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Southern California File

October 10, 1987|JOHN DART

The supreme patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church will travel from the Soviet Union next month for a North American tour that will include six days in Los Angeles, church officials have announced.

Vazken I, the 79-year-old church leader whose title is Catholicos, will also visit Fresno, which has a large concentration of residents of Armenian descent. Officials of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America said it will be Vazken I's third visit to Los Angeles, but his first since 1968.

He will arrive Nov. 5 at Burbank Airport. The major activities during his stay here will include a meeting at Pasadena City College with 1,600 students from local Armenian schools on Nov. 6; a ceremony at the Armenian Martyrs monument in Montebello and a pontifical banquet at the Los Angeles Convention Center, both on Nov. 7; an appearance at the Hollywood Bowl on Nov. 8, and private meetings and audiences on Nov. 9 and 10.

Gov. George Deukmejian, an Episcopalian of Armenian descent, is scheduled to take part in several events during the patriarch's visit in California, including the Convention Center banquet, church officials said. While in California, the church patriarch will be the guest of Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian of Hollywood, who heads the church's western diocese.

As the spiritual leader of 6 million Armenians worldwide, Vazken I presides over the church from a cathedral and palace in Etchmiadzin in Soviet Armenia. Armenians say their links to Christianity go back to the start of the 4th Century.


Three upcoming conferences addressing the AIDS crisis are aimed at least in part to people in religious communities. Tonight, Samuel Southard, professor of pastoral theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, will describe the epidemic as a "challenge to the church" in a program starting at 7 p.m. at Knox Presbyterian Church in Pasadena. Respondents will be Jonathan Hunter, director of AIDS Resource Ministry, Santa Monica, and Amy Rex Smith of Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, who is certified as an AIDS educator by the California Nurses Assn. Next Saturday, several speakers, including Pastor John Killinger, will address "the fear that the AIDS invasion creates" in a daylong meeting at First Congregational Church of Los Angeles. On Oct. 22, "AIDS and Faith in Hospital Settings" will be held at California Medical Center, 1414 S. Hope St., Los Angeles, sponsored by the Lutheran Hospital Society Healthcare Foundation and two religiously related offices of AIDS Project Los Angeles, based in West Hollywood.


Stephen S. Wise Temple, a large Westside Jewish congregation, will join with the United Neighborhoods Organization and two hospitals to aid St. Mary Catholic Church in completing amnesty requirements for 300 to 500 aliens Sunday at the parish's facilities in the Boyle Heights section of East Los Angeles. Nearly 100 volunteers, including a score of doctors donating their services, will be at the church to help with registration forms, immunizations and physical examinations. Chest X-rays and blood tests were completed last month for the applicants, who paid $5 rather than the usual $50 for the services coordinated by the temple and the church.


The Rev. George Regas, longtime rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, has his first book out, "Kiss Yourself and Hug the World," by Word Inc., an evangelical publisher. Meanwhile, religion Prof. Vernard Eller of the Brethren-related University of La Verne will bring his book total to 30 with "The Beloved Disciple" later this month. The publisher is Wm. B. Eerdmans, which also published Eller's "Christian Anarchy" earlier this year. Still to come--from noted religious historian Edwin Gaustad of the University of California, Riverside--is "Faith of Our Fathers: Religion and the New Nation" from Harper & Row in November.

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