About St. James Armenian Church, Los Angeles
St. James Armenian Church of Los Angeles is a parish of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America. The first Church organizing meeting was held at the home of Malcolm Telloian in July, 1941. Hagop Essayan was the Godfather in the naming of the Church - St. James Armenian Church of Los Angeles. The dedicated charter members of the parish held their first Parish Assembly on April 18, 1942 and the first sanctuary, a converted residence on West Adams Boulevard, was consecrated on December 27, 1942. Our Articles of Incorporation were filed with the State of California on March 3, 1943. The parish grew rapidly after the end of World War II as families moved to the Los Angeles area. A new auditorium was dedicated in 1949, due in large part to the contribution of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Merjanian, and a new sanctuary and classrooms building were consecrated on December 15, 1957.
Our present parish site at Slauson and La Tijera in southwest Los Angeles was acquired in January, 1964 and the first structures of this development, the auditorium (used temporarily for Church services) and underground parking structure, were completed in 1965. His Holiness Vazken I, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians officiated at the Groundbreaking ceremonies for our new sanctuary on May 19, 1968. Construction began soon after the Blessing of the Foundation service held on February 15, 1970. Our new sanctuary was consecrated on March 21, 1971. At this time, our auditorium was enlarged and re-named the St. James - John Gogian Hall in recognition of the role Mr. Gogian had played in the building campaign for the new sanctuary and the expansion of the hall. The Baptismal Room was consecrated in memory of Robert Murachanian. Later, a major redecoration of the St.James-John Gogian Hall was completed in 1981 and the kitchen was completely remodeled with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 22, 1990. In the sanctuary, new murals by Kero Antoyan and a new Baptismal Font, donated by Maritza Apkarian, were consecrated in 1988 and 1989, respectively.
A major phase of development was the completion of the St. James - Dr. Levon Kassabian School that was dedicated on May 11, 1974. These classrooms are used primarily for our Sunday School and Armenian School programs. The St. James - Haiganoush Dulgarian Hall is a part of this building and was dedicated on June 17, 1975. The St. James Library, also in this structure, was dedicated in the names of John and Dickranouhi Melikian in 1984.
The various church organizations contribute to the strength and vitality of our parish and function under the leadership and guidance of our Parish Priest. Our first Parish Priest was Very Rev. Elisee Kalchinjian. The Parish Council, Choir, Sunday School, and Ladies Society were organized in 1942 with the formation of the parish. Mr. Alexander Kludjian was our first Parish Council Chairman. Our first Choir Director was Zaruhi Elmassian (later Vartian) who served in that capacity until her passing in February, 1990. The St. James Ladies Society has made major contributions over the years in sponsoring the many annual banquets, Kufta dinners and other activities in the parish. The St. James Juniors were organized formally on March 14, 1943. In 1949 the Juniors phased into the ACYO organization. These groups held a well-attended 50th anniversary reunion on April 13, 1991. The Mr. and Mrs. Club was formed in 1951 and has supported the parish in many ways through the years. The Fellowship Club for senior citizens was formed in 1972. Our present Armenian School, which meets on Saturdays, was organized in 1980 and celebrated its 20th anniversary on April 15, 2000. The AYMS (Armenian Young Married and Singles) group began in 1980; activities include Bible Studies. All of the parish organizations join with the Parish Council in conducting our annual picnic in July. Our first annual picnic was held on July 4, 1942 at Elysian Park. The Oshagan, our monthly publication, was first published in August, 1943 and is widely read within and beyond our Church community.
A milestone was the celebration of our 50th Annual Banquet held on November 23, 1991 at our John Gogian Hall with His Eminence Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, Primate, presiding.
A In recent years a number of our dedicated parishioners have been honored with Gontags (Encyclicals) and the St. Nerses Shnorhali (Graceful) Medals for their service to St. James and the Western Diocese. On December 12, 1993 Gontags and Medals from His Holiness Vazken I were presented by our Primate, His Eminence Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian to Robert Barsam, Vartkes Barsam, John M. Bozajian, Oshyn Kasparian, Robert Melcon, Harold Rakoobian and Walter Zarifian. On December 1, 1996, our Primate, His Eminence Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian presented Gontags and St. Nerses Medals from His Holiness Karekin I, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, to Deacon Barouyr Kizirian and Jack Chalekian.
The Honorable Levon Ter-Petrossian, President of the Independent Republic of Armenia, made an historic visit to St. James on Sunday, August 14, 1994. St. James was honored by the visit of His Holiness Karekin I, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, on Tuesday, February 6, 1996 prior to his departure from Los Angeles.
We celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Rev. Father Arshag Khatchadourian as our Parish Priest on December 7, 1997 at a banquet held at the Los Angeles Airport Hilton Hotel. On January 23, 2000, His Eminence Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, Primate, assisted by Rev. Fr. Arshag Khatchadourian, Parish Priest, blessed and dedicated our new office expansion. This expansion, consisting of a new Pastor's office and conference room, was constructed as a second floor over a slightly enlarged west section of John Gogian Hall.
In September 2011, Rev. Fr. Haroutioun Tachejian was assigned as pastor of St. James Armenian Apostolic Church in Los Angeles by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Diocesan Primate.
KEY EVENTS IN THE HISTORY OF ST. JAMES ARMENIAN CHURCH
|JULY, 1941||First Church organizing meeting held at the home of Malcolm Telloian.|
|APRIL 18, 1942||First Parish Assembly to organize St. James; Very Rev. (later Bishop) Vartan Kasparian, Acting Primate, presiding. Held at Odd Fellows Hall.|
|JUNE 7, 1942||First Church services at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, Rev. Bedros Hagopian, of San Francisco, officiating.|
|DECEMBER 27, 1942||Consecration of the first Church at 3200 West Adams Blvd., Bishop Mampre Calfayan, officiating; Very Rev. Elisee Kalchinjian, Parish Priest.|
|APRIL 2, 1949||Dedication of new Auditorium at West Adams.|
|DECEMBER 15, 1957||Consecration of new Church at West Adams, Archbishop Mampre Calfayan and Archbishop Vartan Kasparian, officiating; Very Rev. Dirayr Ds.V. Dervishian, Parish Priest.|
|JULY 3, 1960||First visit and Divine Liturgy by His Holiness Vazken I, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.|
|FEBRUARY 23, 1964||Final services at West Adams Church.|
|SEPTEMBER 19, 1965||Dedication and first Church services in new Hall at Slauson Ave., Archbishop Shnork Kaloustian, Patriarch of Armenians in Turkey, officiating; Very Rev. Dirayr Ds.V. Dervishian, Parish Priest.|
|MAY 19, 1968||Visit of His Holiness, Vazken I, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, who officiated at the Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Church Sanctuary at Slauson Ave.|
|FEBRUARY 15, 1970||Blessing of the foundation of the new Church, Bishop Elisha Simonian, Primate of the Western Diocese, officiating.|
|MARCH 21, 1971||Consecration of the new Church and Dedication of the enlarged St. James-John Gogian Hall, Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese, officiating; Very Rev. (later Bishop) Aris Shirvanian, Parish Priest.|
|MAY 11, 1974||Dedication of the St. James - Dr. Levon Kassabian School, Bishop Vatche Hovsepian, Primate of the Western Diocese, officiating; Very Rev. Dirayr Dervishian, Ds.V., Parish Priest.|
|DECEMBER 13, 1981||St. James 40th Annual Banquet at Century Plaza Hotel, Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, Primate, presiding; Rev. Arshag Khatchadourian, Parish Priest.|
|MAY 15, 1988||Consecration of new sanctuary Murals by Kero Antoyan and Camp Fund-Raising Banquet, Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, Primate, officiating; Rev. Arshag Khatchadourian, Parish Priest.|
|FEBRUARY 19, 1989||Consecration of new Baptismal Font, Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, Primate, officiating; Rev. Arshag Khatchadourian, Parish Priest.|
|APRIL 13, 1991||50th Anniversary Reunion of the former members of the St. James Juniors (to 1949) and ACYO (1949 to present).|
|NOVEMBER 23, 1991||St. James 50th Annual Banquet and Program, Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, Primate, presiding; Rev. Arshag Khatchadourian, Parish Priest.|
|AUGUST 14, 1994||Visit of the Honorable Levon Ter-Petrossian, President of the Republic of Armenia, Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, Primate, presiding; Rev. Arshag Khatchadourian, Parish Priest.|
|FEBRUARY 6, 1996||Visit of His Holiness Karekin I, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, Primate; Rev. Arshag Khatchadourian, Parish Priest.|
|DECEMBER 7, 1997||Banquet Honoring Rev. Arshag Khatchadourian's 20th Anniversary as Parish Priest of St. James, Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, Primate, presiding.|
|JANUARY 23, 2000||
Dedication and Blessing of Office and Conference Room expansion, Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, Primate, officiating; Rev Fr. Arshag Khatchadourian, Parish Priest.