Our History

In the early 70’s a group of former members of New York Holy Cross Church living in Westchester came together for the planning of a new parish in Westchester. Menas Daderian presented the wish of the group to then Primate Bishop Torkom Manoogian, who welcomed the wish, writing on June 8, 1973: “In response to your letter of May 18, and the highly commendable sentiments for the establishment of a new parish in Westchester, NY, we are pleased to appoint a group of eighteen persons to serve as a temporary parish council… Consideration will be given to the assignment of a permanent priest when the parish is able to support a pastor. Until such time we will tentatively assign Fr. Arshen Aivazian as the spiritual advisor to the Parish Council. Perhaps the most important matter in this stage of your organization is the raising of funds.” The Primate appointed the following individuals as the Executive Committee of the temporary Parish Council: Menas Daderian, Chairman; George Davidian, Vice Chairman; Elma Davidian, Corresponding Secretary; Agnes Babian, Recording Secretary; George Sanossian, Treasurer; David Davidian, Publicity.

In the meantime, three seminarians of st. Nersess Seminary, together with their Dean, Deacon Hovhannes Kasparian and his wife Dawn, met in the home of Edward and Barbara Dorian to compile a mailing list of Armenians from the Westchester telephone book. Soon some parishioners and St. Nersess seminarians joined to teach Armenian language and Sunday school classes using the facilities of St. Vladimir Seminary in Crestwood. Monthly gatherings of religious and cultural programs for adults were also initiated.

In the spring of 1974, the Primate appointed Deacon Hovhannes as spiritual advisor to the new parish. The first Parish Assembly was held and the first Parish Council was elected on March 22, 1974. On May 19, 1974 Deacon Hovannes was ordained into the priesthood as Father Karekin and assumed part-time pastorate of the new parish while maintaining part-time responsibility at St. Nersess. He became fulltime parish priest in 1978, when Edward S. Dorian Sr. was the Chairman of the parish council.

Thereafter, many facets of church life began to flourish. A choir was established and various church organizations were formed: Mr. and Mrs. Group, Youth Group, Senior & Junior ACYOA, Women’s Guild, Men’s Club, Senior (Avaks) and later the Hye Steppers. All the groups began to have various interesting social and educational programs which attracted many new members.

Since the first Divine Liturgy, celebrated by Fr. Carnig Hallajian at the Manhattanville College Chapel on October 25, 1973, the growing number of congregants have participated in worship in seven different locations, including the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Yonkers and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Hartsdale.

In 1980, the congregation purchased a seven-acre parcel of land with a large private house in Purchase, NY. Under the steadfast leadership of George Davidian, the legal advice of Judge Vincent Gurahian and the strong support of Suren and Virginia Fesjian, a building on the property was transformed into a church and named St. James (Soorp Hagop) with Mr. Fesjian serving as Gnkahayr. In 1985 the parish decided to initiate a search for a site to build a new parish with the initiative of Council Chairman Dr. Jack Hachigian. A fundraising campaign was launched with a dinner-dance, when two brothers Simon and Cicek and Hayik and Vartouhi Tutak made a donation of $300,000 for the construction of the new fellowship hall. The Parish has always been grateful to the Fesjians and the Tutak brothers for their generous donations at crucial stages in the life of this community.

Shepherded by the Pastor, the parish grew significantly during its 17 years in Purchase, attracting active parishioners from all parts of greater Westchester County and Southern Connecticut. From the early years, when our first choir director was Deacon Vazken Asadourian (now Archbishop Avak, Primate of the Diocese of IRAQ) to his successor Alfred Yeznaian our choir began to grow. Worship services were enhanced with the appointment of Raffi P. Sevadjian as our choir director and the ordination of John Vakassian and Mark Kapikian as senior deacons. St. James became a dynamic parish responding to the spiritual, cultural, social and communal needs of hundreds of Armenians in the area.

The hard work of many members enabled the parish to meet its financial obligations. Among the others, the service of Garo Bashian with the help of his wife Annette was instrumental in raising funds by initiating and conducting, for many years, the successful Oriental Rug sales. The annual picnics have become not only occasions for enjoyable fellowship for hundreds of parishioners from our own and sister parishes, but also another dependable source of income to meet the annual budget. In recent years, aided by a cadre of dedicated parishioners, Michael Guroian has been the tireless chairman of many successful parish picnics.

