ARTN TV Interviews investigative Journalist Appo Jabarian on Arch. Derderian of The Western Diocese
Posted on June. 29. 2019
WATCH ON YOUTUBE. Armenian-language version at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6A39Rkx4jXE&t=150s
On Monday June 24, ARTIN TV host Derenik Yapoujian invited Investigative Journalist Appo Jabarian for an open dialogue to discuss some issues concerning the massive corruption at the Western Diocese under the rein of Archbishop Hovnan Derderian. Derenik Yapoujian underlined the importance of an open discussion. It should be noted that the host invited Archbishop Hovnan Derderian and he declined. Text of the televised conversation: ARTN TV-DERENIK YAPOUJIAN: Greetings, I believe that it is a difficult task to be an investigative journalist – the holy grail of all journalism. Our guest has been navigating through criticism of the uninformed while bringing objective proof to those who need it the most – THE WELL-INTENTIONED UNAWARE GOOD PEOPLE within the community. Today’s guest has accepted this duty to inform the public with his investigative journalism. He recently investigated our church — the Western Diocese. As an investigative journalist, he has investigated the structure of the church. The professionalism, conscience and patriotism of a journalist becomes crucial in empowering him to bring to the surface important facts. Today’s guest invested a lot of time and energy to carry out his journalistic duty. Over the last several months, many of you may have heard stories. Now we have the opportunity to get to the facts from USA Armenian Life’s Managing Editor Appo Jabarian. Thanks for coming in. APPO JABARIAN: First and foremost, thank you for the invitation. ARTN TV-DERENIK YAPOUJIAN: I want to start here. “Investigative Journalist” – What Does it mean and how is he different from an ordinary Journalist, Mr. Jabarian? APPO JABARIAN: When an investigating journalist witnesses certain trends moving in the wrong direction, or is made aware of them by concerned members of the community, he takes his time before writing about it and assumes responsibility to properly investigate the facts ensuring that what he discovers corresponds to the truth in order to convey accurate information to his readers. He raises the awareness of the general public of threats to the health of a targeted organization or even collective interests of the wider community. ARTN TV-DERENIK YAPOUJIAN: In your weekly, you are strongly criticizing members of the church, their behavior and morals, starting with bribery to money laundering, and so on. How and where did this investigation begin? APPO JABARIAN: First and foremost, the accusations presented in my articles, are not directed against all members of the church; only those who have been directly involved in corruption … ARTN TV-DERENIK YAPOUJIAN: Sorry … They are proven by whom? By yourself or by the court, or by some other organization? APPO JABARIAN: They’re proven by the Court and also through evidence made available to me by my fellow community members. ARTN TV-DERENIK YAPOUJIAN: What are your specific accusations against this organization and its members? APPO JABARIAN: The focus of articles by USA Armenian Life and Hye Kiank Armenian Weekly is to unmask wrongdoings. ARTN TV-DERENIK YAPOUJIAN: What did you discover? APPO JABARIAN: For example, throughout the history of the entire Diocesan leadership at the Western Diocese of the United States starting from the 1920s until now, only in the last 15-16 years, such massive corruption and nepotism have occurred on the part of certain clergy who are also directly implicated in acts of lying, that are absolutely not appropriate for any spiritual servants. ARTN TV-DERENIK YAPOUJIAN: You can give a specific name? APPO JABARIAN: Yes, unfortunately, the names should be clearly stated. During the current reign of Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, the Diocesan Leadership of the Western United States lives in such a sad state. And my articles are not aimed at criticizing, they are aimed at revealing the truth. ARTN TV-DERENIK YAPOUJIAN: I want to inform you that I have personally called Archbishop Derderian today because we’ve been getting a lot of inquiries and telephone calls from our TV viewers concerning this subject. I invited him to the TV studio so he could talk about these issues and answer questions. However, Archbishop Derderian said that he cannot come; he is very busy; when he has time, he will call and we will definitely welcome him. We are anxious to hear his side of the case should Arch. Derderian decide to be