LOS ANGELES–Pasadena–California is not just famous for the annual Rose Parade anymore but is now also home to the newly consecrated St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church. A new chapter in the life of the Armenian American community in Pasadena began on Sunday–October 16 when His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia–consecrated the newest church of the Western Prelacy of the United States. Located on Sierra Madre Boulevard–near the intersection of Colorado Boulevard–parishioners joyously welcomed His Holiness on his arrival at St. Sarkis Church for special services.
Escorted by a Police helicopter–His Holiness’ motorcade arrived at St. Sarkis Church where Pasadena police had closed off the entire block surrounding the church to accommodate the approximately 1,000 people in attendance to witness this historic moment for the community. The Pasadena Star-News featured the event on its front page. Congressman Adam Schiff and California State Assembly Member Carol Liu were also on hand for the landmark occasion.
Later that evening–the community hosted a Pontifical Banquet at the Pasadena Armenian Center in honor of His Holiness and to celebrate the consecration of St. Sarkis Church. Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard and Pasadena Police Chief Bernard Melekian were present as special remarks were delivered by Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich. The community spent approximately $1.5 million for the purchase and renovation of the St. Sarkis Church building with much of the renovation work donated by members of the community. The funds were raised through generous donations from the community. Major donations included: Mr. and Mrs. Sarkis and Susan Kitsinian–$200,000; the Armen Paronian Trust–$80,000; and Mrs. Ani Patatian and the Nazarian Family–$35,000 each. In a show of support–representatives of the Western Prelacy Executive Council and regional executives of various community organizations were also present that evening.
Before introducing His Holiness for his remarks–Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian–Prelate of the Western United States–thanked all those present for making St. Sarkis Church a reality and emphasized that the community must not rest on their laurels but immediately begin the work to expand the church further in the coming year. His Holiness said during his remarks that he started his Los Angeles visit with a message about being faithful toward our church and nation. He is ending his visit with the message of "redeeming our spiritual debt" as noted by famous Armenian poet Barouyr Sevag. He said that redeeming our spiritual debt is manifested–as witnessed today–through the building of new churches–schools–and similar community institutions and "in this context–let today mark the renewal of our collective oath."