The Etchmiadzin Children’s Fund held its 9th Annual Grand Gala Night at the prestigious Vertigo Event Venue in Glendale, California on Saturday, September 6, 2014. More than 150 ECF friends, donors and supporters attended the celebratory event which marked its 24th year of establishment.
Garo Ghazarian, Esq., former Chairman of the Armenian Bar Association, served as the Master of Ceremonies. In his opening remarks, ECF Chair Mr. Sayat Oruncakciel reflected on the success of the ECF since its inception in 1990. He encouraged active participation in making a difference in the lives of children, many of whom are orphaned or living below sub-poverty levels.
In his message, the Primate commended the dedication of Mr. Sayat Oruncakciel, ECF Committee members, Mr. Diran Avagyan and their active role in ensuring the successful gala banquet. Noting the involvement of the youth of community, Archbishop Derderian said “the sparkle in the eyes of the children of Armenia is the joy that we receive as a gift. The most rewarding of tonight’s event is the composition of the committee by young leaders of the community and the presence of youth to support the cause.”
Guests took home a commemorative booklet printed especially for the auspicious occasion containing the messages of the Diocesan Primate, ECF Chair and California Assemblymember Mike Gatto.
The evening’s entertainment was provided by DJ Robert. The evening included raffle prizes ranging from a Breitling Watch to a Nicole Bakti Dress.
In the week of September 8, 2014, the Primate visited Armenian Schools in the Los Angeles area.
On Monday, September 8, he paid a pastoral visit to AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian High School in Pasadena. On Wednesday, he visited the students of Alfred and Marguerite Hovsepian School and AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School. In his address to the students of each school, he quoted St. Francis of Assisi – “for it is in giving that we receive.”
His Eminence called upon the students to protect our Christian faith while continuing to build upon the dedication and hard work of our ancestors, thus becoming rightful heirs of the priceless treasure – the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church. He encouraged the students to remain focused on their studies and to become exemplary citizens of the blessed country of the United States of America.
On Sunday, August 7, the Primate paid a pastoral visit to the Armenian community in San Diego. Assisted at the Holy Altar by Archpriest Fr. Datev Tatoulian and the deacons, Archbishop Derderian was the day’s celebrant at St. John Garabed Armenian Church. During the service, Dr. Hagop Akiskal was honored with the Pontifical Encyclical of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriach and Catholicos of All Armenians. Dr. Akiskal was also awarded the St. Nerses Shnorhali medal, a prestigious honor bestowed upon faithful by the Catholicos of All Armenians for their committed service rendered to the Armenian Apostolic Church.
The Primate also blessed the new members of St. John Garabed Armenian Church and offered welcoming words to the parishioners.
In his sermon, the Primate reflected on one of the miracles of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as described in the Gospel according to St. Mark, the Evangelist (Mark 7:34-35).
“What we read in this story needs to be reflected in our spiritual life. Each prayer that we offer, each Badarak which is celebrated brings us closer to God and enables us to listen to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ: ‘Be opened.’ Our ears are opened to listen to the Word of God, our tongue is released to speak the Word of God and we are able to speak plainly.
By nature, people are weak and need to be led by God. We ought to be the vessel of God’s love and wisdom. What we see in the world today and more specifically in countries where people are deprived of peace and prosperity, clearly indicates the fact that God’s presence is not felt deeply and the love of God is uprooted from the hearts of people. Through the story of the healing of the deaf, Christ our Lord awakens within our spirituality the necessity to live with God, to walk with God and to fulfill God’s will in our daily life.
Thus we not only live in peace, but above all become architects of peace. The message of this story is clear: we are deaf unless we listen to the Word of God and our tongue speaks the Word of God. For us, as Christians, it is a privilege to bear in our hearts the Word of God and apply it in action as the people of God.”
Following the service, a reception was held at the Kosharian Hall of the parish in honor of St. Nerses Shnorhali medal recipient Dr. Hagop Akiskal.
We are happy to present the tentative schedule of the Diocesan Primate His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian for the remainder of the year. Additions to the Primate’s schedule will made accordingly.
