GLENDALE—The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region announced that it will bestow the “Khrimian Hayrig” Award to Archbishop Barkev Martirosyan, Primate of the Diocese of Artsakh, at the 2013 ANCA-WR Annual Banquet in Hollywood, California.
A modern day warrior of peace and fatherly shepherd, Archbishop Martirosyan has been an inspirational figure in Artsakh, most well known for providing religious guidance and moral support to Armenian soldiers and their families during and after the Artsakh Liberation War. In the darkest days in Artsakh’s recent history, Archbishop Martirosyan encouraged his people to defend themselves against the unjust acts of invading Azerbaijani forces, and often blessed Armenian soldiers before the start of operations, such as the historic liberation of Shushi.
The Diocese of Artsakh is one of the largest dioceses of the Armenian Apostolic Church, covering the independent Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, and has under its supervision more than 30 churches and monasteries, including many masterpieces of Armenian architecture. The diocese was established in 1989, at a time when Armenian national identity was on the rise in the former Soviet Union. Since its creation, His Eminence Martirosyan has served as the primate of the diocese. Following the Artsakh Liberation Movement and in the years after the dissolution of the USSR, the Diocese of Artsakh had as one of its primary goals the practice of religious freedom, revival of Christian life, and re-consecration of ancient Armenian churches throughout Artsakh. Following decades of religious suppression, Archbishop Martirosyan was instrumental in reviving Christian faith in our historic homeland.
Since 1997, the Diocese of Artsakh has supervised the teaching of Christianity and religion courses in secondary schools throughout the Republic. In the late 1990’s, Archbishop Martirosyan actively called upon Armenians to unite and finance the building of the vital North-South highway connecting Armenia to Karabakh. He has served as a beacon of faith and hope to a people who after living under Soviet rule for nearly 70 years, endured violent attacks on their persons and homeland by invading forces and yet, victoriously survived to see their independent Republic prosper. His Eminence has selflessly undertaken the responsibility to provide a myriad of services that come with serving as the religious leader of a post-war community, whether it be religious, spiritual, psychological, humanitarian, or otherwise.
In the diaspora, Archbishop Martirosyan is most notable for taking his plight for the continued independence and advancement of Artsakh to the airways, by encouraging Armenians around the world to raise funds for the redevelopment of the war-torn areas in Artsakh. Year after year, he travels to California to take part in the annual Armenia Fund Telethon to cast international attention on the fact that the people who fought so heroically to liberate the homeland, lack access to life’s most basic necessities, such as infrastructure, water, and sanitation. Accordingly, he has been instrumental in supporting the redevelopment of the Republic of Armenia in general, and Artsakh, specifically.
Archbishop Martirosyan was born in the city of Sumgait, Soviet Azerbaijan in 1954 into a family with roots in Northern Artsakh’s town of Chardakhly. His family moved to Yerevan in 1966. After graduating from Yerevan Institute of Foreign Languages, he was admitted to the Echmiadzin Seminary in 1980, and was ordained a Deacon in 1983. After graduating from the Gevorkian Theological Seminary in 1984, he assumed a post at the Holy See’s Treasury. In 1985, he began his studies at the Leningrad Theological Academy in Russia. Upon returning to Armenia in 1986, and after his consecration as Vartabed in 1987, he was a chief tutor at the Seminary. In 1987, he earned his doctorate degree in theology and in the same year, was appointed as Prior of the St. Echmiadzin’s historic Temple of St. Hripsimeh. In 1988, Father Barkev was elevated to the rank of Bishop by Catholicos Vazgen I. In 1989, he was appointed the Primate of the newly re-created Diocese of Artsakh. In 1999, he was promoted to the rank of Archbishop. His patriotism and guiding faith is evident in the three books and numerous articles he has authored.
“As a human rights activist, a champion for humanitarian causes, a man of deep faith, and for his decades-long devotion to the resilient people of Artsakh, it is most fitting that we award Archbishop Barkev Martirosyan, a modern-day Khrimian Hayrig for our Nation, with this esteemed award,” said ANCA-WR Co-Chair Nora Hovsepian. The 2013 ANCA-WR Annual Banquet is the premier gathering for Armenian American political leaders and activists. The banquet will take place on Saturday, November 30 at The Ray Dolby Ballroom located at the Loews Hollywood Hotel. Individuals who are interested in attending the ANCA-WR Annual Banquet and Grassroots Conference are encouraged to contact the ANCA-WR office at (818) 500-1918.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.