Cambridge Parish Honors Past, Looks to Future

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Parishioners of Holy Trinity Church of Cambridge gathered on Sun., Sept. 30, to honor the church’s 50-year history on Brattle Street and to pay tribute to the memory of the 27 exemplary members who made up its original building committee. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), celebrated the Divine Liturgy and presided over the banquet and program following services.

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian ordains Armen Skenderian to the diaconate

During the Divine Liturgy, Barsamian ordained Armen Skenderian to the diaconate. A native of Iraq, Skenderian has been serving as a sub-deacon at Holy Trinity Church for 10 years, following the example of his late father who was a longtime deacon at the Armenian Church in Baghdad.

In his sermon, Barsamian spoke about the important role of the laity in the Armenian Church, and noted that God calls each of us to serve the church in different ways.

Following services, parishioners gathered for a festive banquet where, through a series of reflections offered by the descendants of the original building committee, they paid homage to the generation that laid the foundation for Holy Trinity Church.

Charles Talanian began the program by toasting the parish’s five decades of achievement. He is the grandson of the late Nishan Semonian, the godfather of Holy Trinity Church who gave a toast at the church’s consecration banquet in 1961. Kyle Anderson remembered the contributions of his grandmother, Irene Kolligian, who first suggested that the Armenian community purchase the property in Cambridge, on which Holy Trinity Church was built.

Judith Basmajian, the daughter of the late General Sarkis Zartarian, then spoke about her father’s chairmanship of the building committee and expressed her gratitude to the generation of visionaries who helped to preserve the Armenian heritage in the Boston area. Nancy Kolligian spoke on behalf of the Kolligian family, whose members have been instrumental in the life of the parish for decades.

Guest speaker the Rev. Laura Everett, the executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, congratulated the parish on this milestone. She reflected on the way in which Christian churches complement each other as the body of Christ, stressing that each one has a special tradition of worship.

The Rev. Fr. Vasken Kouzouian, parish pastor, spoke about the parish’s trip to historic Armenia in 2010, which kicked off the 50th anniversary celebration. The journey included stops in Kharpert, Van, and Erzerum—cities the Holy Trinity Church founders once called home.

“We prayed in what remains of their churches and we felt their spirit standing with us,” he said. “And above all, we thanked God that at least some of them made it to Boston to start again.”

He added that the building committee was aided by “the unspoken champions of our church”—the many men and women who worked together to organize fundraisers, plan, and execute the project. “Their voices are calling us to do no less than they did, so that new dreams and new hopes are realized,” he concluded.

James Kalustian, the chair of the church’s trust fund, encouraged the community to support the church’s growth by contributing to its matching fund campaign. The Rev. Fr. Mampre Kouzouian, who served as the parish pastor from 1977 to 2002, shared his memories of parish life, and encouraged the young generation of parishioners to carry forward the legacy of the church’s founders.

During the banquet, parishioners also recognized the outgoing parish council members. The banquet was chaired by Sheryl Panjian.

Archbishop Barsamian closed the program with a prayer. “This is a parish with a proud history behind it,” he said. “And more importantly, it is a place where several generations of our people have found strength and inspiration, in the warm embrace of a supportive community, and under the loving eyes of God.”

Holy Trinity Church began forming in the 1880’s, and established its first house of worship in 1923 when Armenian immigrants to the Boston area purchased an Episcopalian Church on Shawmut Ave. in Boston. As the parish grew, and as parishioners began to move to the suburbs, the community decided to relocate the church. They purchased two acres of land on Brattle Street in nearby Cambridge in 1954. By 1959, the community had completed the church’s cultural center, and two years later, on Sept. 17, 1961, the newly built Holy Trinity Church was consecrated.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.