“Mission Churches = Falsified Delegates” Hovnan Derderian secured unconstitutional 7-year term renewal ‘Vote of Confidence’

Posted on February. 12. 2020

BY APPO JABARIAN
Executive Publisher / Managing Editor
USA Armenian Life Magazine
Hye Kiank Armenian Weekly

Recently, the editorial offices of USA Armenian Life received a statement from the supporters and members of “SAVE The Western Diocese from Arch. Derderian.”

The statement, titled “Mission Churches = Falsified Delegates,” underlined: “By establishing Mission Churches on paper that were maintained by visiting clergy once or twice a month…the primate was able to secured himself the extra votes needed of delegates from these mission churches, These so called mission churches raises serious issues regarding fraudulent ‘churches on paper’ that in reality do not exist yet ‘generate delegate votes favorable for Arch. Derderian. Thus, he was able to fraudulently secure a 7-term renewal during the 2016 vote of confidence held in Las Vegas.
The said violation of the Western Diocese By-Laws happened in Las Vegas during the 89th Annual Assembly of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America that convened on Friday, May 6, 2016 at The Armenian Church of Las Vegas. (Read report by Micah Jendian, Deacon, Alternate Delegate representing St. John Garabed Armenian Church San Diego.
The statement by “SAVE The Western Diocese from Arch. Derderian” raises serious issue regarding fraudulent ‘churches on paper’ that in reality do not exist but somehow ‘generate delegate votes favorable for Arch. Derderian.
One such ‘church on paper’ is St. John Garabed Armenian Church Hollywood. In or around 2016, St. John Garabed Armenian Church Hollywood was already demolished.
According to a Jan. 18, 2020 official notice, the United States Postal Service declares St. John Garabed Armenian Church Hollywood DOES NOT EXIST NO FORWARDING ADDRESS. (See Post Office notice on this page.)
In 1973 American Armenians with dedicated efforts purchased the Methodist Church and renamed it “St. John Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church”.
Located at 1201 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90038, the church functioned until 2016. The Diocese website notes that the last liturgy was held in 2016. If one drives by that address you will see vacant land where some foundation work has started but never completed. The incomplete initial work has been sitting idle for several months even though the churchless Pastor Manoug Markarian went around town in or around mid-2019 boasting that together with Arch. Derderian, he found a “new” major benefactor and the construction will soon resume and be completed.
Micah Jendian, an Alternate 2016 Delegate, wrote: “The May 13, 2016 Newsletter of the Western Diocese offers a glowing account of last weekend’s Annual Diocesan Assembly Meeting. It makes it sound like the Assembly Meeting was divinely inspired and grace filled. Readers would have no reason to believe that that wasn’t the case . . . unless, of course they were there. … Twice during the meeting, motions to bring the filed complaint against the Primate (See related article on page E4 and text of submitted complaint to Karekin II Catholicos of All Armenians on page E5) before the Assembly Delegates were denied. The delegate who made these motions was cut off, asked to sit down, and – as he continued to make his voice heard – threatened to be removed from the meeting. Oh my.”
M. Jendian continued: “Immediately before the Vote of (No) Confidence for the Primate, … delegates from parishes outside of San Diego asked why they weren’t permitted to hear about the complaint and from the delegate who brought forward the earlier motions. If now isn’t the time to discuss it, they asked, when was. Their inquiries were not entertained. The Vote went forward. 93 ‘Yes,’ 17 ‘No.’”
On May 10, 2016 “COMPLAINT REGARDING THE MAY 6, 2016 ASSEMBLY MEETING” was sent to Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, Vahe Derounian a Delegate and Deacon along with Micah Jendian, Alternate Delegate, St. John Garabed Armenian Church San Diego, jointly appealed: “I am writing to make you aware of a serious situation within the Armenian Church of North America, Western Diocese. With great respect, we urge you to consider recent actions at the Diocesan Assembly that require immediate attention from your Holiness in order to preserve the integrity of our Church.”
Jendian and Derounian also pointed out that Article III, Chapter II, Section 25 of the By-Laws of the Armenian Church of North America states that “A member having complaints against the legality of a Parish Assembly, its resolutions or elections shall first state his complaint at the time of the meeting to the Chairman, and if still dissatisfied, he shall then present the matter in writing, to the Primate for disposition within seven (7) days of the date of the meeting.”
They underlined: “The above section of the Bylaws appears equally applicable to complaints about the legality of a Diocesan Assembly. Accordingly, this letter presents a complaint – initially expressed ‘at the time of the meeting to the Chairman’ – regarding the Assembly Meeting of the Armenian Church of North America, Western Diocese which took place on May 6, 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada. This letter also presents additional complaints and concerns regarding irregularities both surrounding and in the facilitation of the May 6, 2016 Diocesan Assembly Meeting.
“I am writing to make you aware of a serious situation within the Armenian Church of North America, Western Diocese. With great respect, I urge you to consider recent actions at the Diocesan Assembly that require immediate attention from your Holiness in order to preserve the integrity of our Church. I submit this complaint as a Delegate who was present at the Assembly Meeting,” stated Jendian – an alternate Delegate of St. John Garabed Armenian Church of San Diego also present at the Assembly Meeting – who has chronicled much of the events in the San Diego parish.
The 2016 complaint was also carbon-copied to Arch. Hovnan Derderian, Primate, Western Diocese, Western Diocese Clergy Council Chair Archpriest Rev. F. Shnork Demirjian, Western Diocese Diocesan Assembly Chair Adrienne Krikorian, Esq, and Western Diocese Diocesan Council Chair Joseph Kanimian, Esq.
THE PRIMARY COMPLAINT filed by Jendian stated: “Although the Diocesan Council and Diocesan Assembly Chair and Officers knew – via correspondence dated May 3, 2016 and May 5, 2016 – that a complaint against the Primate had been submitted to the Diocesan Council in accord with the By-Laws, this information was withheld from the Assembly, the ‘representative body of the Parishes and the legislative body of the Diocese’ (Article IV, Chapter I – Diocesan Assembly, Section 59).”
