The Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America marked the Diocesan Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian’s 35th anniversary of ordination into the sacred order of the priesthood and his 25th anniversary of elevation to the rank of bishop on Sunday, October 25, 2015. His Eminence Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, His Eminence Archbishop Yeprem Tabakian, His Grace Bishop Mushegh Babayan, the Very Rev. Fr. Dajad Dz. V. Yardemian, Archpriest Fr. Yeghia Hairabedian and Archpriest Fr. Sipan Mekhsian participated in the service. The Rev. Fr. Khajag Shahbazyan, the Rev. Fr. Krikor Zakaryan and the Cathedral’s deacons and acolytes served alongside the Primate at the Holy Altar.
From the Holy Altar, His Grace Bishop Mushegh Babayan read the Pontifical Message of Blessing and Commendation of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians addressed to the Diocesan Primate on the auspicious occasion.
“Beloved Archbishop Derderian, from the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin we extend to you our Pontifical blessings and convey to you our genuine wishes on the occasion of your 35th anniversary of ordination into the Priesthood and your 25th anniversary of elevation to the rank of bishop. During our Pontifical Visits to the Western Diocese have witnessed the dedication and zeal with which you serve. We commend your enthusiasm and your enduring love for Christ’s flock, the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Western Diocese,” wrote His Holiness in part.
In his homily, the Primate, who was the day’s celebrant at St. Leon Armenian reflected Cathedral, reflected on his pastoral ministry. “For thirty five years, I have tried to emulate our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in leading His flock toward righteousness… In doing so, I have experienced times of extreme spiritual gratification and there had been challenging moments as well. However, my pastorate and service in the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church has revolved around preaching the Gospel of Christ our Lord and serving the Armenian people,” stated His Eminence in part. Archbishop Derderian recalled the mentorship role of His Holiness Vazken I, the late Catholicos of All Armenian on his ministry. The Primate expressed his wholehearted gratitude to His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians for his leadership, guidance and support, praying for the health of the Pontiff. “It has been a blessing to serve alongside the Diocesan clergy, my Brothers in Christ, for you have inspired and motivated me throughout the years. I ask for your continued prayers.”