Rev. Fr. Paul Cherian

Paul AchenRev. Fr. Paul Alummoottil Cherian, is the third child of Rev. Fr. A.K. Cherian and Mrs. Molly Cherian. He was born on December 3 at the Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center, Bronx, New York.

After completing High School, Paul (affectionately known as Tom) attended St. Thomas Aquinas College where he received a Bachelor’s in Social Science (Psychology). St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, NY was the next step in his spiritual training. There he received a Master’s in Divinity degree. One month before graduating from the Seminary, Paul was ordained a Sub Deacon on Saturday, April 13th, 2002 at his home parish, St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Bronx, New York. His Grace Mathews Mar Barnabas, His Grace Dr. Geevarghese Mar Osthathios, His Grace Dr. Mathews Mar Severios, His Grace Dr. Yakob Mar Irenaeus and His Grace Dr. Zachariah Mar Nicholovos were the main celebrants in one of the most colorful and memorable events in the parish and the American Diocese. Very Rev. Dr. Yuhanon (H.G. Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chrysostemos), 35 Priests, 4 deacons and over 600 people were also present. Our Semassen has a special place in the history of the American Diocese seeing that he was the first American born youth to attend Seminary and receive Ordination. Semassen was married to Shallu Thomas on Monday, April 27, 2009 at the Devalokam Aramana Chapel and elevated to the Order of Full Deacon on Wednesday, April 29 at the St. Paul’s Mission Training Center Chapel by His Grace Dr. Geevarghese Mar Osthathios and His Grace Dr. Mathews Mar Thimothios. Semassen was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on Sunday, March 14, 2010 at his home parish by His Grace Mathews Mar Barnabas and His Grace Zachariah Mar Nicholovos.

Following his ordination and graduation from the Seminary, Achen was accepted into a Master’s of Arts (Counseling) graduate program at the Alliance Graduate School of Counseling, Nyack, New York. In May of 2005, he graduated the program with his Masters degree. Semassen continues to be a spiritual leader and counselor to young people throughout the American Diocese.

Achen was one of the co-founders of the St. Mary’s Church MGOCSM and a staff member of the Church Sunday school program (Grades 2, 8, 10, 12). He was nominated by the MGOCSM of the Diocese and appointed by the Diocesan Metropolitan as the General Secretary from August 2004-August 2006. He was also appointed by His Grace Mathews Mar Barnabas as the Coordinator of the Mission Wing of the Diocese. Semassen coordinated the 2005 & 2006 Mission Trips to India.

He was selected as a Youth Delegate to represent the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church at the 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Porto Alegre, Brazil from February 14-24, 2006. Semassen has also been asked to serve on the “Faith and Order” commission of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States, and hopes for a youth position on the central committee of the World Council of Churches in Geneva. In 2008, Semassen was selected as a Delegate of the American Diocese of the Church to participate in the National Council of Churches in Christ and Church World Services gathering.

Previously he worked as a Case Manager at the YMCA of Yonkers and more recently was selected by the New York State Department of Labor to work as a Counselor. His willingness to listen, his ability to counsel, and his love for the Church makes Paul Achen an invaluable asset for St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, the American Diocese and the Malankara Orthodox Church as a whole. Our prayers are that God will continue to strengthen and lead our Semassen for many years, as he moves forward in the call of the Lord.