(Armenian: Հայաստանեայց Առաքելական Եկեղեցի, Hayastaneayc' Aṙak'elakan Ekeġec'i) is the world's oldest National Church and is one of the most ancient Christian communities. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion in 301 AD, in establishing this church. The Armenian Apostolic Church traces its origins to the missions of Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus in the 1st century.
The official name of the Church is the One Holy Universal Apostolic Orthodox Armenian Church. It is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the Gregorian Church, and this name is not acceptable by the Church, because the true name of Apostolic implies the Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus as the founders, and St. Gregory the Illuminator as merely the first official head of the Church.
WED Fund Scholarship
The William Ervant Docter Educational Fund was established at St. Mary Armenian Church in 1998 at the behest of a generous and benevolent Armenian-American, the late Mr. William E. Docter (Ervant Hekimian). It was Mr. Docter's wish to help American citizens of Armenian ancestry to pursue studies and training in the United States or Canada.
The Fund was established to provide grants and/or loans of up to $5000 to worthy students regardless of age, gender, or level of education or training. Mr. Docter entrusted the task of administering the Fund to St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Docter was born in Dikranagert under the Ottoman Empire. He was a Survivor of the Armenian Genocide. After the war, like many Armenians, he came to America to start a new life. He received his degree in law from New York University. After a brief stint in private practice, Mr. Docter joined the United States Department of Justice working in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As an Inspector for the Bureau, Mr. Docter traveled extensively throughout the United States.
The demands of his professions kept him from being an active member of the Armenian community; however, for the last fifteen years of his life, he was an anonymous benefactor to the St. Mary Armenian Church in Washington, D.C. After the 1988 earthquake in Armenia, Mr. Docter's generous giving grew exponentially. He became an active supporter of Diocesan missionary activity in Armenia through the organization HAVAD. He was always very proud of his heritage, and he gave to his community and people without expecting anything in return. He passed away feeling proud that Armenia had achieved its independence in his lifetime.
As a United States Army veteran of the World War II, Mr. Docter is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Always mindful of the hardships and adversities experienced in his early life and thankful for the benefits of his later years, Mr. Docter wanted to assist Armenian-Americans so that their journey through life would be less arduous than his. Through the WED Education Fund, Mr. Docter continues his legacy of generous giving to his community and people.