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His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, named Vahram at his baptism, was born on December 1, 1957 in Beirut, Lebanon.
1970: At the age of 13, Vahram attended the theological seminary of the Cilician Catholicosate, in Bikfaya; Lebanon and graduated from the seminary in 1975.
1976: He traveled to Etchmiadzin, Armenia to continue his theological studies at the Gevorkian seminary.
1980: Vahram completed his studies at the Gevorkian seminary. He was ordained as a celibate priest by His Holiness Vasken I, Catholicos of All Armenians, and was renamed Hovnan. In the same year, by the recommendation of His Holiness Vasken I, Very Rev. Father Hovnan travelled to Oxford University, England, to enhance his studies in the theological field.
1983: Upon graduating from the Oxford Theological School, Very Rev. Father Hovnan obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Theology. In the same year, he retuned to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and began teaching the following subjects; Armenian Church History, General Church History and liturgical music. In addition to his teaching assignments, he worked on his doctoral thesis in theology, by comprising an in-depth study on the topic, "Guides to Church Feasts."
1984: Very Rev. Father Hovnan is elevated to the rank of a Vartabed (Doctor of Theology). During the same year, he was appointed pastor of the Holy Trinity Armenian Church in Toronto, Canada. He served the Toronto community for the following 6 years. Through his efforts, the Armenian Church Youth Organization of Canada (ACYOC) was re-established and became an active and vibrant group.
1987: Very Rev. Father Hovnan organized the consecration of the newly built church, which was conducted by His Holiness Vazken I. In addition, he received a Master's Degree in Theology from Oxford University. Also, on the occasion of the conferment of the rank of Dzairakuyn Vartabed, he presented and published a work entitled "A Practical Manual of Pastoral Theology."
1990: On May 25-26, during the meeting of Diocesan Delegates held in St. Catharine's, Ontario, Very Rev. Father Hovnan Derderian was elected Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of Canada. On October 7, in the Cathedral of St. Etchmiadzin, he was ordained and consecrated as a Bishop by His Holiness Vasken I.
1993: February 18, His Grace was elevated to the rank of Archbishop by His Holiness Vazken I.
1995: His Eminence was re-elected as Primate of the Armenian Church of Canada for his second term.
2000: His Eminence was re-elected as Primate of the Armenian Church of Canada for his third term.
2003: On May 3, His Eminence was elected as the Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America by the 76th Annual Assembly.
2004: Archbishop Hovnan Derderian consecrates St. Kevork Armenian Apostolic Church in Glendale. Changes are implemented in the Diocesan structure. A younger generation of professional Diocesan staff is hired.
2005: His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians pays Second Pontifical Visit to the Western Diocese and presides over the official opening ceremony of the “Aga-Sargsyan” Library of the Diocese. The Christian Education Department of the Western Diocese is formed. “The Voice of the Armenian Church” television program is launched.
2006: On January 29-30 the Kirkjan Family Hall of the Armenian Church of the Desert is dedicated. The Office of Executive Director is created in efforts to effectively plan and execute out all administrative matters related to the Diocesan Headquarters. The architectural blue print of the Diocesan Cathedral is submitted.
2007: His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians presides over Groundblessing Ceremony of the Cathedral while on his Fourth Pontifical Visit to the Western Diocese. The Pontiff consecrates the newly constructed St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church in Pasadena. The Baidzar Terpanjian Bookstore of the Western Diocese opens its doors to the faithful.
2008: His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian ordains four priests into the Sacred Order of the Priesthood. The priests are Rev. Fr. Khajag Shahbazyan, Rev. Fr. Avedis Abovian, Rev. Fr. Nerses Hayrapetyan and Rev. Fr. Diran Avagyan. The vision of Archbishop Hovnan Derderian to bring together ACYO members from the Dioceses of the world is realized as ACYO youth gather for the first time in Holy Etchmiadzin.
2009: On May 1, Archbishop Derderian gets re-elected as the Primate of the Western Diocese for the second 7 years term by the 82nd Annual Diocesan Assembly. In the same year, Archbishop Derderian ordains Rev. Fr. Krikor Zakaryan into the Priesthood. The Primate consecrates St. Kevork Armenian Church in Portland, St. Apkar Armenian Church in Scottsdale and St. Sarkis Armenian Church in Santa Clarita. His Eminence receives official recognition from Oxford University.
