Posted on February. 9. 2019
BY APPO JABARIAN
EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER/MANAGING EDITOR
USA ARMENIAN LIFE MAGAZINE
On Saturday December 15, in Etchmiadzin, Armenia, several peaceful Armenian protesters were
subjected to bullying and physical violence at the hands of Catholicos Garegin II’s body guards, corrupt
members of clergy, other loyalists and thugs.
According to several eyewitnesses and media reports in Armenia, The ‘defenders’ of Garegin II
hurled eggs, sewer liquid and animal waste at protesters under the watchful eyes of local police force
which was only ‘capable’ of serving as a human wall between the peaceful protesters and pro-Garegin II
thugs. Watch the YouTube video at https://youtu.be/PPCcmvi-yF0 . The video shows violent attack of
pro-Garegin II thugs against peaceful protesters. (The title of the video is trnslated from Armenian to
Enbglish as follows: Garegin’s insidious order. An assault by bandits against the people).
The next day, Sunday Dec. 16, in far away Los Angeles, Western Diocese-based corrupt supporters of
both Catholicos and widely disliked Primate Arch. Hovnan Derderian resorted to bullying tactics against
peaceful protesters in Burbank, California in front of the Western Diocese.
Starting at 12:30 PM, God-fearing Los Angeles Armenian Americans who had began to openly revolt
against corruption not only in Armenia but also here at the Western Diocese, continued to circulate a 15-ft
truck for the 17th day featuring protest banners that demand the resignation of corrupt Catholicos Garegin
II and no less corrupt Primate of Western Diocese Arch Hovnan Derderian.
A few minutes after the protest banner truck’s arrival in front of the Diocese and lawful parking at the
curbside, a number of individuals from inside the Diocese compound walked toward the sidewalk at 3325
North Glenoaks Boulevard in Burbank and collectively started taking videos of the truck and the driver-
protester, me, in a gesture to intimidate him.
One individual from among Diocese’s supporters who attracted the most attention was a bearded man
in black robe. He looked like a priest that I had seen at many events at the Western Diocese.
Upon closer look, I recognized him as being Rev. Manouk Markaryan.
Arch. Derderian’s ally, Rev. Manouk began talking down blurting out harsh expressions hurled at the
protester. He was clearly aiming at bullying the protester psychologically.
Of course many members of the community know Rev. Manouk as a highly controversial and widely
disliked priest of Hollywood’s St. John Garabed Church on Vine Street. Many people knew of the fact
that Markaryan was formerly defrocked as a priest in Armenia by late Catholicos of All Armenians
Vasgen I of Holy Etchmiadzin.
Has Arch. Derderian secured in Rev. Manouk a hooligan and a bully besides being a potential partner
in purported misappropriation of funds within the Diocese? Rev. Manouk seems to be joined by son
Harout Markaryan, in his questionable partnership with Arch. Derderian.
According to numerous reliable sources, Arch Derderian is implicated in several acts of immorality
and corruption on Diocesan level. And now it seems that he also systematically axes good-natured and
good- spirited priests and laypeople that refuse to be involved in acts of corruption and replaces them with
corrupt priests and operatives that are willing to go out of their way to please him. Is this Derderian
Just like many priests who have been railroaded and sacked by primate Arch. Derderian, couple years
ago Rev. Datev Tatoulian was axed and unfairly fired from his position as a longtime priest who had
earned the admiration of his flock in San Diego, California.
Back in May, 2016, Micah Jendian, an active member of Western Diocese, submitted a formal
complaint The Diocesan Council. The complaint was clearly and extensively outlined in three documents
amounting to 11 pages.
In The Official Complaint, Micah Jendian, Deacon at the church and Associate Professor of English –
Professional Development Co-Coordinator
at Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District stated: “The Diocese
appears to have not – despite numerous requests – adequately protected Der Datev (Tatoulian), Yeretzgin
(Mrs. Tatoulian), and the members of the parish against the threats of physical and lethal violence
espoused in the letters of Ani Lanuza.”
