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Houston Parish Celebrates 50 Years, Unveils New Facilities

In celebration of its 50th anniversary last month, St Kevork Church of Houston, TX, announced the completion of a three-part building project, and unveiled its new park and outdoor basketball court. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), visited the parish on the weekend of November 23-24, and presided over the anniversary events.

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PRESS OFFICE
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Chris Zakian 
Tel: (212) 686-0710   
E-mail: chrisz@armeniandiocese.org
Website: www.armenianchurch-ed.net
December 9, 2013
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HOUSTON PARISH CELEBRATES 50 YEARS, UNVEILS NEW FACILITIES
In celebration of its 50th anniversary last month, St Kevork Church of Houston, TX, announced the completion of a three-part building project, and unveiled its new park and outdoor basketball court.
Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), visited the parish on the weekend of November 23-24, and presided over the anniversary events.

On Saturday afternoon, Archbishop Barsamian blessed the newly built, high-school size Bedikian Youth Basketball Court. The Primate was assisted by the Rev. Fr. Martiros Hakobyan, parish pastor.  

Among those taking part in the blessing ceremony were benefactors Dr. Hagop and Sylva Bedikian, Diocesan Council chair Jim Kalustian, and parish council chair Vreij Kolandjian. Fundraising for the basketball court was also carried out by the young people of the parish.

Above the dedication plaque, the parish installed a graphic rendition of St. Vartan Mamikonian—creatively designed by Zareh Aghajanian—to represent the youth basketball team, the “Vartans.”
A reception followed in the home of Mr.Vreij and Christine Kolandjian.

On Sunday, Archbishop Barsamian celebrated the Divine Liturgy. He was assisted by Fr. Hakobyan and Rev. Fr. Ghevond Ajamian, pastor of St. Sarkis Church of Dallas, TX.
During the service, Archbishop Barsamian ordained Haikaz Gharakhanian to the diaconate. A longtime parishioner of St. Kevork Church, Mr. Gharakhanian is the principal of the parish’s Armenian School.
The Primate expressed his appreciation to the Nazarian family for making possible renovations to the St. Kevork sanctuary. Thanks to their generosity, the church installed a marble bema and dais, designed by Zohrab Tcholakian.
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Barsamian led a procession to the St. Kevork Khanoyan Park, built adjacent to the church. The park was donated by Ara Khanoyan and designed by Nazar Dawood. It features beautiful landscaping and a large gazebo. The Primate led an Antasdan (Blessing of Fields) service, and blessed the benefactors of all three construction projects.
Later that afternoon, 350 people gathered for a banquet in the church’s Hekimian Hall. Mr. Kolandjian served as the master of ceremonies and opened the program with a welcoming address. He spoke about the pride and strength of the Houston community and highlighted some of its achievements.
Several parishioners were honored for their dedication to St. Kevork Church. Archbishop Barsamian presented the “St. Vartan Award” to Mr. Khanoyan and Nazar and Tania Dawood.
Certificates of recognition were presented to Zareh Aghajanian, Nina Aivazian, Anais Babajanian, Dn. Garbis Balian, Samar Dawood, Araz Gharakhanian, Kevork Kasparian, Kristine Khachatryan, Lilit Kirsh, Nairi Kyoumjian, Karlen Malkhassian, Lilia Maranjyan, Tony Masraff, Artyom Nahapetyan, Vanoush Ohanian, Julietta Palyan, Areg Sahakian, Eliane Sahakian, Zaven Sahakian, Araz Sarkissian, Iveta Shahinyan, Karina Shtenberg, Huleh Simonian, Hulik Stepanian, and Garo Yeriazarian.
During a cultural program, choreographer Hulik Stepanian led dancers in an impressive performance. Sylva Bedikian and Andre Melikian presented a video on the establishment of the Houston parish and its accomplishments.
The day’s banquet was prepared and donated by Tony Masraff.
Fr. Hakobyan spoke about the founders of St. Kevork Church, emphasizing that they built a legacy for future generations of Armenian Christians in Houston. “They established this beautiful sanctuary as a gift to all of us—to give us a place where we could gather to worship the Lord and to preserve our rich heritage,” he said.
He went on to express his gratitude to all parishioners who have served and continue to serve in various parish organizations. “Everyone has played some part in our parish story,” he said. “Now it is our time to write a new chapter for St. Kevork Church.”
Archbishop Barsamian congratulated the community on its milestone and on the new projects dedicated over the anniversary weekend.
       
“Yours is a parish with a rich history, and may God remember all those who have built and sustained St. Kevork throughout these 50 years,” Archbishop Barsamian said. “You should be proud that the spirit of ‘living the Gospel’ has been exemplified by the people of this parish, through your service on the altar, your efforts in parish organizations, your outreach to the community, and your ministry to each other.”
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Photos attached.
Photo 1: Archbishop Khajag Barsamian and Fr. Martiros Hakobyan bless the Bedikian Youth Basketball Court in Houston.
Photo 2: Parishioners pose with Archbishop Barsamian and Fr. Hakobyan on the new basketball court, home of the Houston “Vartans.”
Photo 3: The Primate ordains longtime parishioner Haikaz Gharakhanian to the diaconate.
Photo 4: Archbishop Barsamian leads an Antasdan service in the St. Kevork Khanoyan Park.
Photo 5: A young dancer performs at the anniversary banquet.
Photo 6: The new gazebo at St. Kevork Khanoyan Park.

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