On Tuesday, August 20, the Western Diocese will remember one of the pillars of the Armenian Church in the last century. A quarter century has passed since His Holiness Vazken I of blessed memory departed this life, yet still today, whether in Armenia or in the diaspora, his words and messages resound in a unique manner to those who hear. His Eminence App. Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese has put together a program-remembrance which will inspire both young and old.
His Holiness Vazken I was elected and consecrated to the Apostolic seat of St. Thaddeus and the throne of St. Gregory the Illuminator, in 1955, becoming the 130th Catholicos of All Armenians. He ascended to the Catholicosate at a very treacherous time in the history of the Armenian Nation. The Cold War was in full swing, only 40 years early the Armenian people had experienced Genocide and for nearly as long the Soviets had set up residence in the small Republic of Armenia. Nevertheless, the young and brave Vazken I led the Apostolic Armenian Church and Armenian Nation with valor and courage, as he reflected the Graces of the Holy Spirit.
Today, as nations speak out against each other, as saber rattling becomes louder and noisier, the voice of the Venerable Patriarch can be heard, as a strong warning and call for World Peace.
“Now mankind has in its hands the strongest element of material power, namely, atomic energy. It can be used to further the cause of peace or to wage wars. The most urgent task facing our generation is to arouse in mankind enough moral force, whereby it will be possible to use this most potent material energy for the advancement of peace and human happiness, for the cause of feeding and enlightening the world.”
(Address to the 1977 Peace Conference)
And for the Armenian people he continues…
“The Armenian people, a victim of genocide, joins its voice and its cries the forces of peace with resolute determination, because it possesses the clear awareness that it can continue to survive as a people, as a country and as a church only in a peaceful world. The destiny of the people of Armenia depends on the preservation of peace, on the victory of the forces of peace. It is impossible to comprehend how any Armenian could think or act otherwise.” (Christmas Homily 1982)
You’re invited to attend evening and ‘Encounter Anew: Vazken I.” Snippets of the Patriarch’s speeches and messages will be presented, along with a short reflection from speakers. The program begins promptly at 7:30PM at the Western Diocese, Zoroyan Museum, 3325 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank. Admission is free and seating is on a first-come basis.