After completing his secondary education at Karen Jeppe, he studied in Beirut, Lebanon. He holds Bachelor degrees in Theology and Armenian Studies and a Masters of Divinity.
Before arriving to the United States, Dikran served as a pastor in Kessab and Damascus. In the U.S., he was the youth pastor at Cilicia Armenian Evangelical Church (Pasadena, CA) and served as assistant pastor at Armenian Evangelical Brethren Church (Pasadena, CA).
Pastor Shanlian was ordained as Senior Pastor of Armenian Evangelical Brethren Church (Los Angeles) in 1986. He started serving while the congregation was located at 3200 London Street in Silver Lake, CA. During his tenure he oversaw the relocation and development of the congregation and ministries to 1800 Lake Street.
Pastor Shanlian was instrumental in establishing the first Bible school in Yerevan, Armenia. In the 1990s he traveled to Armenia regularly, teaching at the seminary, doing charitable work, ministering to orphans and overseeing the funding and building of a church in the city of Ararat.
He has served on the boards of Sahag-Mesrob Armenian Christian School, Immanuel Bible College, Armenian Evangelical Social Service Center, Armenian Evangelical Union of North America and Pacific Church Network.
He preaches regularly at Sunday Services and teaches Tuesday at evening Bible Study and Prayer meetings. He writes articles for newspapers periodically. He has been the Armenian section editor of FORUM and published a book with collections of his writings, titled, Pari Lour (Բարի Լուր). Collections of his sermons and teachings have been available in audio format through AEBC’s Audio Ministry and online.
In his free time he enjoys reading, gardening, cooking, and spending time with family.