Primate’s September 2014 Schedule
September 14 – Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Khatchverats)
St. Leon Armenian Cathedral – Celebrant and Homilist
4th Anniversary of Consecration of St. Leon Armenian Cathedral
September 15 – 20 – Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin
Supreme Spiritual Council and Diocesan Representatives Meetings
September 26 – Evening: St. Kevork Armenian Church in Glendale
Midnight: Pilgrimage Divine Liturgy
September 26 – 28 – Diocese to Host Faith and Order Meeting
September 28 – St. Mary Armenian Church in Yettem
100th Anniversary of Establishment of the Ladies Society Chapter
Evening: USC Armenian Studies Institute’s 10th Anniversary Gala
Primate’s October 2014 Schedule
October 1 – Pastoral Visit to the Armenian Church in Las Vegas
October 3 – Evening: Requiem Service for Mr. Yervant Babayan – Evening of Tribute
October 5 – Ararat Home (Celebrant and Homilist)
Khachadourian Choir and Calling Service of Deacon Sarkis Alanjian
October 7-8 – Annual Diocesan Clergy Retreat
October 7 – Evening: Divine Liturgy at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral
Ordination and Consecration of Dn. Sarkis Alanjian into the Priesthood
Reception to follow the ceremonial rite
October 8 – Welcoming Reception for Dr. Armine Movsisyan, Principal of AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian High School
October 10 – Dinner/Lecture at AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Center featuring guest speaker Mr. Vartan Oskanian, former Foreign Minister of Armenia
October 11 – Diocesan Council Meeting
October 12 – St. Leon Armenian Cathedral
Evening: 40th Anniversary Celebration of St. John Garabed Armenian Church in Hollywood
October 18 – Endowment Fund Meeting
October 19 – St. Apkar Armenian Church in Arizona (Celebrant and Homilist)
Groundblessing Ceremony of the Elderly Care Home
Dedication ceremony of children’s playground
October 20 – Pastoral Visit to the Armenian community of Tucson, Arizona
October 24 – Stewardship Event – Fresno, California
October 25 – Annual Gala of the Armenian Church in Crescenta Valley
October 26 – Pastoral Visit to St. Garabed Armenian Church in Rancho Mirage
Evening: St. Leon Armenian Cathedral
20th Anniversary of the Passing of H.H. Vazken I, Supreme Patriarch and Catholiocos of All Armenians organized by Zvartnots Cultural Committee
Primate’s November 2014 Schedule
November 2 – Sts. Sahag-Mesrob Armenian Church in Reedley (Celebrant and Homilist)
90th Anniversary of the establishment of the Parish
November 8 – Diocesan Council Meeting
November 9 – St. Leon Armenian Cathedral
November 10 – 14 – Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin – Synod of Bishops Meeting
November 14 – Pastoral visit to Holy Resurrection Armenian Church in Seattle
November 16 –Pastoral visit to St. Paul Armenian Church in Fresno (Celebrant and Homilist)
Choir Director Dn. Ben Krikorian to be honored for 50 Years of Service
November 23 – Pastoral Visit to St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church in Fowler
November 28 – 30 – ACYO Convention
November 30 – St. Leon Armenian Cathedral
Divine Liturgy with the participation of the children
Dr. Thomas Lee of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to be Honored for Service in Armenia
Primate’s December 2014 Schedule
December 2 – 5th Annual Ecumenical Prayer Service honoring the community service of Glendale Adventist Medical Center
December 6 – Diocesan Council Meeting
Evening: 11th Annual Christmas Ball
December 7 – Pastoral visit to St. Mary Armenian Church in Costa Mesa
(Celebrant and Homilist)
December 12 – Children’s Christmas Pageant
December 14 – Pastoral visit to St. James Armenian Church in Los Angeles
(Celebrant and Homilist)
December 21 – Pastoral visit to St. Peter Armenian Church in Van Nuys
(Celebrant and Homilist)
The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is the last one of the five major feasts of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It is the most important feast among the feasts dedicated to the Holy Cross, as it is dedicated to the history of the return of the Holy Cross from imprisonment, its elevation and glorification. In the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is celebrated on Sunday during the period between September 11-17. This year, that date is September 17, and the Monday following the Feast is a Memorial Day.
In 610 A. D, the Persian King Khosrov with a large army attacks the Byzantine Empire. Enthusiastic about the initial victory, in 614 A. D. the Persian army enters Jerusalem. Many people are killed and many are imprisoned. Pontiff Zakaria, the Patriarch of Jerusalem is imprisoned, too. However, the Persians are not satisfied and enter the Church of Holy Sepulcher and take the Holy Cross kept in the Church. The Holy Cross had been found and installed in the Church for the Christians to worship by Heghineh, the mother of the King Costandianos, in the beginning of the 4th century.
