More than 9,000 people attended a three-hour Hollywood Bowl Communion service conducted Sunday by Vazken I, the leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church who is here on a visit from Soviet Armenia.
The 161st in a succession of Armenian patriarchs that began in AD 301, Vazken I told worshipers he was glad to see the vibrancy of the church in America. Speaking in Armenian without an interpreter, Vazken also said he was grateful for the warm reception he had received both from California Armenians and government officials.
Vazken I was honored Saturday night at a banquet attended by California Gov. George Deukmejian, who is also of Armenian extraction.
Vazken I, who carries the title of Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, leaves Wednesday for San Francisco.
More than 300,000 of the world's 6 million Armenians reside in California. Some adhere to a breakaway wing of the church affiliated with the See of Cicilia in Lebanon.