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Archbishop Vicken Aykazian is installed
as President of the National Council of Churches

Archbishop Vicken 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 related story)

On January 1, 2008, the Archbishop 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 1950.

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. 

Archbishop Aykazian 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.

The NCC's 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.

Contact Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228, or Daniel Webster, 212-870-2252


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