The dates of September 8 and 9, 2007, were days of spiritual rejoicing and renewal of our dedication when the St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church of Pasadena was consecrated by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate, with the participation of Diocesan clergy, Deacons, and the church Choir.
“OPENING OF THE DOORS”
Saturday, September 8, 2007
After about ten years of planning, fund raising, and hard work, under the leadership of Very Rev. Fr. Baret Dz. V. Yaretsian, Parish Priest, and with the cooperation of the Building Committee and the Parish Council, the construction of the church was completed and was ready for consecration.
On Saturday, September 8, 2007, beginning at 5:00 p.m. there was a festive atmosphere in the church complex. Students, the staff, as well as a large number of Armenian faithful, were all eagerly waiting for the “Opening of the Doors” services.
At 6:00 p.m. the Choir, Deacons, and the procession of the Clergy, under the directions of Very Rev. Fr. Baret, and with the singing of appropriate hymns, the Primate was lead to the doors of the church where on bended knees the solemn service began. Upon the “Opening of the Doors” and with the singing of “Rejoice O Holy Church,” they entered the magnificent church. The evening service was conducted by the clergy.
At the conclusion, Very Rev. Fr. Baret expressed his heartfelt thanks to Almighty God that the construction was completed, ready for consecration, and that the church would continue its mission with faith and determination He expressed his gratitude to the Primate who had closely followed the operations of the construction with blessings and prayers. e theHe then invited the Primate to deliver his message.
The Primate in his message stated “Keeping your prayers in our hearts, we courageously responded by singing ‘Open us O Lord the door of mercy which we pray you with lamentation.’ The dream of many years now is realized where we see the mighty presence of Almighty God and the Holy Altar which ascends to God. For decades, Parish Priests, Parish organizations, and the faithful devoted their time and their talents towards this holy place. We thank God for all their efforts because we believe that everybody worked and made donations as the widow of the New Testament for whom Christ said ‘The widow gave to the temple all that she had.’”
The Primate commended Very Rev. Fr. Baret, the Building Committee, Parish Council, and all the faithful for their sincere efforts; through their efforts the consecration was realized. The Primate spoke about the mission of the church, stating that the church is the House of God and the redemption place of our souls. He introduced the guests and urged the faithful to support the church morally and financially because the church was now ready to satisfy all of their spiritual needs.
CONSECRATION OF THE MONUMENT OF PRAYER
Upon the conclusion of the evening service, with the singing of appropriate hymns, the Primate and the clergy, together with the choir and deacons, were lead out of the church. They then gathered on the right side of the church around the “Monument of Prayer,” consecrating it in an atmosphere of spiritual joy. The benefactor of this monument was Sarkis Badamyan in honor of his mother. The Primate congratulated and commended him for his devoted work in the construction of the church, blessing him, his mother, and his family.
OPENING OF GARABED AND AZADOUHIE YEGAVIAN HALL
The Primate and the partakers of the service, moved to the left side of the church and there the Primate and the family members of Garabed and Azadouhie Yegavian, cut the ribbons and officially entered the hall. The Primate expressed his congratulations and commended them for their contribution.
We express our gratitude to those who took part in the construction of the church:
Sarkis Badamyan Contractor
Sarkis Balmanoukian Designer
John Raymond Byram, AIA Architect
Mike Geragos Designer
Arto Kazarians Structural Engineer
Deacon Hovsep Melkonian Stones Contractor
Eric R. Musurlian Attorney at Law
Ara Zenobians, AIA Architectural Advisor
We express our gratitude to the members of the Building Committee:
Nicholas Lambajian, Esq. Chairman
Howard Emirhanian Vice Chairman
George Dunaians Co-Treasurer
Krikor Garabedian Co-Treasurer
Ray Balian Advisor
Ara Gebeshian Advisor
Asbed Tatoulian PC Building Committee Liaison
Andre Temurian PC Building Committee Liaison
We express our gratitude to the Veteran Building Committee Members
Special thanks were also expressed to the following for service rendered in the construction of the new sanctuary:
Hampartzoum “Hampo” Nazerian, Project Manager
Parish Council Chairs
Vahe Skenderian, PC Chairman, 2007
Shoghig Giragosian, PC Chairman, 2006
Dr. Kourken Matossian, PC Chairman, 2003-2005
Nicholas Lambajian, Esq., PC Chairman, 2001-2002
We express our deep appreciation and thanks to the Construction Committee Members
Very Rev. Fr. Baret Dz. V. Yeretzian, Pastor
Vahe Skenderian, Parish Council Chairman
Deacon Mihran Toumajian, Consecration Committee Chairman
Aida Sethian, Construction Committee Treasurer
Deacon Vahe Charkhutian
Deacon Hovsep Melkonian
BLESSING AND MADAGH
Upon the conclusion of the service, the Primate blessed the “Madagh” and the congregation thoroughly enjoyed the traditional “harissa dinner,” while listening to Armenian music and watching the delightful performance of the renowned Zvartnots Dance Group.
