One of the two new spiritual leaders of much of Canada’s Armenian community paid a courtesy visit to the Anglican bishop of the diocese of Montreal, Barry Clarke, on September 4 and presented him with a plaque of the Lord’s Prayer in Armenian.
The Very Rev. Fr. Abkar Hovakimian, 42, primate-elect of the Canadian Diocese of the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church, took the occasion of a short visit to Christ Church Cathedral to exchange views with Clarke on the role of altars, icons and other liturgical elements in the Anglican and Armenian Apostolic churches. Hovakimian was elected as spiritual leader of the diocese of the Armenian Church in Canada last May.
Clarke noted that the director of the Montreal-based Canadian Centre for Ecumenism, Adriana Bara, herself Romanian Orthodox, is a scholar of icons. The bishop will be one of about 14 clergy and scholars at a conference organized by the centre in the Anglican diocese’s Fulford Hall on October 24 to 25, in part to mark the 50th anniversary year of the centre.
The primate, based at St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral in the Montreal midtown suburb of Outremont, was born in the Republic of Georgia and has served his church in Armenia, in Hamilton and St. Catharines, Ont., and most recently in Bulgaria.
For historic reasons, the Canadian Armenian community, estimated to be 80,000, includes churches of the Canadian Diocese of the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church, linked directly to the ancient see of Holy Etchmiadzin in Armenia, and the Prelacy of Canada, linked to the Catholicate of Cilicia, based in Lebanon. (There are also Catholics and Protestants.)
Bishop Meghrig Parikian, who has served his church in his native Lebanon and North America, including 12 years at St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church in Toronto and who is known as an author and musical composer, was elected prelate of the prelacy last May. The bishop, 44, is based at Sourp Hagop Armenian Apostolic Cathedral in north-end Montreal.
Harvey Shepherd is editor of The Montreal Anglican, the newspaper of the Anglican diocese of Montreal.