By Aram Arkun
BRADFORD, Mass. – The Armenian Apostolic Church at Hye Pointe reached a new milestone on July 31, when the first badarak or divine liturgy, was conducted on land purchased nearly twenty years ago for a new church which will soon be built. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), and a number of priests and deacons were present at this special service, together with over 100 congregants.
Fr. Vart Gyozalyan, the resident pastor, declared that “this was a very inspiring and exciting Sunday. Everyone is looking toward the near future. Work is ongoing, and in January 2017 the building will be ready.” Many events, such as for special holidays, Sunday dinners, bazaars and picnics, will be possible soon on site. The location is convenient because it is only about one mile from the highway, and avoids travel through a downtown area unlike the present location of the church.
Gyozalyan said, remarking on the many trees and hills in the area, “This is a like a small piece of Armenia cradled in nature. It reminds me of monasteries like Haghartsin.”
The land is a large nine-acre lot, but only five will be used initially. The new church will be in traditional Armenian style, and will be easily recognizable to all visitors because of its dome. It will have a large hall to hold 270 people, and a smaller 100-person hall next to it. The two can be combined in case of need. There will be offices, six classrooms and flagpoles for the American and Armenian flags. The khachkar or stone cross in Haverhill will be moved to the new site.
Many other items from the two churches which united to form Hye Pointe in 1994 will be brought into the new church. The altars from each of the old churches, Holy Cross and St. Gregory the Illuminator, will be incorporated into the new one. A time capsule was prepared with mementos of the two original churches to remain buried for fifty years.
Financial issues and the lack of a steady pastor in the past were among the factors which made building on this land take so long, but, as Fr. Gyozalyan declared, “Impossible things have become possible in the past months through the will of God.”
He concluded, “This church will be a center for all Armenians.”
The fundraising committee and parish council are actively working to raise further funds, while the mortgage has already been signed and finalized. The opportunity is open for family members or grandparents to be memorialized in the new building.
For more information, see http://www.hyepointearmenianchurch.org or write PO Box 8069, Bradford, MA 01835.