Soorp Khatch (Holy Cross) Church in Bethesda, Maryland is the outgrowth of many years of cohesive struggle and resolute desire of the Armenians in Washington, D.C., area to worship freely and continue the cultural traditions of a people who endured massacres and the first Genocide of the 20th century perpetrated against them by the Turks.

A great number of Armenians who fled or escaped the massacres of 1890s and 1909, came to these shores in search of a haven where they could enjoy a peaceful existence free of periodic persecutions and extermination and keep their Armenian identity.  They were followed by survivors of the 1915 Genocide.  They settled in New England, Metropolitan New York, Detroit, and California.

The Armenian migration to the Washington D.C. area started around the turn of the 20th century, although no official records were kept. Malkhas, well known Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) member and author of many novels, states in his memoirs that he and his brother came to Washington in 1903. They were able to find employment in a store and Malkhas was enrolled at the Corcoran Art Gallery as a student. They both left after a brief stay due to the fact that there were very few Armenians established in the nation’s capital.

The earliest confirmed arrival was Hagop (Ami) Arabian in 1908 followed by his brother in 1914, who together opened a grocery store. Nazaret Caroglanian fled Turkey around 1909 and spent some time in Marseilles, France, prior to coming to America and settling in Kenosha, Wisconsin, while working at the Simmons Bed Factory starting in 1911. Shortly thereafter he was convinced by Hagop Chorbajian to move to Washington, D.C., to open a grocery store in southwest D.C., where the present day Washington Nationals play baseball. Moushegh Dellalian is believed to have come to Washington, D.C., circa 1910-1915.

By late 1920s to early 1930s a small number of Armenian immigrant families and individuals joined those who had settled in the nation’s capital in earlier years, when the first Armenian Ambassador, Dr.  Garegin Pastermadjian (also known by his nom de guerre Armen Garo), had established the diplomatic mission of the first free and independent Republic of Armenia in Washington, D.C. The acquisition of the Embassy building, located on Wyoming Street, was made possible by an enthusiastic community-wide effort involving the ARF Gomideh of Philadelphia and such generous community leaders as Haig Herant Pakradooni, the Persian Consul in Philadelphia, and Nouvart Pakradooni. At this time, Armenians were active in the ARF, supporting the homeland; and also its sister organization, the Armenian Relief Corps (ARC), Inc. of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS), providing relief and assistance to the needy in Armenia and the Diaspora.

As early as in 1931, the Armenian Community of Greater Washington, D.C., that had come mostly from villages and cities of Cilicia and Western Armenia, had established a coherent entity and elected a Board of Trustees (BoT) consisting of Hovhannes Karibian from Sepastia, Vahram Kavaldjian from Adapazar, and Hagop Tossounian from Caesaria. Nazaret Caroglanian and Moushegh Dellalian joined later. The intention of this group was to create an Armenian community, bringing all the Armenians in the area together, to perpetuate Armenianism among the individuals, through church and social activities.

During and after World War II a greater influx of Armenians, some of whom were born in the U.S., moved to Washington, D.C.  The enlarged community was in need of a church, a community center or at least a meeting place to manage its collective affairs and uphold its religious and social traditions.  Various groups and organizations of the community held their meetings and gatherings in rented spaces while church services were held in local Episcopal churches.  Visiting priests (Father Movses Manigian, Father Stepan Karapetian and Father Yeghisheh Mekitarian) were invited to hold Holy Mass, Baptisms, Weddings, and Christmas and Easter services at different locations, including Saint John’s Church at Lafayette Park (across from the White House, known as the Presidents Church), Ascension and Saint Agnes Church at 12th and Massachussetts Avenue NW, and Saint James Episcopal Church at 228 8th Street NE.

Such occasional visits, however, could not begin to provide the necessary spiritual guidance and contentment to a community that kept growing. By 1942, a new Board of Trustees (BoT) was elected to oversee the community’s activities.  Its members were Nishan Shamigian from Palau, Mihran Seferian from Caesaria, Markos Davitian from Van, Nazaret Caroglanian from Malatia, and Garabet Papazian from Adapazar. In 1942, the Tzeghagron Washington Chapter was organized by Armen Loosararian, Jack Ohanessian, Dickran Vartanian, with Roupen Gavoor as their advisor.  (Tzeghagrons, the predecessor of the Armenian Youth Federation of America (the AYF), was first set up by General Garegin Njdeh following a decision by the ARF.) On June 6, 1943, the ARC organized a Grand Concert featuring Mrs. Marie Arakian and Miss Anahid Ajemian. The program booklet names many supporters (donors) who had arrived before World War II.