Deacon Jendian continued: “Over the last 2 1D 2 years, Der Datev (especially), Yeretzgin, and a few
members of the parish have endured repeated harassment, intimidation, and attempts of humiliation;
Many believe and are of the opinion that The Primate’s relationship with the St. John Garabed Trust Fund
Committee and its financial dealings are in conflict and questionable.”
In late May, 2016, concerned members of Western Diocese circulated several documents pointing to
highly corrupt Arch. Derderian. In one of the segments they wrote: “After all, who today remembers
many of the priests of the Armenian Church of North America, Western Diocese?” The answer:
(Der=Rev.) Der Arshag, Der Artoon, Der Ashoghig, Hary Asbed, Hayr Baret, Hary Dajad, Der Datev,
Der Hovsep, Der Kevork, Der Nareg, Der Sipan, Der Tavit, Der Vartan, Der Vazken, Der Zaven!
Who remembers them?
The concerned members stated: “Their families and their former parishioners remember them
and how “[e]ach one” of these priests used “whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully
administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Pet. 4:10). Many of their parishioners will never forget
how these priests sacrificially worked to draw them nearer to
God, touched their lives, shared their grief, and celebrated with them their joys. Who else
remembers?” An arrow shows to the globe with the following inscription: “World-Wide-Web!”
The Complaint ends on the following note: “Given the seriousness and gravity of this information –
and the appropriateness of the Primate being held accountable for his actions/inactions – one of the three
courses of action reasonably follows: 1) His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian tenders his
resignation from his position as Primate of the Armenian Church of North America, Western Diocese, or;
2) The delegates of the 2016 Diocesan Assembly entertain a motion which calls for the Primate’s
removal, or – at the very least; 3) The delegates of the 2016 Diocesan Assembly entertain a motion to
designate a Court of
Clergy — made up of retired Diocesan Clergy, to investigate the Primate’s conduct in what has
transpired in San Diego.”
How did Arch. Derderian manage to stay as Primate?
Reportedly, he manipulated the church by-laws, rules and regulations so that he can unfairly
accumulate more power at the expense of the general membership. His grab of absolute power is widely
viewed as undermining the Armenian Apostolic Church’s millennia-old democratic tradition. He has
managed to satiate his thirst for power through unilateral confiscation of the rights of dozens of laypeople
who had dared to criticize his corrupt ways. “Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely” as is noted in
Now, one can see why Los Angeles protestors have added to their demands for Catholicos Garegin
II’s resignation, Arch. Hovnanian’s non-negotiable departure. Some are even calling for his defrocking as
The worldwide protest against corruption, nepotism, and in some cases even child molestation within
Armenian Apostolic Church’s certain segment of the clergy continues to gain new momentum. The wave
of protest erupted in Armenia several years ago is rapidly spreading to the far corners of Armenian
On the heels of the 2018 velvet revolution that swept from office the previous regime of former
President Serge Sargsyan and brought to power Nikol Pashinyan and his movement, anti-corruption
activists in Armenia, turned their attention to now-dysfunctional Armenian Apostolic Church. They
constitute the Armenian Church Reform in Armenia and they have created a slogan (“Nor Hayastan, Nor
Hayrapet”) “New, Armenia, New Catholicos,” to pursue the replacement of the widely unpopular Garegin
In the case of Los Angeles Armenian Americans, several God-fearing Armenians of the Southland,
not only joined Armenian Church Reform global movement, demanding the resignation of corrupt
Catholicos Garegin II, but they are also voicing their strong disapproval of no less corrupt Primate of
Western Diocese Derderian.
Several years ago, an Armenian Canadian friend – a leading member of Armenian Diocese of Canada
who was visiting Los Angeles at a time when Arch. Derderian had just propelled himself to the position
of primate by orchestrating the ouster of his boss, Former Primate of Western Diocese Vatche Hovsepian,
personally told me: “Good riddance for us, for having succeeded in expelling Arch Derderian from his
position as Primate of Armenian Diocese of Canada and to Western Diocese (WD).”
At that time, having known too little about the new WD Primate Derderian, I couldn’t fully grasp the
magnitude of what I was told.
But as time progressed, and as several active members at the Western Diocese started opening up
confidentially, a floodgate opened pointing to not just few but several episodes of corruption at the
Diocese under Arch. Derderian.