Jendian noted: “Additionally and more specifically: 1. Prior to the Adoption of the Agenda at the Assembly Meeting, I made a motion to add as an agenda item under ‘Correspondence’ the May 3, 2016 and May 5, 2016 correspondence to the Diocesan Council regarding the submitted complaint. My motion was denied by the Diocesan Assembly Chair; 2. Prior to the Vote of Confidence for the Primate, I made a motion that the Diocesan Assembly be made aware of the formal complaint submitted to the Diocesan Council. This motion was likewise denied as well as were subsequent appeals (from Delegates of other parishes) for the complaint to be heard.”
Jendian pointed out: “VOTE OF CONFIDENCE PROCEDURAL IRREGULARITIES/CONCERNS, a) Prior to the Vote of Confidence, the total number of present delegates was not clearly stated; b) The Executive Director of the Diocese – Harout Markarian – was appointed as a member of the Balloting Committee. This has the appearance of a conflict of interest; c) The Vote of Confidence marked ballots were taken by the Executive Director [Pastor Manoug Markarian’s son Harout Markarian – Editor] outside of the Assembly Meeting room to be counted.”
Jendian also pointed out: “THOSE PERMITTED TO VOTE AND THOSE DENIED A VOTE: Article IV, Chapter I – Diocesan Assembly – Section 60(a) establishes that ‘the Diocesan Assembly shall consist [ . . . ] all Priests holding office under the jurisdiction of the Diocese.’ How this was interpreted raises additional concerns: 1) Two longstanding Clergy of the Diocese – Archpriests Rev. Fr. Kevork Arakelian and Rev. Fr. Vartan Kasparian received correspondence in which they were told that they were not permitted to vote, despite the fact that they are currently appointed as long-term Visiting Clergy of St. Sahag-Mesrob Armenian Church of Reedley. A letter to the Diocese which contested that ruling did not receive a response. These clergymen were denied what appears to be their right to vote; 2) Other Clergy of the Diocese – while not currently serving as Parish Priests or in other capacities – were also not permitted to vote at the Diocesan Assembly: Rev. Fr. Archpriest Datev Tatoulian, Hayr Dajad Yardemian, and Rev. Fr. Archpriest Nareg Matarian.”

Recently, the editorial offices of USA Armenian Life received a statement from the supporters and members of “SAVE The Western Diocese from Arch. Derderian.”
The statement, titled “Mission Churches = Falsified Delegates,” underlined: “By establishing Mission Churches on paper that were maintained by visiting clergy once or twice a month…the primate was able to secured himself the extra votes needed of delegates from these mission churches, These so called mission churches raises serious issues regarding fraudulent ‘churches on paper’ that in reality do not exist yet ‘generate delegate votes favorable for Arch. Derderian. Thus, he was able to fraudulently secure a 7-term renewal during the 2016 vote of confidence held in Las Vegas.
The said violation of the Western Diocese By-Laws happened in Las Vegas during the 89th Annual Assembly of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America that convened on Friday, May 6, 2016 at The Armenian Church of Las Vegas. (Read report by Micah Jendian, Deacon, Alternate Delegate representing St. John Garabed Armenian Church San Diego.
The statement by “SAVE The Western Diocese from Arch. Derderian” raises serious issue regarding fraudulent ‘churches on paper’ that in reality do not exist but somehow ‘generate delegate votes favorable for Arch. Derderian.
One such ‘church on paper’ is St. John Garabed Armenian Church Hollywood. In or around 2016, St. John Garabed Armenian Church Hollywood was already demolished.
According to a Jan. 18, 2020 official notice, the United States Postal Service declares St. John Garabed Armenian Church Hollywood DOES NOT EXIST NO FORWARDING ADDRESS. (See Post Office notice on this page.)
In 1973 American Armenians with dedicated efforts purchased the Methodist Church and renamed it “St. John Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church”.
Located at 1201 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90038, the church functioned until 2016. The Diocese website notes that the last liturgy was held in 2016. If one drives by that address you will see vacant land where some foundation work has started but never completed. The incomplete initial work has been sitting idle for several months even though the churchless Pastor Manoug Markarian went around town in or around mid-2019 boasting that together with Arch. Derderian, he found a “new” major benefactor and the construction will soon resume and be completed.
Micah Jendian, an Alternate 2016 Delegate, wrote: “The May 13, 2016 Newsletter of the Western Diocese offers a glowing account of last weekend’s Annual Diocesan Assembly Meeting. It makes it sound like the Assembly Meeting was divinely inspired and grace filled. Readers would have no reason to believe that that wasn’t the case . . . unless, of course they were there. … Twice during the meeting, motions to bring the filed complaint against the Primate (See related article on page E4 and text of submitted complaint to Karekin II Catholicos of All Armenians on page E5) before the Assembly Delegates were denied. The delegate who made these motions was cut off, asked to sit down, and – as he continued to make his voice heard – threatened to be removed from the meeting. Oh my.”
M. Jendian continued: “Immediately before the Vote of (No) Confidence for the Primate, … delegates from parishes outside of San Diego asked why they weren’t permitted to hear about the complaint and from the delegate who brought forward the earlier motions. If now isn’t the time to discuss it, they asked, when was. Their inquiries were not entertained. The Vote went forward. 93 ‘Yes,’ 17 ‘No.’”
On May 10, 2016 “COMPLAINT REGARDING THE MAY 6, 2016 ASSEMBLY MEETING” was sent to Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, Vahe Derounian a Delegate and Deacon along with Micah Jendian, Alternate Delegate, St. John Garabed Armenian Church San Diego, jointly appealed: “I am writing to make you aware of a serious situation within the Armenian Church of North America, Western Diocese. With great respect, we urge you to consider recent actions at the Diocesan Assembly that require immediate attention from your Holiness in order to preserve the integrity of our Church.”