With the complexities of using other churches, the community sought its own church. In 1947, a Church Purchasing and Building Committee was elected, which consisted of members of the ARF Committee, ARS Committee, and Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) ANI Chapter.  The committee members were Kachig Harootunian from Kharpert, Margos (Mark) Keshishian from Hadjin, Arshavir Shavarshouni from Tchemeshgatsak, Vartanoush Karibian from Bitlis, and Vartkes Garabedian from Palou. The formation of this Committee supported the community’s collective dream to become the owner of a church building.  But the Committee soon realized that they were not financially secure to have their own church.

June 1950 brought on the start of the Korean War drafting many young men to serve in the military. A much larger group of Armenians, first and second generations, started to settle in Washington, D.C., during the 1940s and 1950s from other states of America, such as New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. Armenians also came from Iran, Egypt and other countries. This group of talented individuals was soon to be the backbone of the community.  By the early 50s, the community continued to grow with students arriving from Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey. Some of the returning war veterans and their wives found jobs plentiful in Washington.

The following are some of the early residents: Mihran Seferian, Melikians, Kachig Harootunian, Arshavir Shavarshouni, Sarkis Vahouny, Hovhannes Karibian, Dertad Karibian, Vahram Kavaldjian, Hagop Tossounian, John Parseghian, Kris Dedeyan, Yervant and Rose Baboyan, Margos and Margareth Keshishian, Roupen and Rosemary Gavoor, Mihran Banerian, Levon Besdekian, Arthur and Pailoon Najarian, George and Makrouhi Najarian, Jirair Dickranian, Avedis and Aghavni Miranian, Araxie Janikian, Hovakim Kazarian, Maftious Sinanian, Paul Kaiser, John Paul, Jack Paul, Nourey Manualian, Haroutoun Kayian, Colonel Zaven and Vartouhi Nalbandian, N. Caoian, A. Hamasian, Souren Hanessian, Dikran Janikian, Paul Vartanian, A. Bedrosian, Misack Srabian, Neshan and Ashken Shamigian, Antranig and Berjouhi Shamigian, Onnig and Elise Dombalagian, K. Krikorian, Vahan Garabedian, Varsenig Essetian, James Tossounian, Vartan Manuelian, H. Manougian, Garabed (Gary) Devletian, Garabed Papazian, John Boghosian, Martin Boghosian, Haratoun Serengulian, Vartouhi Aylaian, Karnig Davitian, A. H. Hovnanian, Aram Panossian, Dikran Keoroglanian, Jack and George Kazigian and others who are unknown at this time.

During this time, one of the first major events in the Washington, D.C., area was the AYF Convention of 1950. The event sparked the community’s interest to grow even more.  In September 1954, the AYF held the first Olympics hosted by the Washington, D.C chapter.

In 1956, Bishop Khoren Paroyan (later Catholicos of the Holy House of Cilicia) visited America as the Legate of the newly elected head of the Church, His Holiness Zareh I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia. He traveled to many cities in the USA to meet with Armenian communities.  While visiting Washington, D.C., His Eminence suggested that the community’s first need was to have a permanently assigned pastor who could manage its religious and community affairs properly.

In 1959, at a general meeting, chaired by the then Archbishop Khoren Paroyan, the Prelate moved forward with its earlier suggestion that the community have a permanent or resident pastor. Thus, in August 1959, by special arrangement of Archbishop and the Central Prelacy Council, Reverand Father Dickran Khoyan was assigned as the pastor of the community. Rev. Fr. Khoyan officiated his first mass in Washington, D.C., on September 10, 1959, at St. Agnes Episcopal Church.

