Rev. (Barthev) Berj Gulumian is of Armenian descent, born on January 28, 1976, in Aleppo, Syria, but raised in Beirut, Lebanon. He is the second of four Children, three boys and a girl, born to Mr. Kevork and Mrs. Antoinette Gulumian.
From 1979 to 1987, Rev. Barthev obtained his primary education from the Holy Forty Martyrs Armenian Private School in Beirut, Lebanon. However, since he was a little boy of six, he expressed his wish to his parents to admit him to a seminary instead of a regular school; explaining that he had seen a vision where Jesus Christ told him “you will have countless hard aches in life; follow me.” His parents resisted his will to send him to a seminary, but agreed to take him to church every Sunday, where later he became an acolyte and his passion for Christ grew from his continuous visions and service.
In 1987, at the age of 11, he had finally managed to convince his parents to admit him to the Zarehian Seminary of the Great house of Cilicia, a place where Rev Barthev’s history has initiated from. His thirst and passion for Christ and his children grew by the second, and in 1992, during the reign of Catholicose Karekin II of Cilicia, he became an ordained Deacon, by the late Archbishop Ghevont Chebeian
While at the Seminary, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology, and upon graduation in 1995, he was ordained as a celibate priest (Apegha) by the current Primate of Eastern Prelacy of America, Archbishop Oshagan Choloian, and received the name of Rev. Fr. Barthev Gulumian.
For the next three years, from 1995 to 1998, Rev. Barthev served as an assistant Dean at the same seminary where he graduated from. He also taught religion and music (Hymns of the Armenian Church) at the Zarehian Seminary and Yeghishe Manougian Armenian High School. Parallel to these, he also conducted the “Shnorhali Choir” of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia.
During the summer of 1998, Rev. Barthev was in search of higher Theological knowledge and education, which led him to Rome, Italy, where he continued his education at the Pontifical Oriental Institute. In 2001, he earned a Masters of Arts Degree in Theology and Liturgy.
On October 3, 1999, while on a short visit to Lebanon, he was ordained as a Very Rev. Fr. Barthev Gulumian, and received the title Archimandrite (Vartabed) by His Spiritual Teacher, Confession Father and Brother in Christ, late Archbishop Zareh Aznavorian.
Upon his graduation from the Pontifical Oriental Institute, he found out that Archbishop Zareh Aznavorian, who was dearly loved by Rev. Barthev and many others, was suffering of liver cancer and needed a donor. This was the man who had done great things for the Armenian Church and Armenians in general, and without hesitation or second thought Rev. Barthev knew that he had to help his spiritual teacher with all he was capable with. Within few weeks Rev. Barthev was on his way to Los Angeles to meet Zareh Srpazan, who was in America already for treatment. With our Lords guidance and encouragement, Rev. Barthev expressed his wish to be tested as a donor. Both
Archbishop Zareh Aznavorian and Rev. Barthev had undergone several tests with results that Rev. Barthev was a true match for beloved Archbishop. On June 15, 2001, Rev. Barthev donated a portion of his liver to Archbishop Zareh. With Our Lord’s Blessings the surgery went well, and the life of Beloved Srpazan was extended by 3 more years. On April 30th, 2004, Heaven gained an Angel, Zareh Srpazan, who died of breast cancer.
Even though after the surgery, Rev. Barthev suffered of severe liver pains and lost the feel of his right arm, this did not prevent him of serving our Lord wholeheartedly and without regrets. Once returned back to Lebanon, he was assigned as the Assistant Dean of the Seminary by His Holiness Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia, and within a matter of several months was promoted as the Dean of the Seminary. During these years, from 2001to 2005, he taught several subjects at the Seminary, was a member of the Religious Council of the Central Executive Committee, conducted the “Shnorhali Choir” of the Catholicosate of the Holy Sea of Cilicia, and created “Zarehian Men’s Choir” at the Seminary, and “Komitas Men’s Choir” in Beirut. Meanwhile, he wrote several books and publications.
During these four years, even though Rev. Barthev was occupied with the above mentioned responsibilities, he was still in severe post surgery pain that only seemed to get worse. Sometime in the year 2005, when he and several of his dearly loved brothers in Christ were in prayer together, Rev. Barthev saw another vision. In his vision a large fireball from the sky landed onto his body and exploded inside of him, leaving him in complete sweat, strength less and eventually painless. Seconds later he saw Holy Virgin with baby Jesus in Her arms approaching him. Behind the Holy Mother and Son was Archbishop Zareh with His Angelic smile. Baby Jesus reached his tiny hand towards Rev Barthev’s right arm, and as He glided His healing hand from his arm down to his fingers, Rev. Barthev testifies how the pain escaped his body from that second on. After that one Spring evening, Rev. Barthev was healed completely.