Jendian and Derounian also pointed out that Article III, Chapter II, Section 25 of the By-Laws of the Armenian Church of North America states that “A member having complaints against the legality of a Parish Assembly, its resolutions or elections shall first state his complaint at the time of the meeting to the Chairman, and if still dissatisfied, he shall then present the matter in writing, to the Primate for disposition within seven (7) days of the date of the meeting.”
They underlined: “The above section of the Bylaws appears equally applicable to complaints about the legality of a Diocesan Assembly. Accordingly, this letter presents a complaint – initially expressed ‘at the time of the meeting to the Chairman’ – regarding the Assembly Meeting of the Armenian Church of North America, Western Diocese which took place on May 6, 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada. This letter also presents additional complaints and concerns regarding irregularities both surrounding and in the facilitation of the May 6, 2016 Diocesan Assembly Meeting.
“I am writing to make you aware of a serious situation within the Armenian Church of North America, Western Diocese. With great respect, I urge you to consider recent actions at the Diocesan Assembly that require immediate attention from your Holiness in order to preserve the integrity of our Church. I submit this complaint as a Delegate who was present at the Assembly Meeting,” stated Jendian – an alternate Delegate of St. John Garabed Armenian Church of San Diego also present at the Assembly Meeting – who has chronicled much of the events in the San Diego parish.
The 2016 complaint was also carbon-copied to Arch. Hovnan Derderian, Primate, Western Diocese, Western Diocese Clergy Council Chair Archpriest Rev. F. Shnork Demirjian, Western Diocese Diocesan Assembly Chair Adrienne Krikorian, Esq, and Western Diocese Diocesan Council Chair Joseph Kanimian, Esq.
THE PRIMARY COMPLAINT filed by Jendian stated: “Although the Diocesan Council and Diocesan Assembly Chair and Officers knew – via correspondence dated May 3, 2016 and May 5, 2016 – that a complaint against the Primate had been submitted to the Diocesan Council in accord with the By-Laws, this information was withheld from the Assembly, the ‘representative body of the Parishes and the legislative body of the Diocese’ (Article IV, Chapter I – Diocesan Assembly, Section 59).”
Jendian noted: “Additionally and more specifically: 1. Prior to the Adoption of the Agenda at the Assembly Meeting, I made a motion to add as an agenda item under ‘Correspondence’ the May 3, 2016 and May 5, 2016 correspondence to the Diocesan Council regarding the submitted complaint. My motion was denied by the Diocesan Assembly Chair; 2. Prior to the Vote of Confidence for the Primate, I made a motion that the Diocesan Assembly be made aware of the formal complaint submitted to the Diocesan Council. This motion was likewise denied as well as were subsequent appeals (from Delegates of other parishes) for the complaint to be heard.”
Jendian pointed out: “VOTE OF CONFIDENCE PROCEDURAL IRREGULARITIES/CONCERNS, a) Prior to the Vote of Confidence, the total number of present delegates was not clearly stated; b) The Executive Director of the Diocese – Harout Markarian – was appointed as a member of the Balloting Committee. This has the appearance of a conflict of interest; c) The Vote of Confidence marked ballots were taken by the Executive Director [Pastor Manoug Markarian’s son Harout Markarian – Editor] outside of the Assembly Meeting room to be counted.”
Jendian also pointed out: “THOSE PERMITTED TO VOTE AND THOSE DENIED A VOTE: Article IV, Chapter I – Diocesan Assembly – Section 60(a) establishes that ‘the Diocesan Assembly shall consist [ . . . ] all Priests holding office under the jurisdiction of the Diocese.’ How this was interpreted raises additional concerns: 1) Two longstanding Clergy of the Diocese – Archpriests Rev. Fr. Kevork Arakelian and Rev. Fr. Vartan Kasparian received correspondence in which they were told that they were not permitted to vote, despite the fact that they are currently appointed as long-term Visiting Clergy of St. Sahag-Mesrob Armenian Church of Reedley. A letter to the Diocese which contested that ruling did not receive a response. These clergymen were denied what appears to be their right to vote; 2) Other Clergy of the Diocese – while not currently serving as Parish Priests or in other capacities – were also not permitted to vote at the Diocesan Assembly: Rev. Fr. Archpriest Datev Tatoulian, Hayr Dajad Yardemian, and Rev. Fr. Archpriest Nareg Matarian.”

Additionally, Jendian noted: “3) Absent from the Diocesan Assembly were other Diocesan Clergy who appear to hold ‘office under the jurisdiction of the Diocese’ as employees of the Diocese. Did they receive letters similar to those received by Archpriests Rev. Fr. Kevork Arakelian and Rev. Fr. Vartan Kasparian? a) Very Rev. Fr. Sassoon Zumrookhdian [Had he just arrived from Armenia as a visitor at that time? – Editor] cast a vote despite the fact that he temporarily arrived to Las Vegas just a day or two before the Diocesan Assembly Meeting. … Another clergy member who just arrived to the Western Diocese also was permitted to vote; b) Duly-elected Diocesan Delegates in some parishes – it is said – were discouraged from attending or replaced. In other parishes, Parish Assemblies did not have the opportunity to elect their Diocesan Delegates as the By-Laws stipulate; instead delegates were selected/appointed outside the By-Laws Process by the Primate and/or the Diocesan Council. It is understood that this was especially the case in the St. Leon Parish, St. John Garabed of San Diego Parish, and many of the Mission Parishes [‘churches on paper’- editor].”
Jendian concluded: “Despite the fact that the complaint against the Primate was not heard, despite the controversy surrounding those who voted and were not permitted to vote, and despite the noted procedural irregularities, it seems worth noting that 15% of the delegates did vote ‘No Confidence.’”
It is now blatantly clear that even with the unauthorized votes and Harout Markarian’s taking the final ballot box outside the Assembly hall, there were still a serious opposition to Arch. Derderian.
