News




  • As we have previously informed our faithful community, on Sunday, November 30, 2014, during the Divine Liturgy, the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, at the initiative of Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate will recognize Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and honor Dr. Thomas Lee for his incredible philanthropic work in Armenia. The day will be dedicated to our beloved children as designated by the Diocesan Primate.

    For this auspicious occasion, Western Diocese – Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Special Event Committee was formed also to include representatives from AGBU Manoogian Demirdjian, TCA Arshag Dickranian, AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian, St. Gregory A. & M. Hovsepian Armenian Schools. Mrs. Alice Chakrian, who represents the Western Diocese, by virtue of her leadership skills, did a tremendous job of forming an exceptional team of dedicated individuals willing to selflessly serve the community and support Children's Hospital Los Angeles. The joint committee works diligently to properly organize and prepare for the event ensuring maximum participation from the community at large.

    On Wednesday, October 15, 2014 the committee held a special meeting at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to update on the progress of the undertakings as well as to discuss the details of the event. After Rev. Fr. Avedis Abovian’s opening prayer, Ms. Rita Terterian, Assistant Vice President of Development at CHLA talked about volunteer opportunities available not only for adults, but also for the youth. As we approach the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, the volunteer programs extend great opportunities to donate our time, talent, and treasure to the most fragile patients. The participants demonstrated a great deal of interest in the programs and kindly asked Ms. Alicia Katano, Assistant Director of Development to forward contact information and details on how to get involved.

    The committee members, who also represent the aforementioned Armenian schools briefed on how the schools want to pitch in and support this venerable institution at different levels. During the next following months schools will start the butterfly campaign, where students and parents place colorful butterflies on the wall with their names on them for any amount of donation. Some schools will hold the “Street Smart” car seat safety event, others will host CHLA blood mobile. It is truly inspiring to see the commitment of the students and the adults as well in supporting and promoting the oldest freestanding children’s hospital in California, established in 1901.

    Diocesan representative Diran Avagyan went over the Nov. 30th program and the church ceremony. He updated on the works underway and informed that the official flyer and the invitation letters will be mailed out at the end of October.

    The highlight of the day was Dr. Lee’s appearance at lunch. The committee members were delighted and truly honored to meet the renowned physician, who loyal to the Hippocratic Oath, dedicates countless hours to help recover children’s vision around the world, and specifically in Armenia. In 2009 he joined the Armenian Eye Care Project (AECP) on a mission to Yerevan, Armenia to help diagnose and treat an alarmingly high rate of Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), a complex and aggressive blinding disease that was affecting one third of Armenian premature infants. After a successful initial visit, Dr. Lee worked to set up a program that enabled him to remotely monitor exams and surgeries in Armenia from more than 7,000 miles away. Dr. Lee continues to work closely with physicians, health care providers, and the Ministry of Health in Armenia. In September 2014, he returned to Yerevan to launch a training curriculum that he and CHLA staff designed for Armenian Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurses to help them identify, prevent and treat ROP in premature infants.

    Dr. Lee’s amicable personality, utmost humility, and kindness captivated the committee members, who pledged to continue their support with new insights.

    After the delicious luncheon, Ms. Terterian and Ms. Katano gave a guided tour of CHLA, taking the committee members to the hospital’s Newborn/Infant Critical Care, and the Medical/Surgical Acute Units. The tour was an emotional but a life-changing experience, which will be a constant reminder to the participants of the selfless care and abundant love of the healthcare professionals.  


  • 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

    Fundraiser for the Lazar Najarian and Kaloust Gulbenkian Armenian School in Aleppo – Organized by the Alumni Association - Father Manoug Markarian to represent the Primate

     

    October 20 – Fresno – Inaugural Banquet of Honorary Consul Berj Apkarian

     

    October 21 – LACRL Meeting

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

     

    October 21-24 –Visit to Armenian Schools

    21 – Arshag Dickranian School

    22 – A&M Hovsepian School

    23 – AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian High School

    24 – AGBU Manoogian – Demirdjian School

    October 24 – St. Peter Armenian Church in Van Nuys

     

    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

     

    October 29 – Burbank Mayor’s State of the City Address

    Evening: Annual Judges Night organized by Armenian Bar Association


  • Under the auspices of the religious leaders of the Armenian Apostolic, Catholic and Evangelical Churches, on October 15, 2014, the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund (SARF) and the Syrian Armenian Schools Alumni Associations of Los Angeles organized a community forum with Archbishop Shahan Sarkissian, Prelate of the Armenian Prelacy in Aleppo. The event was held at the “Armenak Der Bedrosian Hall” of St. Mary’s Armenian Church in Glendale.

