Date: April 10, 2023
To: Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America
RE: April 24 Flyer Incident At St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church In Glendale Dear Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America Board,
The Armenian Youth Federation Western United States (AYF-WUS) Central Executive (CE) writes this open letter to your Board to relay our deep concern regarding a recent incident that took place at St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church in Glendale, California, and would like to draw your attention to this troubling development. On Easter Sunday, April 9, 2023, two members of the AYF Glendale “Roupen” Chapter were only passing out ﬂyers promoting the AYF Rally for Humanity in commemoration of the 108th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and nothing else. This is a method of promotion that has been practiced for decades at this exact location. The AYF Rally for Humanity is a part of the grouping of events supported by the community’s uniﬁed Armenian Genocide Committee (AGC), in which both our organizations are involved.
The unacceptable incident occurred when our two AYF members while placing ﬂyers on parked vehicles, were approached by individuals who claimed to be in charge of the church property and were told to vacate the premises. Incidentally, these same individuals – Vache Harutunian, Karekin Karazian, Krikor Kazandjian, and Yervant Topalakian – are also part of a rogue, illegitimate group claiming to be the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western United States (ARF-WUS). Despite the AYF members explaining they have explicit permission to distribute the ﬂyer from the Prelacy representative on the AGC, who in turn informed the Prelate and received approval to distribute the ﬂyers regarding April 24, these individuals claiming they were in charge of the church ordered their security guards to remove all ﬂyers and throw them in the trash while disrespecting and intimidating our AYF members.
Unfortunately, this is the latest stunt in a series of coordinated incidents in which our AYF membership has been censored, targeted, and prohibited from places of community
congregation by this illegitimate group – all unwarranted.
In light of these concerns, the CE requests that you clarify your position on this matter with the following actions:
- Condemn these actions taken against the AYF because, by their very nature, these acts are in direct opposition to our collective Cause;
- The CE asks for you to reaﬃrm that all members of the AYF are permitted to be on any property under the Prelacy’s jurisdiction and can promote April 24 activities, particularly the Rally for Humanity with no further restrictions;
- The CE also respectfully requests that St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church issues a formal and public apology on behalf of its employees, Krikor Kazandjian and Yervant Topalakian, to the AYF – whose members were rudely prohibited from passing out the ﬂyers with no precedence; and
- Finally, that tangible actions be taken by the Prelacy and St. Mary’s Board to ensure that individuals that do not hold positions of any authority, such as Vache Harutunian and Karekin Karazian, do not take actions in the name of the church.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. The CE hopes to continue to work together to further unite and uphold the eﬀorts of the youth within our Armenian community without hindrance.
Armenian Youth Federation Western United States Central Executive