Under the direction of His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, a very special pilgrimage took place within the Western Diocese called “7 Churches in 3 Days.” From November 20-22, the Rev. Fr. Vazken Movsesian, parish priest of the St. Peter Armenian Church in Glendale led the pilgrimage which included stops at Armenian Churches in the Central Valley and Bay Area of California.
- St. Mary Armenian Church, Yettem,
- Sts. Sahag-Mesrob Armenian Church, Reedley
- St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church, Fowler,
- St. Paul Armenian Church, Fresno
- St. Vartan Armenian Church, Oakland,
- St. John Armenian Church, San Francisco
- St. Andrew Armenian Church, Cupertin
At each of the stops the pilgrims had an opportunity to visit the sanctuaries, offer a prayer and meet with parish priests and some congregants. Discussions took place which became a learning experience for all those involved. Along with the churches, the group also visited the statue of David of Sassoun and the grave of Soghomon Telirian in Fresno and the Mt. Davidson Cross, in San Francisco, dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
The pilgrimage took place under the simple premise that every church – consecrated with the Holy Miuron – is a sacred sanctuary. The Churches of the Western Diocese have been a haven of rest and comfort for our people following the Great Genocide of 1915. Armenians who settled in California did so by building churches around which their new lives would grow and prosper. His Eminence has always stressed the importance of celebrating the life found within each of our communities and growing in faith by understanding the spiritual significance of each of our communities. The “7 Churches in 3 Days” is to celebrate the new life found at these centers – our Diocesan Churches.
We hope that this will be the beginning of regularly planned visitations between the clergy and members from one church to another through the Diocese.