    Archbishop Sarkissian gave a detailed account about the latest developments in the Syrian Armenian community. A video depicting the Armenian community’s horrific living conditions and state of despair was presented during the evening.

    The event concluded with a collective prayer with the participation of all clergy in attendance. 


  • October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Glendale Adventist Medical Center (GAMC) has once again gathered an army of men to kick off the Army of Pink campaign! In an effort to increase awareness about breast cancer and local resources at the hospital, GAMC is partnering with prominent community members in Glendale to help fight cancer through early detection and treatment. Our Primate is one of six candidates of this year’s campaign. The men will carry the message of hope and will educate the community during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

    Click here to visit Archbishop Hovnan Derderian’s Army of Pink 2014 page and click here to vote for Archbishop Hovnan Derderian.


  • Armenia Fund, the US Western Region Affiliate of “Hayastan” All-Armenian Fund held a kick-off dinner reception for its 20th Annual Gala Banquet. Phoenicia restaurant was the venue for the event which was attended by nearly 100 guests including clergy, community leaders and supporters of Armenia Fund. Mr. and Mrs. Gerald and Patricia Turpanjian were honored at the reception for their invaluable contributions to Armenia. Lieutenant General Artur Agabekyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic was the Guest of Honor.


  • On October 16, the “Zvartnots” Cultural Committee of the Western Diocese in collaboration with the Organization of Istanbul Armenians (OIA) organized an event titled “Treasures of Faith.” The keynote speaker was Dr. Ronald Marchese, History Professor from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. The cultural event was held at the Hampar Family Reception Room under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America.  

    The program commenced with the welcoming remarks by Master of Ceremonies Dr. Simon Simonian, Chairman of the Zvartnots Cultural Committee. Dr. Simonian introduced the keynote speaker who used a slide presentation to introduce to the guests the religious and cultural treasures in possession of the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul. Professor Marchese is the author of a two-volume publication on the treasures of the Armenian Church. Close to 50 people including Diocesan clergy Archpriest Fr. Dr. Zaven Arzoumanian and Archpriest Fr. Hovsep Hagopian attended the informational lecture presentation.


  • On Saturday, October 18, the Armenian Apostolic Church will observe the Feast of the Holy Evangelists, the authors of the four Gospel accounts in the New Testament.

    ST. JOHN THE EVANGALIST
     
    A native of Galilee, John was the son of Zebedee and Salome. With his brother, James the Greater, he followed the calling of fisherman, and was among the disciples of St. John the Baptist when he was called to follow Our Lord. Jesus had a predilection for him; he was “the disciple whom Jesus Loved” (John 21:7), as the Gospel sometimes describes him. It was to him that Jesus, at the point of death, confided the Virgin Mary, and he took her into his house; finally it was he who, the first of the apostles with St. Peter, ran to the tomb which Magdalena had found empty, and who first of them all recognized the risen Savior on the shores of the lake of Tiberius.
     
    The Acts show us Peter and John remaining united in friendship after Pentecost; together they went up to the temple to pray; together they preached and were thrown into prison; both were sent together to Samaria there to bring down the Holy Spirit upon the newly baptized.
     
    At the end of the 1st century, St. John was bishop of Ephesus.
     
    ST. LUKE (1st Century)
     
    Disciple, helper, and friend of St. Paul, “Beloved Luke, the physician” is the only one of the evangelists who was not a Jew. A native of Antioch, he belonged to the Hellenic world; his mother tongue was Greek, and he used it with an elegant simplicity.
     
    About the year 50 he appeared at the side of St. Paul at Troas. He reached Macedonia with him and accompanied him as far as Philippi. It appears he remained there for some time, leaving the apostle to continue his journey alone. Paul found him there again on his return through Macedonia. Luke then accompanied him to Jerusalem from where Paul, arrested in the Temple, was taken captive to Caesarea. He did not leave him at all between 57 and 59, the two years this captivity lasted.
     