present here. Please continue … APPO JABARIAN: Let’s focus on the newest period: In 2014, original American-Armenians had begun the Armenian Church Reform movement in Western United States, and that movement continues to this day criticizing Arch. Hovnan Derderian, who unjustly crossed and went beyond the limits of his authority. He is just a spiritual leader and NOT the all-powerful dictator who changes the By-Laws at his whims to fit his agenda. We should not forget that!!! The Armenian Apostolic Church is the only Christian institution in the world that has democracy and where the lay people have the right to voice their will in terms of management of the church affairs. For example, the Diocese is governed by the Diocesan Council, and the majority of the members of the Diocesan Council are lay people, and the parishioners or lay-members of different Western Diocese churches govern the church’s business affairs and they have the authority to hire or to dismiss a spiritual servant. In this case, in 2016, there is an infamous story that took place in San Diego. Rev. Father Datev Tatoulian, a pastor who was a beloved spiritual servant of the San Diego parish. Despite his 70 years of age, he was full of vigor and offered exemplary spiritual guidance and service to his flock. To the credit of Rev. Father Datev Tatoulian, he is a priest who was opposed to corruption. Arch. Hovnan Derderian overstepped his authority and unilaterally fired him from his pastoral position. Obviously, Arch. Derderian went beyond the limits of his authority. So, this became the reason why criticism against Arch. Derderian intensified, especially by the old-timer American-Armenians, and recently by all Armenians who are deeply troubled by Derderian’s actions. We shouldn’t forget that the classical Diaspora was able to maintain its identity, just like our own people in The Homeland, thanks to the church and its national upbringing. ARTN TV-DERENIK YAPOUJIAN: Mr. Jabarian, I’m not an investigative journalist, but I see luxury cars some of our spiritual fathers are driving and what kind of lifestyles they are maintaining. I don’t like it. When asked, they say “it’s as a gift and not a crime.” But the fact that you’re talking about Money Laundering, Bribery … these are already serious accusations against any human being. Now I would like you to talk more about it. Where do you see bribery, how can you prove it? Please convince us. APPO JABARIAN: Look, because our time is limited … I don’t think that even you invited me an hour each day for the next seven days, it would enough TO SHARE ALL THE FACTS. The examples of corruption are so diverse and multi-layered that it would hard to fit all of them in a 22-minute segment. So, let me bring just one example, the freshest that we all felt on our skin in the Los Angeles-Armenian community. Independently from the many articles that I wrote or published during the several preceding months and years in the USA Armenian Life and HYE KIANK Armenian Weekly, we’re fortunate that in this particular instance, the victim, in this case, Mr. Petros Taglyan, spoke up on the great injustice against him. ARTN TV: We are talking about financial injustice. APPO JABARIAN: Not only financial, but also fraud. Mr. Taglyan has been a major donor of the Armenian Apostolic Church for many years and they have trapped him in a huge scheme by way of inviting him to help the Hollywood St. John Garabed Church that experienced dire financial conditions. Arch. Hovnan Derderian’s representative in the Superior Court of California, Pastor Manouk Markaryan was declared a liar by the Judge! ARTN TV-DERENIK YAPOUJIAN: Wow! How many years did get for that? Did he get thrown in prison yet? APPO JABARIAN: He got caught lying in an open court to Judge Hammock of the Superior Court of California! ARTN TV: We’ll be back after a short break! … Dear friends, we’re back, our guest is USA Armenian Life and Hye Kiank Armenian Weekly newspapers’ Managing Editor Appo Jabarian. Welcome again, MR. JABARIAN: Your newspaper talks about the murder of Meruzhan Hartenyan, which you are linking again to the church. APPO JABARIAN: I am not linking him; I am just presenting the facts from several European and major news outlets including CNN that link him to the church. As an investigative journalist, my duty is to present only the facts. The fact is that Mr. Hartenyan had been caught smuggling illegal drugs from Colombia for the past few years before his assassination. Greek Police and the U.S. Federal Government’s Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) arrested him in Greece, and