The Soorp Khatch Church community was established on September 24, 1959.  The composition of the first BoT was Aram Panossian (Chairman), Garabed Najarian (Vice Chair), Gourgen Assatourian (Secretary), Armen Loosararian (Treasurer), and Jirair Dickranian (Advisor).  The next BoT was made up of the following members: Armen Loosararian (President), Vahan Ornazian, Michael Najarian, and Dr. Babgen Mangasarian.

Rev. Fr. Khoyan served until October 10, 1962.  During his leadership, the Sunday school board was formed. Yeretsgin Sirarpi Khoyan was elected as the supervisor. The school teachers were Ann Atanosian, Seda Gelenian, Seta Kavaljian, and Hasmig Shamigian.

Next, the Church Choir was formed under the direction of Ashod Mnatzakanian. The executive committee for the choir was Vahram Paghigian (President), Seda Gelenian (Secretary), Nyart Sharigian (Treasurer), and Sossie Kochakian (Acting Choir Master).

Approximately four months later, a regular choir executive committee was formed with Zareh Balian (President), Sossie Kochakian (Secretary), Nyart Sharigian (Treasurer), Ashod Mnatzakanian (Choir Master), Yeghisabeth (Elizabeth) Grigorian (Organist), and Eleanor Seda Caroglanian (Assistant Organist).

Rev. Fr. Khoyan then organized the first Ladies Guild. At the first meeting, Seda Gelenian was elected as President of the Ladies Guild, and at the second meeting, the following group was formed: Yeretsgin Sirarpi Khoyan (Honorary President), Seda Gelenian (President), Kay Mangasarian (Vice President), Yerchanig Loosararian (Secretary), Sossie Kochakian (Correspondence Secretary), and Ann Toutlian (Treasurer).

With the arrival of Rev. Fr. Khoyan and the church community life became more organized, the need for a church of their own became even more obvious. Finally, in September 1962, the Community Membership meeting elected a provisional committee to survey potential sites for a church building, made up of the following members: Arshavir Shavarshouni, Kris Dedeyan, Michael Najarian, Edward Kocharian, Asadour (Oscar) Caroglanian, Jirair (William) Haratunian, Dikran Keoroglanian, Ashod Mnatzaganian and Serop Nersessian.

In October 1962, Archbishop Hrant Khatchadourian assigned Rev. Fr. Sempad Der Mekhsian as the new pastor. Rev. Fr. Der Mekhsian became the second priest to serve the community as its permanent Pastor. The new Pastor, whose service with the Greater Washington Community coincided with the community’s efforts to purchase a church of its own, gave his fullest attention to the needs of the church. After the purchase of the church, he directed the work of transforming the interior of the church in line with Armenian tradition. He also worked closely with the Ladies Guild, the Sunday school, the choir, and did his best to resume the Saturday Armenian School.      

The first Building Committee members were Milton Gelenian (Chairman), Jirair Haratunian, Edward Kocharian, Misha Alikanian, Kris Dedeyan, and Malkon Baboyian.  The committee was instructed to work jointly with the BoT membership, which at the time was comprised of Michael Najarian, Edward Kocharian, Asadour Caroglanian, Garabed Devletian, Onnig Marashian, Peter Vartanian, and James Keshishian.  In 1963, after an exhaustive search, the committee identified a candidate church for purchasing called Open Door Church at 4906 Flint Drive, Bethesda, Maryland 20816.  On June 22, 1963, the joint BoT and the Building Committee presented to a general meeting of the community, which was chaired by Archbishop Khachadourian, a proposal to buy the present location. In an atmosphere of enthusiasm, hope, and sacrifice, the community meeting members voted to buy the present building and the adjoining property. The parishioners present at the community meeting boldly turned the decision to buy a church into a reality by pledging nearly $25,000.  Milton Gelenian (attorney) and Edward Kocharian (builder) signed a note to the bank, giving their personal guarantee to underwrite the costs for the church/church hall, and later Levon Palian for the community center (for $100,000), if the Washington community could not meet the financial obligation.

