Archbishop Vicken Aykazian

Archbishop Vicken Aykazian was born in Sirnak (Siirt), Turkey, in 1951. He studied at the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, where he was ordained as a deacon in 1968, and a celibate priest in 1971.

From 1980 to 1992, he served as the pastor of the Armenian community of Switzerland. He was ordained a bishop by His Holiness Vasken I in 1992, and elevated to the position of Primate of the Armenian community of Switzerland, a post he held until 1996.

While serving in Switzerland, Archbishop Aykazian formed Armenian parishes in the communities of Zurich, Bern and Lugano. It was also during this period that he began to seriously engage in the ecumenical movement, representing the Armenian Church at the World Council of Churches from 1985 to 1991. He was elected as a member of the Central Committee and the Executive Council of the World Council of Churches.

From 1997 to 1999, Archbishop Aykazian served in Armenia as the director of the Fund for Armenian Relief’s Yerevan office. Since 1999, he has been serving as the Legate of the Eastern Diocese. He was elevated to the rank of archbishop by His Holiness Karekin II in 2006.

Archbishop Aykazian completed his two-year term as President of the National Council of Churches in December 2009, and continues to serve as an officer of the NCC. He continues to be a member of the Central Committee and the Executive Council of the World Council of Churches.

In 2009, Archbishop Aykazian was appointed to the Inter-Religious Dialogue and Cooperation Taskforce of President Barak Obama’s Advisory Council. The Inter-Religious Taskforce consists of 12 distinguished leaders in the religious and ecumenical field who discuss issues of importance to the president during a bi-weekly teleconference.

Fluent in Armenian, English, French, and Turkish, Archbishop Aykazian has encouraged people of all faiths to promote compassion, understanding and peace.