Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos Vazken I, head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, is scheduled to arrive in Southern California today for his first visit to the state in 20 years. The patriarch will stay in the area until Wednesday, then fly to San Francisco.
In Southern California, which has the largest Armenian community outside Armenia, the patriarch will meet with religious leaders, community members and politicians. His schedule includes a meeting Friday with 1,600 Armenian students at Pasadena City College, a banquet Saturday at the Los Angeles Convention Center and a service Sunday morning at the Hollywood Bowl.
About 85% of the world's 6-million to 7-million Armenians are members of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Of the more than 600,000 Armenians who live in the United States, about half live in California. The largest Armenian communities in the Southland are in Hollywood, Glendale, Pasadena and Montebello.