The BoT in 1964 were Asadour Caroglanian, Gary Devletian, James Keshishian, Eddie Kocharian, Onnig Marashian, Michael Najarian, and Peter Vartanian. After the purchase, a major task of the BoT and the Building Committee was to modify the church interior into a sanctuary of the Armenian Church, suitable for celebration of the Holy Mass according to the ancient rites and ritual of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Contracts were executed to modify the rear of the church to provide more space and to construct a raised platform for the altar. The church building and adjoining land came about by the untiring efforts of George Kazigian.  Major renovations of the church and its altar were undertaken by Garabed Devletian in loving memory of Dr. Colonel Artin & Naomi Devletian.  Mr. Devletian made possible other necessary changes and completed the Soorp Khoran circa 1964. A similar work of art was the beautiful painting of the Madonna and Christ Child, which graces the altar, painted and donated by Miss Gladys Kazigian in memory of her father’s parents Mr. and Mrs. Vartan Kazigian.

The building was soon transformed into the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church, and on October 10, 1964, Rev. Fr. Der Mekhsian celebrated Holy Mass in the refurbished new church. Archbishop Khatchadourian and Congressman Charles MacMathis of Maryland were the guests of honor at the Consecration Gala Banquet on October 10, 1964.  The next day, October 11, the church was consecrated by Archbishop Khatchadourian.

Kachig Harootunian, who for many years had been one of the driving forces in the community’s efforts to acquire its own church and community center, was among the first to contribute to the purchase of the church; and was bestowed the honor of naming the church “Soorp Khatch”. The evening of the gala, Kachig Harootunian was presented a plaque designating him as the Godfather of Soorp Khatch Church (which is posted above the entrance to the church).

The Consecration celebration was an occasion of great enthusiasm and hard work for young and old alike. However, the church structure was small and had no meeting rooms, no classrooms, and no hall that could satisfy the needs of the community.  The community’s dreams were not yet completely fulfilled. With the dream of having its own church, was the dream of having a community center to serve the needs of the church and community, class rooms for the Sunday and Armenian schools, a large hall for social and cultural activities, as well as facilities to meet the physical fitness needs of the youth. Now was the time to pay-off the church’s mortgage. Now was the chance to start the community center next to the church. Both these goals became attainable through the interest and sacrifice of the two Washington patriarchs, the first being Kachig Harootunian.

Hagop Arabian, the other patriarch, who always responded to community and national causes, also brought his share to the purchase of the church building, but his deep-rooted wish was to see a community center within the church conclave—a center for Armenian children and youth, a meeting place for young and old, a bulwark to keep alive the Armenian language and traditions. To help realize this dream, he responded to the plans of the Building Committee by taking on himself the church’s $23,000 mortgage. Out of appreciation for this regal gift, the auditorium of the community center was named the “Hagop Arabian Armenian Center of Greater Washington.”

Note: Behind the marble block is a time capsule capturing all individuals who contributed to the church and community center

To the names of these patriarchs should be added that of Marc Keshishian, who not only contributed to the church building, but also undertook a trip to California and returned with $5,000 in contributions for the construction of the community center. The Church hall was dedicated to Hagop Garabed Keshishian by Margos Keshishian & Family on December 12, 1967.

Other patriarchs include Aram Panossian, Artist Gladys Kazigian, who painted the beautiful pictures in the sanctuary, and many others who, with their generous contributions and untiring efforts, made the dream a reality. The portraits of St. Sahag and St. Mesrob in the sanctuary were donated by Dr. Hratch Abrahamian and his brothers in memory of their parents Armenak and Shoushanik Abrahamian, and the other paintings were donated by the Ladies Guild in 1964 and 1965.  Additional painting was donated by Loosik (Lousvart) Mangassarian in April 1994 in memory of Gharabagh’s Armenian Martyrs.

The Building Committee for the Community Center, named early in 1964 by the BoT, were made up of Milton Gelenian, who spearheaded the project, Vartkes Allahaydoyan, Jirair Haratunian, Edward Kocharian, Arshavir Shavarshouni, Kris Dedeyan and Barkev Kibarian. The committee had already undertaken the initial phase of the project for the center by ordering the blueprints for a new building to meet the long-standing needs of the community to build a hall and classrooms adjacent to the church.  It was through the dedication and perseverance of this committee as well as funds donated by community members that the present day structure next to the church was built.  It was dedicated in December 1967.  Thus, the community had its own church, its own community center, classrooms, and a large hall for gatherings.