Los Angeles-based Vosgan Mekhiatrian, an investigative journalist and author of books chronicling the state of affairs within the faith-based and community-based Armenian American organizations, wrote in a Jun. 13 2016 article: “For how long more these sickening and pathetic schemes will continue to pacify and deceive The People? Individuals are not the focus of our concerns, but electoral code violations that undermine the dignity of the Church and the devoted clergy. … Having in that the ‘Vote of Confidence’ took place a year before the end of the primate’s term in office, which is a very unusual phenomenon in our Church life, this move gives us the opportunity to announce that the 2016 Diocesan Assembly has preempted and undermined the 2017 Diocesan Assembly’s right and duty to elect a primate. Has anything like this ever seen before …? What a comedy!”
After everything is said and done to cure the serious problems within the Armenian Church Western Diocese raised by devoted individuals like Jendian, Derounian and many other concerned members; and after the departure of Derderian and his clansmen, Western Diocese will emerge as one of the healthiest community-based or faith-based Armenian organizations in the Diaspora.


The statement, titled “Mission Churches = Falsified Delegates,” underlined: “By establishing Mission Churches on paper that were maintained by visiting clergy once or twice a month…the primate was able to secured himself the extra votes needed of delegates from these mission churches, These so called mission churches raises serious issues regarding fraudulent ‘churches on paper’ that in reality do not exist yet ‘generate delegate votes favorable for Arch. Derderian. Thus, he was able to fraudulently secure a 7-term renewal during the 2016 vote of confidence held in Las Vegas.
The said violation of the Western Diocese By-Laws happened in Las Vegas during the 89th Annual Assembly of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America that convened on Friday, May 6, 2016 at The Armenian Church of Las Vegas. (Read report by Micah Jendian, Deacon, Alternate Delegate representing St. John Garabed Armenian Church San Diego.
The statement by “SAVE The Western Diocese from Arch. Derderian” raises serious issue regarding fraudulent ‘churches on paper’ that in reality do not exist but somehow ‘generate delegate votes favorable for Arch. Derderian.
One such ‘church on paper’ is St. John Garabed Armenian Church Hollywood. In or around 2016, St. John Garabed Armenian Church Hollywood was already demolished.
According to a Jan. 18, 2020 official notice, the United States Postal Service declares St. John Garabed Armenian Church Hollywood DOES NOT EXIST NO FORWARDING ADDRESS. (See Post Office notice on this page.)
In 1973 American Armenians with dedicated efforts purchased the Methodist Church and renamed it “St. John Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church”.
Located at 1201 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90038, the church functioned until 2016. The Diocese website notes that the last liturgy was held in 2016. If one drives by that address you will see vacant land where some foundation work has started but never completed. The incomplete initial work has been sitting idle for several months even though the churchless Pastor Manoug Markarian went around town in or around mid-2019 boasting that together with Arch. Derderian, he found a “new” major benefactor and the construction will soon resume and be completed.
Micah Jendian, an Alternate 2016 Delegate, wrote: “The May 13, 2016 Newsletter of the Western Diocese offers a glowing account of last weekend’s Annual Diocesan Assembly Meeting. It makes it sound like the Assembly Meeting was divinely inspired and grace filled. Readers would have no reason to believe that that wasn’t the case . . . unless, of course they were there. … Twice during the meeting, motions to bring the filed complaint against the Primate (See related article on page E4 and text of submitted complaint to Karekin II Catholicos of All Armenians on page E5) before the Assembly Delegates were denied. The delegate who made these motions was cut off, asked to sit down, and – as he continued to make his voice heard – threatened to be removed from the meeting. Oh my.”
M. Jendian continued: “Immediately before the Vote of (No) Confidence for the Primate, … delegates from parishes outside of San Diego asked why they weren’t permitted to hear about the complaint and from the delegate who brought forward the earlier motions. If now isn’t the time to discuss it, they asked, when was. Their inquiries were not entertained. The Vote went forward. 93 ‘Yes,’ 17 ‘No.’”
On May 10, 2016 “COMPLAINT REGARDING THE MAY 6, 2016 ASSEMBLY MEETING” was sent to Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, Vahe Derounian a Delegate and Deacon along with Micah Jendian, Alternate Delegate, St. John Garabed Armenian Church San Diego, jointly appealed: “I am writing to make you aware of a serious situation within the Armenian Church of North America, Western Diocese. With great respect, we urge you to consider recent actions at the Diocesan Assembly that require immediate attention from your Holiness in order to preserve the integrity of our Church.”
Jendian and Derounian also pointed out that Article III, Chapter II, Section 25 of the By-Laws of the Armenian Church of North America states that “A member having complaints against the legality of a Parish Assembly, its resolutions or elections shall first state his complaint at the time of the meeting to the Chairman, and if still dissatisfied, he shall then present the matter in writing, to the Primate for disposition within seven (7) days of the date of the meeting.”
They underlined: “The above section of the Bylaws appears equally applicable to complaints about the legality of a Diocesan Assembly. Accordingly, this letter presents a complaint – initially expressed ‘at the time of the meeting to the Chairman’ – regarding the Assembly Meeting of the Armenian Church of North America, Western Diocese which took place on May 6, 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada. This letter also presents additional complaints and concerns regarding irregularities both surrounding and in the facilitation of the May 6, 2016 Diocesan Assembly Meeting.
“I am writing to make you aware of a serious situation within the Armenian Church of North America, Western Diocese. With great respect, I urge you to consider recent actions at the Diocesan Assembly that require immediate attention from your Holiness in order to preserve the integrity of our Church. I submit this complaint as a Delegate who was present at the Assembly Meeting,” stated Jendian – an alternate Delegate of St. John Garabed Armenian Church of San Diego also present at the Assembly Meeting – who has chronicled much of the events in the San Diego parish.
