History of the Armenian Prelacy

The Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church is affiliated with and under the jurisdiction of the Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia, located in Antelias, Lebanon. His Holiness Aram I is the Catholicos of the See of Cilicia.

The Prelacy office was re-established in New York City in 1958 and since that time the Prelacy churches in America have grown and the Prelacy has been responsible for a continuing program of community-wide activities: religious, educational, cultural, and social. Since the tragic earthquake in Armenia in 1988 and with the advent of the fall of the Soviet empire and the independence of Armenia, the Prelacy has expanded its mission into Armenia where the Prelacy currently sponsors many religious, educational, and charitable endeavors.

The Prelate and the Executive and Religious Councils oversee the implementation of the policies and directives of the National Representative Assembly (NRA) which convenes annually. Although the two councils are separate bodies, they meet jointly as a single body under the presidency of the Prelate. The Prelate is elected every four years by the NRA.

Armenia’s Christian roots go back to the year A.D. 301, when the Armenians accepted Christianity as their state religion. Thus, Armenia became the world’s first Christian nation. Since their conversion, the Armenians have cherished their religious heritage and have merged it with their historic culture to form an indivisible national tradition. Today, the Armenian Church, which in 2001 commemorated the 1700th anniversary of the acceptance of Christianity, continues to serve her people in the Homeland and the Diaspora and remains a vital institution in the life of the people.

Having started with a relatively small number of churches, the Prelacy originally served the entire United States and Canada. As the number of churches grew and the membership increased, especially in California, the Prelacy jurisdiction was divided into two parts, the Eastern and Western Prelacies of the United States, including Canada as part of the Eastern Prelacy. In 2002, a separate Prelacy of Canada was established. The actual area covered by the Eastern Prelacy extends from the Atlantic Coast to the Rocky Mountains. The demographic center of the Eastern Prelacy is in the North East, the Armenian population being concentrated most heavily in the U.S. Megalopolis