Rev. Vigen Galustian
Vigen Galustian was born in Hamadan, Iran. After graduating from French High School in Tehran, he received his higher education in Beirut, Lebanon at the Near East School of Theology (NEST) and Haigazian University, receiving his degree in Theology in 1961. He was ordained by the Presbyterian Synod of Iran on May 20, 1962 and became Pastor of the Evangelical Church of Tehran. That same month, he married Marie Apissogomian of Alexandria, Egypt.
He served the Tehran Evangelical Church (Persian speaking) until September of 1968. Upon receiving an extended Sabbatical leave, the family returned to Beirut where Vigen completed his graduate work at NEST, graduating in June 1970 with a Master’s degree in Divinity. While studying in Beirut, Vigen served the Armenian Evangelical Church of Damascus, Syria as a weekend visiting Pastor for two years. The Lord blessed the couple with three precious children, Jane, Jessica and Ted.
During his pastoral ministry, Rev. Galustian has been an active minister first in Iran and later in the United States and has held various responsibilities in the field of Christian Education and camp programs for children and youth. From 1965-1967, he worked closely with the Radio Ministry on the Near East Committee for Radio Voice of the Gospel – a radio station located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia which broadcasted throughout the Middle East.
In June 1970, he and his family settled in the United States. The Commission of Ecumenical Missions and Relations of the United Presbyterian Church in the USA appointed Rev. Galustian to the staff of the Synod of the Rockies as a pioneer Mission Interpreter. He served in this capacity through June 1971.
From 1971-1998, Rev. Galustian served as Pastor of the United Armenian Calvary Congregational Church of Troy, NY; Calvary Armenian Congregational Church of San Francisco, CA; First Congregational Church of Oakland, CA and Church of the Valley, UCC, Santa Clara, CA. He also filled the vacant pulpit of the Immanuel Armenian Congregational Church of Downey, CA for a short time.
Since 1990, he was involved in short-term mission work in Armenia; Tbilisi, Georgia; Minsk, Belarus and Moscow, Russia using either his educational leave or vacation time. His mission trips in Armenia and Georgia, sponsored by the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), involved various pastoral services in several cities in Armenia and with Junior Camps in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Rev. Galustian was also actively involved in community services and served on various church and community boards. Upon his initiative, and with the full financial support of West Valley Presbyterian Church’s mission department and the AMAA’s help in facilitating the transfer of funds, the first Armenian Soup Kitchen was established on January 17, 2000 in Tbilisi, Georgia. This Soup Kitchen was a lifeline for 60–70 elderly men and women who received one hot meal Monday through Friday at lunchtime. Hot food was also served to some homebound seniors on a regular basis.
After 37 years of full-time parish ministry, he and his wife Marie took an early retirement to devote their time to short-term mission work for Vigen and a prayer ministry for Marie.
Soon after Rev. Galustian’s early retirement, he was called to serve as Sabbatical Replacement Minister in the Community Congregational Church of Sunnyvale, CA from December 1998 through March 1999. Since May of 1999, Rev. Galustian and Marie have also served the Armenian Evangelical Church in Chicago by occasional visits of three to four weeks providing pastoral services and filling the vacant pulpit. Rev. Galustian also served the Armenian Presbyterian Church of Paramus, NJ in the same capacity in 2001.
In recent years, Vigen and Marie have been enjoying traveling and doing short-term mission work. They specially love spending time with their three married children and six grandchildren both in California and Kansas.
All being well and God willing, Vigen and Marie hope to continue spending their time in Christian ministry and witness to the glory and love of God in Christ Jesus. To this end, they are currently actively involved in the worship, witness and congregational care of their local church.