The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region announced that His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America will be honored with the Khrimian Hayrig Award at this year’s Annual Gala Banquet. The gala will take place on Sunday, October 20, at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA.
The award, first given in 2011 to Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, is given by the ANCA-WR to clerical figures who have dedicated their lives in service to the Armenian Nation and Cause, in the spirit of the award’s inimitable namesake. Other recipients of this award have been Archbishop Parkev Martirosyan, Primate of the Diocese of Artsakh, and Very Reverend Joseph D. Matossian, Minister to the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America.
“The Khrimian Hayrig Award represents an acknowledgment of exemplary service and devotion to the Armenian people by a religious leader. Archbishop Derderian, for decades, has personified this special type of commitment to the Armenian Nation and has collaborated closely with the ANCA-WR to advance the Armenian Cause,” remarked ANCA-WR Chair Nora Hovsepian, Esq. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to honor such a deserving leader with this special award.”
Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian was born in 1957 in Beirut, Lebanon and graduated from the theological seminary of the Cilician Catholicosate in Bikfaya, Lebanon in 1975. Continuing his theological studies in Etchmiadzin, Armenia, where he was ordained as a celibate priest by His Holiness Vasken I, Catholicos of All Armenians, he then attended Oxford University in England, ultimately earning his Master’s degree in Theology.
In 1990, Very Rev. Hovnan Derderian was elected Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of Canada, whereupon he was elevated to the rank of Bishop and, later, as Archbishop.
In 2003, Archbishop Derderian became Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, where he continues to serve. Throughout his tenure, Primate Derderian has overseen a vast expansion of the Western Diocese by consecrating new churches to serve local Armenian communities in Portland, Seattle, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Rancho Mirage, and Santa Clarita. In addition to consecrating a new church in Scottsdale, the Primate is also leading the construction of a Senior Living Center to serve the aging Armenian population there. In addition, the St. Leon Cathedral in Burbank was built under his supervision and consecrated in 2010 as the spiritual center of the Western Diocese by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. Showing his confidence in the Archbishop’s leadership abilities, the Catholicos also appointed him as Chair of the committee of the Armenian Apostolic Church to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and as head of the committee to oversee the renovation of the Mother Cathedral in Holy Etchmiadzin.
Recognizing the importance of cultivating and maintaining strong ties between the youth and the Church, Archbishop Derderian has also taken active steps to establish and expand numerous Saturday schools and Sunday schools, as well as an expansion of the Armenian Church Youth Organization, and the Nerouj program for youth empowerment and strengthening connections of young professionals with the Church.
In his capacity as leader of the Western Diocese, Archbishop Derderian has consistently joined his ecumenical brethren from the Western Prelacy, the Armenian Catholic Eparchy and the Armenian Evangelical Union in uniting all segments of the Armenian American community and its leading organizations in a structured environment of collaboration and cooperation. His aim has been to jointly pursue the rights and demands of the Armenian people, initially through the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee which organized the 166,000 strong March for Justice in Los Angeles, and continuing through to the most recent establishment of the Pan Armenian Council of the Western United States.
Each year, the ANCA-WR Annual Gala Banquet attracts over 1,000 attendees as it honors a variety of individuals who have served their community and their country with distinction. Past Gala honorees have included United States Senator Robert Menendez, Congressman Ed Royce, California Governor Jerry Brown, California Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon, California State Senator Anthony Portantino, California Majority Leader Walter Karabian, California Assemblymembers Katcho Achadjian and Paul Krekorian, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, artist Serj Tankian, and legendary late coach Jerry Tarkanian, among many others.
The ANCA-WR honorees for 2019 which have been announced thus far in addition to Archbishop Hovnan Derderian are U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu and Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. The Gala will also feature a special Tribute to lifelong benefactor and philanthropist Hacop Baghdassarian.
The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region is the largest and most influential nonpartisan Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues in pursuit of the Armenian Cause.