By: Katy Simonian
The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) is pleased to announce this year’s recipient of the Khrimian Hayrig Award, one of the organization’s highest honors. Rev. Berdj Djambazian will receive the prestigious award for his passionate, unwavering commitment to the Armenian community through his faith and extraordinary humanitarian efforts across the world.
For his dedication to human rights and immense integrity as a leader of the Armenian Evangelical Church, Rev. Djambazian exemplifies the spirit of service inspired by the award’s namesake.
As the child of Armenian Genocide survivors, Hampartzoum and Mary Djambazian, the Reverend’s life has always been centered in the beauty of his Armenian faith. Born in Jerusalem at the St. James Armenian Convent, he received his primary education in Jerusalem, Amman and Beirut before attending Beatenberg Theological School in Switzerland where he graduated in 1967.
He continued his theological studies and vocal training in Marseilles at the National Conservatory of Music while serving as Pastor of two Armenian Evangelical Churches in Biver and St. Antoine. From 1973-1981, Rev. Djambazian served as a Pastor, educator and relief worker for the Nor Marash Armenian Evangelical Church and School which served over 900 students in Lebanon. During his years in Beirut, he along with his brother Rev. Hagop Djambazian, committed themselves to humanitarian efforts geared toward helping the most vulnerable among us. Establishing a medical clinic equipped with six doctors, they successfully provided surgical, dental and pharmaceutical services, as well as the only ambulance service available for families in Bourj Hammoud.
For the next two decades, Rev. Djambazian continued his relief work, serving as Senior Pastor of UACC and later as Associate Pastor of World Missions and Adult Education at Glendale Presbyterian Church. His command of multiple languages, including Armenian, German, French, Arabic, Turkish and English equipped him with the ability to connect with people across cultures, as he shared his faith while leading over 40 outreach teams to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Turkey and Armenia.
In the years that followed, Rev. Djambazian committed himself to serving the people of Armenia in the aftermath of the earthquake that shattered so many communities. Making over 25 trips to deliver medical aid, he focused his attention on advocating for children with mental and physical disabilities, supplying food, clothing and medical care to ensure that all Armenian children would have the opportunity to enjoy a life of dignity and respect.
Perhaps his most impactful and inspiring efforts came in the years between 2005-2008, when he delivered aid to Darfurian Genocide survivors in Sudan. It is poignant to think that the son of Armenian Genocide survivors would grow to become a leader of his Church and shepherd of the faith his own people fought to maintain in the face of violent persecution. His extraordinary empathy for the families of Darfur is matched only by the gracious spirit with which he carries out his missionary work. It was Rev. Djambazian who was instrumental in leading a movement which culminated in the building of the largest Church along the East side of the Nile.
“Rev. Djambazian continues to stand as an example of exemplary service to the Armenian Nation and Cause with his ongoing efforts to truly live by the faith he has shared with the international community for generations,” said ANCA-WR Chair, Nora Hovsepian, Esq. “The Khrimian Hayrig Award represents an acknowledgement of devotion to the Armenian people by a religious leader. We believe all people will be inspired by Rev. Djambazian’s work and that his kindness, wisdom and leadership will serve as a beacon of hope for the Armenian community for years to come,” she added.
To appreciate the depth of Rev. Djambazian’s contributions to Armenia and to all humanity, we need only read I Corinthians 13:13. “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love; but, the greatest of these is love.” Rev. Djambazian’s love for mankind along with his commitment to promoting peace for the Armenian people rests at the core of his scholarship and theological legacy. It is that unique spirit of love that inspires hope for a better future which makes Rev. Djambazian a worthy recipient of the Khrimian Hayrig Award.
Rev. Djambazian will receive his honor at the 2022 ANCA-WR Gala on Sunday, September 25 at The Beverly Hilton.
The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region is the largest and most influential nonpartisan Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues in pursuit of the Armenian Cause.
For more information about Rev. Djambazian’s remarkable work as well as the 2022 ANCA-WR Gala, please visit https://ancawr.org/anca-press-releases/. To purchase 2022 ANCA-WR Awards Gala tickets, please visit ancawr.org/gala2022tickets.
Katy Simonian is a member of the 2022 ANCA-WR Gala Committee.