ENCINO–A dedication ceremony was held for the Holy Martyrs Armenian Church Sunday–as Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian for the first time led a special sermon and religious ceremony marking the dawn of a new era for the church and neighboring Ferrahian Armenian School.
The Sunday event was preceded by a dinner banquet at Avedissian Hall the night before–as more than 520 guests helped raise some $70,000 for improvemen’s to the church and school.
The money raised will first go toward adding two rooms to the church–which will be used for candle lighting and prayer.
Other renovations to the church will include moving the altar back and to the east–and to bring the baptism bowl closer to it inside the church.
Mardirossian was also in attendance Saturday night–along with honorary Presidents Krikor and Shake Zakarian.
Sebouh Boyadjian acted as master of ceremonies–and Dzeroon Titizian spoke on behalf of the church board of trustees.
"Today’s church dedication ceremony is a grand day for us all–"Mardirossian said. "It is a day of renewed belief and devotion. A day to pledge unity with one another."
Mardirossian also said a prayer in memory of all those who had volunteered their time and money over the years towards making the church a reality.
The evening’s most generous contributors included Marie Ohanian and her children Shahe–Raffi and Nazeli–who donated $15,000 in memory of husband and father Hovhannes Ohanian–and the Zakarian’s–who donated $10,000. A commemorative book was also published–bringing in $17,000.
Adis Harmandian provided entertainment for the evening’s guests as well.
Sunday’s church ceremony was followed by a luncheon in Avedissian Hall.
Ground for the church was first broken in 1960–and was built through the support of Fresno’s Krikor Arakelian. On March 5–1961–a special ceremony was held at the church site–followed by the beginning of construction in 1962.
The church was completed in 1963–and renovated again in 1966.