• Little Angels Academy School students delighted the audience with their beautiful performances of Christmas Carols on Thursday, December 18, 2014. An annual tradition at the Western Diocese, the Nazareth and Sima Kalaydjian Hall was the venue of this year’s play.

    The event was officially opened with the welcoming remarks of Rev. Fr. Khajag Shahbazyan, Pastor of St. Leon Armenian Cathedral.

    The angelic voices of the children filled the Kalaydjian Hall as clergy, parents and relatives watched with fond memories from their own childhood.  

    In his remarks, the Primate commended the school’s teaching staff and the talented children. Archbishop Derderian reminded them to preserve their ancestral Christian Faith and to uphold the sacred traditions of the Armenian Apostolic Church. His Eminence commended the school’s administration and teaching staff for their exceptional role of instilling in the hearts of the youth the love for the Motherland and the Armenian Church.

    The children were delighted to greet Santa Claus who performed songs and dances for the students and the audience.

    The Very Rev. Fr. Sipan Gevorgyan, visiting clergyman from Santiago, Chile, thanked the Primate for the opportunity to take part in the joyous celebration. Father Gevorgyan expressed his words of commendation to the children calling upon the students to preserve the Armenian language and to uphold the sacred traditions which we commonly hold in reverence.  

    At the conclusion of the festive event, Christmas gifts were distributed to the performers by the Very Rev. Fr. Sipan Gevorgyan and Santa Claus.

  • We are happy to announce that the Very Rev. Fr. Sipan Gevorgyan, the Pastor of the Armenian community of Chile and the Very Rev. Fr. Gevorg Hayrapetyan from the Holy See of St. James in Jerusalem are presently visiting the Western Diocese.

    At the invitation of the Primate, Father Sipan will be the celebrant at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral on Sunday, December 21, 2014. On the following Sunday (December 28th), he will be the celebrant and homilist at St. Peter Armenian Church of Van Nuys.

    Father Gevorg will be the celebrant at St. Peter Armenian Church of Van Nuys on December 21st. On the following Sunday, Father Hayrapetyan will celebrate the Divine Liturgy at St. James Armenian Church in Los Angeles.

  • On December 18, AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian School students received a pastoral visit from His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian. The students, who had gathered at the schools gymnasium, performed festive songs dedicated to the Feast of the Nativity and Theophany of Christ, our Lord. Accompanying the Primate were Archpriest Fr. Sarkis Petoyan, Pastor of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church of Pasadena and the Very Rev. Fr. Sipan Gevorgyan, Pastor of the Armenian community of Chile. Addressing the students, Fr. Sarkis spoke about the significance of Holy Communion and a prayerful life.

    In his message, the Primate called upon the students to reflect on the true meaning of the joyous holiday and encouraged them to lead a life with Christ.

    On December 19, the Primate paid a pastoral visit to St. Peter Armenian Church in Van Nuys where he was greeted by the students of AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School. His Eminence was accompanied the Very Rev. Fr. Gevorg Hayrapetyan and the Very Rev. Fr. Sipan Gevorgyan, from Jerusalem and Santiago, Chile respectively. Also accompanying the Primate were Rev. Fr. Nerses Hayrapetyan, Pastor of St. Sarkis Armenian Church of Santa Clarita and Dn. Mkrtich Ksachikyan, the Youth Director of the Western Diocese. Archpriest Fr. Shnork Demirdjian, Pastor of the host parish greeted the students and welcomed them to the sanctuary of St. Peter Armenian Church.

    In his message to the students, His Eminence conveyed genuine pastoral wishes and noted the importance of spiritual renewal in celebrating the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, which has brought divine love to this world and paved the way to live a life of humility. Archbishop Derderian distributed Holy Communion to the students and the school’s administration and wished them a prosperous New Year. At the conclusion of the homily, Holy Communion was distributed to the students of the school.

    On December 19, 2013, students of Alfred and Marguerite Hovsepian School gathered at the sanctuary of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church where they were greeted by Archpriest Fr. Sarkis Petoyan and Rev. Fr. Serovbe Alanjian. After delivering the day’s homily, the clergy distributed Holy Communion to the students.

    The students of Arshag and Eleanor Dickranian School received Holy Communion on December 19 from visiting clergyman the Very Rev. Fr. Dajad Dz. V. Yardemian.

