to January 1949 in Paris. He studied at Aix-en-Province Theological Seminary from September 1949 to June 1951.
In November 1951, John was sent by the Armenian Evangelical Union of France to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he became Pastor of the Armenian Holy Trinity Congregational Church. He continued his theological studies at the Theological Seminary of Buenos Aires and received his Master of Divinity degree in 1955.
He was ordained on August 22, 1954, by Bishop John Gatinoni of the Methodist Episcopal Church of South America, Rev. Kevork Balikian, and Rev. Nazareth Salibian with the consent of the Armenian Evangelical Church and the Theological Seminary of Argentina. He was married to Lois Balikian in May 1952 and they were blessed with a son in 1955.
After serving in Buenos Aires from December 1951 to March 1962, Rev. Zarifian received an invitation to visit the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the United States.
In September 1962, Rev. Zarifian came to Salem, NH and pastored the Armenian Ararat Congregational Church until the end of 1966.
From 1967 to February 1977, for almost 11 years, he served as Pastor of the Armenian Evangelical Church of Montreal.
From 1977 to 1980, he served in the Middle East as an evangelist.
From March 1, 1980 to June 30, 1998 he served in the Armenian Euphrates Evangelical Church in Rhode Island.
During his ministry, Rev. Zarifian was a visiting evangelist in the following countries: France, Greece, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Turkey and Armenia.
Since his retirement from active ministry in 1998, he accepted a call from the late Executive Director of the Armenian Missionary Association of America Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian without remuneration, (travel expenses only covered by the AMAA), to be a visiting evangelist in Syria, Lebanon, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Armenia and South America. Rev. Zarifian has devoted all of his time, talents and energy to evangelism, and has been instrumental in bringing many to Christ.
Rev. John Zarifiian has been a faithful servant of the Lord for almost 65 years.
In recognition of his selfless services to both the Providence church where Rev. Zarifi has served 18 years, and the Armenian Evangelical Church of Montreal for six years, the churches have granted him the honorary Pastor Emeritus title.
Currently Rev. Zarifiian and his wife Lois reside in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.