In the Summer of 2005 Rev. Barthev Gulumian was assigned a new role, which led him to the United States of America, as a Co-Director of Christian Education of the Western Prelacy of Northern America. 2005 became the year of spiritual renaissance and growth for the Armenian Community of Los Angeles. Rev. Barthev not only brought the current generation of American Armenians back to their roots and the Armenian Church, but became the bridge between the Church and the People. Between 2005 and 2011, he conducted countless Bible studies in numerous Armenian Churches on weekly basis, created Western Prelacy’s first Youth Choir called “Lusavorich” that presented with a phenomenal concert with over thousand attendees, led the youth and young adults group of the Western Prelacy of America, organized numerous Spiritual Seminars and Camps for the Youth, visited local hospitals and nursing homes to pray for the sick or simply to show Christ’s Love to others, held a hand to the needy on daily basis, taught at Armenian Schools, acted as the co-editor of the “Brismag” Armenian newspaper; which is printed and distributed by the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Churches in Northern America, visited Los Angeles area jails and prisons to minister Armenian inmates and prisoners, provided religious and spiritual support to local families in financial, inter-familial, spousal and youth troubles, lectured on Christian Education at various events organized
by churches, schools, universities and other community organizations, acted as the Vice President of Western Prelacy’s Religious Council, was interviewed by various Armenian TV programs and radio talk shows on religious and spiritual subjects, and most importantly touched and changed countless lives by bringing them closer to Christ. His ministry span both within the Armenian community and surrounding non Armenian communities.
The American Armenian Community of Los Angeles was in complete joy for the presence of such Reverend in our community, since he was and remains to be a God sent for all who know him. It’s not Rev. Barthev that thousands follow, but Christ that lives in him. Unfortunately, that joy came to its end on a gloomy Autumn day in 2011, when the Armenian Community of Los Angeles found out that their dearly loved Reverend was arrested and under the surveillance of the Los Angeles International Airport’s immigration officers; because his R1 visa was expired, and the Western Prelacy of Northern America failed to do its duty of either extending their employees legal paperwork or simply sending him back the Holy Sea of Cilicia in a proper manner. A whole day later, he was released with 7 day US stay extension, for the purpose of collecting his belongs and going back to Lebanon. On October 30th, 2011, Rev. Barthev was deported from the United States of America.
American Armenians of Los Angeles and surrounding counties were in spiritual desperation, they needed their Spiritual Father and Brother in Christ, Rev. Barthev, back to Los Angeles and to their lives, but no one would hear their cries and their requests were never addressed. For the purpose of forgetting the past, we will leave the details unmentioned.
On January 4, 2012, Rev. Barthev was sent to Venezuela as the Dean of the Parish Council; Director of both the Religious and Executive councils and the Pastor of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church of Venezuela. During his short stay there, he conducted weekly bible studies, led the youth and young adults groups and taught Saturday and Sunday Schools, where as the principal of the schools he also prepared the annual school programs. He was available for everyone in the community at any given time and counseled everyone on spiritual, marital or any personal matters. Unfortunately, Venezuela has a very small Armenian Community, and his work did not reach to great heights.
In the summer of 2012, Rev. Barthev came across to yet another legal stay matters, this time in Venezuela. Before the expiration of his Venezuelan visa, Rev. Barthev returned to Beirut, Lebanon, for the purpose of getting extension of stay and return back to Venezuela. Meanwhile, he applied for a tourist Visa to the United States so that he could come and take all his belongings with him to his newly assigned Parish.
On a beautiful autumn day, in the year 2012, Rev. Barthev surprised the entire Armenian Community by returning back to Los Angeles. He was supposed to stay for a month only, but the Armenian community demanded his stay. With the support and sponsorship of many members within the Armenian community Rev. Barthev remained in the states and continues what he had left behind.
Today, over 1000 members attend to his Bible studies from all over Los Angeles, Orange County and surrounding counties. He conducts a newly build “Zareh Srpazan Choir” named after beloved Archbishop Zareh Aznavorian, teaches Armenian Language and Literature, Armenian History, Religion and Music at Manoogian- Demirchian and Vatche Tamar Manoogian Armenian A.G.B.U. Schools, visits hospitals and nursing homes to provide prayers and supports all in need, mentors the youth of the community, prepares weekly TV programs on religious subjects, coaches and counsels families in need and appears as guest speaker on many TV programs and events organized by Local Community Organizations.
In spring of 2013, Faith, Hope, Love Mission, a non profit organization founded by Rev. Barthev, was created and registered in the state of California. With the guidance and blessings of our Lord, Jesus Christ, Rev. Barthev will continue his ministry of seeding Christ’s Faith, Hope and Love in the lives of everyone. All his work, old or new, belongs to Faith, Hope, Love Mission.
P.S. – please note that many of the events in the above biography has been summarized for the purpose of keeping Christ’s Love in our Hearts.