  • For the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Motherland and the Diaspora, the year 2015 is historic and symbolic, indeed. The year is a cornerstone for our people as we prepare to commemorate the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide. However, the Centennial is also a testament to the Resurrection and the spiritual reawakening of the Armenian people. For Armenians, the 20th century commenced with a woeful path to Golgotha. However, our people emerged victorious as a result of their unshakable Christian faith, their firm belief in the restoration and the resurrection of our nation. Let us commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide with the vision of our fallen ancestors. April 24 is no longer a day of mourning and sorrow. April 24th is a symbol of victory for our resurrected nation.

    A number of commemorative events, organized by the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of the Western United States, are scheduled to be held locally and on the national scale throughout the year. 

    On May 7, 8 and 9, 2015, thousands will gather in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. While remembering those who were lost, we will also give thanks for the creation of a new Armenia and for thriving Armenian communities around the world.

    Grateful for the opportunities our ancestors found on arrival in this country, we are also deeply indebted to those institutions and individuals who helped the survivors during the Genocide. In the nation’s capital this May, we will thank those who have helped to spread awareness of the Armenian Genocide, and those who work tirelessly to prevent genocide elsewhere in the world.

    Four major events are planned to carry these themes forward. Click here to learn more.


  • One of the oldest parishes of the Western Diocese celebrated its 73rd Name Day on Sunday, December 14, 2015. The day’s festivities commenced with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy by the Diocesan Primate His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian. The Primate was assisted at the Holy Altar by the Pastor of the host parish the Rev. Fr. Haroutioun Tachejian and the altar servers.

    His Eminence expressed his delight in witnessing the growth in the number of students enrolled in the Sunday School of the Parish. He commended the leadership of the Parish Priest and all auxiliary bodies for the Sunday School’s expansion. Archbishop Derderian went on to stress the importance of Christian education in molding the leaders of tomorrow.

    Following the service, a luncheon was held at the Gogian Hall of the Parish. The program commenced with the opening remarks by the Mistress of Ceremonies Mrs. Patty Samarge. The national anthems of the United States of America and the Republic of Armenia were performed by Kathy Terzian after which the Primate delivered the invocation.

    Welcoming remarks were delivered by Parish Council Chair Mrs. Lily Ring Balian. In the artistic portion of the program, pianist Ms. Liya Melikyan delighted the audience with wonderful renditions of classical favorites.

    Mrs. Lily Balian was called to the podium by long-time parishioner and former Diocesan Council Vice-Chair Mr. Robert Barsam, who on behalf of the entire family of St. James Armenian Church congratulated Mrs. Balian as a recipient of this year’s prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Mr. Barsam presented a special gift to the honoree and reflected on her humble personality, zealous Christian spirit and tireless dedication in serving the Armenian Apostolic Church.

    After a brief introduction of the honorees by Richard Terzian, the Primate honored parishioners Dr. Sarkis Broussalian, Mrs. Armine (Dirtadian) Chalekian and Mrs. Rosine Kizirian with the Diocesan “Hye Spirit” Award and medals. The Primate expressed his gratitude to the honorees for the enduring affection with which they have served the Los Angeles parish. He commended their unwavering commitment in bringing prosperity to their beloved parish.

    In their heartfelt remarks, the honorees expressed their gratitude to the Primate and vowed to serve St. James Armenian Apostolic Church with renewed commitment.

    In his closing remarks, the Primate once again congratulated the entire family of St. James Armenian Church on the 73rd Name Day celebration as well as the day’s honorees. His Eminence called upon the faithful to remain loyal to the sacred teachings and traditions of Christ our Lord and the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church. He encouraged the parents and grandparents to continue to inspire the youth, for they are the torchbearers of the Armenian Church.

    The luncheon concluded with the Primate’s benediction.

  • The Ladies Society Central Council rejoiced in the elegant and uplifting Christmas atmosphere which the Ladies Society of Saint Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church in Pasadena had so wonderfully organized for their annual Christmas Luncheon which was held on December 17, 2014, at Geragos Hall.

    The Central Council was represented by Gladys Saroyan, Aida Sethian, Arpi Barsam, and Ramela Seropian.  Accompanying them were Mrs. Sonia Hamayan of the Ladies Society of St. James Armenian Church of Los Angeles, and Mrs. Elise Tashjian, long-term Choir Director of the Pasadena parish.

    Archpriest Father Sarkis Petoyan and Yeretzgin Talin warmly greeted the guests and wished them a joyful Christmas. Ladies Society Chairlady Joan Meymerian thanked them for taking part in the joyous gathering and fellowship. The Chairlady then invited them to partake in the home-made food which was freshly prepared by the members of the Ladies Society of the host parish.

    Artist and singer Alene Aroustamian, grand-daughter of Tar player Mr. Ashot Aroustamian, delighted the crowd with beautiful renditions of popular Christmas songs.  She was accompanied on the piano by Mr. Ross Kalling.