Several other ventures and undertakings have helped the parish remain financially solvent; members have generously given of their time, talent and treasure for the nurturing of the church. The volunteers of St. James, from the beginning, have devoted their unique talents to bring our initial idea of a parish to fruition, their labors have included cleaning, painting, plumbing, repairing, installing play equipment, mowing grass, teaching children, singing in the choir, making signs for special events, donating homemade baked goods, installing air conditioning and running dances, bazaars, raffles and tag sales, selling lehmejune and luleh kabob, moving furniture, decorating for holidays, providing legal advice, collectin funds for earthquake victims and hundreds of other selfless deeds all for the good of the parish. Throughout is history of over one quarter of a century, the parish has/had many educational, cultural and social programs. Valuable service has been rendered to the Armenian educational growth of the children of the parish through the Armenian School where dedicated teachers have been serving close to two decades. The Sunday School also grew from a handful of students and has been functioning smoothly throughout the years thanks to the dedication of many teachers.

The growth of the community and its expanding needs necessitated the purchase of new property. The present site in White Plains was purchased in 1993 after a relentless search by a team headed by Edward Essayan. Our Primate, the Most Rev. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian blessed the property on September 16, 1995. On January 14, 1996 the parish was privileged to have His Holiness Karekin I, Catholicos of All Armenians, bless the ten blocks of “TOOF” stone from Armenia as the cornerstone of the new church.

In an unprecedented act of Christian giving and piety, Mr. and Mrs. Hayik Tutak made a generous gift of $1,000,000.00 in order to move the construction of our new magnificent church complex forward. This princely gesture further encouraged parishioners to participate in the fundraising campaign, formerly chaired by Ara Momjian, including a donation of $100,000.00 by the late Anahid Birnbaum.

In April 1996, the parish sold the property in Purchase and held a farewell banquet at which time the Primate honored Mr. Fesjian as the founding Grand Benefactor of Soorp Hagop Church and welcomed Mr. and Mrs. Hayik Tutak as the new Grand Benefactors. For over nineteen months, during the construction of the church complex, worship services and Sunday School classes were held at St. Nersess Seminary while the parish house on the new property were utilized for offices, Armenian School classes and other church group activities.

A Timeline of Our Parish and Church

1971: A small group of Armenians living in Westchester move on the concept of forming an Armenian Church of Westchester. Dn. Hovhannes Kasparian, Dean of St. Nersess Seminary (at St. Vladimir’s Seminary) appointed spiritual advisor to the Armenians in Westchester and invites community to monthly cultural/educational gatherings at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, where Armenian language and religious classes are initiated. Divine Liturgy celebrated at St. Vladimir’s by Fr. Arshen Aivazian.

1973: Westchester Armenians receive permission to form a new parish from Abp. Manoogian of the Armenian Diocese, who appoints a Temporary Parish Council, with Menas Daderian as its Chair. This Council sends a letter to all Armenians living in the area soliciting interest in establishing and Armenian Church in Westchester. First Divine Liturgy in Westchester is celebrated at Manhattanville College Chapel in October.

1974: Dn. Hovhannes is ordained as Fr. Karekin and becomes part-time pastor of the new parish. The first elected Parish Council takes office, with Edward S. Dorian as Chair, who also takes on the roles of Fundraising Chair, and first elected Diocesan Delegate. During these formative years, parishioners worship in 7 different locations.

1975: The Parish Council forms a Building Fund Committee; Women’s Guild is organized with 15 members. The church newsletter is named Hope.

1977: Suren D. Fesjian matches the donations of the Bi-centennial Building Drive. Menas Daderian is appointed chair fo the Site Finding Committee.

1978: Fr. Kasparian assumes full pastorate of the church. Stewardship program is established.

1979: Purchase of Harrison property for $275,000.00 subsequently approved for use as a church. Volunteer parishioners, headed by George Davidian, convert 3-car garage to a temporary chapel. George and Elma Davidian honored as Couple of the Year, starting an annual tradition now known as St. Gregory Award Program.

1980: First Badarak held at the new church property on June 8. The church is named St. James/Soorp Hagop, with Suren D. Fesjian, the major donor, as Godfather.

1986: The church begins a building initiative. A generous pledge by brothers Simon and Hayik Tutak, as sponsors of a new fellowship hall, boosts Building Fund Campaign.

1990: 10th Anniversary of St. James/Soorp Hagop church.

1991: Parish Council Chairman Jack Hachigian spearheads a movement to expand to a larger facility.

1993: New site is purchased for the permanent church in White Plains, NY. Building phase continues over the next 5 years.

