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THE PONTIFICAL VISITATION OF

HIS HOLINESS KAREKIN II


&
CONSECRATION OF THE CATHEDRAL
OF THE WESTERN DIOCESE

September 10-12, 2010

CONTACT INFORMATION
JILL SIMONIAN MATTHEW ASH RAFFI KENDIRJIAN
310.283.8553 310.753.1787 Chair, Media Committee
jillsimonian@armenianchurchwd.com matt.ash@armenianchurchwd.com

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SCHEDULE OF THE PONTIFICAL VISITATION
AND
CONSECRATION OF THE CATHEDRAL OF THE WESTERN DIOCESE

The Catholicos of All Armenian, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of
All Armenians, will arrive in Los Angeles Thursday, September 9 at 10:20 p.m. The primary
mission of his upcoming visit is to officiate the historic consecration of the Cathedral of the
Western Diocese on the weekend of September 11 and 12, 2010. The occasion will mark the
4th official visit of the Pontiff.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


• His Holiness will preside over the events of the weekend starting September 11, 2010 at
10:30 a.m. when he will bless the grand opening of the headquarters of the Armenian
Society of Los Angeles, located at 117 S. Louise St, Glendale.
• Thereafter, His Holiness Karekin II will proceed to the Diocesan Headquarters of the
Armenian Apostolic Church located at 3325 N. Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, where a reception
will be held with His Eminence Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese, clergy
and Diocesan Council members at 11:45 a.m. followed by a meeting with leaders of Sister
Churches, Ecumenical guests and Government officials at 1:30 p.m. Confirmed guests are
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca, Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen
Trutanich, Mayor of Glendale Ara Najarian, former Assembly members Kevin De Leon, John
Perez and Anthony Portantino, and ranking local and international religious leaders.
• At 3 p.m. these public figures and leaders will join local American Armenians to witness the
consecration of the new Cathedral located at the Diocesan Headquarter in Burbank. At this
time, His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II and His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian
will bless and dedicate a traditional Khatchkar or cross-stone in memory of the victims of
9/11. The cross-stone will remain on the Cathedral grounds as a constant reminder of
innocent lives lost to horrific acts. Mayor Villaraigosa will participate in the dedication.
• The evening will come to an end with a reception to honor Benefactors and Godfathers of
the Cathedral. The event, hosted by Cathedral Benefactors Armen and Nora Hampar, will
take place at 5:30 p.m. in the Kalaydjian Hall of the Arshag and Eleanor Dickranian Diocesan
Complex and Headquarters.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


• The Pontifical celebration of the Divine Liturgy will take place at 10:30 a.m. inside the newly
consecrated Cathedral in Burbank. An anticipated over-capacity crowd of faithful will
participate in the liturgical rites of the Holy Armenian Apostolic Church.
• Following the Divine Liturgy, His Holiness Karekin II will bless the "Bolsahay", Istanbul

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Armenians’ Center located at 19726 Sherman Way in Winnetka.
• At 5 p.m. that same evening, a formal gala banquet will be held to gather 1000 confirmed
guests in celebration of the historic events of the weekend. This joyous occasion held at the
Universal Hilton Hotel in Universal City will seal the official visit of His Holiness.

Monday, September 13, 2010


• His Holiness Karekin II, Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians returns to Etchmiadzin,
headquarters of the Armenian Apostolic Church in the Republic of Armenia, departing from
LAX at 4 p.m. having blessed the rebirth of the Armenian Apostolic Church through the
dedication and consecration of the Cathedral of the Western Diocese. The classical Armenian
ecclesiastical structure stands as the spiritual center for over half a million Armenian-
Americans symbolizing a faith that spans over 1700 years.