The 2016 complaint was also carbon-copied to Arch. Hovnan Derderian, Primate, Western Diocese, Western Diocese Clergy Council Chair Archpriest Rev. F. Shnork Demirjian, Western Diocese Diocesan Assembly Chair Adrienne Krikorian, Esq, and Western Diocese Diocesan Council Chair Joseph Kanimian, Esq.
THE PRIMARY COMPLAINT filed by Jendian stated: “Although the Diocesan Council and Diocesan Assembly Chair and Officers knew – via correspondence dated May 3, 2016 and May 5, 2016 – that a complaint against the Primate had been submitted to the Diocesan Council in accord with the By-Laws, this information was withheld from the Assembly, the ‘representative body of the Parishes and the legislative body of the Diocese’ (Article IV, Chapter I – Diocesan Assembly, Section 59).”
Jendian noted: “Additionally and more specifically: 1. Prior to the Adoption of the Agenda at the Assembly Meeting, I made a motion to add as an agenda item under ‘Correspondence’ the May 3, 2016 and May 5, 2016 correspondence to the Diocesan Council regarding the submitted complaint. My motion was denied by the Diocesan Assembly Chair; 2. Prior to the Vote of Confidence for the Primate, I made a motion that the Diocesan Assembly be made aware of the formal complaint submitted to the Diocesan Council. This motion was likewise denied as well as were subsequent appeals (from Delegates of other parishes) for the complaint to be heard.”
Jendian pointed out: “VOTE OF CONFIDENCE PROCEDURAL IRREGULARITIES/CONCERNS, a) Prior to the Vote of Confidence, the total number of present delegates was not clearly stated; b) The Executive Director of the Diocese – Harout Markarian – was appointed as a member of the Balloting Committee. This has the appearance of a conflict of interest; c) The Vote of Confidence marked ballots were taken by the Executive Director [Pastor Manoug Markarian’s son Harout Markarian – Editor] outside of the Assembly Meeting room to be counted.”
Jendian also pointed out: “THOSE PERMITTED TO VOTE AND THOSE DENIED A VOTE: Article IV, Chapter I – Diocesan Assembly – Section 60(a) establishes that ‘the Diocesan Assembly shall consist [ . . . ] all Priests holding office under the jurisdiction of the Diocese.’ How this was interpreted raises additional concerns: 1) Two longstanding Clergy of the Diocese – Archpriests Rev. Fr. Kevork Arakelian and Rev. Fr. Vartan Kasparian received correspondence in which they were told that they were not permitted to vote, despite the fact that they are currently appointed as long-term Visiting Clergy of St. Sahag-Mesrob Armenian Church of Reedley. A letter to the Diocese which contested that ruling did not receive a response. These clergymen were denied what appears to be their right to vote; 2) Other Clergy of the Diocese – while not currently serving as Parish Priests or in other capacities – were also not permitted to vote at the Diocesan Assembly: Rev. Fr. Archpriest Datev Tatoulian, Hayr Dajad Yardemian, and Rev. Fr. Archpriest Nareg Matarian.”

Recently, the editorial offices of USA Armenian Life received a statement from the supporters and members of “SAVE The Western Diocese from Arch. Derderian.”
The statement, titled “Mission Churches = Falsified Delegates,” underlined: “By establishing Mission Churches on paper that were maintained by visiting clergy once or twice a month…the primate was able to secured himself the extra votes needed of delegates from these mission churches, These so called mission churches raises serious issues regarding fraudulent ‘churches on paper’ that in reality do not exist yet ‘generate delegate votes favorable for Arch. Derderian. Thus, he was able to fraudulently secure a 7-term renewal during the 2016 vote of confidence held in Las Vegas.
The said violation of the Western Diocese By-Laws happened in Las Vegas during the 89th Annual Assembly of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America that convened on Friday, May 6, 2016 at The Armenian Church of Las Vegas. (Read report by Micah Jendian, Deacon, Alternate Delegate representing St. John Garabed Armenian Church San Diego.
The statement by “SAVE The Western Diocese from Arch. Derderian” raises serious issue regarding fraudulent ‘churches on paper’ that in reality do not exist but somehow ‘generate delegate votes favorable for Arch. Derderian.
One such ‘church on paper’ is St. John Garabed Armenian Church Hollywood. In or around 2016, St. John Garabed Armenian Church Hollywood was already demolished.
According to a Jan. 18, 2020 official notice, the United States Postal Service declares St. John Garabed Armenian Church Hollywood DOES NOT EXIST NO FORWARDING ADDRESS. (See Post Office notice on this page.)
In 1973 American Armenians with dedicated efforts purchased the Methodist Church and renamed it “St. John Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church”.
Located at 1201 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90038, the church functioned until 2016. The Diocese website notes that the last liturgy was held in 2016. If one drives by that address you will see vacant land where some foundation work has started but never completed. The incomplete initial work has been sitting idle for several months even though the churchless Pastor Manoug Markarian went around town in or around mid-2019 boasting that together with Arch. Derderian, he found a “new” major benefactor and the construction will soon resume and be completed.
Micah Jendian, an Alternate 2016 Delegate, wrote: “The May 13, 2016 Newsletter of the Western Diocese offers a glowing account of last weekend’s Annual Diocesan Assembly Meeting. It makes it sound like the Assembly Meeting was divinely inspired and grace filled. Readers would have no reason to believe that that wasn’t the case . . . unless, of course they were there. … Twice during the meeting, motions to bring the filed complaint against the Primate (See related article on page E4 and text of submitted complaint to Karekin II Catholicos of All Armenians on page E5) before the Assembly Delegates were denied. The delegate who made these motions was cut off, asked to sit down, and – as he continued to make his voice heard – threatened to be removed from the meeting. Oh my.”
M. Jendian continued: “Immediately before the Vote of (No) Confidence for the Primate, … delegates from parishes outside of San Diego asked why they weren’t permitted to hear about the complaint and from the delegate who brought forward the earlier motions. If now isn’t the time to discuss it, they asked, when was. Their inquiries were not entertained. The Vote went forward. 93 ‘Yes,’ 17 ‘No.’”
