The History of Saint Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church of Douglaston
In 1962, the founding father of Saint Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church began a sacred journey in the service of the Lord, their spiritual mission guided by the creative vision of the believed. St. Sarkis Armenian Church overcome numerous difficulties and major transformations metamorphosing from a simple parish house in Bayside to a magnificent edifice in Douglaston.
St. Sarkis Armenian Church had its beginnings
in 1960 when a 110 year old church was purchased in Bayside, and,
following extensive repairs and altarations, was transformed into
a suitable Armenian Church. On May 20, 1962, His Grace Bishop Hrant
Khachadourian, Prelate, consecrated the newly formed St. Sarkis
The following years, until 1985, the parish was transformed into an active Armenian church, due largely to the efforts of the pastor Archpriest Asoghik Kelejian and many outstanding individuals and their families. Auxiliary bodies such as the Choir, Ladies Guild, Family Circle, and other supports and expanded the activities of the Board of Trustees. A Saturday Armenian Language School and Sunday School were established and Basketball Program was formed.
On the night of May 21, 1985, the bell tower
of St. Sarkis Church was hit by lightning and the resulting fire
destroyed the church. The parish left without a House of Worship
was devastated by the tragedy. Soon afterwards, however, St. Sarkis
Parish feverishly began the road to recovery and healing. For the next
five years, St. Sarkis Church held services at All Saints Episcopal
Church, 214-33 40th Avenue, Bayside.
The following years proved to be difficult ones. Tough decisions had to be made, problems were sometimes insurmountable, critical financial worries and setbacks with permits and construction had to be overcome. Without a House of Worship of their own, Rev. Kelejian made enormous efforts to keep the parish together.
A New Hope
On May 30, 1986, the Board of Trustees, located and acquired a lot nearby prestigious Douglaston. A small group of key community leaders including
- Jack Chadrjian, Esq., chairman of the Fundraising Committee
- Michael Haratunian, chairman of the Building Committee
- Hovnan Givelekian, architect
- Diran Donikian, construction manager
- Bedros Givelekian, chairman of the Board of Trustees
- Frank Kabarajian
devoted their time, energy and resources
to the completion of this project.
In October 1986, St. Sarkis Community gathered to witness the solemn Ground Breaking Ceremony which signaled the beginning of the construction of the new church. Archbishop Mesrop Ashjian, Prelate, presided over the ceremony.
A New Church Rises
On May 20, 1990, five years after
the old Church was destroyed, the consecration of the new St. Sarkis
Church took place with His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of the
Great House of Cilicia officiating, assisted by Archbishop Mesrop
Ashjian, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy, and other clergy including
Very Rev. Anoushavan Tanielian and Rev. Asoghig Kelejian, Pastor of
St. Sarkis Church.
On Sunday, September 15, 1991, on the Feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Very Rev. Anoushavan Tanielian celebrated the Badarak and delivered his first pastoral message. Appointed by Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian as the new Pastor of St. Sarkis Church, Hayr Soorp accepted the responsibility and challenge of providing the spiritual guidance and leadership which would be needed to reorganize the St. Sarkis Parish.
A Very Special Lady
Throughout the nineties, one special
generosity and support was felt in all aspects of church life.
Mrs. Suzanne Hagopian’s deep commitment to the welfare and financial
survival of St. Sarkis Church was expressed through many generous
donation including construction of “Suzanne and Hovsep Hagopian” Saturday
Language School and upon her death in 1995, she bequeathed part
of her estate to the Church and School thus securing its perpetual
spiritual and financial welfare.
Inspired by the appointment of Very Rev. Anoushavan
Tanielian as Pastor of St. Sarkis Church, auxiliary bodies revitalized
past activities and introduced new ones: the newly named Suzanne and
Hovsep Hagopian Saturday Language School opened its doors in the new
school building; St. Sarkis Basketball program was started; Bible
Study classes began; Sunday School opened; Mr. and Mrs. Club was formed and
the Choir of the new St. Sarkis Church blossomed.
In the mid nineties, one important addition to the service projects of the church was the establishment of the Senior Citizens Group in 1994 with the purpose of promoting spiritual growth and social interaction among the elderly. Several other auxiliaries were also added to include Friends of St. Sarkis, Young Couple Club, Teens Mission Group Kids Summer Program, Table Tennis Club and Yeraz Dance Group.
Welcoming Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian
On May 22, 2005, St. Sarkis Church welcomed its third priest, Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian. This 15th Anniversary of the church marked yet another beginning in the history of the Church, the ministry of its youngest priest.
On March 15th 2009, the church celebrated the burning of the mortgage.