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PROGRAM DETAILS OF THE CONSECRATION CEREMONY

3:00pm * The Pontifical Processional will begin from the entrance of the Diocesan
Galleria. The Processional will consist of some of the highest ranking clergymen
of the Armenian Church, including bishops of Dioceses from Armenia, Egypt,
Iraq, and Canada. Also in the processional will be high-ranking Ecumenical
guests from throughout Los Angeles and beyond. The Honorable Mayor
Antonio Villaraigosa is expected to join the Processional as well.
Over 1000 faithful of the Armenian Church are expected to gather in the plaza
area in order to witness the procession of His Holiness Karekin II and receive
his blessings.
The processional will proceed to the main entrance of the Church where it will
enter the soon to be consecrated sanctuary with pomp and circumstance.
3:30pm The primary consecration rite will be officiated by His Holiness Karekin II. The
primary feature of this ritual consists of the blessing and anointing of 16 crosses
which are mounted at specific points throughout the church, and symbolize
that the columns of the Church are founded on biblical and apostolic teachings.
Each cross is blessed in the name of revered saints of the Church including the
evangelists, apostles, and significant figures in Armenian Church History.
Each of these crosses will be blessed by a different bishop of the Armenian
Church, representing that this Cathedral will become a significant spiritual
center for Armenians throughout the world.
4:30pm A special Khatchkar or cross-stone will be consecrated by His Holiness in
memory of the victims of the tragic 9/11 attacks. This cross-stone will read “Let
Peace Reign,” a sentiment which reflects that for the Armenian-American
community, the new Cathedral is a statement of Peace. During this time the
faithful, led by His Holiness, will pray for the souls of those who lost their lives
in the event which occurred 9 years ago.
The Mayor of Los Angeles, the Honorable Antonio Villaraigosa, will participate
in this ceremony, by representing the citizens of the Greater Los Angeles during
the cross’ consecration.
5:00pm Remarks will be offered by His Eminence Abp. Hovnan Derderian, the Primate
of the Western Diocese, who has spearheaded the Cathedral Construction
Project since his election in 2003.
On behalf of the Ecumenical guests in attendance, His Eminence Metropolitan

*
All times are approximate and may vary

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Gerasimos, of the Greek Metropolis of San Francisco, will welcome His Holiness
Karekin II, and congratulate the Armenian Church on its worthy
accomplishment.
Final remarks will be offered by His Holiness Karekin II to the enthusiastic
faithful who have gathered to receive his blessings.
Following this, the ceremony will be completed.

OFFICIALS EXPECTED TO ATTEND THE CONSECRATION CEREMONY

Hon. Leroy Baca His Excellence Tatoul Markarian


Sheriff, County of Los Angeles Ambassador of Armenia in America
His Excellence Jacob Dayan Hon. Mayor Ara Najarian
Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles Mayor, City of Glendale
Hon. Kevin de Leon Hon. Anthony Portantino
Member of the Assembly Member of the Assembly
Hon. Laura Friedman Hon. Frank Quintero
Member, Glendale City Council Member, Glendale City Council
Hon. Mike Gatto Councilman Jess Talamantes
Assemblyman 43rd District Vice-Mayor, City of Burbank
Hon. Wendy Greuel Hon. Carmen A. Trutanich
Controller, City of Los Angeles City Attorney, City of Los Angeles
Mr. Ron Hartwig Hon. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
VP of The Getty Museum Mayor, City of Los Angeles
His Excellence Grigor Hovhannissian Hon. David Weaver
Consul General of Armenia in Los Angeles Member, Glendale City Council
Hon. Paul Krikorian Hon. Dennis Zine
Member, Los Angeles City Council Member, Los Angeles City Council
Senator Carol Liu
State Senator

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ECUMENICAL AND INTERFAITH GUESTS EXPECTED TO ATTEND THE
CONSECRATION CEREMONY

Very Rev. Fr. John Bakas Rev. Leonard Jackson


Dean of St. Sophia Cathedral, Greek Senior Advisor to the Mayor
Orthodox Church
Bishop Dean Nelson
Rev. Kathy Black Southwest California Synod, Evangelical
Claremont School of Theology, UMC Lutheran Church
The Right Reverend J. Jon Bruno Rev. Jan Olav Flaaten
Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles Arizona Ecumenical Council
Rev. Albert Cohen His Grace Bishop Serapion
Southern California Ecumenical Council Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles,
His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos Southern California, and Hawaii
Greek Metropolis of San Francisco Very Rev. Fr. A. Shara
St. Ephrim Syriac Church
Rev. Gwynne Guibord
Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles The Right Reverend Alexei Smith
Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles
His Grace Bishop Maxim
Westen Diocese, Serbian Orthodox Church Br. Shakeel Syed Islamic Shura
Council of Southern California
BISHOPS AND ARCHBISHOPS PARTICIPATING IN CONSECRATION CEREMONY

