Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch

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From Diyarbakir to Bergen County

The Archdiocesan Executive Council (AEC) presented its 2011 fall lecture Sunday, November 27, 2011. Held at the Church of the Virgin Mary in Paramus, this was the first time that the AEC chose to highlight a topic that does not strictly center on the history of the Church.

Introduced by George Kiraz, PhD, Jack Darakjy, Esq. presented his family’s unique history as devoted faithful of the Syriac Orthodox Church as well as their journey from what is currently Turkey throughout the Middle East to ultimately America. With His Eminence and other clergy present, dozens of local parishioners were in attendance.

Darakjy, who has been an active member of the Church his entire lifetime, told his family’s poignant story, capturing the spirit of his grandparents as they lived in the former Ottoman Empire. Having to escape the Seyfo or genocide of 1915, Darakjy’s ancestors fled from Diyarbakir to Aleppo. The Faith and love of Christ that Darakjy’s grandparents instilled in their children were present as both Darakjy’s father and uncle were active deacons. Traveling again from Syria to Jerusalem to Lebanon until finally reaching America, Darakjy’s story was a touching memoir and testament to his ancestors’ legacy.

After the presentation ended, Darakjy mentioned how everyone has a rich and unique family history and all should be given the opportunity to document as far back as possible. Members of the AEC present at the event explained they would like one of their biannual lectures to focus on the Church and the other to showcase parishioners of the Church, similar to Darakjy’s successful presentation.

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