2010: Construction efforts of St. Leon Armenian Cathedral are completed. The spiritual center of the Western Diocese is consecrated on September 11, 2010 by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. The Diocese celebrates the Primate’s 30th anniversary of Ordination into the Sacred Order of the Priesthood and the 20th anniversary of his elevation to the rank of Bishop. The “Zorayan Museum” opens its doors to the public.
2011: His Excellency Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Republic of Armenia, honors Diocesan Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian with the honorary medal of the second rank for services contributed to the Motherland.
2012: Primate consecrates St. Garabed Armenian Church in Rancho Mirage on January 7. Holy Resurrection Armenian Church in Seattle is consecrated by the Primate on January 14. On April 29, Archbishop Derderian ordained and consecrated Dn. Matthew Ash into the Sacred Order of the Priesthood renaming him Father Mesrop. On August 11, the Primate presided over the Blessing and Dedication ceremony of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Crescenta Valley. On October 20, the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the Armenian Church Complex of Las Vegas was held.
2013: Primate presides over the Blessing and Dedication ceremony of the new church property of St. James Armenian Church in Sacramento. On May 5, the Headquarters of the Western Diocese was renamed “Turpanjian Diocesan Building of the Western Diocese” in honor of the Turpanjian family. At the Primate’s initiative, on July 15, the Summer Camp of the Western Diocese was renamed after Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian. The year also marked the 10th anniversary of the Primacy of Archbishop Hovnan Derderian. In September, Archbishop Derderian was appointed by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians as the Chair of the 100th Anniversary of Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide Committee of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
2014: On June 17, Archbishop Hovnan Derderian was honored by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for his invaluable contributions to the Armenian nation while exemplifying the values of the American way of life. At the initiative of His Eminence, an ecumenical conference was organized to be held at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral. The conference was historic as it marked the first time in over six decades that it was held in Southern California. Ecumenists from the United States of America and Canada took part in the conference which was held from September 26-28.
2015: The Rev. Fr. Yeghishe Ksachikyan was ordained and consecrated into the Priesthood on January 25th. The Diocese marked the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide with a number of commemorative events at the local, state, and national levels. The Primate presided over the Blessing of the Foundation of the Armenian Church of Las Vegas. Western Diocese celebrates the Primate's 35th Anniversary of Ordination and Consecration into the Priesthood and 25th anniversary of his elevation to the rank of Bishop.
2016: On May 6, the Primate presided over the consecration of St. Geragos Armenian Church in Las Vegas, the host parish of the 89th Annual Diocesan Assembly. His Eminence obtained the vote of confidence during the Assembly as the delegates elected the Primate to serve for the third straight seven-year term. On the same day, His Eminence officiated the dedication ceremony of the Khenteer Tajirian Educational Center. On July 21, the Primate presided over the dedication ceremony of the Mesrop and Mariam Megerdichian Senior Living Center adjacent to St. Apkar Armenian Church in Scottsdale, Arizona. The senior living center is the first of its kind in the 90-year history of the Western Diocese to operate under the jurisdiction of the Western Diocese.
2017: The Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America marked its 90th anniversary of establishment. Under the Primate’s leadership, the newly established youth-based initiative Nerouj took flight. Monthly mixers were organized aimed at creating a networking mechanism for the youth. Another youth-based initiative namely the Archbishop Hovnan Derderian Scholarship Fund had a historic year allocating scholarships to local Armenian Schools. The Scholarship Fund Committee held its 5th Annual Banquet on April 7th. Since its inception, $200,000 in the form of scholarships had been allocated to the Scholarship’s “No Deserving Child Left Behind” initiative. On May 7th, the Primate presided over the dedication ceremony of the new embassy building of the Republic of Armenia in Mexico City. His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, with the participation of the Diocesan Primate, presided over the official dedication ceremony of the Turpanjian Seminary of Harichavank on June 19th. At the Primate’s initiative, Western Diocese partners with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles through the Agape Circle pledging $100,000 to benefit CHLA’s Vision Center, the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases, the Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit, the Literally Healing Program and the Interfaith Center. In the month of July, the Western Diocese partners with Starkey Hearing Aid Foundation during which $200,000 were collected for the Armenia Hearing Aid Mission. Over 1800 Hearing Aids were distributed to people coming from all parts of Armenia by the Starkey Hearing Foundation in the month of October. His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians paid his 5th Pontifical Visit to the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America from October 25 – November 3, 2017. Facilitated and organized by the Primate and Armenian Ambassador to Mexico Ara Ayvazyan, His Holiness paid his first-ever Pontifical Visit to the Diocese of the Armenian Church of Mexico on October 30, 2017. For the first time in history, the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America hosted the Supreme Spiritual Council Meeting presided by His Holiness Karekin II at the Diocesan Headquarters from November 1-3, 2017.