Archbishop Hovnan Derderian Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian


Primate, Western Diocese Member of the Brotherhood of Holy
Archbishop Khajag Barsamian Etchmiadzin And Former Primate of the
Primate, Eastern Diocese Western Diocese
Archbishop Yeprem Tabakian
Bishop Bakrat Galsdanyan
Member of the Brotherhood of the Great
Primate, Canadian Diocese
House of Cilicia
Archbishop Avak Asadourian
Archbishop Moushegh Mardirosian
Primate, Diocese of Iraq
Member of the Brotherhood of the Great
Bishop Ashot Mnatsaganian House of Cilicia
Primate, Diocese of Egypt
Bishop Margos Hovhannisyan
Bishop Armash Nalbandian Primate, Diocese of Kegharkunyats
Primate, Diocese of Damascus
Bishop Arakel Karamyan
Archbishop Vicken Aykazian Primate, Diocese of Kotayk
Legate, Eastern Diocese

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BIOGRAPHY OF HIS HOLINESS KAREKIN II,
SUPREME PATRIARCH AND CATHOLICOS OF ALL ARMENIANS
His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, was born in
the village Voskehat, near Etchmiadzin, in 1951, and was given the baptismal name Ktrij.
He received his elementary education in his native village, subsequent to which, in
1965, he was admitted to the Kevorkian Theological Academy in Holy Etchmiadzin, where he
graduated with distinction. Upon graduation he taught New Testament Studies and was an
Assistant at the Seminary. Having been ordained a deacon before his graduation, he was
ordained a celibate priest in 1972 and was given the name Karekin.
Following his ordination to the Holy Priesthood, the late Catholicos Vazken I, of
blessed memory, arranged for the young priest to pursue higher religious education at the
local faculty of Divinity in Vienna, Austria. In 1975, the future Catholicos served at the Church
in Germany as a pastor, while continuing his theological studies at the University of Bonn.
After four years in Germany, he returned to the Holy See, and was sent by Catholicos Vazken
to Zagorsk, Russia, to pursue his studies at the doctoral Faculty of St. Serguey Monastery’s
Academy of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Following his studies in Russia, His Holiness was appointed to be the assistant to the
Vicar general of the Araratian Patriarchal Diocese in 1980. In April 1983, he became the Vicar
General of the same Diocese. In October of the same year, he was ordained a Bishop and in
1992, he was elevated to the rank of Archbishop. In 1990, he was a candidate to the
Armenian legislature.
In 1989, Bishop Karekin Nersissian created the Vazkenian Seminary in Sevan to
educate young men in religious studies, completing a five-year course prior to the entrance
to the Theological Academy at Holy Etchmiadzin, where they would study for one additional
year. Additionally, through his efforts, the former Communist Pioneer Palaces were
converted into church-sponsored youth centers for religious and artistic education of young
men and women.
In 1990, His Holiness created the Christian Education Center, which organized
Christian Education courses in 56 public and Sunday schools throughout the Diocese.
In 1995, Archbishop Karekin Nersissian was a prime candidate in the Catholicossal
Elections, but he withdrew his candidacy in favor of Catholicos Karekin I, of blessed
memory. In 1998, the late Catholicos appointed him as Catholicossal Vicar General.
Since 1990 he was a member of the Supreme Spiritual Council of the Catholicosate
of All Armenians.
On October 27, 1999, as a result of the closed secret ballot election held in the
Cathedral of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Archbishop Karekin Nersissian was

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elected the 132nd Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians and was consecrated
on November 4, 1999.