In 628 A. D., the Byzantine army led by the King Herakles fight against the Persians to return the Holy Cross. The Armenian army regiment, led by Mzhezh Gnounie, supported the Persian army. With the Lord’s help the Byzantine army wins the battle. The Holy Cross is solemnly brought to the Armenian town Karin, from where it is carried to Constantinople, and then - to Jerusalem. On the way the Holy Cross was raised for the people to see and worship.
For Christians the Cross is God’s power and strength and pride of all prides, on which Christ’s innocent blood was shed. By means of the Cross, Jesus proved His love towards mankind, and the Cross became for us the symbol of hope, love and saving.
The 4th anniversary of consecration of St. Leon Armenian Cathedral will be held on Sunday, September 14, 2014, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The Diocesan Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian will be the day’s celebrant and homilist at the spiritual center of the Western Diocese. The Morning Service will begin at 9:30 a.m. and will be followed by the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on the Tabernacle Feast. All faithful are welcome to attend the service to praise and glorify our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Reflecting on the 4th anniversary of consecration, the Primate said “we once again offer our prayers for those who have been actively engaged in the construction of the Cathedral. In particular we honor the memory of those who are no longer with us. This year, the anniversary sets a new milestone in establishing a new project namely the Guardians of the Cathedral.”
It is with great spiritual joy that we inform the Diocesan faithful about the ordination of Deacon Sarkis Alanjian into the Holy Priesthood in the Armenian Apostolic Church.
Deacon Sarkis Alanjian’s Calling Service to the Priesthood will take place on Sunday, October 5, 2014 at 12 noon during the solemn celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the chapel of Ararat Home – Mission Hills (15105 Mission Hills Rd., Mission Hills, CA 91345).
The Ordination Rite will take place on Tuesday, October 7th 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral (3325 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, CA 91504).
The Khachadourian Choir, under the conductorship of Dn. Stepan Gozumian will participate in the aforementioned services.
The Godfather of the Ordination is Dr. and Mrs. Vahram and Polina Biricik.
The Ordination Rite will be followed by the official banquet at the Nazareth and Sima Kalaydjian Hall of the Western Diocese. Click here to learn more.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Burbank Mayor Dr. David Gordon Interviews Diocesan Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian - Program Aired on Burbank Channel
On August 6, 2014, Dr. David Gordon, Mayor of the City of Burbank paid a visit to the Western Diocese. The purpose of Mayor Gordon’s visit was to tape an interview with Diocesan Primate Archbishop Derderian for “The Mayor’s Show.” The show aired on the Burbank Channel on September 2.
Touring the Cathedral Complex, Mayor Gordon was introduced to the history of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America and its role in the community life. Dr. Gordon visited the Zorayan Museum, the Paul Brothers Galleria, the Hampar Family Reception Room and the Nazareth and Sima Kalaydjian Hall.
At the conclusion of his visit, Mayor Gordon thanked the Primate for the warm hospitality. In turn, His Eminence conveyed his cordial wishes to the Mayor, inviting him and the members of the City Council to the Western Diocese to further strengthen the mutual bond of partnership.
The Diocesan Council met on Saturday, September 6 at the Sybille Aprahamian Conference Room of the Diocesan Turpanjian Building of the Western Diocese. During the meeting, the Primate presented a five-part report to the Council consisting of Diocesan-related missions and Diocesan sub-committees, construction projects, missions in Armenia, briefings, and Parish-Priest activities.
Archbishop Derderian spoke at length about the different sub-committees of the Western Diocese and their respective missions. He also informed the Diocesan Council about two newly formed committees including the Centennial Commemoration Committee in Washington D.C. as well as the USAID partnership, whose Chairs are Mrs. Maria Mehranian and Mr. Hagop Taglyan, respectively. The Primate also spoke about the newly-formed partnership between the Diocese and Children’s Hospital – Los Angeles.