1997: Mr. and Mrs. Hayik Tutak gift one million dollars toward building of the church complex, allowing the project to reach completion.

1998: Consecration of St. Gregory the Enlightener Church by Abp. Khajag Barsamian, presided over by His Holiness Karekin I, Catholicos of All Armenians.

1999: Parish celebrates 1st Anniversary of new church and 25th Anniversary of pastor’s ordination. The new Sunday School and Armenian School facilities are dedicated.

2000: The Manoogian Library opens, sponsored by Louise Manoogian Simone. New playground built with donation by Raffi and Felicia Atamian. Der Karekin assigned by Abp. Barsamian to head Diocesan Pastoral Support Ministry and Pastoral Internship Program at St. Gregory.

2001: First Ecumenical Service at St. Gregory. 30th Anniversary of our Armenian parish in Westchester; 3rd Anniversary of St. Gregory the Enlightener Church; 1700th Anniversary of the Christianization of Armenia. Sister church St. Gregory at Khor Virab (Armenia) adopted – black earth from Khor Virab and a candlestick permanently placed on center altar as relics from the oldest place associated with the life of the Enlightener.

2002: White House is renovated.

2003: Expansion of Sunday School/Armenian School classrooms. Church mortgage satisfied, and burned. White House Thrift Shoppe, co-chaired by Alice Basmajian and Mary Sohigian, established by the Women’s Guild. St. Gregory’s Men’s Club revitalized under the leadership of Harry Keleshian.

2004: 102nd Diocesan Assembly hosted at St. Gregory.

2006: First pilgrimage to Armenia instituted by Armenian School graduates.

2007: The St. Gregory Armenian School administration adds another grade, the 8th grade, to the curriculum of the school in order to enhance the graduating knowledge.

On July 22, 2007, newly ordained Fr. Hovanan Demerjian, celebrated his “Antranig” (first) Badarak. Our church was full to capacity, which included His Eminence, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian who graced the congregation with his presence, accompanied by his Vicar General, The Very Rev. Fr. Haigazoun Najarian.

His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians visited 18 large and small parishes in October during his visit to America and the Eastern Diocese’s communities. St. Gregory the Enlightener church arranged for a chartered bus to provide parishioners the opportunity to participate in the Patriarchal Badarak by His Holiness Karekin II, at St. Vartan Cathedral in New York City held on October 28.

2008: Parish Councils Day, held on March 30th and officiated by the Very Rev. Fr. Haigazoun, to recognize all of the 86 members of the Councils since the founding of our church in 1974, from the first elected chairperson, George Davidian to the then current board.

St. Gregory the Enlightener Parish celebrates 10th Anniversary of the Church’s Consecration, December 6 & 7. Graced by the presence of Primate, His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, the faithful congregation of St. Gregory the Enlightener Armenian Church enjoyed a weekend of events to mark the occasion. The Anniversary Badarak celebrated by Primate, Srpazan Hayr ordained as sub-deacons to the altar Arsham Antreasyan and Michael Givelekian. In addition he bestowed the gontag & Medal of Honr for duty “above & beyond” to: George Davidian, Gale Perzigian, Zaven Tachdjian and Joseph Kalemkerian. More than 250 members of the congregation along with local community officials, Hon. Joseph M. Delfino (Mayor of White Plains), and Rabbi Emeritus Ameil Wohl of the Temple Israel of New Rochelle, attended the celebratory luncheon. Mayor Delfino presented Der Karekin with a certificate of proclamation naming December 7th as St. Gregory the Enlightener Day in White Plains, NY.

2009: The St. Gregory Annual Picnic was a tremendous success despite the humidity and a heavy downpour, just as the party was coming to a close. The John Berberian Ensemble had many people up and dancing, while the the grill was turning out shish after shish of meat and vegetables. All involved felt blessed to be of service to our church family!

Nearly 20 parishioners, including Der Karekin and Primate Khajag Barsamian, went by chartered bus to the Ararat Center in Greenville, NY, on July 17th, to spend a delightful summer day in the country. The festivities included music by Greg Krikorian, dancing by young and old, and a delicious bbq. Student campers staying at St. Vartan Camp were invited to join in the Armenian Community Celebration.

St. Gregory’s church welcomed students participating in the St. Nersess Summer Conference for three consecutive Sundays.  The summer conferences, led by Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian, director of the program, and Fr. Hovnan Demirjian, assistant director, both gave messages to the parish upon Der Karekin’s invitation. On August 8th, seven clergymen from various parishes attended a workshop as part of their diocesan pastoral intership program led by Fr. Karekin Kasparian, Fr. Untzag Nalbandian and Fr. Diran Boyajian.