On May 10, 2016 “COMPLAINT REGARDING THE MAY 6, 2016 ASSEMBLY MEETING” was sent to Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, Vahe Derounian a Delegate and Deacon along with Micah Jendian, Alternate Delegate, St. John Garabed Armenian Church San Diego, jointly appealed: “I am writing to make you aware of a serious situation within the Armenian Church of North America, Western Diocese. With great respect, we urge you to consider recent actions at the Diocesan Assembly that require immediate attention from your Holiness in order to preserve the integrity of our Church.”
Jendian and Derounian also pointed out that Article III, Chapter II, Section 25 of the By-Laws of the Armenian Church of North America states that “A member having complaints against the legality of a Parish Assembly, its resolutions or elections shall first state his complaint at the time of the meeting to the Chairman, and if still dissatisfied, he shall then present the matter in writing, to the Primate for disposition within seven (7) days of the date of the meeting.”
They underlined: “The above section of the Bylaws appears equally applicable to complaints about the legality of a Diocesan Assembly. Accordingly, this letter presents a complaint – initially expressed ‘at the time of the meeting to the Chairman’ – regarding the Assembly Meeting of the Armenian Church of North America, Western Diocese which took place on May 6, 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada. This letter also presents additional complaints and concerns regarding irregularities both surrounding and in the facilitation of the May 6, 2016 Diocesan Assembly Meeting.
“I am writing to make you aware of a serious situation within the Armenian Church of North America, Western Diocese. With great respect, I urge you to consider recent actions at the Diocesan Assembly that require immediate attention from your Holiness in order to preserve the integrity of our Church. I submit this complaint as a Delegate who was present at the Assembly Meeting,” stated Jendian – an alternate Delegate of St. John Garabed Armenian Church of San Diego also present at the Assembly Meeting – who has chronicled much of the events in the San Diego parish.
The 2016 complaint was also carbon-copied to Arch. Hovnan Derderian, Primate, Western Diocese, Western Diocese Clergy Council Chair Archpriest Rev. F. Shnork Demirjian, Western Diocese Diocesan Assembly Chair Adrienne Krikorian, Esq, and Western Diocese Diocesan Council Chair Joseph Kanimian, Esq.
THE PRIMARY COMPLAINT filed by Jendian stated: “Although the Diocesan Council and Diocesan Assembly Chair and Officers knew – via correspondence dated May 3, 2016 and May 5, 2016 – that a complaint against the Primate had been submitted to the Diocesan Council in accord with the By-Laws, this information was withheld from the Assembly, the ‘representative body of the Parishes and the legislative body of the Diocese’ (Article IV, Chapter I – Diocesan Assembly, Section 59).”
Jendian noted: “Additionally and more specifically: 1. Prior to the Adoption of the Agenda at the Assembly Meeting, I made a motion to add as an agenda item under ‘Correspondence’ the May 3, 2016 and May 5, 2016 correspondence to the Diocesan Council regarding the submitted complaint. My motion was denied by the Diocesan Assembly Chair; 2. Prior to the Vote of Confidence for the Primate, I made a motion that the Diocesan Assembly be made aware of the formal complaint submitted to the Diocesan Council. This motion was likewise denied as well as were subsequent appeals (from Delegates of other parishes) for the complaint to be heard.”
Jendian pointed out: “VOTE OF CONFIDENCE PROCEDURAL IRREGULARITIES/CONCERNS, a) Prior to the Vote of Confidence, the total number of present delegates was not clearly stated; b) The Executive Director of the Diocese – Harout Markarian – was appointed as a member of the Balloting Committee. This has the appearance of a conflict of interest; c) The Vote of Confidence marked ballots were taken by the Executive Director [Pastor Manoug Markarian’s son Harout Markarian – Editor] outside of the Assembly Meeting room to be counted.”
Jendian also pointed out: “THOSE PERMITTED TO VOTE AND THOSE DENIED A VOTE: Article IV, Chapter I – Diocesan Assembly – Section 60(a) establishes that ‘the Diocesan Assembly shall consist [ . . . ] all Priests holding office under the jurisdiction of the Diocese.’ How this was interpreted raises additional concerns: 1) Two longstanding Clergy of the Diocese – Archpriests Rev. Fr. Kevork Arakelian and Rev. Fr. Vartan Kasparian received correspondence in which they were told that they were not permitted to vote, despite the fact that they are currently appointed as long-term Visiting Clergy of St. Sahag-Mesrob Armenian Church of Reedley. A letter to the Diocese which contested that ruling did not receive a response. These clergymen were denied what appears to be their right to vote; 2) Other Clergy of the Diocese – while not currently serving as Parish Priests or in other capacities – were also not permitted to vote at the Diocesan Assembly: Rev. Fr. Archpriest Datev Tatoulian, Hayr Dajad Yardemian, and Rev. Fr. Archpriest Nareg Matarian.”

Additionally, Jendian noted: “3) Absent from the Diocesan Assembly were other Diocesan Clergy who appear to hold ‘office under the jurisdiction of the Diocese’ as employees of the Diocese. Did they receive letters similar to those received by Archpriests Rev. Fr. Kevork Arakelian and Rev. Fr. Vartan Kasparian? a) Very Rev. Fr. Sassoon Zumrookhdian [Had he just arrived from Armenia as a visitor at that time? – Editor] cast a vote despite the fact that he temporarily arrived to Las Vegas just a day or two before the Diocesan Assembly Meeting. … Another clergy member who just arrived to the Western Diocese also was permitted to vote; b) Duly-elected Diocesan Delegates in some parishes – it is said – were discouraged from attending or replaced. In other parishes, Parish Assemblies did not have the opportunity to elect their Diocesan Delegates as the By-Laws stipulate; instead delegates were selected/appointed outside the By-Laws Process by the Primate and/or the Diocesan Council. It is understood that this was especially the case in the St. Leon Parish, St. John Garabed of San Diego Parish, and many of the Mission Parishes [‘churches on paper’- editor].”