His Eminence also highlighted important upcoming events including the 4th anniversary of consecration on September 14, the Faith and Order Symposium on September 26-27, the 100th anniversary of establishment of the Ladies Society of St. Mary Armenian Church in Costa Mesa, the ordination and consecration of Dn. Sarkis Alanjian into the Priesthood on October 7, the 40th anniversary of St. John Garabed Armenian Church in Hollywood on October 12, the 90th anniversary of the establishment of St. Sahag – St. Mesrob Armenian Church in Reedley on November 2, the celebration of the Divine Liturgy with the participation of children on November 30 during which renowned ophthalmologist Dr. Thomas Lee will be honored for his humanitarian endeavors in Armenia, the 11th Annual Diocesan Christmas Ball on December 6 and the 11th Annual Children’s Christmas Pageant on December 12.
The Primate also briefed the Diocesan Council about his upcoming schedule including his trip to Armenia on September 14-20 where he will take part in the Supreme Spiritual Council meeting and the Diocesan Representatives meeting presided by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. Archbishop Derderian also informed the Diocesan Council about his second pastoral visit to Mexico in August. During the four day visit, His Eminence met with Ambassador Hovhannissian, religious leaders, and members of the Armenian community. Archbishop Derderian had paid his first official visit to the community one year ago on the auspicious occasion of the Holy Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
He spoke about the current construction of monuments throughout Diocesan Parishes dedicated to the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide in 2015 as well as ongoing construction projects of the Camp Chapel, the Armenian Church in Las Vegas, St. John Garabed Armenian Church in Hollywood, the Armenian Church in Crescenta Valley, St. Sarkis Armenian Church in Santa Clarita, St. John Garabed Armenian Church in San Diego, as well as the expansion of the Alfred and Marguerite Hovsepian School of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church in Pasadena. The acquisition of the property of the future Armenian Church of Palmdale-Lancaster, the groundblessing ceremony on August 16th and the future plans for the parish were also discussed. The Primate also reflected on the life and pastoral achievements of Archpriest Fr. Shahe Altounian, the merited clergymen of the Armenian Apostolic Church who entered his eternal rest on July 31st. His Eminence also reflected on the life of Diocesan benefactress Mrs. Ruby Ann Derderian and fondly recalled her active involvement in the life of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church. He also spoke about upcoming priesthood ordinations of Deacon Sarkis Alanjian and Deacon Mkrtich Ksachikyan on October 7, 2014 and January 25, 2015, respectively.
The fourth part of the Primate’s report was focused on Parishes and Priests. His Eminence informed the Diocesan Council about the appointment of Rev. Fr. Yessai Bedros as Pastor of St. Paul Armenian Church in Fresno, Fr. Yessai’s progress and the current activities of the parish. The Primate noted about the reassignment of Rev. Fr. Asoghig Jamgotchian and the establishment of a Priest Search Committee at St. James Armenian Church in Sacramento. He added that a Priest Search Committee has also been established at St. John Garabed Armenian Church in San Diego. After his pastoral visit to the mission parish in Victorville in mid-August, the Primate appointed Youth Director Dn. Mkrtich Ksachikyan to conduct regular Bible Study sessions with the youth of the mission parish. The Primate also noted that by the grace of God, the groundbreaking ceremony of the church building of the Armenian Church of Las Vegas will be held by the end of this year.
Lastly, the Primate focused on the missions in Armenia. A life-long dream of Diocesan benefactor the late John Stephens will be realized on September 14, 2014 with the consecration of St. Hovhanness Armenian Church in Berd. The Primate noted the success of the Turpanjian Seminary of Harichavank and the enrollment of seminarians for the start 2014-2015 academic year. He noted other Diocesan-supported missions and projects including the Etchmiadzin Children’s Fund, Mer-Hooys (House of Hope), and the Humanitarian Fund.
The Faith and Order Commission held its monthly meeting on Friday, September 5, 2014 in Pasadena, California. Representing the Primate, Diocesan Librarian and Ecumenical Officer Mr. Hayk Madoyan attended the meeting on his behalf. Faith and Order an integral assembly branch of the World Council of Churches.
The main topic on the agenda was the upcoming North American Academy of Ecumenists and SCEC Faith and Order Commission conference on September 26-28. The conference will be held at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral in Burbank. All faithful are encouraged to register and attend the conference.
Another topic of discussion was church unity - “The Church: Towards a Common Vision.” Possible avenues of collaboration were presented and analyzed.
The aim of the Faith and Order Commission is to proclaim the oneness of the church of Jesus Christ and to call the churches to the goal of visible unity. The chief means of achieving this goal is through study programs dealing with theological questions that divide the churches.