    St. Luke is the author of the Acts of the Apostles and of the third Gospel. He alone has preserved for us parables of the Lost Sheep and the Prodigal Son, of the Pharisee and the Publican, and Lazarus. He alone has recorded Jesus’ words: “If great sins have been forgiven her, she has also greatly loved” (Luke 8: 47); The prayer of the Crucified for his executioners; and the promise to the good thief: “This day thou shall be with me in Paradise” (Luke 22:43). It is this which has made Dante call him “Historian of the Compassion of Christ.”
     
    ST. MATTHEW (1ST Century)
             
    Matthew, son of Alphaeus, was a publican or collector of taxes at Capharnaum. His profession was one of the least honorable; everyone considered all tax collectors and their masters to be more or less robbers, and the Pharisees treated them as public sinners. It was as direct a challenge to public opinion for the Savior to associate Matthew the publican with His apostolate as it was later for Him to visit Zaccheus, another member of this despised profession.
     
    The Gospel tells that, after having healed a paralytic, “As he passed further on his way, Jesus saw a man called Matthew sitting at work in the customs house, and said to him, Follow me; and Matthew rose from his place and followed him.
     
    From the moment, Matthew withdraws into the apostolic college and no longer calls attention to himself. With the other apostles, he witnessed the ascension and was in the upper room on the day of Pentecost. Transformed by the Holy Spirit, he, like his colleagues, became a herald of the Christian message; then, having spread it for a long time by word of mouth-for perhaps some twenty years-he wrote it down. He did this in Aramaic, which was translated into Greek towards the end of the 1st century; it is this, placed first among our Sacred Scriptures, which we call “The Gospel according to St. Matthew.”
     
    ST. MARK THE EVANGALIST (1st Century)

     
    St. Mark the Evangelist is generally identified with the person called in Acts and Epistles sometimes John, by his Jewish name, sometimes Mark, by his Greco-Roman name.
     
    He was a cousin of St. Barnabas and a native of Jerusalem, where his mother Mary lived in a big house which served as a meeting-place for the first Christian community.
    In the same year 44, St. Paul and St. Barnabas arrived at Jerusalem, bringing help for the Christians who were in distress because of famine. When they left again for Antioch, Mark joined them, and accompanied them to Cypress and to the coast of Asia Minor.
     
    When, in the year 50, the two apostles were deliberating over a visit to the churches founded by them on their fist voyage, Barnabas wished to take Mark with them. Paul opposed it, so that each went his way.  Paul taking Silas on the road to Cilicia, while Barnabas sailed for Cyprus with his cousin Mark. St. Paul nevertheless bore no grudge against St. Mark, for some ten years later we find them together in Rome, and shortly before his martyrdom the apostle sent word to Mark to leave the East and return to him.
     
    Mark was also the collaborator of St. Peter and had from him, it is believed, the facts and incidents from which he composed his Gospel. An ancient tradition makes Mark the founder of the church of Alexandria.


  • His Holiness Ignatius Aphrem II, the Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church, visited Armenia this month, at the invitation of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. Upon his arrival on October 10, a prayer of thanksgiving was offered at Holy Etchmiadzin.

    His Holiness Karekin II spoke on the centuries-old friendship between the Armenian and Syriac churches, and said that the Syriac Patriarch’s courageous leadership in war-torn Syria is an “encouragement for all people of faith.” His Holiness Ignatius Aphrem II expressed his gratitude for the warm reception, and went on to speak about the perilous situation of Christian communities in the Middle East. Together they prayed for peace in the Middle East, and asked God to protect the two sister churches.

    On October 11, the two spiritual leaders visited the Armenian Genocide memorial at Dzidzernagapert, where they placed wreaths and offered a requiem service. Later they visited the center’s Armenian Genocide Museum.

    At the conclusion of His Holiness Ignatius Aphrem II’s visit on October 13, he and His Holiness Karekin II signed a document condemning “the activities of all terrorist groups and religious extremists, and all violence committed against Christians, Muslims, Yazidi people and other minorities” in the Middle East.