Since his election, His Holiness has begun the difficult work of the restructuring and
reorganization of internal church life, the revitalization of the theological seminaries of the
Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, strengthening Christian education, and the reconstruction
of churches and monasteries. Special emphasis has been placed on the preparation of a
new generation of clergy to serve Armenian faithful throughout the world.
During the first year of his pontificate, His Holiness founded the Theological-
Armenological Center, named after His Holiness Karekin I, of blessed memory. It is
currently housed in the Alex and Marie Manoogian Treasury-Museum of the Mother See.
Clergy, intellectuals and artists have the opportunity to make use of the rich literary
resources of the Center.
Shortly following his enthronement, His Holiness made his first pilgrimage to
Jerusalem to visit the Holy Shrines, Churches and places. During his stay, he presided over
the Christmas Celebrations in the Holy City.
His Holiness has paid pontifical visits to the Dioceses of the Armenian Church of
Shirak and Artsakh (July and September 2000), Western and Eastern Dioceses of the USA,
Diocese of Canada (May 2001). During the pontifical visit to North America His Holiness
presided over the diocesan festivities, dedicated to the 1700th Anniversary of Proclamation
of Christianity as the National Religion of Armenia. During that period His Holiness has had
meetings with His Excellency George W. Bush, President of the United States of America,
and Mr. Kofi Anan, Secretary-General of the United Nations. His Holiness was officially
received in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate during his visit. To
honor the 1700th Anniversary of Armenia's conversion to Christianity, and to welcome His
Holiness Karekin II to the United States, the House of Representatives passed a resolution
(with the Senate concurring) on May 23, 2001. His Holiness has paid pontifical visits also to
Austria (November 2001) and France (December 2001). During the pontifical visit to France
His Holiness had a meeting with His Excellency Jacques Chirac, President of France.
Placing importance on the fostering of ecumenical ties, His Holiness has paid visits
to the sister churches and their heads, among them – the Russian Orthodox Church and her
leader, His Holiness Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; the Georgian Orthodox
Church and her leader, His Holiness Ilia II, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia; the Romanian
Orthodox Church and her leader, His Holiness Patriarch Teoctist; the Coptic Orthodox
Church and her leader, His Holiness Pope Shenouda III; His Holiness Abuna Paulos,
Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church; the Roman Catholic Church and her
leader, His Holiness Pope John Paul II, and His Holiness Patriarch Maxim, Head of the
Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

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On the occasion of the Armenian Pontiff’s visit to the Vatican (November 2000)
during the solemn ecumenical celebration, Pope John Paul II returned to His Holiness
Karekin II the relics of St. Gregory the Illuminator, the first Catholicos of the Armenian
Church. The Armenian Pontiff and the Pope have signed a joint communiqué, in which the
massacres of Armenians by the Turkish state and authorities in the early part of the
20th Century are characterized as Genocide.
Among the representatives and heads of other religions, His Holiness has had
meetings with Sheikh Tantawi of Al Azhar, Mufti of the Arab Republic of Egypt; and Sheikh
Ul-Islam Allah-Shukur Pashazade, the Spiritual Leader of Moslems of the Caucasus. During
the meeting of His Holiness Karekin II and Allah-Shukur Pashazade, (November 2000) held
by the mediation of His Holiness Alexy II, a joint communiqué has been signed in favor of
the peaceful resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.
In August 2000, His Holiness participated in the "Millennium World Peace Summit
of Religious and Spiritual Leaders," held at the United Nations headquarters in New York
City. He delivered an address to the assembly entitled “Towards Forgiveness and
Reconciliation”.
Numerous newly built churches have been consecrated, foundations of new
churches have been blessed, and reconstruction of historic monasteries and monastic
complexes has been completed during the leadership of His Holiness. Among them are the
Church of Holy Resurrection in Spitak; the Church of St. Sarkis in Nork District, Yerevan; the
Church of St. Trdat in Vayk; the Church of St. Sarkis in Tashir; the Church of St. Anna in
Malishka; the Chapel of St. Mary in Aghavnadzor; the Church of Holy Savior in Charentsavan;
the Church of St. Gregory of Narek in Alaverdi; the Church of St. Mesrob Mashtots in Kapan;
the Church of St. Mary in Arinj; the Church of St. James (Hakop) in Gyumri; the bell tower of
the diocesan headquarters Church of St. Sarkis in Yerevan; the Church of Holy Resurrection
in Dvin; the Church of St. Katharine in St. Petersburg; the Church of St. George in Mughni;
the Monastic Complex of Saghmosavank (Monastery of Psalms”); the Monastic Complex of
Kecharis in Tsaghkadzor; the Church of St. Yeghishe in London; the Church of the Holy Cross
in Aparan and the Monastic Complex of the village Marmashen. A new open-air Altar
bearing the name of the Armenian King Tiridat III and near it the new entrance to the
Mother See bearing the name St. Gregory the Illuminator, were built on the grounds of the
Mother See in celebration of 1700th Anniversary of Proclamation of Christianity as the
Official Religion of Armenia.
In September 23, 2002, His Holiness presided during the consecration ceremonies
for the St. Gregory the Illuminator Mother Cathedral built in Yerevan on the occasion of the
1700th Anniversary of the Great Conversion of the Armenians. The Cathedral, which bears
the stamp of three Armenian Pontiffs, is the largest Armenian Church in the world,
dedicated to the memory of Saint Gregory the Illuminator, and a gift to the over 1 million
people of the capital city of Yerevan. Also, in September 2001, the activities surrounding the

