WEST HARRISON, N. Y. – The 116th Assembly of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America on Friday morning, May 4, elected Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan as its new Primate. The election took place at the Renaissance Westchester Hotel near White Plains.
After Archbishop Khajag Barsamian unexpectedly withdrew his candidacy a little over a week ago, and second candidate Fr. Mamigon Kiledjian did the same afterwards, leaving only Fr. Oshagan Gulgulian as a candidate for the position of Primate, two new candidates, Archbishop Vicken Aykazian and Fr. Findikyan, were proposed. The assembled clergy endorsed all three candidates equally.
None of the three candidates were able to achieve a majority in the first round of voting, so the candidate with the lowest number of votes dropped out. In the subsequent round, Fr. Findikyan received the majority of votes. He remains Primate-elect until confirmed by Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II.
Fr. Findikyan will be the first American-born Primate of the Diocese. A native of Fort Worth, Texas, he is director of the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center of the Diocese, and Professor of Liturgical Studies at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary in Armonk, NY. He earned his doctorate from the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, and has a Master’s of Arts degree from the City University of New York in Musicology (1990), and the Master of Divinity (1989) from St. Vladimir Orthodox Theological Seminary and St. Nersess Armenian Seminary. He has authored numerous academic works. He was ordained a priest in 1997 and served as dean of St. Nersess Seminary from 2000 to 2012.
At the Assembly, a potentially extremely significant proposal concerning the Diocesan complex in New York City was presented on May 3. According to Diocesan Council Chairman James Kalustian, “An exciting initiative has been rekindled and well received, concerning monetizing the value of the air rights of the cathedral complex, while maintaining the integrity of the cathedral, the plaza and the sightlines of the complex.”