The Los Angeles visit of Patriarch Vazken I has revived longstanding tensions between two Armenian Apostolic Church jurisdictions with churches in California.
Most parishes are loyal to Vazken I's See of Etchmiadzin, in Soviet Armenia, but a division occurred in 1933 with political overtones. The breakaway wing is affiliated with the See of Cilicia in Lebanon, currently headed by Karekin II. The Cilician jurisdiction has nine parishes in California, whereas 17 churches in the state are under Vazken I's authority.
Archbishop Datev Sarkissian of Los Angeles, western prelate for the Cilician-related church, said Friday that his prelacy "has not received any official invitation to participate in the events" during Vazken I's six-day visit in Los Angeles.
A spokesman for Sarkissian said that an invitation was received but it was to the archbishop as an individual and not to the prelacy, implying recognition of his jurisdiction.