It was the first Armenian cathedral in the New World—the first built in generations.
It was realized through the united effort of ordinary people who had survived the greatest cataclysm ever to befall the Armenian people.
It stands proudly—defiantly—in the heart of New York City: a masterpiece of the Armenian architectural style; a testament to the persistence of the Armenian people, and the power of our Christian faith.
And next year, it will turn 50 years old.
In 2018, St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral will mark 50 years since it was consecrated by His Holiness Vasken I, on April 28, 1968.
The Eastern Diocese is planning to honor the milestone throughout the coming year. Under the auspices of Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, anniversary committee chair Richard Dabagian and a group of Diocesan leaders have been working to populate 2018 with a schedule of lectures, concerts, youth events, pilgrimages, and more.
Anniversary Weekend on May 5-6
But the celebration will center on Saturday and Sunday, May 5 and 6, when the “national home” of the Armenian-American community will welcome His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, for a weekend of activities to uplift the spirit.
Saturday, May 5 will begin with the grand opening of an exhibit of photos and artifacts from 50 years of life at St. Vartan Cathedral. It will proceed to a “Concert of Sacred Music” in the sanctuary, featuring such luminaries as Isabel Bayrakdarian, Hovhannes Mirzoyan, the Nikolai Kachanov Singers, Şahan Arzruni, Haig Mardirosian and Sato Moughalian.
On Sunday, May 6, His Holiness Karekin II will celebrate a Pontifical Divine Liturgy, followed by a requiem service for St. Vartan Cathedral’s departed founders and leaders.
Details of the May 5-6 weekend (and other events) will be coming in the weeks ahead (click here to download a flyer). But remember these dates—and make sure you plan on being a part of St. Vartan Cathedral’s golden anniversary year.
—C. H. Zakian
Above: St. Vartan Cathedral under construction in 1967.