There were Armenian intellectuals in the government, Voice of America, etc., that were part of the community, like Colonel Zaven Nalbandian and his wife Vartouhi Kalantar, Hakob Karapentz, and many influential individuals at Voice of America, including Edward Alexander, Misha Alikanian, Grigor Saharuni, Lili Tramblian, Arsen Sayan, Andranik Tramblian, Vache Magarian, Vigen Babayan, Gourgen Assatourian, Leo Sarkisian, Araxi Vann, and Norayr Pahlavouni. Other intellectuals who were influential in the community were Dr. Hratch Abrahamian, Dr. Oshin Der Stepanian, Haig and Hermine Gakavian, Colonel Harry and Alice Sachaklian (USAF), Edward and Ardemis Kocharian, George and Margaret Krikorian, Dr. Dertad and Seta Manguikian, Dr. Gregor and Arax Khachikian, Garabed and Vrejoohi Armenian, Levon and Tagouhi Palian and so many others. There were also Armenian Protestants and Catholics as members of the church community.  

The following are significant dates and events held in the community after the consecration of the church and dedication of the community center:

  • 1968—Concert and Banquet honoring Composer Aram Khatchadourian.
  • 1969—Pontifical visit and Banquet with Guest of Honor His Holiness Khoren I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia.
  • 1983—Soorp Khatch Church Mortgage Burning with presiding Archpriest Sahag Vertanessian.
  • 1983—Pontifical Banquet honoring His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia.
  • April 22-28, 1985—70th Anniversary Gathering of Survivors in Washington, D.C., with Guest of Honor, Honorable George Deukmejian, Governor of California.  This commemorative effort came to fruition due to the tireless efforts of community members such as Dr. Hratch Abrahamian, Asadour Caroglanian and others.
  • 1990—Community participation in a humanitarian collection of funds, clothing and items for Children of Armenia after the December 7, 1988 Earthquake.  A large donation of children and adult clothing from the Seventh Day Advent Church of America was accepted and shipped from New Jersey by the U.S. Air Force.   The work was spearheaded by Onnig Petrossian, who served as treasurer of BoT.
  • 1993—Collection of $35,210 for Aid for Armenia to purchase fuel and heaters.
  • 1997—Pontifical Visit and Banquet honoring His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia.
  • 2000—Pontifical Visit, Commemorating 1700th year of Christianity and Ecumenical Service with Guest of Honor, His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia.
  • 2013—NRA Conventions held at Soorp Khatch Church over the course of three days.  
  • 2013—Presentation and Reception honoring the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue 1st Responders who travelled to Armenia immediately after the 1988 Earthquake.
  • 2014—Pontifical Visit and Reception honoring His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia.
  • 2014—Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian lecture presentation for the Armenian Cultural Month.

In November 1966, Rev. Fr. Keghard Baboghlian was assigned by the Prelacy Council of New York to become the third Pastor of Soorp Khatch Church.  He served the community until October 1969, and was followed by Rev. Fr. Sahag Vertanesian, who presided from 1969 through 1985.  In January 1985, Rev. Fr. Khoren Habeshian became the fifth Pastor of Soorp Khatch Church, serving from 1985 through 2004. The sixth and current Pastor at Soorp Khatch Church is Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian. (Note: Biographies of each pastor are provided in another section of this booklet.)

Over the course of decades, the Armenian Community of Soorp Khatch Church of Greater Washington has continued to be a flourishing entity.  The number of its parishioners has multiplied greatly.  With its Hamasdegh Armenian School and various organizations—religious, educational, cultural, civic, and athletic—the Soorp Khatch Church parish has become a lively and viable community.  There are more than 700 families who are involved in different aspects of church life and more than 90 students who attend the Hamasdegh Armenian School to learn the Armenian language, literature, history, religion, and culture.  Community members participate in programs offered by different organizations, such as the ARS, an organization that provides relief work and helps sponsor Armenian schools and grants scholarships to college students; Hamazkayin Educational and Cultural Association, which provides Armenian cultural experiences; Senior Citizens’ Group, which meets monthly for luncheon and socializing; and Homenetman, which sponsors camping trips and athletic games with other teams in the area. These and other organizations keep the community apprised of political developments within the motherland as well as keep the national spirit alive and enhance the Armenian cause. The BoT, as the elected governing body, along with the Ladies Guild, maintains the Church and Community Center and lends its support to all organizations.