2010: An Observance of the 95th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide was held at Town Hall in Greenwich, CT. Town officials gave their expressions of support and to revere the memory of our 1.5 million martyrs. Sarah and Dan Mushegian organized the event and requiem prayers were given by Fr. Karekin and Fr. Untzag. The Armenian flag was raised to half-mast in memory of the martyrs.

On Sunday, April 24, a solemn requiem service, a moment of silence and a thoughtful message by Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian followed the Badarak. A “Madagh” memorial meal was served by our Armenian School student volunteers. Talks were given by Congresswoman Nita Lowey and Antonia Arslan, the Italian Armenian author of the book “Skylark Farm”, and a most impressive message given by the Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to the United Nations, Mr. Garen A. Nazarian.

Trips to Armenia: In June, Fr. Karekin led a group of 15 people on a pilgrimage to Armenia and Karabagh. The trip gave each person a fulfilling experience rich with unforgettable memories and opportunities to learn firsthand many facets of our religius and cultural heritage. In July, the ACYOA-sponsored Armenian Service Prorgram, led a group of Senior ACYOA members to Armenia, both for study and service. Paul Derderian and Liana Kurkjian from our parish were among the many other ACYOA members who enjoyed this learning and enriching experience.

2011:

2012:

2013: In November, a Special Parish Assembly was called to hear a report on the development of the construction project of the new Sunday School Meeting Hall. The proposal of the Parish Council was approved to proceed with project to cost approximately $1,500,000. The Parish Assembly also approved the Parish Council’s recommendation to accept Rev. Fr. Mesrob Hovsepyan as our new Pastor.

A Gala Banquet was held on December 7, 2013, to mark the coinciding of three special occasions; the 15th Anniversary of the new St. Gregory church’s consecration; the 40th Anniversary of the establishment of the St. Gregory parish in White Plains; and the 40th Anniversary of Rev. Fr. Karekin Kasparian’s pastoral ministry. More than four hundred people came from near and far to attended the triple celebration and to pay homage to a great pastor, leader, teacher and friend. Notable among the guests were Archibishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese; Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian, longtime friend and mentor to Fr. Karekin, and nine clergymen. Vicar General, the Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, read a special congratulatory message from His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch of All Armenians, whose laudatory words were echoed throughout the evening. Rev. Fr. Untzag Nalbandian pastor of the Armenian Chruch of Holy Ascension in Trumbull, CT, spoke on behalf of the clergy of the Diocese. Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian, Dean of St. Nersess Armenian Seminary relayed congratulatory sentiments from the Seminary Board, staff and seminarians. Violinist Sami Merdinian and pianist Sofya Melikyan provided the musical entertainment for the evening featuring selections of Armenian melodies. Parishioner Maria Bedonian compiled a commemorative booklet dedicated to Fr. Karekin and Yn. Dawn Kasparian to capture their combined effect of benefiecial influence on the community. A video montage prepared by parishioner Sylvia Kruizenga, chronicled the life of Fr. Karekin and the growth of his flock over the 40 years of his ministry. A beautiful souvenir was given to all attendees of the gala celebration compliments of Michael Aram Wolohojian, who additionally  donated three lanterns (gantegh) to our church which adorn our main altar. Parishioner Virginia Hekimian donated $25,000 to the St. Gregory Church youth for their Armenian cultural advancement. Parishioners Torkom Demirjian and his three sons, Paul, James, and Gregory, donated a rare collection of some museum quality artifacts for permanent display in our Aslanian atrium gallery.

2014: ACYOA Juniors and Seniors participated in many regional events. In January, ACYOA Senior Chairperson Michael Givelekian and member Liana Kurkjian attended a chapter workshop held at St. Hagop Church in St. Petersbury, FL., the goal of which was to gain insight on how to improve and enhance our own ACYOA to stregthen the bonds between the church and Armenian-American youth in the extended community.

In Februaray, the St. Gregory Church Choir under the chairmanship of Anoush Givelekian, hosted Poon Paregentan. More than seventy parishioners enjoyed a lovely evening including a delicious catered meal prepared by Silva Kiledjian of SK Gourmet Catering and live music for dancing was provided by parishioners Richard and Connie Shelengian.

In February, the ACYOA Juniors attended a Mid-Atlantic Regional Retreat hosted by the Holy Trinity parish in Cheltenham, PA., with parent Advisor chaperone Janet Ozsolak. Our chapter participants made friends and felt a connection to the larger group of ACYOA members from the region through shared discussions, ice breaking games and crafts.

