• The Assumption of the Holy Mother of God was celebrated throughout the Armenian Apostolic Church on August 17, 2014. With hundreds in attendance, the day’s celebrant at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral was His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church.

    The Primate was assisted at the Holy Altar by Rev. Fr. Khajag Shahbazyan, Deacons and Acolytes. The Khachadourian Joint Choir conducted by Dn. Stepan Gozumian performed the liturgical hymns.

    “The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of the most sacred and respected feasts of the Armenian Apostolic Church. In the very person of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Mother of God, we see the motherhood in its complete form. Thus the Virgin becomes the source of inspiration to all mothers, for she has responded to God’s call with a humble heart and in her person the Incarnation of the Son of God was realized.

    Humanity needs mentors in their God-given lives, who could lead steps to live a just life and a life aiming a journey towards God. Parents, pastors, teachers and professionals alike have the duty to cultivate in the spirituality of every person the God-loving man, the peaceful man and the eagerness to live a Christ-like life.

    We live in a world where the presence of God is not deeply felt in the depths of people. Thus, today’s feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary calls on us to follow her journey of life and make humility the spirit of humanity. Today’s feast guides us all to make the Blessed Virgin Mary the mirror of our lives. Therefore, we ought to enrich our spirituality celebrating the motherhood of the Blessed Virgin and reliving her life in our God-given lives.

    Archbishop Derderian welcomed the presence of Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell and West Hollywood City Councilmember Jeffrey Prang who were among the dignitaries at the service. Chief McDonnell and Councilmember Prang were accompanied by Diocesan Protocol Committee Chair Mr. Peter Darakjian.

    At the conclusion of the service, the Primate performed the traditional Blessing of the Grapes ceremony. In accordance with tradition, the blessed grapes were then distributed to the faithful. 

  • On August 21, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; sent a letter of condolence to Pope Francis of Rome, on the death of his family members in tragic car crash.

    "On behalf of the members of the Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin and our faithful throughout the world, we convey our deepest sympathies and condolences to you and your loved ones.

    We pray that the Lord will receive in His love and mercy their souls, and make them worthy to dwell in His Divine company, and grant the solace and comfort of the Holy Spirit to you, your family members and relatives.

    May the Almighty God accompany You at this difficult time, and give you strength to overcome the pain of this heavy loss, and carry on Your God-pleasing Apostolic mission", said the Pontiff's message.

  • On August 17, the Armenian Apostolic Church celebrated the Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary, one of the five tabernacle feasts in the Armenian Church calendar.

    The Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the Mother Cathedral of Etchmiadzin, with the participation of the members of the Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin, and the presence of faithful pilgrims. The celebrant was His Grace Bishop Hovnan Hakobyan, Grand Sacristan of the Mother See. During the Divine Liturgy Bishop Hovnan spoke on the sacredness of the Feast of the Assumption. His Grace also presented his reflections on the greatly admired service and vibrant character of the Virgin Mary, considering her the highest image of the noble idea of motherhood.

    “The Mother of God, together with Oil-Bearing women, was one of the first to herald the Glorious Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; and she stayed in Jerusalem to see the promise of Our Lord’s Son; the Advent of the Holy Spirit.

    Foremost, the Mother of God is a Mother figure for us, a mother - like all mothers,’’ His Grace stated in part.

    Bishop Hovnan congratulated the faithful on the occasion of the Feast, and asked for the intercession of the Holy Virgin Mary, to bless the Homeland and the Armenian people worldwide. He also asked that the grace of the Mother of God rain down from heaven like dew, and descend upon all women and mothers.

    Presided by His Eminence Archbishop Nathan Hovhannisian, the service of ‘’Blessing of Grapes’’ was offered at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy. After the singing of hymns, biblical passages were read, and the Grape Blessing service by St. Nerses the Graceful was offered. After the service, clusters of the blessed grapes were distributed to the faithful pilgrims.

  • A historic event for the Armenian-American community of Palmdale was held on Saturday, August 16th as Diocesan Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian officiated the Groundblessing ceremony of the future Armenian Apostolic Church of Antelope Valley.

    Archbishop Derderian was assisted by Rev. Fr. Nerses Hayrapetyan, the Visiting Priest of Antelope Valley’s Armenian-American faithful community. Close to 70 people attended the spiritually uplifting ceremonial event to demonstrate their support for the construction of the House of Worship.

