Panelist

Archbishop Vicken Aykazian

Diocesan Legate in Washington, D.C. and Ecumenical Director of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) USA
Washington, D.C.

The Most Reverend Archbishop Vicken Aykazian is the Diocesan Legate in Washington, D.C., and Ecumenical Director of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America.

Born in Siirt, Turkey in 1951, he completed theological studies at the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem and was ordained a deacon in 1968, a priest in 1971, a bishop in 1992 and elevated to archbishop in 2007.

His achievements include Country Director for the Fund for Armenian Relief in their Yerevan, Armenia, office; primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of Switzerland (1992-1996); pastor of the Armenian Church of Switzerland (1981-1992). He has participated in the World Council of Churches since 1981 and as a member of the Central Committee, representing the Catholicate of All Armenians from 1985-1991 and the Executive Committee since 2007.

In 2005, Archbishop Aykazian was elected president of the National Council of Churches in the United States. In 2007, he participated at the General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and was elected as a member of the WCC Executive and Central Committees.

In 2009, he was appointed to President Obama’s Advisory Committee on Faith Based Initiatives, the first Armenian clergy member ever appointed to the position. He is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. In 2013, he was elected as president of Christian Churches Together, an organization representing Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Orthodox and other historic peace churches. He is the first Armenian elected as a board member for Habitat for Humanity International. In 2013, he was elected as the president of Habitat for Humanity Europe, Africa and Central Asia.

He has worked tirelessly to defend the rights of Christian minorities in the Middle East and Asia. Over the past 15 years, he has traveled to Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and Palestine and met with high level religious and political leaders from all faiths.

He earned a doctorate in history from the Armenian Academy of Sciences’ Department of History in 1999. He also received a Ph.D. at Fribourg Catholic University in Switzerland for a second doctorate in theology and is continuing work on his doctoral dissertation at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He received a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Kings College at London University in England, studied pastoral theology at St. Augustine’s College, Canterbury, England, and attended the Armenian Theological Seminary in Jerusalem and the Holy Cross Armenian Seminary in Istanbul, Turkey. He is fluent in English, Armenian, French and Turkish.