Meet Our Partners: The Armenian Diocese of Canada
This week we are featuring our sponsors, the Armenian Diocese of Canada. Considered “the main consolidating organization of the community spread from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific,” the Armenian Diocese of Canada plays an invaluable role in the robust, faithful Armenian community spread across the nation.
The first members of the Armenian community arrived in Canada between 1880 and 1890, with the first documented settler arriving in Ontario in 1887. Since then, Armenian immigrants have settled in cities across the nation. Today, the total Armenian Canadian population is around 100,000.
The Armenian church has been active in Canada since the first Armenian community members set foot on Canadian soil, erecting their first church building in 1930. In November 15, 1980, His Holiness Vasken I, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, officially authorized the creation of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of Canada and on September 3, 1983, the first Diocesan Assembly of the Canadian diocese convened at Toronto’s Holy Trinity Church. Today, there are sixteen parishes across the country.
The history of the Armenian Diocese of Canada is never far from the memory of the faithful church of today. Notes Chancellor Levon Isakhanyan, “Armenia is the first country to adopt Christianity as its state religion in 301 AD and the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church founded by the Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew, with Holy Etchmiadzin as its spiritual center, is the heart of the Armenian people. Since the establishment of the Armenian Church, its mission has been to preach the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and to proclaim its message of salvation through worship, education, witness, service and common life in Christ as expressed in the distinctive faith-experience of the Armenian people.”
Armenian Canadians remain committed to their founding, missional vision. “The Armenian Diocese of Canada with His Grace Bishop Abgar Hovakimyan, the Primate, as its Head and the representative of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians in Canada, is called to implement this mission from coast to coast across Canada,” Isakhanyan states.
The Armenian Diocese of Canada sees Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation as an opportunity to celebrate the arts, community, and the vibrancy of their faith community. Reports Isakhanyan, “The Armenian Diocese of Canada has highlighted the importance of the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the Confederation through a number of specific activities.
In May, the Diocesan Canadian Armenian Association for the Performing Arts, under the auspices of Bishop Abgar Hovakimyan, organized a concert dedicated to the 150th Anniversary of Canada, featuring rising stars in Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church of Toronto, ON. In August, the Diocesan annual camp “Ararat” will gather youth in Ameliasburg, ON, coming from all the parts of Canada, to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Canada, and to reflect on the next 150 years of peaceful coexistence in the Canadian multicultural society.”
The Armenian Diocese of Canada has played an invaluable role in contributing to the Faith in Canada 150 initiative. Isakhanyan enthuses: “We are proud and thankful that the Armenian Diocese was able to support the Faith in Canada 150 Project and to co-sponsor the Sesquicentennial Gala in Ottawa on June the 30th. Furthermore, Rev. Archpriest Zareh Zargarian, Diocesan Vicar, Parish Priest of Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church of Toronto, has become a member of the Cabinet of Canadians and through this important forum the Diocese contributes to the work of the Cabinet. Deacon Dr. Levon Petrosyan, participated in the Faith in Canada 150 Millennial Summit on behalf of the Diocese.”
As the Armenian Diocese of Canada looks towards the future and reflects on their partnership with the Faith in Canada 150 initiative and their fellow Alliance members, a desire to emphasize the role of love in shaping a hopeful future is important. Notes Isakhanyan “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
To learn more about the work of the Armenian Diocese of Canada, visit: http://www.armenianchurch.ca/
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