the proceedings continued. At the same time, Catholicos Karekin II appointed him as a member of the Diocesan Council of the Armenian Church in Greece and just before his assassination he was promoted to the position of the Chairman of the Diocesan Council. ARTN TV: What did he do to deserve being promoted? APPO JABARIAN: That’s a very good question. For many years, there were persistent information in circulation that the Catholicos of All Armenians, Karekin II, has been involved in money laundering and it’s an established that he is money-hungry and a womanizer. Of course, being interested in women is the right of any individual, but when you become a celibate priest you take celibacy vows, you have no right to have sex with any woman or someone else or even animals. ARTN TV: Hartenyan was killed in Greece. When was this? APPO JABARIAN: On June 3rd, if I’m not mistaken. ARTN TV: Wow that’s so recent. Who killed him? APPO JABARIAN: Since I do not know the exact details, I cannot talk about it. As you can see in the photos, Hartenyan also has close connection with the Constantinople Patriarchate’s Ateshian, who unjustly holds the seat of the Patriarch, and he himself is in close collaboration with the anti-Armenian Turkish Grey Wolves who perpetrated the genocide against Armenians. On this page Ateshian is see in close collaboration with the current Turkish president Erdogan. Similarly, the leader of the Turkish “Grey Wolves” recently appeared in Yerevan, capital of Armenia. As you may see in this copy of USA Armenian Life, Ateshian is seen with Karekin II. And Karekin II is seen with the leader of the Turkish “Grey Wolves” on the upper left part of the next page and in the lower part, Ateshian is seen with a fellow collaborator of Turkey, Arch. Hovnan Derderian. In the meantime, I must add, Ateshian and Derderian are accomplices who conspired in favor of the infamous anti-Armenian Turkish Protocols. The Turkish Protocols are detrimental to Diaspora along Armenians’ and Armenia’s national interests. The Turkish protocols aimed at undermining Armenia’s territorial claims against Turkey. Is this an act of treason against own nation or not? ARTN TV: If what you’re saying corresponds to reality, then yes. APPO JABARIAN: If you’re going to invite Archbishop Derderian I am ready to discuss these issues with him on the air. ARTN TV: With pleasure. We want to hear from both sides because it concerns bringing the truth to the surface. APPO JABARIAN: To keep his allies close to him, he is telling them that he will take me to court. Let him take me to court. I wish he takes me to court. It’s better for me to go to court than to be bullied by three men in an inhumane manner who came out of the Diocese hurling a death threat against me all caught on video in broad daylight on December 23. ARTN TV: You have been threatened with death. Have you reported this to the police? APPO JABARIAN: Yes, I have informed the Burbank Police Department, as well as the Glendale Police, and the Federal Government’s law enforcement authorities, that are already closely watching and have opened files on various issues and the case is in progress. ARTN TV: Mr. Jabarian, you are an investigative journalist, and now you are doing this work on a particular church and what is it that you’re trying to accomplish? When would you say that your journalistic mission is completed? What do you expect as a result? APPO JABARIAN: I can say that I have now fully witnessed the completion of my journalistic mission, because thousands of concerned Armenians are now fully aware of what’s going on. Let’s not forget that besides distributing thousands of copies of the print version, USA ARMENIAN LIFE Magazine and the Armenian-Language HYE KIANK ARMENIAN WEEKLY also have large weekly local, national and international electronic distribution. Both publications have a web E-BLAST system that sends the electronic weekly edition to over 180,000 e-mail addresses and USA Armenian Life Facebook page has close to 25,000 followers. If you visit, you will notice that hundreds of thousands of people read many of the articles published in USA Armenian Life Magazine. So, my journalistic mission seems to have reached its goal, but it turns out that with each passing day, new information and evidence is being brought to my attention. For example, recently there was such information on the Ararat Home of Los Angeles, which is a completely independent organization, that doesn’t belong to any party or any church denomination. The founders are mostly the Evangelical old timer American-Armenians, including the late Governor