2018: On January 25, the Western Diocese partnered with the American University of Armenia in the creation of the AUA Summer Internship Program. On February 11, Nerouj hosted its Inaugural Mentorship Event attracting more than 200 Diocesan youth. With 500 worshippers in attendance, the Primate presided over the groundbreaking ceremony of the new church campus in San Diego on April 29, 2018. On April 30, the Primate presided over the groundbreaking ceremony of St. John Garabed Armenian Church of Hollywood. Little Angels Saturday School of St. Leon Armenian Cathedral was recognized as the largest Armenian Saturday School in the Diaspora in the month of May.As the spiritual director of the Pan-ACYO, the Diocesan Primate leads a group of 440 pilgrims to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in the month of July. In his address to the youth, the Primate called upon the future leaders of the Armenian Church around the world to strengthen their bond with the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and the Motherland. Ongoing construction projects in the Western Diocese include the construction of a new church at St. John Garabed Armenian Church of San Diego, the construction of a new church of St. John Garabed Armenian Church of Hollywood, the re-zoning project for assisted living at St. Apkar Armenian Church in Arizona, the construction of the church belfry and daycare center at Holy Apostles Armenian Church in La Crescenta and the construction of a chapel and a retreat center at the Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian Summer Camp. The Diocesan Primate attended the opening ceremony of the Secondary School named after Hovhannes Tumanyan in Artsakh on October 3, 2018. The school’s reconstruction was made possible through the generous donation of Diocesan benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Gerald and Patricia Turpanjian. On October 30 and November 1, 2018, the Primate presided over the Pan-ACYO Armenia’s Diocesan Representatives and for the first time ever, the University Student Council meetings.
2019: In July 2019, H. E. Abp. Hovnan Derderian was appointed by H.H. Karekin II, Catholicos of all Armenians, as the Chairman of the Fundraising Committee for the Renovation of the Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin. Shortly after his appointment and within a few months, Abp. Derderian initiated major fundraising on a global scale by personally visiting Armenian communities in South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Under the auspices of Abp. Hovnan Derderian, on July 23, 2019, the Parish Assembly of St. James Armenian Church of Sacramento acquired a much larger Church property for the growing needs of the local Armenian community. On October 20, 2019, Abp. Hovnan Derderian was presented the prestigious Khrimian Hayrig Award by the Western Region of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
2020: Beginning in March 2020, Archbishop Derderian has worked tirelessly with the Diocesan clergy to ensure the safety of his entrusted flock from COVID-19 pandemic. In May 2020, the construction of the new church sanctuary in San Diego (Del Mar) began. On June 08, 2020, the Western Diocese celebrated Abp. Hovnan Derderian’s 40th anniversary into the priesthood and the 30th anniversary of his elevation to the rank of bishop. On August 05, 2020, the day following the horrific explosion in Beirut, Abp. Derderian established a Diocesan-wide Humanitarian fund for the Armenian community of Beirut. Starting from the first day of Artsakh War, (September 27, 2020) Abp. Hovnan Derderian diligently advocated the Armenian cause with Ecumenical and Civic leaders. Abp. Derderian turned the Diocese into a major humanitarian center where people brought essential items, needed for the peaceful civilians who suffered from the Azerbaijani aggression. The Primate also organized several major fundraising events for the victims of the War. Additionally, Abp. Derderian has established a major humanitarian fund for displaced families of Artsakh.