Jendian concluded: “Despite the fact that the complaint against the Primate was not heard, despite the controversy surrounding those who voted and were not permitted to vote, and despite the noted procedural irregularities, it seems worth noting that 15% of the delegates did vote ‘No Confidence.’”
It is now blatantly clear that even with the unauthorized votes and Harout Markarian’s taking the final ballot box outside the Assembly hall, there were still a serious opposition to Arch. Derderian.
Los Angeles-based Vosgan Mekhiatrian, an investigative journalist and author of books chronicling the state of affairs within the faith-based and community-based Armenian American organizations, wrote in a Jun. 13 2016 article: “For how long more these sickening and pathetic schemes will continue to pacify and deceive The People? Individuals are not the focus of our concerns, but electoral code violations that undermine the dignity of the Church and the devoted clergy. … Having in that the ‘Vote of Confidence’ took place a year before the end of the primate’s term in office, which is a very unusual phenomenon in our Church life, this move gives us the opportunity to announce that the 2016 Diocesan Assembly has preempted and undermined the 2017 Diocesan Assembly’s right and duty to elect a primate. Has anything like this ever seen before …? What a comedy!”
After everything is said and done to cure the serious problems within the Armenian Church Western Diocese raised by devoted individuals like Jendian, Derounian and many other concerned members; and after the departure of Derderian and his clansmen, Western Diocese will emerge as one of the healthiest community-based or faith-based Armenian organizations in the Diaspora.


The statement, titled “Mission Churches = Falsified Delegates,” underlined: “By establishing Mission Churches on paper that were maintained by visiting clergy once or twice a month…the primate was able to secured himself the extra votes needed of delegates from these mission churches, These so called mission churches raises serious issues regarding fraudulent ‘churches on paper’ that in reality do not exist yet ‘generate delegate votes favorable for Arch. Derderian. Thus, he was able to fraudulently secure a 7-term renewal during the 2016 vote of confidence held in Las Vegas.
The said violation of the Western Diocese By-Laws happened in Las Vegas during the 89th Annual Assembly of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America that convened on Friday, May 6, 2016 at The Armenian Church of Las Vegas. (Read report by Micah Jendian, Deacon, Alternate Delegate representing St. John Garabed Armenian Church San Diego.
The statement by “SAVE The Western Diocese from Arch. Derderian” raises serious issue regarding fraudulent ‘churches on paper’ that in reality do not exist but somehow ‘generate delegate votes favorable for Arch. Derderian.
One such ‘church on paper’ is St. John Garabed Armenian Church Hollywood. In or around 2016, St. John Garabed Armenian Church Hollywood was already demolished.
According to a Jan. 18, 2020 official notice, the United States Postal Service declares St. John Garabed Armenian Church Hollywood DOES NOT EXIST NO FORWARDING ADDRESS. (See Post Office notice on this page.)
In 1973 American Armenians with dedicated efforts purchased the Methodist Church and renamed it “St. John Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church”.
Located at 1201 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90038, the church functioned until 2016. The Diocese website notes that the last liturgy was held in 2016. If one drives by that address you will see vacant land where some foundation work has started but never completed. The incomplete initial work has been sitting idle for several months even though the churchless Pastor Manoug Markarian went around town in or around mid-2019 boasting that together with Arch. Derderian, he found a “new” major benefactor and the construction will soon resume and be completed.
Micah Jendian, an Alternate 2016 Delegate, wrote: “The May 13, 2016 Newsletter of the Western Diocese offers a glowing account of last weekend’s Annual Diocesan Assembly Meeting. It makes it sound like the Assembly Meeting was divinely inspired and grace filled. Readers would have no reason to believe that that wasn’t the case . . . unless, of course they were there. … Twice during the meeting, motions to bring the filed complaint against the Primate (See related article on page E4 and text of submitted complaint to Karekin II Catholicos of All Armenians on page E5) before the Assembly Delegates were denied. The delegate who made these motions was cut off, asked to sit down, and – as he continued to make his voice heard – threatened to be removed from the meeting. Oh my.”
M. Jendian continued: “Immediately before the Vote of (No) Confidence for the Primate, … delegates from parishes outside of San Diego asked why they weren’t permitted to hear about the complaint and from the delegate who brought forward the earlier motions. If now isn’t the time to discuss it, they asked, when was. Their inquiries were not entertained. The Vote went forward. 93 ‘Yes,’ 17 ‘No.’”
On May 10, 2016 “COMPLAINT REGARDING THE MAY 6, 2016 ASSEMBLY MEETING” was sent to Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, Vahe Derounian a Delegate and Deacon along with Micah Jendian, Alternate Delegate, St. John Garabed Armenian Church San Diego, jointly appealed: “I am writing to make you aware of a serious situation within the Armenian Church of North America, Western Diocese. With great respect, we urge you to consider recent actions at the Diocesan Assembly that require immediate attention from your Holiness in order to preserve the integrity of our Church.”
Jendian and Derounian also pointed out that Article III, Chapter II, Section 25 of the By-Laws of the Armenian Church of North America states that “A member having complaints against the legality of a Parish Assembly, its resolutions or elections shall first state his complaint at the time of the meeting to the Chairman, and if still dissatisfied, he shall then present the matter in writing, to the Primate for disposition within seven (7) days of the date of the meeting.”
They underlined: “The above section of the Bylaws appears equally applicable to complaints about the legality of a Diocesan Assembly. Accordingly, this letter presents a complaint – initially expressed ‘at the time of the meeting to the Chairman’ – regarding the Assembly Meeting of the Armenian Church of North America, Western Diocese which took place on May 6, 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada. This letter also presents additional complaints and concerns regarding irregularities both surrounding and in the facilitation of the May 6, 2016 Diocesan Assembly Meeting.
