Hye Pointe Church Welcomes Primate

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HAVERHILL, Mass. — Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), visited the Armenian Apostolic Church at Hye Pointe, last weekend, where he met with parish leadership, presided over the celebration of the Divine Liturgy and joined the community for a celebratory banquet.

On Sunday, February 27, the Rev. Vart Gyozalian — who is completing a pastoral internship to prepare to serve as a full-time priest in the Eastern Diocese — celebrated the Divine Liturgy. Barsamian delivered the day’s sermon.

Speaking about the upcoming observance of Sts. Vartanantz Day, Barsamian said, “It is a story about patience, and persistence — about a victory that comes, not right away, but only in the long term; a victory whose true field of battle lies within the heart and soul.”

“This same spirit is being reflected through your efforts in this parish,” the Primate added. “For right now, you too are laying a foundation — preparing the ‘soul’ of this community. Your efforts, the example you set — though these may seem quiet and humble to you now — will give strength and confidence to the people who come after you.”

The parish is in the process of building a new church — a project launched in 2002 with the merging of the parishes of Holy Cross Church of Lawrence and St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Haverhill.

The community sold Holy Cross Church in 2008 and is now making an effort to sell the St. Gregory Church building, where services are currently held.

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In the meantime, construction has begun at a new site in Bedford, Mass., where the parish plans to erect a new house of worship and an adjoining cultural hall and Sunday School facility.

During Barsamian’s visit, parish leaders gathered on Saturday, February 26, to discuss the project’s progress.

They spoke about fundraising and building goals, and agreed on the need to appoint fundraising and building committees in the coming months. Also discussed were plans to support a full-time pastor.

Parish Council Chair Scott Sahagian said he hopes construction will be completed in the next two years.

Also participating in the meeting were James Kalustian, treasurer of the Diocesan Council and the council’s liaison to the parish, and the Rev. Krikor Sabounjian, pastor of the Church of the Holy Translators of Framingham, Mass., where Gyozalian has been interning.

Following the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, theHye Pointe parish gathered for a banquet to officially welcome Gyozalian, his wife, Lusine, and their daughter, Marie. Parishioners from the Holy Translators Church also joined the celebration.

Gyozalian will hold office hours and celebrate the Divine Liturgy most Sundays at Hye Pointe Church while continuing his pastoral internship under the supervision of Sabounjian.

He thanked the Holy Translators community, and especially Sabounjian and his family, for being supportive of his work, and added that he is looking forward to applying his newly-learned skills to his time at Hye Pointe.

“I found a family here,” he said of the Hye Pointe Church. “People are very kind, very warm and welcoming.”

He also said he feels a sense of responsibility in his new role. “There is something the congregation is giving to you, and you have to lead them to Christ.”

At Sunday’s banquet, Sunday School students sang songs and recited poems in Armenian and English, and the choir sang the Hayr Mer.

Sahagian said the banquet was a chance for the community to come together and express their goodwill to Gyozalian and his family.

“Whoever meets him immediately recognizes not only the education that he possesses, but also his sincerity,” Sahagian said. “We are so pleased and proud to participate in the beginning of his ministry here in the United States.”

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