Archbishop Vicken Aykazian
as President of the National Council of Churches
Aykazian, a Turkish-born priest who represents the Diocese of
the Armenian Church of America
(Eastern) in Washington, was installed Thursday (November 9) as the
President of the National Council of Churches in the USA.
The installation was a
moving and colorful ceremony
attended by hierarchs, clergy and laity in St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in New York.
Also installed was the NCC's new general secretary, the Rev. Dr. Michael
Kinnamon, and other NCC officers. (See
On January 1, 2008, the
will succeed President Michael Livingston, who has served in the office
since January 2006.
His Eminence Archbishop
Aykazian is the 24th NCC President since the Council's beginnings in
He is the third Orthodox president and the first from the Oriental
Orthodox tradition. (Other Orthodox presidents were the Very Rev. Leonid
Kishkovsky, Orthodox Church in America, 1990-91, and Elenie K. Huszagh,
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, 2002-03
Vicken Aykazian was born in Siirt, Turkey, in 1951.
He studied theology at the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem and was
ordained a deacon in 1968 and later a celibate priest in 1971.
In 1992, His Holiness Vasken I, Catholicos of All
Armenians at Holy Echmiadzin in Armenia, ordained him a bishop.
Archbishop Aykazian, who holds a Ph.D in history and is
working on a second Ph.D in theology at Catholic University in
Washington, is an active ecumenist. In addition to his contributions to
the NCC as a member of the Governing Board, he has been active in the
World Council of Churches as a member of the Mission and Evangelism
Unit, the Orthodox Task Force and the Central Committee.
The archbishop is the
legate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) in
Washington, and ecumenical officer.
He has also served as Primate of the Diocese of the
Armenian Church in Switzerland from 1992 to 1996.
As pastor of the
Armenian Church of Switzerland from 1980 to 1992, he established and
organized new church communities in Zurich, Bern, Kreazlingen and Lugano.
is fluent in English, Armenian, French and Turkish.
Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of
the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for
ecumenical cooperation among Christians in the United States.
member faith groups -- representing a wide spectrum of Protestant,
Anglican, Orthodox, historic African American and Living Peace churches
– include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations
in communities across the nation.
Philip E. Jenks,
212-870-2228, or Daniel