    The document also called on the international community to recognize the annihilation of the Armenian and Syriac people during World War I: “We offer prayers for Armenian and Syriac martyrs as well as other victims of World War I. We invite the entire Christian world to unite in prayer at the Armenian Genocide and the Syriac Sayfo centennial commemorative events in 2015.”

    Click on the following links to read the statement in full


  • The 40th anniversary celebration of St. John Garabed Armenian Church was held on October 12, 2014, at the Taglyan Cultural Center in Hollywood. The grandiose event was held under the auspices of the Western Diocese and was organized by the Parish Council and the 40th Anniversary Committee. The evening’s honorary chairlady was Mrs. Rose Ketchoyan, the widow of John Ketchoyan, one of the founding members of St. John Garabed Armenian Church.

    Attending the celebratory banquet were religious and civic leaders, community’s intellectuals and a great number of faithful. The evening’s Mistress of Ceremonies was attorney Tamar Poladian Esq. Welcoming remarks were delivered by Parish Council Chairman Hovhannes Davitian and 40th Anniversary Committee Chairman Armen Tashjian, Esq.

    Congressman Adam Schiff, CA Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, CA Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian, LA City Councilmembers Paul Krekorian and Mitch O’Ferrell were among the dignitaries present at the evening. Conveying their heartfelt wishes, the public officials presented resolutions to the Pastor and the Parish Council of St. John Garabed Armenian Church on the auspicious occasion of the 40th anniversary. Representing CA State Senator Kevin DeLeon and CA Assemblymember Mike Gatto were the Baidzar Tovmassian and Mary Manoukian, respectively.

    An inspirational video, prepared by Haroutyun Fodulyan and Ara Aharonian, was presented during the evening which reflected upon the four-decade-long history of St. John Garabed Armenian Church.

    Guests were also introduced to the rebuilding project of the parish which will give the present church building a makeover in the Armenian architectural style.

    Expressing his words of gratitude was Archpriest Fr. Manoug Markarian, who has served as pastor of St. John Garabed Armenian Church for nearly twenty years. Father Markarian spoke about the newly-launched initiative by the St. John Garabed Armenian Church Foundation Society. As the official commencement of the Church Foundation Society, founders Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, Mr. Krikor Altounian, Mr. Sarkis Der Sarkissian, Dr. Arto Poladian, Mrs. Rose Ketchoyan, the widow of Mr. John Ketchoyan, Mrs. Sima Kalaydjian, the widow of Mr. Nazareth Kalaydjian and Mr. Jack Kalaydjian, the son of the late Nazareth Kalaydjian, Mr. Bob Simonian, the son of the late Sarkis Simonian were honored with souvenirs. Families of founders the late Mr. Garo Meghrigian and the late Mr. Richard Aslanian who were unable to attend will receive the souvenirs accordingly.

    In his remarks, His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America expressed his gratitude to Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, former pastors and presently, Archpriest Fr. Manoug Markarian for their role in carrying out the mission of the Armenian Apostolic Church in the Diaspora. Archbishop Derderian reflected on the significant role of St. John Garabed Armenian Church in the life of the Armenian-American community of Los Angeles. During the pastorate of Fr. Manoug Markarian, the church complex expanded and the initiative to rebuild the church building was introduced. In recognition of Father Manoug Markarian’s dedicated service to the Armenain Apostolic Church and his invaluable contributions toward the preservation of the Armenian identity in the Diaspora, the Primate named him an honorary “Avak Godfather” of St. Leon Armenian Cathedral and informed the guests that a celebratory evening is in the works on February 8, 2015, marking Father Markarian’s 60th birthday and his 20th anniversary as Pastor of St. John Garabed Armenian Church in Hollywood.

    With the participation of nearly 500 guests, the evening concluded with the traditional cake-cutting ceremony. As a keepsake, guests received a 75-page commemorative booklet printed especially for the auspicious occasion.


  • We are happy to inform the Diocesan faithful that Mrs. Nina Hachigian has been named the next Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by President Barack Obama.

    Mrs. Hachigian has spent the last 16 years in US Asia policy at the White House and at two independent research institutions. She has also served at the State Department’s Foreign Advisory Board.

    Mrs. Nina Hachigian is a Godfather of St. Leon Armenian Cathedral.

    The Western Diocese congratulates Mrs. Hachigian on the appointment and wishes her well in her new capacity as the Ambassador to ASEAN.