Explanation of the Trinity in ASL

January 8, 2012

Armenian Orthodox subdeacon Tigran Khachikyan gives a detailed look at the historical development of the doctrine of the Trinity in American Sign Language. Captions are available for those who don’t understand ASL:

Part one is here.

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Deaf Outreach Resolution at Upcoming Orthodox Council

October 23, 2011

In an Orthodox parish serving the Deaf in Moscow, a priest signs one of the readings in Russian Sign Language

Here is something exciting for those of us who have been longing to see Orthodoxy in America make a firm commitment to ministry to the Deaf. One of the resolutions to be considered at the upcoming 16th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America (held October 31-November 4, 2011 in Seattle, Washington) is a call for the Church to reach out to the Deaf:

Deaf Outreach Resolution

WHEREAS we are called to spread the Word of God in many tongues (1 Cor. 14:9), yet the languages of a specific group of people throughout North America, namely, the deaf community, have been underrepresented, Whereas members of the deaf community, most of whom use sign language as their primary mode of communication, find it virtually impossible to enter into the liturgical fullness of the church,

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the Holy Synod be requested to explore the creation of a deaf outreach ministry to help every level of the Orthodox Church in America more effectively meet the specific needs of the deaf community.

I ask readers to join in prayer that the Council in Seattle will embrace the resolution for this ministry which is long overdue for Orthodoxy in America.

For further reading:

Orthodox Christians Who are Deaf and Blind

St Mark the Deaf

Orthodox Church for the Deaf and Blind


Incense in the Orthodox Church: An ASL Explanation

September 24, 2011

Sub-deacon Tigran explains the use of incense in Orthodox worship in ASL (American Sign Language). Captioning is available on the video for the ASL deficient:


Armenian Orthodox Ordain First Deaf Sub-Deacon

June 25, 2011

On Sunday, June 26, 2011, Armenian Orthodox acolyte Tigran Khachikyan will be ordained as a sub-deacon at St. Leon Armenian Church in Burbank, California by H.E. Archbishop Hovnan Derderian.

This is a first for the Armenian Church in that Tigran is the first Deaf person to be ordained in the Armenian Church. I believe he is also the first Deaf person to be ordained in any Orthodox jurisdiction in the USA. More on his ordination to the sub-diaconate can be read here. Tigran has also been a strong advocate for the Deaf community in the Los Angeles area.

I have had the privilege of meeting Tigran and I feel sure his ministry will be a great asset to the Armenian Church. For example, he has produced a series of videos in American Sign Language explaining the Orthodox faith that are very well done. Here he explains the significance of lighting a candle in Orthodox worship:

I hope this will encourage other Orthodox jurisdictions to commit to ministry to the Deaf here in the USA, as such is long overdue!

Many years to Tigran in his ministry in the Armenian Church!

Update: here is a video from Tigran’s ordination to the sub-diaconate:

For further reading:

Orthodox Christians Who are Deaf and Blind

St Mark the Deaf


The Lord’s Prayer in American Sign Language

March 2, 2011

A short, but well-done interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father) into ASL by Armenian Orthodox acolyte Tigran Khachikyan:


St Mark the Deaf

July 15, 2010

H/T: Mystagogy

St. Mark the Deaf -- Feast day January 2nd

We know very little of Saint Mark the Deaf (some calendars have him as Mark the Deaf Mute) other than what is written in the Synaxarion probably from the 13th century on his feast day of January 2nd:

Saint Mark the Deaf was an ascetic that lived a righteous life and died in peace.”

The following stanza is written as well:

Mark did not hear an earthly word, and before he left the earth, his earthly ears were extracted.”

In Rethymno, Crete there exists the only church dedicated to Saint Mark the Deaf not only in all of Greece, but in the entire world. It is located on the grounds of the Holy Monastery of Saint George Arsaniou. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visited this chapel in 2003 and served here a Divine Liturgy, praising the fact that the Divine Liturgy was done in sign language.

Though Orthodoxy has many deaf saints, Saint Mark the Deaf has become the patron saint of the deaf. Among other saints who were deaf, there is St. Cadoc (Cadfan) Llankarvansky (+580), St. Drogo (Drew) (+12th cent.), St. Meriadoc (Meredith) (7th cent.), and St Owen Ruensky (Eugene) (+684). Other Orthodox churches in Greece and throughout the world also have services in sign language as well, especially in Russia. Among them is Simonov Monastery in Moscow.

The Trisagion (“Holy God”) from the Divine Liturgy translated into Greek Sign Language:

The Nicene Creed and the Our Father in Greek Sign Language:


ASL Sermon: Holy Tradition

May 21, 2010

Armenian Orthodox acolyte Tigran Khachikyan explains Holy Tradition in American Sign Language (ASL). For those of you who don’t read sign, it’s subtitled into English: