Sex and Hovnan Derderian: As a Celibate Priest, Derderian has broken his own religious vows!
Posted on April. 7. 2019
BY APPO JABARIAN EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER/MANAGING EDITOR USA ARMENIAN LIFE MAGAZINE
An article, titled “SHOCKING SCANDAL IN ARMENIAN CHURCH” listing the names of homosexual clergymen within the Armenian Apostolic Church originally appeared on September 5, 2018 on an Armenia-based website shame.am. It was subsequently published on other sites such as infosarm.ru, newsbloger.pro, imarmenia.pro in latter part of 2018. The original version of the Shame.am investigative article was reprinted in Armenian language on Jan. 25, 2019 in USA Armenian Life Magazine’s sister publication Hye Kiank Armenian Weekly. The editorial offices were bombarded by telephone calls from several readers of English-language USA Armenian Life Magazine complaining about the absence of the English version of the same article. And now, USA Armenian Life presents the translated version of that article on page E2 of this issue. The list of homosexual clergymen featured 20 such individuals, and Hovnan Derdarian’s name consistently occupied the prominent no. 2 spot. Who is Hovnan Derderian? Named Vahram at his baptism, Derderian was born on December 1, 1957 in Beirut, Lebanon. The Western Diocese website features an incomplete bio of Derderian. Reportedly, in late 1960’s, at the ages of 11-12, when Vahram Derderian’s sexual orientation reportedly became known to his own family and neighbors, he was whisked away from the street-playgrounds and the school that he was attending and he was swiftly placed in a religious seminary order to hide his homosexuality under the cover of celibate priesthood? Did his family attempt to hide his homosexuality by rushing him to the theological seminary of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Lebanon? Did he get expelled in 1975 from the all-male seminary of the Cilician Catholicosate, in Bikfaya, Lebanon because he was caught in a sexual act with another male student? At the time when he was accepted into the Kevorkian seminary of Holy See of Etchmiadzin, The Catholicosate of All Armenians had shortage for young seminarians. In 1980, upon completion of his studies at the Kevorkian seminary and being ordained as a celibate priest he was renamed Hovnan. Had Hovnan Derderian been a layperson and leading his personal and sexual life according to his desired orientation, it would have been a non-issue. But the fact that he has voluntarily accepted the religious vow of celibate priesthood “not to engage into any kind of sexual relationship or act,” has caused grave concern among Armenian Church members not just in Canada where he has a tarnished record but also elsewhere. In Armenian Church, celibate priests are supposed to be role models of morality and spirituality at all times, and must steer away from material or any type of personal gains as well as worldly and physical pleasures, specifically because he is not just another layperson. He has vowed to be a celibate priest! For nearly four decades he has been maintaining the façade of an honest celibate priest in the Armenian Church. Celibacy is a special category of priesthood – a higher level of spiritual servants in Armenian Church who voluntarily devote their entire being, life and personal resources to the noble goal of perpetually serving God-fearing faithful as long as they maintain their record and conduct intact as celibate priests. USA Armenian Life Magazine editorial staff respects the basic human rights of Freedom of Choice. It is up to each and every layperson to decide his/her sexual orientation. To the members of Armenian Apostolic Church, it vitally important that we respect the sexual orientation rights of others however it is categorically unacceptable when a celibate priest breaks his own religious vows to abstain from any kind of sex, period! In Armenian Church, a celibate priest is highly regarded upon as a self-sacrificing; self-devoting priest who voluntarily gives up on his right to engage into any kind of sexual relationship whether it is heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual. The Armenian Apostolic Church prohibits all celibate priests from getting married. And in return, celibate priests get to receive elevation in spiritual rankings moving up from the rank of Very Reverend to Bishop, Archbishop and Patriarch. Only a celibate priest can be democratically elected to such high positions as Vicar, Vicar General or Primate of a Diocese in Armenia and Diaspora. Celibate priests also have a monopoly on being elected as Patriarch of a Patriarchate (in Constantinople or Jerusalem). And ultimately only a celibate priest can be elected to the highest position in Armenian Church as Catholicos of All Armenians (Pope) occupying the Pontifical Throne at the Holy See of Etchmiadzin, Armenia. However, Armenian Church does allow a celibate priest to voluntarily ask for demotion to the level of married priesthood as Der Hayr who can be allowed to enter into a heterosexual-only marriage and form a family. By converting his religious status to married priesthood, a celibate priest automatically gives up on the opportunity for elevation in spiritual rankings. (Presently this article writer does not intend to express an opinion on the viability of such system in modern times. That topic can be discussed another time.) Married priests are not allowed to be elected as primate of a diocese by a diocesan assembly; or be elected as Catholicos (Pope) by a (World) National Assembly through a process called pontifical election. But a shocking number of dishonest individuals masquerade as celibate priests in order to reap the bonuses of celibate priesthood without really being true to their religious vows. All these PINO’s – Priests In Name Only, must resign. And if they refuse to do so, the Armenian Church’s diocesan religious councils should move to defrock them in earnest for the sake of saving the crumbling Armenian Church. As for Hovnan Derderian, he should recognize that he is not fit to serve as a spiritual servant, let alone as spiritual leader not just in Western Diocese but anywhere. He should be defrocked and be made to return to civilian life and live any lifestyle that he chooses.