In March, a dozen Senior ACYOA members took a van full of food and winter clothing to distribute to the homeless in NYC. Clothing and toiletries were donated by parishioners and collected by the group and given to men, women and children in need to provide missionary action.

Also in March, Fuller House representative Ms. Gohar Palian, was the guest speaker during a luncheon sponsored by our St. Gregory Women’s Guild. Ms. Palian gave a talk with a slide show presentation about the activities of the Fuller Organization and thanked our parish for sponsoring the building of two houses in Armenia. The Women’s Guild committed to sponsoring more building of homes in Armenia.

In April, our parish observed the 99th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Clergymen, choir members and parishioners gathered in the sanctuary to listen to the “Kta Der” vocal and instrumental requiem from Armenia, which was followed by a “Hokehankisd” service. The commemoration continued in Tutak Hall whre Fr. Karekin explained that in respectful memor of thousands of Armenians who had died of hunger and thirst, the repast would only include a piece of bread and a bowl of soup.

In June, His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate, ordained our parish’s three Sub-Deacons, Peter Derderian, Michael Givelekian and Gregory Guroian, all graduates of the intensive study program with Fr. Karekin Kasparian and individual tutors at the Diocesan complex.

Fr. Karekin Kasparian gave his “Farewell Badarak” on September 28, 2014, as a formal closing of his 40 year service to St. Gregory the Enlightener Parish. Acknowledging his title of Pastor Emeritus given to him by the Parish Council, Fr. Karekin conveys his dedication to facilitating the path of the new pastor and spiritual brother, Fr. Mesrob Hovsepyan, and ends his message by affirming: “This is not goodbye. Farewell my beloved parishioners and precious friends. May God bless you all!”

Rev. Fr. Mesrob Hovsepyan celebrated his First Badarak at St. Gregory on Sunday, on October 5th. Der Mesrob and his family were welcomed by the Sunday School teachers as guests at a meet-and-greet dinner. Fr. Mesrob began a children’s sermon to be held once a month in conjunction with the Sunday School’s monthly communion.

Harry Keleshian and Gladys Tachdjian announce the fundraising to build a third house in partnership with The Fuller Center for Housing/Armenia were met, with a surplus, so fundraising for house number four begin.

Parish organizations held various events including: Men’s Club movie night featuring “Welcome to Yerevan”; Armenian School sponsored “Manti Night”; Women’s Guild sponsored Wine & Cheese Tasting Night; Author Chris Bohjalian presentation and book signing sponsored by the Women’s Guild; Keenetzon/Book signing in honor of the publishing of Marie Yapoujian’s book, “I Will Speak Armenian”; St. Stephen the Protomartyr and Western Christmas Eve commemorated by parishioners and Sunday School Students; and the Junior ACYOA’s regional gathering for sports, education and spirituality.

2015: On Sunday, April 19, the Gomidas Choir performed the Badarak by Gomidas for our parishioners. Later that afternoon, the 13th Annual Lionel Galstaun Memborial Concert was held in Rememberance of the Armenian Genocide.

Armenian Genocide Centennial Events – Der Mesrob formed an ad-hoc committee specifically meant for organizing events our parish could implement to commemorate the Centennial of the Genocide. Members included: Fr. Karekin Kasparian, Armen Boyajian, Anoush Givelekian, Dr. Anna Kazanjian, Councilman Dennis Krolian, Eleanor Krolian, George Omartian, Beatrice Postian, Dr. Constance Shelengian, Maria Stepanian, and Mary Tatarian.

Events held:

April 23rd, Viewing of the live broadcast of the Canonization Service held at the open-air altar in Etchmiadzin. Parishioners were invited to gather at St. Gregory for a light breakfast, graciously prepared by Beatrice Postian prior to viewing the livestream in the sanctuary on a large screen while Fr. Kasparian was on had to provide commentary for a deeper understanding of the proceedings.

On the morning of April 24th, an Armenian Flag Raising ceremony was held at Greenwich Town Hall. More than fifty people came out in force to partake in a solemn tribute to our fallen ancestors. Sylvia Kruizenga, Women’s Guild Chair, in cooperation with the Mayor’s office in Greenwich, organized the ceremony. A proclamation prepared and read aloud by First Selectman Peter Tesei marked the occasion. Alyssa Keleshian Bonomo gave an impassioned speech as a proud graddaughter of a genocide survivor. Fr. Mesrob offered a prayer remembering all victims of the Genocide and all the survivors and their descendants who built the communities here in the United States, and Fr. Karekin gave the benediction. Adriane Bonfiglio gave tricolored flag pins she made to attendees to wear in solidarity and distributed simit as a symbol of Armenian hospitality, and red carnations in memory of those lost. The event concluded with the singing of both the American and Armenian National Anthems.