The transformation of the church is still on-going with countless modernization, construction, additions and remodeling projects at Soorp Khatch that have taken place over the last few years, spearheaded by Dr. Zareh Soghomonian (Chairman), current and past vice chairs, Mr. Kajaz Safarian and Mrs. Irene Abrahamian, respectively, as well as dedicated BoT members. These phase-based modernization efforts were carried out with careful planning and judicious utilization of budgeted funds allocated for annual capital improvement projects.

Soorp Khatch Church has also made significant strides in introducing new on-site capabilities, such as the installation of state-of-the-art professional audio/video and information technology networking hardware, which combined with the features of the Soorp Khatch web site, allowed additional capabilities to be introduced, such as live video/audio web streaming server, media web links, new email server, on-line PayPal features, new prototype mobile apps, and various outreach vehicles through social media networking (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), all of which are intended to promote the church in various social media circles. In parallel with these efforts, long term feasibility studies are being conducted to assess potential options for developing a new facility that will serve the Armenian community of the Greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. This effort is being coordinated by the local Armenian Youth Center and the regional Armenian Cultural Association.

Together, the priests, the National Delegates, members of the Board of Trustees, members of different organizations and bodies, and many respectable individuals have done their parts for the good and benefit of Soorp Khatch Church and community.  They served their church and community with special devotion and dedication.  The memories of their sacrifices will always be remembered.

Donations / Dedications

Over the years, parishioners have dedicated pews either in memory of their loved ones or as a donation to the church:

  • Donated by K. M. Davitian Family, 1964
  • Donated by Mr. and Mrs. Vahan Garabedian and family, 1964
  • Donate by Mr. and Mrs. Newbar V. Kochakian, 1965
  • Donated by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Roomian and Family, 1967
  • Donated by Ladies Guild of Armenian Apostolic Church of Greater Washington, 1964
  • In Memory of Misack S. Srabian, 1897-1959, by his family
  • In Memory of Roupen Aylaian, 1909-1959, donated by his wife and children
  • In Memory of Nazaret A. Caroglanian, 1885-1964
  • In Memory of Colonel Artin & Naomi Devletian, M.D., donated by Mr. & Mrs. Margos Keshishian & family, 1964
  • In Memory of Yerevant Baboyan, donated by Mrs. Rose Baboyan & sons, 1964
  • In Memory of his father Zadour, donated by Harant Soghigian, 1964
  • In Memory of Sruhee K. Davitian, Mother of Mr. and Mrs. Ara B. Sahagian
  • In Memory of their parents, Mr. & Mrs. Vahan Ornazian & family
  • In Memory of Mr. and Mrs. Neshan Topdjian (Aleppo) by his son, G. Topdjian
  • In Memory of Antreas Antreasian, donated by Mr. & Mrs. A. Loosararian & Family
  • In Memory of Suren Vemian by Mr. and Mrs. J. Haratunian
  • In Memory of Bedros Doudaklian, donated by Doudaklian Family
  • In Memory of Arto Albeyaz, donated by his wife and children
  • In Memory of Commander Haig S. Alemian, USN
  • In Memory of Hairabed and Johar Dadian of Tomarza/Racine, WI
  • In Memory of Karekin Jerikian, donated by John & Ardemis Jerikian
  • In Memory of Kevork Nazarian, donated by his sons & families
  • In Memory of Megerdich & Azniv Derzookian
  • In Memory of Papken Pakhchanian

Other dedications and donations include:

  • The church office was dedicated in the memory of Yervant Baboyan, 1900-1961, by Mrs. Rose Baboyan and sons, Hrant, Melkon & Katchig.
  • In 1994, the church lobby display case and church hall curtains were dedicated in the memory of Angie Abrahamian, by The Ladies Guild of Soorp Khatch Church. The church organ was also donated by The Ladies Guild in 1967.
  • The Christening Basin was donated in the memory of Vahran D. Kavaldjian from his children in 1963.
  • The Walnut Tableau “The Last Supper” that was carved in Armenia and adorns the Blessed Altar was given in memory of their parents, Nazaret & Zaruhi Caroglanian and (Veteran) Vahram & Alice Der Parseghian, by Oscar and Eleanor Caroglanian.
  • The Arabian Hall stage curtain was dedicated in the memory of Aram Edgar Khorkhoriuni, by Mrs. Hermine O’Reilly.
  • The pastor’s office was dedicated in the memory of the Mandalians of Khadorchur and the Pallians of Yerevan.    
  • In 2006, the church hall kitchen was renovated. Mr. Sahag Dardarian led the project that was supported by Mr. Frank Hekimian, Chairman of BoT, the BoT and Ladies Guild.  In recognition of her tireless work for the church, the renovated kitchen was dedicated in memory of Mrs. Margaret Dardarian. The blessing of the kitchen by Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan and the ribbon cutting took place on November 12, 2006.
  • In 2014, the Soorp Khatch Khatchkar was donated by Mrs. Aida Marks in loving memory of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Raffi and Hersik Nercess. The Khatchkar was crafted by stonemason Vrazdat Hambardzumyan in Armenia.

In the last few years, contributions have been made to various church projects as listed below.  (Note: Every effort has been made to ensure that this list is complete and accurate based on current records.  Any errors or omissions are regrettable and unintentional.)

Khatckar Project

Dr. Avadis & Irene Abrahamian, Dr. Teny Abrahamian and Mr. Kajaz Safarian, Garbo Afarian, Janet Alemian, Hrayr &  Akabi Atamian, Armineh Avanessi, Garen Babajanian, Raffi Bakarian, Dora Chakarian, Markar & Anna Derthomasian, Edward & Sosse Dombalagian, Jacques & Leeza Doukmajian, Dr. Sombat & Elizabeth Grigorian, Dr. Norayr & Sossy Khatcheressian, Dickran & Paulette Lehimdjian, Edward & Aida Marks, Sonia Mekerdijian, Ara & Salpee Sahagian, Annie Sarkissian, Dr. Angie Sarkissian,  Arsen & Catherine Sayan, Heghoush Shegerian, Dr. Zareh & Emma Soghomonian, Philip & Hakinth Terpandjian, The Ararat Foundation, Sirvart Vartabedian, Yvette Zarookian.

Capital Improvements and Interior/Exterior Renovations

Dr. Avadis & Irene Abrahamian, Dr. Teny Abrahamian and Kajaz Safarian, Rosique Aivazian, Garen Babajanian, Raffi Guiragossian, Onnik Mutafian, Shant and Hilda Kehyaian, Dr. Zareh & Emma Soghomonian, Neubar & Margaret Kamalian, David & Hasmig Mahshigian, Vrege & Mary Najarian, Mike Tenkerian, Serj Tilimian, Seroun Wang, Nora Jarian, Samig & Varteni Jarian, Edward & Aida Marks, Liza Shipp, Neubar & Margaret Kamalian, Dr. Norayr & Sossy Khatcheressian, Hamo and Armineh Sardarbegians.

Sanctuary Improvements

Rosique Aivazian, Mary Altounjian, Hamo & Mirra Dersookian, Oscar and Eleanor Seda Caroglanian, Ara & Haigo Melkonian, Arshalouis Mouradian, Liza Shipp, Hrayr & Akabi Atamian, Antranig & Arpi Avenian, Lisa Caroglanian Dorazio,  Artin & Marie Kholanian, Vartan Jackmakjian, Hratchya & Sousi Markarian, Aghavni Miranian, Onnik Mutaffian, Raffi Bakarian, Heghoush Shegerian, Zohrab & Lucine Tikoyan, Liza Shipp, Hamo and Armineh Sardarbegians, Dr. Zareh & Emma Soghomonian, Philip & Hakinth Terpandjian, Mike Tenkerian.

Der Hayr and the Board of Trustees sincerely appreciate the unwavering support and commitment of all its parishioners to the Soorp Khatch Church, herein mentioned or inadvertently omitted.