The first Armenian Church was built in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1891. The first Armenian clergyman had arrived earlier, in response to a petition by 300 Armenian residents of the city. By 1897, as the number of Armenian immigrants grew, there were six clergymen serving the Armenian Church in America. With the exception of Worcester, services were held in non-Armenian sanctuaries, notably Episcopalian churches. The Armenian Church of America was established officially by Catholicos Mkrtich Khrimian in 1898.
There are about one million Armenians in the United States and Canada today. The Church has two dioceses in the U.S: the Eastern Diocese, and the Western Diocese. There are 63 organized and mission parishes in the Eastern Diocese. A third diocese governs all of Canada.
The head of the Eastern Diocese is the Primate who is elected by clerical and lay representatives of the parishes at the Diocesan Assembly, which meets annually. The Primate is president of the Diocesan Council, consisting of lay and clerical members, which governs the affairs of the Diocese.
Major centers of Armenian population in the United States include the greater New York area; Boston and its environs; Worcester, MA; Detroit, MI; Philadelphia, PA; Los Angeles, CA; and Fresno, CA. Substantial and expanding communities exist in Wisconsin, Texas, and Florida.
Visit our Diocesan website to find out more.
Named in honor of St. Vartan, the 5th-century martyr who fought to preserve Armenian Christianity, St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral was consecrated on April 28, 1968, by His Holiness Vasken I, the late Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. Rising 120 feet above 2nd Avenue and 34th Street in Manhattan, the cathedral is a symbol of the unwavering Armenian spirit and a testament to the achievements of a bold generation determined to preserve the Armenian faith and heritage in the New World.
His lifelong, passionate interests in Christian spirituality, service to the Armenian people, and humble dedication to Jesus Christ have led Bishop Mesrop Parsamyan on a remarkable journey to his present role as the 13th Primate of one of the world’s largest Armenian Church dioceses.
His election as Primate took place during the 120th Diocesan Assembly, meeting in New York City and online, on Friday, May 6, 2022. With the blessing and confirmation of His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, Fr. Parsamyan assumed the office of the 13th Diocesan Primate on May 17, 2022.
On October 8, 2023, Fr. Mesrop was consecrated as a bishop by the hand of Catholicos Karekin II, at Holy Etchmiadzin. By the appointment of Catholicos, Bishop Mesrop serves on the Supreme Spiritual Council, alongside other leaders of the worldwide Armenian Church. Bishop Mesrop Parsamyan is proficient in Armenian, English, French, and Russian, reflecting his commitment to cross-cultural understanding and international communication.
The mission of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church is to preach the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and to proclaim its message of salvation. This mission is realized through worship, education, witness, service, and the common life in Christ as expressed in the distinctive faith-experience of the Armenian people. All members of the Armenian Church—both clergy and lay—are called to participate fully in its mission.