“I am writing to make you aware of a serious situation within the Armenian Church of North America, Western Diocese. With great respect, I urge you to consider recent actions at the Diocesan Assembly that require immediate attention from your Holiness in order to preserve the integrity of our Church. I submit this complaint as a Delegate who was present at the Assembly Meeting,” stated Jendian – an alternate Delegate of St. John Garabed Armenian Church of San Diego also present at the Assembly Meeting – who has chronicled much of the events in the San Diego parish.
The 2016 complaint was also carbon-copied to Arch. Hovnan Derderian, Primate, Western Diocese, Western Diocese Clergy Council Chair Archpriest Rev. F. Shnork Demirjian, Western Diocese Diocesan Assembly Chair Adrienne Krikorian, Esq, and Western Diocese Diocesan Council Chair Joseph Kanimian, Esq.
THE PRIMARY COMPLAINT filed by Jendian stated: “Although the Diocesan Council and Diocesan Assembly Chair and Officers knew – via correspondence dated May 3, 2016 and May 5, 2016 – that a complaint against the Primate had been submitted to the Diocesan Council in accord with the By-Laws, this information was withheld from the Assembly, the ‘representative body of the Parishes and the legislative body of the Diocese’ (Article IV, Chapter I – Diocesan Assembly, Section 59).”
Jendian noted: “Additionally and more specifically: 1. Prior to the Adoption of the Agenda at the Assembly Meeting, I made a motion to add as an agenda item under ‘Correspondence’ the May 3, 2016 and May 5, 2016 correspondence to the Diocesan Council regarding the submitted complaint. My motion was denied by the Diocesan Assembly Chair; 2. Prior to the Vote of Confidence for the Primate, I made a motion that the Diocesan Assembly be made aware of the formal complaint submitted to the Diocesan Council. This motion was likewise denied as well as were subsequent appeals (from Delegates of other parishes) for the complaint to be heard.”
Jendian pointed out: “VOTE OF CONFIDENCE PROCEDURAL IRREGULARITIES/CONCERNS, a) Prior to the Vote of Confidence, the total number of present delegates was not clearly stated; b) The Executive Director of the Diocese – Harout Markarian – was appointed as a member of the Balloting Committee. This has the appearance of a conflict of interest; c) The Vote of Confidence marked ballots were taken by the Executive Director [Pastor Manoug Markarian’s son Harout Markarian – Editor] outside of the Assembly Meeting room to be counted.”
Jendian also pointed out: “THOSE PERMITTED TO VOTE AND THOSE DENIED A VOTE: Article IV, Chapter I – Diocesan Assembly – Section 60(a) establishes that ‘the Diocesan Assembly shall consist [ . . . ] all Priests holding office under the jurisdiction of the Diocese.’ How this was interpreted raises additional concerns: 1) Two longstanding Clergy of the Diocese – Archpriests Rev. Fr. Kevork Arakelian and Rev. Fr. Vartan Kasparian received correspondence in which they were told that they were not permitted to vote, despite the fact that they are currently appointed as long-term Visiting Clergy of St. Sahag-Mesrob Armenian Church of Reedley. A letter to the Diocese which contested that ruling did not receive a response. These clergymen were denied what appears to be their right to vote; 2) Other Clergy of the Diocese – while not currently serving as Parish Priests or in other capacities – were also not permitted to vote at the Diocesan Assembly: Rev. Fr. Archpriest Datev Tatoulian, Hayr Dajad Yardemian, and Rev. Fr. Archpriest Nareg Matarian.”

Additionally, Jendian noted: “3) Absent from the Diocesan Assembly were other Diocesan Clergy who appear to hold ‘office under the jurisdiction of the Diocese’ as employees of the Diocese. Did they receive letters similar to those received by Archpriests Rev. Fr. Kevork Arakelian and Rev. Fr. Vartan Kasparian? a) Very Rev. Fr. Sassoon Zumrookhdian [Had he just arrived from Armenia as a visitor at that time? – Editor] cast a vote despite the fact that he temporarily arrived to Las Vegas just a day or two before the Diocesan Assembly Meeting. … Another clergy member who just arrived to the Western Diocese also was permitted to vote; b) Duly-elected Diocesan Delegates in some parishes – it is said – were discouraged from attending or replaced. In other parishes, Parish Assemblies did not have the opportunity to elect their Diocesan Delegates as the By-Laws stipulate; instead delegates were selected/appointed outside the By-Laws Process by the Primate and/or the Diocesan Council. It is understood that this was especially the case in the St. Leon Parish, St. John Garabed of San Diego Parish, and many of the Mission Parishes [‘churches on paper’- editor].”
Jendian concluded: “Despite the fact that the complaint against the Primate was not heard, despite the controversy surrounding those who voted and were not permitted to vote, and despite the noted procedural irregularities, it seems worth noting that 15% of the delegates did vote ‘No Confidence.’”
It is now blatantly clear that even with the unauthorized votes and Harout Markarian’s taking the final ballot box outside the Assembly hall, there were still a serious opposition to Arch. Derderian.
Los Angeles-based Vosgan Mekhiatrian, an investigative journalist and author of books chronicling the state of affairs within the faith-based and community-based Armenian American organizations, wrote in a Jun. 13 2016 article: “For how long more these sickening and pathetic schemes will continue to pacify and deceive The People? Individuals are not the focus of our concerns, but electoral code violations that undermine the dignity of the Church and the devoted clergy. … Having in that the ‘Vote of Confidence’ took place a year before the end of the primate’s term in office, which is a very unusual phenomenon in our Church life, this move gives us the opportunity to announce that the 2016 Diocesan Assembly has preempted and undermined the 2017 Diocesan Assembly’s right and duty to elect a primate. Has anything like this ever seen before …? What a comedy!”
After everything is said and done to cure the serious problems within the Armenian Church Western Diocese raised by devoted individuals like Jendian, Derounian and many other concerned members; and after the departure of Derderian and his clansmen, Western Diocese will emerge as one of the healthiest community-based or faith-based Armenian organizations in the Diaspora.

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