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Diocesan Primates of North America Meet in California

The Primates of the Armenian Church’s three diocesan jurisdictions in North America met on February 7, 2019, to discuss ways to collaboratively advance the church’s mission among the people and communities under their pastoral care.

At the Western Diocese’s headquarters in Burbank, CA, Archbishop Hovnan Derderian hosted the Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan and Bishop Abgar Hovakimyan for a day of business and social interactions in a brotherly atmosphere. The three are respectively the primates of the dioceses of the Western U.S., Eastern U.S., and Canada.

Their working session addressed topics such as youth ministry and outreach, lay ministry, Christian education, clergy preparation, and evangelism.

In gracious remarks, Archbishop Derderian, the senior clergymen among the three, expressed admiration for the ministries and accomplishments of his fellow diocesan leaders—and received in turn their expressions of gratitude and enthusiasm continue their collaboration.

During their discussions, there was a strong consensus among the three primates on the need for the church to “focus more sharply on the authentic Christian mission of the church,” said Eastern Diocesan Primate Fr. Daniel Findikyan.

“There was overwhelming agreement among us the urgent need to bring our people to a more personal, deeper knowledge of God through Jesus Christ, within the life and tradition of the Armenian Church,” he said.

“Rampant secularism has done great harm in our surrounding society, leading to violence and hopelessness that affects our fellow citizens—and our people too, of course,” he said. “It’s something that the Armenian Church needs to effectively address.”

The meeting concluded with a reception in the Hampar Family Room of the Western Diocesan center, honoring the distinguished guests. Among the 50 invited guests were Diocesan Council members, clergy, and benefactors, as well as the Consul General of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles, Armen Baibourtian, who also formerly served as administrator of the Eastern Diocese.

While visiting California, Fr. Findikyan also met with former Western Diocese Primate Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, as well as clergy, St. Nersess Seminary alumni, and youth from the Western Diocese.

After their meeting, the three North American primates issued a communiqué, which appears below.

Click here to view photos.

Above: Bishop Abgar Hovakimyan, Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, and Fr. Daniel Findikyan—respectively the primates of the Canadian, Western U.S., and Eastern U.S. dioceses—surrounded by clergy of the Western Diocese, at the Diocesan Center in Burbank, CA.

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Communiqué

Re: Joint Meeting of North American Primates of the Armenian Apostolic Church

Continuing the long-standing tradition, the Primates of the three dioceses of North America, His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian of the Western Diocese, His Grace Bishop Abgar Hovakimyan of the Diocese of Canada, and the Very Reverend Father Daniel Findikyan of the Diocese of the Armenian Church (Eastern) have convened a joint meeting at the Headquarters of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church in Burbank, California.

The purpose of the meeting was to share best practices and explore new avenues for more effective collaborations on common matters that pertain to the Armenian Church in North America.

Among other issues, the high-ranking clergy have discussed the possibilities of revitalizing the youth ministries. Furthermore, the three Primates have emphasized the importance of empowering and enabling the youth, thus actively involving them in the life of the church.

Christian Education was at the forefront of discussions. It was decided to share and utilize the available resources, printed or digital, directly or through social media, to reach out to the faithful and impart solid educational foundation according to the Scriptures, the teachings of the Holy Fathers, and the sacred traditions of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The need for qualified catechists and certified Bible instructors was identified during the meeting. The participants agreed on creating opportunities for acolytes, deacons, and laity to be trained and become fully equipped to fill the gap that exists due to limited number of ordained clergy.

The three Primates, in one accord, agreed that the very mission of the church should always remain as the focal point for the ministry․As the church strives to cater to the various needs of the faithful, it should be made clear that the main mission of the church is to lead the people to God by preaching, teaching, and living the Gospel of Jesus Christ in accordance to the doctrines and traditions of the Armenian Church. To this end, the Primates committed to joining their forces in rekindling the mission of the church, strengthening the spiritual lives of their respective communities, and re-focusing on the salvific power of Christ the Lord.

The spiritual leaders of the three dioceses of North America will continue working on action points that have arose out of the meeting in small groups as well as with the involvement of appropriate committees.

Burbank, CA, U.S.A. / February 7, 2019

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