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Primate Travels to Mexico – Meets with Armenian Ambassador, Reverend Clergy and Armenian-Mexican Community

At the invitation of His Excellency Grigor Hovhannissian, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Mexico and former Consul General of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles, Diocesan Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian traveled to Mexico on August 25th. During the four day visit, His Eminence met with Ambassador Hovhannissian, religious leaders, and members of the Armenian community. Archbishop Derderian had paid his first official visit to the community one year ago on the auspicious occasion of the Holy Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.***
Western Diocese
 of the Armenian Church

Primate Travels to Mexico – Meets with Armenian Ambassador, Reverend Clergy and Armenian-Mexican Community

At the invitation of His Excellency Grigor Hovhannissian, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Mexico and former Consul General of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles, Diocesan Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian traveled to Mexico on August 25th. During the four day visit, His Eminence met with Ambassador Hovhannissian, religious leaders, and members of the Armenian community. Archbishop Derderian had paid his first official visit to the community one year ago on the auspicious occasion of the Holy Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
On August 25, the Primate was visited by the Very Rev. Fr. Nektariy of the Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church with whom His Eminence has collaborated for over a decade. At the invitation of Fr. Nektariy, the Primate performed the Holy Easter service and the Remembrance of the Armenian Martyrs service at the Russian Orthodox Church during his first official visit to the community in 2013.
On August 26, the Primate, accompanied by Ambassador Hovhannissian, met with His Eminence Norberto Rivera Carrera, Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church of Mexico. On behalf of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, the Primate extended an official invitation to Cardinal Rivera Carrera to visit the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. In turn, the Ambassador Hovhannissian spoke in depth about the issue of Nagorno Karabakh and the recent diversionary tactics employed by the Azeri army. Cardinal Carrera expressed his gratitude to Ambassador Hovhannissian and Archbishop Derderian for their cordial visit and vowed to support the historical territorial existence of Artsakh. The meeting became more meaningful as Cardinal Carrera also gladly agreed to hold an official ecumenical service with the participation of religious and civic leaders in Mexico City in 2015 in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. After exchanging mementos, the religious leaders and the Ambassador took a memorable photo. 
On the same day, the Primate visited the Museum of Tolerance where he was greeted by Mrs. Sona Arakelian, granddaughter of Homenetmen leader Kerop Arakelian. Mrs. Arakelian, who works at the Museum of Tolerance had an influential role in the building of the museum in 1999.  At Arakelian’s initiative, Mexico City’s Museum of Tolerance has a special gallery dedicated to the Armenian Genocide. 
On August 27, the Primate met with His Eminence Metropolitan Antonio Chedraoui, Archbishop of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Mexico, Central America and Islands of the Caribbean. Archbishop Hovnan Derderian was accompanied by Ambassador Grigor Hovhannissian. The clergy discussed possible avenues of collaboration. Metropolitan Antonio Chedraoui also expressed his commitment to commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on the community level and promised to visit Armenia and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in the near future. 
On August 28, the Primate, accompanied by Ambassador Hovhannissian met with His Grace Bishop George Saad Abi Younes, Bishop of the Maronite community of Mexico. The meeting was held at the Lebanese Center in Mexico. The Primate spoke about Lebanon’s crucial role in the creation of the Armenian Diaspora following the Armenian Genocide and the displacement of the Armenian people. He reflected on the hospitality of the Lebanese people in welcoming the Armenians.    
In the afternoon, the Primate performed the Sacrament of Baptism in the Antiochian Orthodox Church, a significant event in the life of the community of Mexico.
Prior to the Primate’s departure following the baptism ceremony, His Eminence received a visit from His Excellency Eduard Malayan, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Mexico. 
In the evening, Archbishop Derderian took part in a reception hosted by Ambassador Grigor Hovhannissian and his spouse Victoria in honor of His Eminence. Held at the Armenian Embassy, the event was attended by prominent members of the Armenian-Mexican community. Following Ambassador Hovhannissian’s welcoming remarks, the Primate was invited to address the guests.

Firstly, His Eminence expressed his wholehearted gratitude to Ambassador Hovhannissian for the kind invitation and reception. The Primate recalled Ambassador Hovhannissian’s diplomatic achievements while serving as Consul General of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles. Archbishop Derderian also reflected on Ambassador Hovhannissian’s commitment to reaching out to the Armenian community and inviting them to the Motherland. In his remarks, the Primate spoke about the various meetings during his four-day pastoral visit and the important outcomes as a result. His Eminence commended the Ambassador’s active role in the overall livelihood of Mexico’s Armenian community.    

The Primate also spoke about the exceptional organization of the community life and important mission of appointing a Pastor to serve the community. To realize this mission His Eminence noted the importance of a structured body within the community.

It is worthwhile noting that Ambassador Hovhannissian is committed to organizing a number of cultural events which include exhibitions dedicated to Armenian Literature, the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the establishment of an Armenian School and others.

The history of the Armenian community of Mexico dates back to the early 17th century, to the 1620s. Today, it is evident that although small in number, the community is in search of its roots and aims to preserve the national identity. The success of their mission will largely be due to the active role of their Ambassador.    

California State Senate Recognizes the Independence of Artsakh
On Wednesday, August 27, 2014, the California State Senate passed AJR-32 recognizing the independence of Artsakh and formally calling upon the President and Congress to support the self-determination and democratic independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. The vote follows a similar decision by the California State Assembly on May 8.

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