Later that day at St. Gregory the second part of commemorations took place. While children of our parish created forget-me-not paper flowers and decorating 100 white wooden crosses with the family names of those who parished to be “planted” in memorium in the circular garden in front of our church, Der Mesrob’s tribute to the martyrs of 1915 took place in the sanctuary. Representatives of our parish read from the book of Psalms for 100 minutes – one minute for each of the years that have passed since the inception of the Genocide. The readers were: Fr. Mesrob Hovsepyan, George Omartian, Maralle Cachoian, Zaven Tachdjian, Mike Pisani, Van Krikorian, Dennis and Ellie Krolian, Mark and Grace Basil, Rita Kurkjian, John Wolohojian, Lisa Kousoujian, Lauren Kayaian, Anahid Cehreci, Fr. Karekin Kasparian, Ann Guiragossian Daw, and Anoush Givelekian. The readings were accompanied by moving organ music played softly in the background by Connie Shelengian. At the conclusion of the readings, 100 chimes sounded as the parishioners remained silent in reverence to the martyrs.

Following this stirring tribute, an Ecumenical Prayer Service was held with the participation of 11 invited clerics and 15 elected officials from the city of White Plains. Proclamations were presented by: Congresswoman Nita Lowey, NY State Assemblyman David Buchwald, County Executive Robert Astorino, and White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach. All proclamations recounted the suffering a century ago and called for usage of the term Genocide when referring to Armenian history. Councilman Dennis Krolian personally invited the local elected officials to join us. The days events concluded with a joint presentation by the students of our Armenian and Sunday schools in Tutak Hall including poetry, song, recitation and reflection. A lavish buffet brought the day’s events to a close, organized by the members of the St. Gregory Centennial Commemoriation Committee, headed by Adriane Keleshian Bonfiglio was enjoyed by all.

Plans for the New Hall approved for the construction of the new facility to provide our youth with a space for various indoor sports, activities and gatherings.

On May 31st, a luncheon was hosted in Tutak Hall, sponsored by Harry and Edna Keleshian, in appreciation of the donors of the Genocide Billboard project and to all of those who contributed to the various Genocide commemoriation events conducted by our church. A slideshow presentation was given of the events that took place at St. Gregory as well as events held in Washington, DC, attended by some of our parishioners.

Mer Doon Children’s Summer Camp was a week long, daily gathering for our youngest children. Thirteen participants between the ages of 3 – 5 years were immersed in Armenian culture, language and religion as well as crafts, music, dance and story telling. Der Mesrob and Der Karekin showed the children various parts of the sanctuary, the vestments used by the clergy during Badarak and taught short, easy prayers and sharagans. The teachers, under the direction of Der Mesrob were: Nectar Munro, Alvart Mayilyan, Tamar Kalajian, Joyce Papazian, Aida Pisani, Beatrice Postian, with the assistance of Yn. Ruzanna Hovsepyan and Yn. Dawn Kasparian.

Nine of our ACYOA Juniors attended the fall Sports Weekend held at Holy Martyrs Church of Bayside, NY. Young Armenians competed sportsmanly on teams of basketball and volleyballalong with Tavloo, Ping Pong, Connect Four and Chess. Friday night vespers and Sunday Badarak endcapped the weekend’s activities and our Katiana Sarkissian won the Sportsmanship award.

In October, the St. Gregory Men’s Club held a unique Sing A Long evening featuring Armenian clergy from several sister Parishes, as a fundraiser for the new Youth Hall Building Fund.

Blessing of the New Icon ceremony on October 25th was held to bless our copy of the commissioned work painted by Tigran Barkhanajyan. His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, commissioned the Icon of the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide for the 2015 ceremony of canonization of the new saints to be recognized by the Armenian Church in several centuries.

December 10th the St. Gregory Women’s Guild proudly sponsored “An Evening with Eric Bogosian.” Tutak Hall was filled with guests and clergy interested and attentive to hear this talented Armenian-American author, actor, and playwright tell his story of the research and writing of his latest novel, Operation Nemesis: The Assassination Plot that Avenged the Armenian Genocide.