By David Medzorian
HAVERHILL, Mass. — A brand-new Armenian Church in Massachusetts’ Merrimack Valley now has a brand-new cross to adorn its steeple. The cross was consecrated on Thursday, June 20, the gift of the Boston-based Knights of Vartan Ararat Tahlij No. 1 and the Daughters of Vartan Arpie Otyag No. 9. Many of the lodge and Otyag members were on hand with their families as Bishop Daniel Findikyan, Primate of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), consecrated the large gold cross which now stands atop the Haverhill church.
The occasion marked Findikyan’s first visit to the church since recently being elected Primate of the Armenian Church of America’s Eastern Diocese. Also participating in the consecration service were Armenian Church pastors from across Massachusetts as well as the dean of the Saint Nersess Armenian Seminary in New York.
During the early evening service, the cross was held upright by a former lodge leader together with the current leader of Ararat Tahlij No. 1 Argishti Chaparian. In his remarks following the service, Chaparian described how, as plans were announced to construct an Armenian Church in Haverhill, Ararat Lodge formed a committee to investigate the plans to determine how best it could help. Chaparian said that once construction on the church began, lodge members saw a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a significant contribution to the new structure. He cited the many personal sacrifices made by members during the fundraising process, including time away from their families and jobs. Ararat Lodge, along with its sister Arpie Otyag lodge, raised the $50,000 needed to cover the cost of the cross that now stands atop the church which overlooks Merrimack Valley.
It was Chaparian who, after thanking the Knights and Daughters for their support and sacrifice, presented the check to the Hye Point Church’s pastor, Rev. Vart Gyozalyan. Father Vart, as he is lovingly known by friends and parishioners, thanked Ararat Tahlij No. 1 as well as Arpie Otyag No. 9 for their generosity and their continued dedication to the Armenian Church.