Holy Martyrs Church Marks 35th Anniversary

On Saturday–November 7–600 people celebrated the 35th anniversary of Holy Martyrs Armenian Apostolic Church at Avedissian Hall. Present at the banquet was re-elected Congressman Brad Sherman.

Those present helped raise $90,000 which will be allocated toward improving the church. An impressive candlelight ceremony proceeded with 42 candle holders. The banquet chairpersons Mr. & Mrs. Krikor and Vicky Assdourian donated $13,000. Also making generous contirbutions were Mr. & Mrs. Manuel and Josephine Sasounian who donated $8,000 and Mr. & Mrs. John and Asdghig Bedrossian who contibuted $5,000.

The San Fernando Valley Armenian Revolutionary Federation "Rosdom" chapter–along with other sister organizations marked this important date of the founding of the church. It is around the church that the community began to take shape 35 years ago and eventually spawned the construction of the Ferrahian Armenian School. The church and the school–side by side–help meet the needs of the growing community. This was early in the Armenian community’s development in California.

How did the construction of the church come about? With the help and dedication of several individuals and then Archbishop Hrant Khatchadourian–the idea came about and was studied and developed thoroughly with the help of Bishop Sempad Lapanian (presently archbishop). The plans for the development got underway on March 5–1961. The church’s unction took place on October 13–1963.

The 35th anniversary celebration was organized by the church’s board of trustees and other organizations under the auspices of Western Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian. The master of ceremonies for the evening was Sebouh Boyajian. The tables were blessed by Holy Martyrs dean Rev. Vicken Vassilian. The speakers for the night were Congressman Brad Sherman–Prelate Mardirossian and Chairman of the Board of Trustees–Vartan Minassian.

Rep. Sherman pledged that he will continue his efforts in Congress to maintain Section 907 in the House of Representatives–and handed Minassian one of the American flags which flew over Capitol Hill.

In his remarks–Prelate Bishop Mardirossian stressed that the hard work and dedication of the founders of the church had unfolded in front of the community’s eyes for the last 35 years. He added that the same dedication continued due to the caring and supportive contributors who had stood behind the church.

"The founders built the church brick by brick and brought together all the children of the faith under the grand dome of the church. Next to the Holy Martyrs’ church was built the first Armenian day school in the community to provide for the needs and for the thirst for education of the Armenian community," said Bishop Mardirossian referring to the Ferrahian Armenian school.

Mardirossian blessed the memory of the church’s benefactor Krikor Arakelian who’s dream was made into reality with the help of his wife Satneig Arakelian. The Prelate went on to thank and praise all the organizers and contributors for their time and contributions.

Prelate Mardirossian also acknowledged the hard work and dedication of those who–for 35 years–worked to keep the church strong and influential–noting that as the community approached the 21st century–it must continue the hard work and brace itself for the future.

"Handing down the responsibility to the new generation and instilling them with a profound love for the church is the responsibility of every one of us here tonight.," concluded the Prelate.

Board of Trustees Chairman–Vartan Minassian thanked all those who contributed to the evening’s success–saying that the night’s festivities were the summation of the community’s hard work over the past 35 years.

It was this same dedication that made the dream of an Armenian church in the Armenian-American community in the San Fernando Valley a reality. Minassian concluded his speech by thanking all those who contributed and praised Prelate Mardirossian and the banquet presidents for the evening’s success.

Master of Ceremonies Sebouh Boyadjian also thanked those present. Raffi Khardalian and his band entertained the guests.

On the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the Holy Martyrs Church–a special commemorative booklet was published which commenced with the blessings and message from His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia. Following the words of His Holiness–the booklet features messages from Prelate Mardirossian and the church Board of Trustees.

A list of the church staff–and all contributors also appears in the booklet–along with opening remarks and is in turn followed by articles printed in Asbarez on this occasion authored by Bishop Krikor Chiftdjian–the Holy Martyrs’ 35th anniversary committee members–Ara Kazanjian–Razmig Shirinian and Eujeni Bedrossian.

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