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1,700th Anniversary reached their peak when His Holiness blessed the Holy Chrism for the
entire Armenian Church, which is used to consecrate churches, baptize infants, and ordain
priests.
During the 1,700th Jubilee Year, one of the most important events was His Holiness’
pilgrimage to Der Zor, Syria, in April 2001. It was in this desert where countless numbers of
Armenians perished as they were exiled out of the historic homeland during the Armenian
Genocide. On April 24, Commemoration Day for the victims of the Armenian Genocide, His
Holiness celebrated a solemn Divine Liturgy in the Church of Holy Martyrs.
In July 2001, His Holiness called upon Armenian youth from throughout the world to
unite together in Holy Etchmiadzin for a Youth Pilgrimage. Over 2,000 young men and
women from within Armenia and the Diaspora participated in this historic event.
Also in September, His Holiness was host to countless leaders of Christian Churches,
who came to participate in the 1700th Anniversary activities. Among those who visited were
His Holiness Baselios Mar Thomas Mathews II, Catholics of the East, Catholicos of the
Apostolic Throne of St. Thomas and Malankara Metropolitan; His Beatitude Petros VII,
Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa; His Holiness Teoctist I, Patriarch of the Romanian
Orthodox Church; His Holiness Alexy II, Head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch of
Moscow and All Russia; His Holiness Pope John Paul II, Patriarch of the West and Bishop of
Rome, Head of the Roman Catholic Church; His All Holiness Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical
Patriarch of Constantinople, and Dr. George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury and Head of
the Anglican Church.
Among the most important and vital steps taken during the pontificate of His
Holiness is the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the
Republic of Armenia and the Holy Armenian Church, in March 2000, which has become the
basis of an agreement which clarifies and regulates the Church-State relationship. Within
the framework of a memorandum, a Cooperative Agreement on the spiritual service of the
Armenian Church in the National Army of the Republic of Armenia was signed in September
2000, which established the field of spiritual service in the armed forces. And finally, a
historic agreement between the Armenian Church and the Government of the Republic of
Armenia was signed in August 2002, stating that Armenian Church History will be taught in
all public schools of the Republic.
His Holiness Karekin II is a member of the Board of Trustees of the “Hayastan” All
Armenian Fund, and an Honorary Member of the Board of Directors of the Armenian
General Benevolent Union (AGBU).
His Holiness has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the State University of
Artsakh. In September 2000, the International Academy of Informatization in General
Consultative Status with Economic and Social Council of the United Nations bestowed on His

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Holiness the title of “Active Member” of the above named Academy, and in May 2001,
awarded His Holiness the Title of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).
His Holiness has also been awarded the highest Insignia of Jordan “Bethlehem-
2000” (January 2000); as well as the highest National Insignia of Romania - “Star of
Romania” (September 2000); the Insignia of the Ukraine “Duke Yaroslav the Wise” of
5thdegree (2001), and the Order of Commander of the Legion of Honor of France (2001).

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His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians

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His Eminence Abp. Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese

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St. Leon Cathedral
Southern facing side

The Turpanjian Plaza


A traditional Khatchkar is featured left of center

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His Eminence Abp. Hovnan Derderian with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
The Mayor will participate in the blessing of a 9/11 memorial

Performing the Consecration Rite


The Cathedral will be consecrated with Holy Oil as pictured here

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