WASHINGTON — Parishioners of St. Mary Church welcomed Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), as they celebrated the completion of interior renovations at the church last Sunday.
Barsamian celebrated the Divine Liturgy and consecrated the church’s newly-renovated altars on Sunday, September 2.
“The St. Mary Church of Washington has had a long history of faithful, devoted service,” said the Primate. “As the church approaches 80 years, how wonderful it is to see the parishioners tending to it, beautifying it with such love and hope for the future.”
The renovation of the main altar was made possible thanks to the generosity of parishioners, Jirair and Anahit Nishanian.
The two smaller altars were underwritten by the George family and by Sami and Annie Totah.
Other parishioners contributed funds for win- dow enhancements and the renovation of the church floor, ceiling, pews and candle room. New icons were also hung in the sanctuary.
Following services, the community gathered in the church hall for a reception. The Nishanians cut the celebratory cake and the entire parish celebrated the opening of the renovated sanctuary.
Joining the parish on this occasion were Ambassador Tatoul Markarian, Armenia’s ambassador to the United States; Robert Avetisyan, permanent representative of Nagorno-Karabagh to the United States; Col. Mesrop Nazarian, Armenia’s defense attaché in Washington, and other embassy staff.
Rev. Hovsep Karapetyan, parish pastor, said that the second phase of renovations will involve exterior work, including the building of a new bell tower at the entrance and the installation of a new door being crafted in Armenia.
The parish plans to complete the project by early December, when the community will mark the 80th anniversary of the consecration of St. Mary Church. A banquet and program are scheduled for the weekend of December 8-9.