Deukmejian and his supporters. So, recently, I was informed that Archbishop Hovnan Derderian had penetrated through his proxies onto the Board of Trustees of Ararat Home and has suggested that Ararat Home invest millions of dollars to build a facility on a vacant land in the San Diego region owned by the Western Diocese and that facility would be similar to a new addition here in the Los Angeles main campus. And, to the credit of the important segment of the Board of Trustees of the Ararat Home, they carried out their fiduciary duty and rejected Arch. Derderian’s and former Diocesan Council Chairman Joseph Kanimian’s proposal. Several weeks ago, Kanimian and other proxies of Derderian were re-elected as chairman and members of the Board of Trustees of Ararat Home. At the moment I will not reveal their names, but in the future, members of the inner circle of Ararat Home told me if they have to, they’ll put into circulation the names of those proxies if they try to take over Ararat Home’s wealth despite the fact that Ararat Home does not belong to any Diocesan body, including the Cilicia Western Prelacy, and Etchmiadzin Western Diocese. Ararat Home does not belong to any one party. Ararat Home’s founding fathers and mothers struggled to create an Armenian assisted-living center that provides loving care and respect for our elderly people without any discrimination. ARTN TV: Mr. Jabarian, besides threatening to kill you, they are also publishing different articles against you; and are making cartoons. In other words, they’re trying to counter your investigative journalism. How do you react to that? APPO JABARIAN: I will leave that to the people’s judgment because our people are smart and wise and they value the truth. And these elements’ acts of chicanery do not affect me. I‘d like to liken myself to the Armenian Gampr guardian dog, you know the media as a whole is supposed to always be the watchdog of our society. So those who attack me, can liken people to anything they want. At the end, the people know who’s who. ARTN TV: But on the other hand, isn’t it clear that you’ve hit their painful points, and you have placed your finger on the right spot? APPO JABARIAN: It’s a very good question. At the beginning of December when I wrote few articles, I had no intention of continuing writing these articles for so many months, but when the death threat came, I spoke up about it and our compatriots became aware, we all started wondering as to what’s underneath their death threat against an investigative journalist? Let them hurl death threats against the entire Armenian people, because the Armenian people by the thousands, are pursuing Armenian Church reform and its liberation from the yoke of corrupted and abusive spiritual leaders, at the hands of Arch. Hovnan Derderian, Yezras of Moscow and Karekin II of Etchmiadzin. It would be far more productive if they didn’t make such meaningless video clips or hurl death threats, but in a civilized way, let them take me to court. And in a court law, if the articles that I write and details that I express do not correspond to the truth, I can be punished. America’s rule of law is very powerful. It protects our right of freedom of speech, but doesn’t give us the right to defame the character of a person making him a victim of false accusations. ARTN TV: Thank you, Mr. Jabarian, I congratulate you on your work as an investigative journalist. Please persevere in your investigative endeavors and remain fearless as you have been until now. APPO JABARIAN: Thank you. I’d like to take this opportunity to commend all the Ararat Home members and leaders, who have taken a principled position. On behalf of many readers of my article on Ararat Home, I would like to congratulate those highly principled members of Ararat Home Board of Trustees who have opposed the joint venture proposal by Archbishop Hovnan Derderian and Joseph Kanimian. In doing so, they have protected the highest interests of the Ararat Home. ARTN TV: Once again, I would like to invite Archbishop Hovnan Derderian (looking straight into the camera ARTN TV commentator Yapoujian stated into the camera): “When you have time to come here, we will give you airtime so that you too can express your opinion. APPO JABARIAN: Only one thing: If he comes and makes comments that do not reflect the truth, will I have the right to rebut? This is important. ARTN TV: Of course, everyone has the right to voice their opinion. Our main task is to enable all parties to talk and let the people decide, who is right and who is wrong. APPO JABARIAN: I agree, The Supreme Judge is the people.