Dr. Vagharshak Pilossyan calls on ANCA-WR to postpone presenting “Khrimian Hayrig” Award to Arch. Hovnan Derderian until serious charges against him are cleared
Posted on October. 5. 2019
On Thursday Oct. 3, 2019 Dr. Vagharshak Pilossyan elaborated on the reasons stating that he finds such a decision as premature in the light of persistent media reports on Arch. Derderian’s chain of wrongdoings. Dr. Pilossyan reported that he called the ANCA-WR headquarters and told them he was surprised that the ‘committee’ awarding Arch. Der-derian is unaware of numerous wrongdoings by the proposed recipient.
Below interview was conducted by USA Armenian Life Magazine
USA ARMENIAN LIFE: Dr. Pilosyan, we learned today that you have telephoned the office of the Armenian National Committee of America Western USA (ANCA-WR), regarding the organiza-tion’s decision to present Arch. Hovnan Derderian with the ANCA-WR “Khrimian Hayrig” Award. Can you tell our readers a bit about what transpired?
DR. PILOSYAN: I received an invitation from the ANCA. I respect them. They do a great job. We are all proud of ANCA’s accomplishments in service of the Armenian Cause. But after reading the invitation, I also read reports in “USA Armenian Life” about the recipient of ANCA-WR Khrimian Hayrig Award whose name (Arch. Hovnan Derderian) is constantly coming up in newspaper reports. In a strange way, this person (Derderian) has kept silent, and does not respond to the accusations levelled against him not just by people but also by the (American) courts. There are even suspicions that he has secretly been involved in dark dealings that carry the element of crime.
When I saw that the ANCA had invited Arch Derderian to award him with the Khrimian Hayrig Award, honestly, I was upset and called the ANCA office and said: “If you don’t read the USA Armenian Life, and are not aware of US judge’s ruling about the Archbishop’s behavior, his acts, and deeds, then I would like to advise you to acquaint yourselves with his record and then decide whether or not to give him the award. I said “I am not against presenting him with an award,” but at least postpone the presentation as this man is accused of a lot of crimes. And I have not seen him (Derderian) speak before the people and at least claim “You know what, half of the accusations are lies or all of them are absolute lies.”
It is unfortunate that the individual (Derderian) is clearly seen as a non-spiritual. He is well-read and intelligent. I have seen and read some of his books and articles. He is clearly a well-prepared intellectual person.
But … his personality shows through his actions that he is not spiritual (void of Soul), but he is occupying a position. … The truth is that we are spiritual people with a Soul, and since 301 AD, when our nation embraced Christianity through St. Gregory the Illuminator, we have been guided by the principle that we should love one another, be forgiving toward one another, and that spirituality has sanctified our nation; really led the nation forward and helped us emerge stronger from numerous challenges.
Please allow me to mention the words of an Italian saint, “O, Lord, make me an instrument that spreads your goodness.” When I hear this expression, I feel that our archbishop (Derderian) doesn’t hear or feel this call. I do not see that he is spreading goodness. He is even doing the opposite. He doesn’t even seem to know that before His crucifixion, Christ even forgave his crucifiers. But this man (Derderian) is resorting to punishments (and vindictiveness against good hearted believers).
I would have liked for him to talk about his steps (to remedy the situation). I would have liked that the respectable executive committee of ANCA-WR to acquaint themselves with the fact that the proposed honoree (Derderian) has been involved in such lawsuits and deeds which he has concealed; such acts that he has covered up. Allowe him to speak and to explain himself to you. I think, Khrimian Hayrig’s soul will cheer from above: “It’s so good that you have not given the award carrying my name to an unworthy man.”
But if and when he cleanses himself, I too will come and congratulate him for that award. I think that this is inopportune time. He is involved in lawsuits and is engaged in very dark deeds. It is a shame that Khrimian Hayrig’s (Patriarch Khrimian’s) name is associated with such a man. Please re-evaluate and reconsider your decision. Take your time, let him (Derderian) clear his name. What do the words “saint,” “pure,” and “holy” mean? (and addressing his remarks to Arch. Derderian, Dr. Pilossyan continued:) The second word: purify yourself. But you keep silent about the articles written about you during several months and you get up to make a speech. It’s all about brain. I want to see your soul. Afterall, you’re occupying a place where Spirituality must be the guiding power, yet I feel you’re not maintaining its Holy Presence. You have alienated yourself from It.
This is just a sobering talk. My respects to the ANCA, and to you, Archbishop, but I beg you to provide answers to the charges levelled against you. You are in a position where silence is unacceptable. If you keep on relying on your mental ability, I will shut my ears. I want to know whether you have committed a crime or not. Are you guilty or not guilty? Is everything said about you false, despite the judge’s decision?
USA ARMENIAN LIFE: What did the ANCA WR office say about the facts you presented?
DR. PILOSYAN: I just told them that I would have liked to participate in the ANCA-WR Gala along with several colleagues and friends, but when I saw that the Archbishop would be given a Khrimian Hayrig Award, I honestly felt that the ANCA is either not reading the newspapers or were not aware of the judge’s verdict, or that certain dark forces had acted in such a way that a sacred organization like ANCA-WR has been penetrated by an unholy individual who – on top everything else, is receiving such an award. I would like you to reconsider your decision. If it turns out that he is innocent, I will come and I will be present. But I feel that you are ignoring the newspaper reports, the persistent information that are now in wide circulation; and especially the court ruling on this person. He is silent. Why is ANCA-WR also silent? “Armenian Cause” must remain pure and spotless. That is the only way to proceed forward, because life moves forward in tune with the Truth. Please don’t tarnish our Cause. Give the Archbishop enough time so that he can clear up the charges against him. If he is innocent, my respects to him. If he is guilty, let him go, there are many worthy other men.
They agreed that they would forward my request to “the Executive Committee.” And I responded, “How come until now, they didn’t know what I was telling them. Haven’t they read the newspapers? The ANCA-WR representative said: “I Can’t answer your question.” But, I said “Please remember to read Armenian Newspaper reports”.
This is not just my personal concern, it is a national vital issue and such distortions are damaging our Cause. The power is in the spirituality. But this man is moving in the opposite direction. The situation in the Church is, unfortunately, so demoralizing and disempowering for our people.
USA ARMENIAN LIFE: I am certain that there are many concerned Armenians in your circle. Are they aware about this scandalous and disgraceful situation?
DR. PILOSYAN: There are many, many of them. They see. They read. They notice what is going on. This is like the Soviet Union, when the leadership enjoys some advantage (over the people) it absolutely doesn’t give any accounting to the people because they think they’re the so-called chosen ones.
What can I say! I am not against the Archbishop receiving this award. But please, verify the accusations levelled against him; the court ruling against him. Is he right or not? Why is he so silent about the accusations? Why is he accepting the award? What would such an award mean to a clergyman? What kind of praise do you need to receive if you are a devotee/servant of God? And why does he not give up? Because he feels good about such earthly things. I didn’t ask him: Did he refuse or not? Because I don’t think there would be any award in his name would be justified. I don’t think so. But he feels good about it just like his leader. It’s not good for the nation. Remember th saint’s words: “O, Lord, make me an instrument of spreading your goodness.”
And if you feel that today’s occupant of that chair is in compliance with this principle, and you’re able to persuade me, I’ll come and applaud.