    Intricate Christmas table decorations were raffled to the lucky winners.

  • A new children’s prayerbook is available at the Diocesan bookstore and online. Authored by the Diocesan Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, the latest Diocesan publication is dedicated to the children and is our New Year and Christmas gift to the faithful.

    It is the children who sanctify our words of prayer with their immaculate hearts and blessed mouths. Their every prayer ascends to heavens like a sacrifice of incense and hovers to join the angelic glorification.

    It is our sincere wish that parents spend time with their children teaching them these simple and comprehensible prayers to ensure that prayer is an indivisible part of their upbringing and spiritual discipline.

    The Children’s Prayerbook was published through the generous donation of Mark Geragos, Esq.

    Call the Bookstore at 818-558-7474 ext. 112 to reserve a copy or click here to download a PDF copy.

  • December 21 – St. Leon Armenian Cathedral


    December 27 – ACYO Day-Long Retreat and Seminar at the Diocesan Headquarters


    December 28 - Pastoral visit to St. Peter Armenian Church in Van Nuys

    (Celebrant and Homilist)


    Primate’s January 2015 Schedule


    January 1 – Midnight celebration of the Divine Liturgy


    January 1 – New Year’s Day Divine Liturgy

    (with the participation of the Diocesan clergy of the Greater Los Angeles Area)

    Prayers of Pontifical Service to be held during the service


    January 2 – Visitation to Ararat Home


    January 4 – St. Leon Armenian Cathedral

    Annual Stewardship Luncheon


    January 5 – Morning: Glendale Adventist Medical Center – Blessing of the Water Service

    St. Leon Armenian Cathedral - Christmas Eve Divine Liturgy


    January 6 – St. Leon Armenian Cathedral – Christmas Divine Liturgy (Celebrant and Homilist)

    Evening: Christmas Reception at Nazareth and Sima Kalaydjian Hall


    January 10 – Regional Meeting (Bay Area)


    January 11 - St. Vartan Armenian Church of Oakland – Celebrant and Homilist


    January 13 – St. Leon Armenian Cathedral - Dedication of the Armenian Martyrs Monument

    In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide


    January 18 – St. Leon Armenian Cathedral

    Divine Liturgy honoring the Armenian General Benevolent Union


    January 23 – 25 – Ordination and Consecration of Dn. Mkrtich Ksachikyan into the Priesthood


    January 24 – Hovsepian School’s 30th anniversary celebration


    January 31 – St. Sarkis Armenian Church of Santa Clarita Annual Gala Banquet 

  • Khandut Avetyan, a 35 year-old resident of Karvajar Region of our liberated Artsakh has been diagnosed with cancer. Presently, Khandut is in the United States undergoing cancer treatment. As a fighter, she is determined to overcome her illness and doctors are giving her hope.

    Khandut Avetyan is experiencing tremendous financial difficulty in paying for her treatments. She relies on the generosity and support of the Armenian-American community.

    In his appeal to the community, the Diocesan Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian said “As Christians, we have the moral duty to be engaged in this noble act with love and compassion to save the life of Khandut Avetyan, who has been struggling for life. Let us put our Christian faith and extend a helping hand to Khandut.”  

    Checks can be made payable to the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church (in memo indicate Khandut Avetyan) and mailed to 3325 N. Glenoaks Blvd. Burbank, CA 91504. All donations are tax deductable.

    Married in 2011 to Alexander Kananyan, Khandut is Karvajar Cultural Center's Artistic Director, founder of Karvajar Scientific-Cultural Center and music teacher. She also teaches Armenian traditional musical instruments such as Kanon and Shvi to local children in Karvajar and makes them appreciate Armenian Hymns (Sharakan) and Armenian classic music. In 2013, in Gyumri, Khandut received the second place prize in “Rebirth-Veraznund” International Festival's Armenian National singing category. 

  • On Sunday, December 14, the Primate will pay a pastoral visit to St. James Armenian Church of Los Angeles. On the 73rd anniversary of the Name Day of the parish, Archbishop Derderian will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon.

    Following the service, the Primate will preside over a banquet at the church hall. His Eminence will recognize the committed service of Dr. Sarkis Broussalian, Mrs. Armine Chalekian, Mrs. Rosine Gizirian with the Diocesan “Hye Spirit Award and Medal”. A special honor will also be bestowed upon Mrs. Lily Ring Balian, a recipient of the 2014 Ellis Island Medal of Honor and a beloved parishioner of the St. James family.