Who is the Primate?
The Primate is the spiritual father, overseer, and shepherd of our Diocese. He is the representative of His Holiness the Patriarch-Catholicos of All Armenians on the East Coast. Among the many tasks of which the Primate is responsible for in his ministry, he aspires to observe the canons, rites, and doctrines of the Armenian Church as he strengthens the spiritual life of our people in each Diocesan parish.
What does Primate mean?
The word Primate in Armenian is առաջնորդ (arachnort), is the title used for the head of a Diocese. The Primate shepherds his people and guides them to the path of Christ.
Who is eligible to run for this position?
Both celibate priests (Vartabeds) and bishops of the Armenian Apostolic Church may be candidates for the office of the Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern).
What do we say when we meet/greet our new Arachnort?
Our new Arachnort, V. Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, is a Vartabed (teacher) and Hayr Soorp (celibate priest) of the Armenian Church. When we see him, we greet him by saying Asdvadz oknagan, Hayr Soorp (God be your helper, Holy Father). When Fr. Daniel is ordained a bishop (Srpazan) in Armenia, we will address him by saying Asdvadz oknagan Srpazan Hayr (God be your helper, your Eminence).
Who elected the Primate?
Among all of the eligible Armenian clergymen, three candidates were nominated. The delegates of our Diocesan parishes, as well as priests within our Diocese, elected Fr. Daniel as our Primate during the 116th Diocesan Assembly, May 2018. The elected Primate, if not a bishop, will eventually get ordained as bishop, because the traditional role of a bishop is to oversee a Diocese, or group of churches.
When did our new primate assume office?
Fr. Daniel assumed his four-year term on May 8, 2018 following a confirmation by His Holiness Patriarch-Catholicos of All Armenians, Karekin II.
How is the authority passed from one Primate to another?
The former Primate passes his duties to the newly elected candidate. This imagery was portrayed during Fr. Daniel’s enthronement service, when Archbishop Khajag Barsamian (former Primate) passed on the asa (episcopal staff) held by past Primates to Fr. Daniel. This also emphasized the tradition of the Armenian Church passing apostolic authority from one generation to another, starting from our Lord Jesus Christ to his disciples, from them to St. Gregory the Enlightener, all the way to our Catholicoi, Patriarchs, and Primates. A former primate continues his ministry as a servant of God, a shepherd of the faithful of the Armenian Church, and keeps his rank and order in the Armenian Church, whether he is a priest, bishop, or archbishop.
What is the special Primate’s seat in our churches?
Each Armenian Church has a chair or throne in the chancel facing East. This throne signifies the authority of our Primate as the head of our Diocese. His main throne is at St. Vartan Cathedral in New York, where he resides, and each parish has a chair designated for him when he visits. His Vartabed staff stands to the right of his chair; once he is ordained as bishop, a bishop’s staff (kavazan) will replace it. The throne also represents the apostolic tradition and authority of the Church.
Whose name will be chanted during Holy Badarak (Divine Liturgy)?
After remembering our saints during Holy Badarak, we pray for our Catholicos and the Primate of our Diocese. For the past 28 years, we chanted Archbishop Khajag’s name, but now that we have a new Primate, we include Fr. Daniel’s name. The deacons chant:
«…եւ վիճակիս բարեխնամ առաջնորդին Տեառն Դանիէլի Վարդապետի…»:
“… and to the diligent Primate of this Diocese, Daniel Vartabed…”
Can our Primate ordain priests and deacons?
When our Primate Fr. Daniel becomes a bishop, he will have the authority to ordain acolytes, sub-deacons, deacons, and priests in our Diocese.
What are some interesting facts about our new Primate?
Fr. Daniel Findikyan
1. is the first American-born Primate of the Armenian Church of America.
2. is a Vartabed and member of the brotherhood of the Holy See of Etchmiadzin.
3. is the 12th Primate of our Diocese.
4. was born in Texas.
5. attended Diocesan Summer Camps and St. Nersess Summer Conferences.
6. was a seminarian at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary.
7. was the Dean of St. Nersess Armenian Seminary for 12 years.
8. has a PhD in Liturgical Studies from the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome.
9. has a Master’s degree in musicology from the City University of New York.
10. served as the Director of the Zohrab Information Center at the Diocese.
11. runs marathons.
12. is our spiritual father!
What can we do to support our Primate?
Let’s rejoice, welcome our new Primate, and together serve our people by spreading and implementing the mission of our Church. Let’s all pray for our Primate, together in harmony, and ask God to grant him love, stability, peace, as well as length of days in orthodox doctrine.