ARMENIAN HOLY APOSTOLIC CHURCH CANADIAN DIOCESE
The Armenian Church of America was created by Mkrtitch I, Catholicos of All Armenians (known as Khrimian Hayrig) in 1898 to oversee the spiritual and cultural lives of the new Armenian communities in the United States and Canada. The first Armenian Church in Canada was founded in St. Catharines in 1930 but parishes were also created in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Hamilton and Ottawa.
Until 1984, Canadian parishes were under the administrative direction of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church (headquartered in New York). It was during this period, Archbishop Torkom Manoogian had named regional vicars to manage the parishes in Canada starting in 1967 when Bishop Vatche Hovsepian was dispatched to Montreal, until 1971. He was succeeded by Fr. Zaven Arzoumanian (1971-1973), Fr. Shnork Kasparian (1974), Bishop Aris Shirvanian (1974-1978) and Fr. Vazken Keshishian (1979-1983).
Following requests by Canadian-Armenian Church leaders, H.H. Vazken I, Catholicos of All Armenians, created the Canadian Diocese. The first Diocesan Assembly in May 1985 selected Montreal as the Diocesan Headquarters and elected the Archbishop Vazken Keshishian as its first Primate, until his death in 1990. He was succeeded by Archbishop Hovnan Derderian (1990-2003), Bishop Bagrat Galstanian (2003-13) and Archbishop Nathan Hovhannisyan, as Locum Tenens (2013-14). In May 2014, the Diocesan Assembly elected Bishop Abgar Hovakimyan as the fifth Primate of the Canadian Diocese.
The Diocese of Canada literally stretches a continent. It includes established parishes in Montreal, Toronto, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Vancouver, Laval and Ottawa. Some newer communities are well established but do not have their own Church buildings include Mississauga and Calgary. The Diocese also includes mission parishes in communities with small Armenian populations such as Edmonton, Winnipeg, Halifax, Quebec City, and Yellowknife.