The Western Diocese » The Armenian Apostolic Church in the United States 1898-2007 » Structure of the Western Diocese
Structure of the Western Diocese
On May 3, 2003 the delegates of the Western Diocese elected a new Primate, His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian. In the short time since his election, the Diocese has undergone major changes in its levels of organization, thus becoming more efficient and capable of catering to the various needs of the community.
Clergy conference and establishment of its auxiliary bodies
For the first time within the Western Diocese, a quarterly Diocesan Clergy Conference was established. The two-day conferences have their own archives, records and related correspondence. Along with the Clergy Conference the following committees were created:
Clergy Executive Body. This committee meets once a month to evaluate issues that have been discussed during the conferences.
Clergy Recruitment Committee. The task of this committee is to evaluate and select candidates for the Order of Priesthood. With a sufficient number of clergy, the Western Diocese will be taken to a higher level. All new clergy who are called to serve within the Diocese will need a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree and M. Div. degree. A series of lectures and workshops will be scheduled on a regular basis, to ensure that we stay in touch with the needs of the community.
Diocesan Council and Subcommittees
The Primate maintains a healthy relationship with the Diocesan Council, thus ensuring the efficient implementation of projects and goals.
The following structures serve under the care of the Diocesan Council. The Primate presides over these meetings.
New Parishes and Assignments of Clergy. Beginning in May 2003 new parishes were added to the Western Dioceses, along with new assignments of clergy, which are presented below. The Diocesan Parishes were in need of restructuring in many aspects: clarification of geographic boundaries, parish size, assignment of clergy and assistant clergy, restructuring of pastoral missions. The wellbeing of the Diocese is dependent upon parishes and clergy. The prosperity of a community is dependent mainly upon the presence of the pastor and partial visitations are not sufficient to form a community.
Pastoral assignments have also been made to hospitals, homes for the aged, and prisons. We have made new assignments and in time we will make more assignments, especially in communities within the Greater Los Angeles Area.
Diocesan Headquarters, Offices, Staff and New Circumstances. The Diocesan Headquarters, as the executive mechanism that represents the Diocese, was estructued, so that efforts may be more fruitful, and to also be able to reach new accomplishments.
Diocesean Organizations, Denominations, Newspapers, and Schools
Community Organizations and Newspapers. Since his election the Primate invites the organizations of the community and the newspapers to the Diocese every three months, to present to them his activities, schedule and report. The main purpose for this is to inform the community of the Primate's activities and at the same time have the opportunity to put forth suggestions and questions.
Schools and Visitations in the Headquarters. The Primate puts forth a considerable effort to personally meet the students of every Armenian school, invite them to the Diocese, and maintain an active relationship with them
Denominations and Ecumenical Life. Our relations with other have reached a new level from the perspective ecumenical life. In the near future a permanent committee will be established within the Armenian denominations, which will create beneficial circumstances for the communities. Regarding the ecumenical movement, the Diocese has expanded its mission on a few levels: the religious Leaders' Meeting is held on a monthly basis. For several years Archpriest Fr. Arshag Khatchadourian has been representing the Diocese at the Southern California Ecumenical Council Churches and currently he is the president of the Council. The Western Diocese is also represented in the Christian Council of Churches. And recently the Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches was formed, which convenes every three months.
Cathedral Building Project and Plans for New Churches within the Diocese
In March 2004, together with the Diocesan Council, the Cathedral Building Committee was formed. Plans are already under way for the construction of the Mother Cathedral.
The Diocese and the Holy Mother See of Etchmiadzin
The ties between the Diocese and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin are strengthened daily. Through the arrangements of His Holiness, all Dioceses of the Armenian Church, including the Western Diocese, receive communiqué from the Mother See. In turn, the Mother See also receives communiqué from the Western Diocese.
Since its establishment in 1898 the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America continues to serve its faithful and provide them with spiritual nourishment. As our society and the Armenian community enter into a new age, the Western Diocese will persist in keeping up with the growing and ever-changing needs of the faithful, at the same time maintaining and strengthening its ties with inter-community ecumenical and lay leaders.