    Addressing the faithful community, Father Nerses expressed his gratitude for their commitment and steadfast Christian Faith. He noted that he looks forward to working alongside the Parish Council and the community at large to celebrate and preserve our sacred traditions and values which we hold in reverence.

    In his address to the community, the Primate encouraged the faithful to unite as One Body of Christ in their quest to establish and safeguard the Armenian Apostolic Church of Antelope Valley. “Today, you have embarked on a God-pleasing journey. By the Grace of God, your unceasing prayers and collective efforts, you will soon witness the fruit of your labor. I pray to the All Merciful to grant you the strength and vigor so that you may soon gather under the blessed dome of the Armenian Church of Antelope Valley and praise and glorify Christ, our Lord,” said Archbishop Derderian. 

    A cultural program included the performance of Armenian dances featuring the youth of the community. 

  • The Etchmiadzin Children's Fund (ECF) Grand Gala Night will be held on Saturday, September 6th at the prestigious Vertigo Event Venue. The gala is ECF’s biggest fundraiser of the year. All proceeds from the event, as well as private donations, will assist orphaned and disadvantaged children in the remote regions of Armenia.

    Since its establishment in 1990, the ECF of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church supports thousands of children by annually allocating a significant amount of funds to the cause.

    Your charitable contributions are worthy investments in the development of the Republic of Armenia, which gives our homeland’s children a healthy start in life.

  • September 6 – Diocesan Council Meeting

    Evening: ECF Annual Event


    September 7 – Pastoral Visit to St. John Garabed Armenian Church in San Diego


    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

  • August 16 – Groundblessing Ceremony of the new property of Armenian Church of Palmdale


    August 17 – St. Leon Armenian Cathedral – Feast of the Assumption


    August 18 – Start of Arshag Dickranian School’s 2014 – 2015 Academic Year


    August 20 – St. James Armenian Church in Sacramento


    August 21 – Stewardship Reception


    August 22 – Burbank Unified School District Superintendent’s Visit to the Western Diocese

    Evening: 2nd Annual “Summer Night at the Turpanjian Plaza” organized by the Cathedral’s Ladies Guild


    August 23 – Saturday and Sunday School Workshops at Diocesan Headquarters


    August 24 – Armenian Church of Ventura County – Celebrant and Homilist


    August 31 – St. Leon Armenian Cathedral 

  • On Tuesday, August 12, members of the Ladies Society Central Council met at the Sybille Aprahamian Conference Room of the Turpanjian Diocesan Headquarters Building. Presided by the Primate, the meeting was chaired by Mrs. Lena Simonian.

    LSCC participating members included Gladys Saroyan, Aida Sethian, Ramela Seropian, Arpi Hovsepian and Lena Simonian, Chair.

    The Central Council focused on the youth of the church community expressing an initiative to honor newlyweds or young couples, thus engaging them in the life of the Church. The visitation to new Ladies Society chapters as established chapters was discussed at length. Fellowships are planned within Diocesan chapters to further strengthen the role of women in the Armenian Church.

    The Ladies Society Central Council will seek avenues to connect and establish partnerships with non-Diocesan women's organizations such as AIWA & Armenian Woman Coalition of LA.

    It was decided that the annual Women’s Prayer Day will be held on February 18 of 2015, the first Wednesday of the Great Lent.

    Meeting concluded with a luncheon prepared by LSCC for the subsequent Clergy Executive Council.

  • On August 11, members of the Alfred and Marguerite Hovsepian School Board of Trustees met at the Diocesan Headquarters in Burbank. Among the topics on the agenda included the school’s expansion plan, the accreditation of the Pre-school and the development of strategies to increase the school’s enrollment. In his remarks, the Primate commended the leadership of the school’s Principal Dr. Shahe Mankerian and Mrs. Shakeh Haroutiounian, the outgoing chair of the Board of Trustees.

    Archbishop Derderian congratulated Raffy Boulgourjian, Esq., the new chair and wished the Board members continued success in strengthening the essence of a true Christian in the youth.

  • The 2014-2015 academic school year began in Armenian schools in the month of August. On August 11, Diocesan Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, accompanied by Archpriest Fr. Sarkis Petoyan, paid a visit to the Alfred and Marguerite Hovsepian School on the start of the 2014-2015 school year. On August 13, the Primate visited the start of the year ceremony of AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School in Canoga Park. His Eminence was accompanied by Archpriest Fr. Shnork Demirjian and Rev. Fr. Nerses Hayrapetyan.      

    August 13th also marked the beginning of the 2014 school year at AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian School in Pasadena.