- Published on Tuesday, 19 July 2011 13:44
- Written by Richard Juknavorian
- Hits: 112
- Category: About
History of Saint Vartanantz Armenian Church
By l908, a courageous group of Armenian women realized the need for an organized Armenian community and started a women's social organization. In l9l0, the first Ladies Aid Society was established with primary hopes of building a church. In l9l3, with the help of the Armenian men of the community, a building committee was formed. This committee raised enough funds to purchase a small parcel of land on Lawrence Street in Lowell. Their dream of building a church was finally realized in l9l6 when the Saints Vartanantz Armenian Church was consecrated, making it one of the first Armenian churches built in America. Set high on the property , the church was a small brick building with an Armenian architectural bell tower. For nearly 60 years, this edifice was the center for all Armenians and served the spiritual, social, educational, and cultural needs of the Greater Lowell Armenian community.
As the Armenian community continued to grow, parishioners began to move to other areas of Lowell and the church began to explore the possibilities of expansion. Under the pastorship of the Very Reverend Father Ghevont Samoorian, the parish decided to move from the site in the city to a new location in a nearby suburb. The new site consisted of a private school building located on l6 acres of land in Chelmsford, Massachusetts overlooking the hills of southern New Hampshire. In l974, the parish moved into the new building and began their vigorous fund-raising campaign. A new building committee was established, and architect was hired, and construction of the new sanctuary began in l976. During construction, church services were held in many different locations of the attached school complex, including the gymnasium and library.
Finally in June of l978, the Saints Vartanantz Armenian Church of Chelmsford, Massachusetts was completed and the consecration ceremonies were performed by His Eminence, Archbishop Torkom Manoogian.. The architectural design of the church is a replica of the old "Cathedral of Ani" in Armenia and is referred to as "Little Ani" by its parishioners. After a major modernization and renovation in l990, the complex now consists of the church sanctuary, the parish offices, a pastor's study, numerous classrooms, a kitchen a library, Ghourgoian Dining Room, Kazanjian Memmorial Ballroom, and a large outdoor area for picnics and social events.
The Saints Vartanantz Armenian Church of Chelmsford is a tribute to the many dedicated, loyal and energetic men and women who unselfishly devoted their time, their tireless efforts, their souls for the love of their Armenian faith and tradition. The church is a testament to their devotion and strong will. With their continued allegiance and service it will thrive, prosper and flourish into the next century.