REDMOND, Wash. – The Armenian community in Washington State is devastated by an incident that took place on the campus of Holy Resurrection Armenian Apostolic Church late last week. During this already difficult time, when much of the world is in quarantine, and Christians around the world celebrated Easter in isolation, the community was shocked to find the church desecrated.
Specifically, on Sunday morning, April 19, when the pastor walked into the church, he discovered the glass window behind the altar shattered by a brick, which lay on the altar, surrounded by glass shards. After investigating the perimeter of the church, he also found that a stained-glass window portraying Jesus Christ was also broken, with two large rocks lying next to the window. To make matters worse, it appears that the brick used to break the altar window was taken from a memorial wall on the church’s grounds dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, which is commemorated by Armenians around the world on April 24, later the same week. A police report was filed after Sunday online mass. The Redmond Police Department is investigating this hate incident. There should be no place for such hate incidents or hate crimes in our community, and especially to any house of worship.
The Armenian community consists of over three thousand families in the greater Seattle area, many of whom live in Redmond. Holy Resurrection Armenian Apostolic Church is the only Armenian church in Washington State, and acts as the epicenter of the community. The church is flanked by a community center, used for social gatherings, as well as for Armenian language and Sunday school classes offered to the youth. This hate incident is not only difficult for the church to sustain from a financial perspective, but also spiritually challenging for our community.
When asked by the Mirror-Spectator whether there might be any groups or individuals who are being considered suspects, on April 24 Nairy Boyajyan responded on behalf of the church as follows: “In regards to the vandalism, we don’t know who would do such a thing because we haven’t received any threats nor had issues with any groups of people. We don’t know who did this, but are working with police to find whoever is responsible. As a community, we get along with everyone and never had any issues, disputes nor disagreements with anyone in or outside of the community.”