Anniversaries are great opportunities to reflect in prayer and in solitude on our personal lives or on a given institution.
Our initial feeling is that of wholehearted gratitude to the Almighty granting us the the precious gift of life and for those visionary individuals who have been the reason of the institution’s prosperity.
For us and undoubtedly for the Diocesan clergy and lay people, the 95th anniversary of the Western Diocese is an invitation to self-reflection, to research and study the history of the Western Diocese and to gain a perspective for the future. The Western Diocese celebrates its 95th anniversary this year. According to historical documents, the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of North America was officially established in 1898 by the Pontifical Encyclical of His Holiness Mkrtich I Khrimian. Later, in 1927, as the Armenian population in the Western United States began to grow and expand and taking into consideration numerous other circumstances, the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America was established by the Pontifical Encyclical of His Holiness Kevork V Sureniants.
During the course of 95 years, the religious mission of the Western Diocese begins to thrive with the formation of a number of new communities and institutions.
The Western Diocese further expanded as a result of an influx of immigrants from the Middle East due to political instability and civil unrest, and from Armenia due to economic uncertainty, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
We are blessed to witness that the missions of the Western Diocese continue to thrive and expand. Attesting to this fact is the construction of new churches, the founding of national institutions, whose purpose is the preservation of the Armenian identity through an indestructible bridge connecting to the Motherland and Holy Etchmiadzin.
Today, we stand before new challenges. However, we shall not stumble but rather remain resolute in our vision. We shall continue to enrich our lives remaining with callings and obligations.
It is the time to renew our faith life. Let us beseech God’s presence in our lives in order that we may truly live in accordance with the teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As Ambassadors of Christ, we shall:
- Bring the faithful closer to God, guiding them on the path of righteousness
- Establishing the Church as the true House of God, wherein the faithful will bear God’s love and wisdom.
- Ensuring that faith, prayer, and the orthodox lifestyle accompanies new priests throughout their life’s journey as they spiritually prepare to shepherd the flock of Christ.
- In parallel with the preparation of new priests, to provide Christian education to the laity, regardless of age, ensuring professionalism and perpetuity in the process.
- Reject modern-day trends with echoing spiritual messages in order to contribute to the growth of the expression of God’s love in the hearts of the faithful.
- We ought to reform our church. By reform, we do not mean the condensing or altering our heritage, as was the case with the Western “Reformation-Protestant” movement. Rather we are referring to the presentation, interpretation and sharing of our traditions and moral values with the faithful.
- Lastly, we are obliged to return to our roots and work tirelessly and relentlessly, for we must give our account to the Lord for our stewardship.
Motherland Armenia, as our homeland, is the center of our history and culture. Holy Etchmiadzin, as the God-established spiritual center of our people, has instilled in our hearts the calling of our ancestors to live “for Christ and for the Motherland.”