The 31st Annual Assembly of the Armenian Church Canadian Diocese, hosted by St. Vartan Armenian Church Parish, was held on May 30 and May 31, 2014 in Mississauga, Ontario. The Assembly was presided by His Eminence Archbishop Nathan Hovhannisian, Locum Tenens of the Armenian Church Diocese of Canada. Mr. Jack Stepanian, former Chairman of the Diocesan Council, chaired the meetings.
On Saturday, May 31, 2014 the election for the Primate of the Diocese took place following the presentation of the Annual Reports of the different Church bodies and committees of the Diocese, the Clergy and the Diocesan Council. The forty-three delegates representing the parishes of the Canadian Diocese, the respective clergy and lay leaders cast their votes for the election of the new spiritual head of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of Canada.
The Very Reverend Father Abgar Hovakimian was elected Primate with a majority of the votes, and will serve as Arachnort of the Diocese for the coming five years. The other two candidates were the Very Rev. Father Sasoon Zumrookhdian and the Very Rev. Father Aren Shahinian.
On June 9, 2014 His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians blessed and approved the election of Very Rev. Father Abgar Hovakimian as Primate of the Armenian Church Diocese of Canada.
Very Reverend Father Abgar Hovakimian (baptismal name Samvel) was born on July 23, 1972 in Batoumi-Republic of Georgia.
From 1979-1989 he received his elementary education in the Stepan Shahumian Armenian school in Batumi.
From 1989-1995, he studied in the Theological Seminary of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin defending his graduation thesis entitled “The Echoes of Armenian Doctrinal Thinking in the Interpretation of the Gospel of Matthew by St. Nerses the Graceful”.
In 1995, he was ordained a deacon by His Grace Bishop Anania Arabajian.
On June 2, 1996, he was ordained a celibate priest by His Eminence late Archbishop Shahe Ajemian, and given the priestly name of Abgar.
From 1996-2001, following his ordination as a celibate priest Father Hovakimian served at the Diocese of Georgia as Pastor of Soorp Prgitch Church in Batumi, Republic of Georgia.
By the Pontifical Order of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians he continued his higher education at the Theological University of Salzburg, Austria from 2001-2004, and received a Master’s Degree in Theology.
In 2006 he defended his dissertation entitled “Dionysius Areopagite in Armenian Bibliography” and received the rank of Archimandrite.
From 2005-2010 has served as Vicar General of the Diocese of Syunik in Armenia, assisting the Primate in the evangelization work and successfully organizing youth ministry within the Diocese.
From 2010-2011, Very Rev. Fr. Abgar Hovakimian served at the Diocese of Canada as Pastor of St. Mary Armenian Church of Hamilton and St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church of St. Catharines.
In 2011, he was appointed Locum Tenens of the Armenian Church Diocese of Bulgaria.
Father Abgar speaks Armenian, German, Russian, Georgian and most recently learnt Bulgarian during his tenure as Locum Tenens of the Diocese in Bulgaria.