Roots of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of America

Armenian Church of America pic
Armenian Church of America
Image: armenianchurchwd.com

Dr. Aramais Paronyan is a respected Los Angeles physician who led the family practice Good Health Medical Center and served the health-care needs of Armenian immigrants. Having grown up in Georgia and Armenia, Aramais Paronyan, MD, is active with organizations such as the World Armenian Congress. He earned Diocesan Grand Benefactor status in contributing to the construction of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of America’s main cathedral.

The diocese has its roots in Fresno, California, where there was a growing Armenian population in the early 20th century. Established in 1900, the first Holy Trinity parish church burned down 13 years later and was subsequently rebuilt. In 1927, the Western Diocese was declared a separate entity from the New York-headquartered American Diocese, and to this day there are Western and Eastern branches of the Armenian Church in the United States.

In the 1930s, the St. Paul Armenian Church of Fresno was established, and this longstanding institution was consecrated in 1979 with its current edifice. The Diocesan Headquarters were ultimately created in Burbank, reflecting a shift in demographics to the Los Angeles area. In the early 2000s, under the leadership of Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, the Western Diocese expanded its efforts to welcome and support immigrants from Armenia, as well as from the former Soviet republics and a number of Middle Eastern countries.

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