St. Mary Armenian Church Celebrates 89th Anniversary & Honors Archbishop Aykazian
L-R: Armenian Assembly of America Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, Armenian Assembly of America Congressional Relations Director Mariam Khaloyan, His Eminence Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Armenian National Institute Director Rouben Adalian
Washington, D.C. - On Sunday, December 12, Armenian Assembly of America representatives attended St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church's 89th Anniversary, where the 50th year of the priestly ordination of His Eminence Archbishop Vicken Aykazian was also celebrated, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).
"The Assembly is honored to celebrate the 89th year of St. Mary church in Washington, D.C., and to recognize Archbishop Aykazian's decades-long dedication to the Armenian people and work with the world's major interfaith and Christian ecumenical groups," said Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. "We greatly value our collaboration and look forward to continuing our work together."
Keynote speaker, President and General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, James Winkler, who highlighted Archbishop Aykazian's many contributions to Christian ecumenism was joined by other notable speakers from the theological community, including Dean and Associate Professor of Liturgical Studies/Sacramental Theology at Catholic University (CU) Very Reverend Mark Morozowich, Associate Professor of Church at CU Dr. Robin Darling Young, and Associate Professor of Liturgical Studies at CU, Reverend Stefanos Alexopoulos.
Armenian Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny delivers remarks
Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to the United States, Her Excellency Lilit Makunts, also delivered an address expressing the gratitude of the Republic of Armenia to Archbishop Aykazian's decades of service to his people in Armenia and the Diaspora. Reverend Father Hovsep Karapetyan, Pastor of St. Mary Armenian Church, spoke eloquently of Archbishop Aykazian's humility. Avedis Seferian served as master of ceremonies and Parish Council Chairwoman Shoghig Sahakian presented His Eminence a special gift from Armenia. The program included a heartwarming performance and recitation in Armenian by the St. Mary Shnorhali School students. Archbishop Vicken Aykazian is the Ecumenical Director of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), in which capacity he has served since January of 2000. Born in Siirt, Turkey, he moved to Jerusalem as a young man to study at the theological seminary of the Armenian Patriarchate. He was ordained a deacon in 1968 and a celibate priest in 1971 on the Feast of the Transfiguration. In 1992, His Holiness Vasken I, the late Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, consecrated him a bishop at Holy Etchmiadzin, the Mother See of the worldwide Armenian Church. His Eminence received his Ph.D. from the Armenian Academy of Sciences' Department of History in 1999. He completed Ph.D. course requirements at Fribourg Catholic University in Switzerland, received a Bachelor of Divinity degree at King's College in London, studied pastoral theology at St. Augustine's College in Canterbury, and attended the Armenian Theological Seminary in Jerusalem and the Holy Cross Armenian Seminary in Istanbul. In a ministry that took him worldwide, he served the Armenian Church in diverse roles, including tenures as Primate of the Diocese of Switzerland and as Director of the Fund for Armenian Relief's office in the Republic of Armenia. In 2007, he was elected president of the National Council of Churches (NCC) of Christ in the United States. He was the first Oriental Orthodox clergyman to serve as president of America's leading ecumenical organization. He currently sits on the Executive Board of the NCC and on the World Council of Churches Board, where his involvement has been extensive and continuous since 1985.
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.