CONSECRATION OF ST. GREGORY ARMENIAN CHURCH
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2007
The morning service began at 9:30 a.m. followed at 10:30 a.m. with the Divine Liturgy celebrated by the Primate along with two former pastors of the church, Very Rev. Fr. Asbed Balian, and Archpriest Rev. Fr. Moushegh Tashjian serving at the Holy Altar.
Also in attendance were Archbishop Arsen Berberian, Fr. Norayr Kazazian, visiting from Jerusalem, Very Rev. Fr. Dz. V. Dajad Yardemian, Vicar General, Archpriest Rev. Fr. Dr. Zaven Arzoumanian, and the Diocesan Clergy. Present also was Rev. Joseph Matossian from the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America and Rev. Kevork Derian.
The Primate extended his welcome and greetings to the Hon. Armen Liloyan, Consul General of the Republic of Armenia; Bill Bogaard, Mayor of Pasadena; Ara Najarian, Mayor of Glendale; Raffi Manoukian, former Mayor of Glendale; and Paul Krekorian, Member of the California Assembly.
During the “Opening of the Doors” Ceremony and at the Badarak, the Choir of St. Gregory, under the leadership of Elize Tashjian, with Vartkes Mangerian playing the organ, beautifully and harmoniously sang the hymns. On this occasion, the well known Armenian singer Hovig Krikorian sang “Der Voghormia.”
Before the singing of the "Lord's Prayer", the Primate consecrated the Holy Crosses placed on the walls all around the church, with the presence of the following Godfathers:
George and Flora Dunaians - Avak
Ronald and Nadia Gustafson-Avak
Richard and Rose Aslanian (In memory of Mr. Aslanian’s parents)
Sarkis Badamyan and Gagik Pogosian
Harry and Sue+ Chortanian
Nishan and Ruby Derderian
Raffi and Sossie Elmajian (In memory of Nazareth and Therese Elmajian)
Howard and Dorothy Emirhanian
Levon and Kathy Gazarian
Mark and Paulette Geragos (In honor of Paul and Betty Jane Geragos)
John+ and Rose Ketchoyan
Nicholas and Rita Lambajian (In memory of Nick’s parents)
Sooren and Jean Manoogian (In honor of their grandchildren)
Aram and Adrine Matossian and Family
Richard and Lauren Mushegain
Estate of Dorothy J. Phillips
Antranik+ and Haiganoush Sepetjian
Betty Mananian Shatafian
Toros and Talin Yetenekian (In memory of Archdeacon Yervant Yetenekian
Avak denotes doubling the original amount of the donation
+Deceased - May God rest and glorify their souls.
CONSECRATION OF THE BAPTISMAL FONT
Upon the conclusion of the consecration of the church, the Primate also consecrated the Baptismal Font. George and Flora Dunaians were the benefactors.
CONSECRATION OF THE HOLY ALTAR
The consecration of the Holy Altar will take place on Monday, October 1, 2007 at 6:00 p.m. by His Holiness Karekin ll, Catholicos of All Armenians.
THE PRIMATE’S SERMON
The Primate delivered a very inspiring sermon, once again emphasizing the importance of the mission of the church and expressing his gratitude to all those who supported this important mission. Following the sermon, the Primate presented Fr. Baret with an elegant Chalice with its cover to be used for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.
Following church services, a Gala Banquet was held in Agajanian Hall with a capacity crowd of approximately 500 in attendance. The Master of Ceremonies, Deacon Vahe Charkhutian introduced the guests seated at the head table:
Dn. and Mrs. Mihran Toumajian
Dn. Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Chair of the Diocesan Council
Mr. and Mrs. Vahe Skenderian, Chair of the Parish Council
Hon. Ara Najarian, Mayor of Glendale
His Eminence Archbishop Arsen Berberian
His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian
Hon. Bill Bogaard, Mayor of Pasadena
Very Rev. Baret Dz. V. Yeretsian, Pastor of St. Gregory Armenian Church
Hon. and Mrs. Paul Krikorian, Member of California Assembly
Very Rev. Fr. Dajad Dz. V. Yardemian, Vicar General of the Western Diocese
On this occasion, the Honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California sent a congratulatory letter of greetings. Congratulatory letters were also received from Congressman Adam Schiff, the Mayor of Pasadena, Bill Bogaard, and Anthony J. Portantino, Member of the California Assembly.
The program began with the singing of the Armenian National Anthem by Elize
Tashjian, accompanied by Levon Abrahamian. The invocation was delivered by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian. Vahe Skenderian, Chair of the Parish Council, welcomed the guests and Dn. Mihran Toumajian lead the audience in a rousing l toast. Entertainment was provided by the talented and well known artists, violinist Aroussiak Baltaian, accompanied by her brother Sarkis Baltaian at the piano in an Instrumental Duet. Very Rev. Fr. Baret Dz. V. Yeretzian delivered a heartfelt message of thanks and appreciation that the church construction was now completed and appealed to the faithful to financially support the church. Closing remarks were delivered by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian¸ expressing his immense joy for the completion of the construction of St. Gregory; thanking all the faithful for their hard work and support, and concluded this memorable day with his prayers and blessings.
"Heavenly King, preserve thy church unshaken and keep the worshipers of thy name in peace."
OFFICE OF THE WESTERN DIOCESE
September 14, 2007