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 this year, it turns 50 years old.
Throughout 2018, St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral is marking 50 years since it was consecrated by His Holiness Vasken I, on April 28, 1968.
The Eastern Diocese is honoring the milestone with a year-long schedule of lectures, concerts, youth events, pilgrimages, and more. Under the auspices of Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, anniversary committee chair Richard Dabagian and a group of Diocesan leaders have been working to make this golden anniversary a memorable year for the entire Armenian community.
Anniversary Weekend on May 5-6
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 (5 p.m.)
It will proceed to a Concert of Sacred Music in the sanctuary (7 p.m.), featuring such luminaries as Isabel Bayrakdarian, Hovhannes Mirzoyan, the Nikolai Kachanov Singers, Şahan Arzruni, Haig Mardirosian and Sato Moughalian. A reception will follow. (For concert tickets at $25, contact Tamar at (646) 220-9408, or Ani at (516) 521-5396.)
On Sunday, May 6, His Holiness Karekin II will celebrate a Pontifical Divine Liturgy (10 a.m.), followed by a requiem service for St. Vartan Cathedral’s departed founders and leaders. (Afterwards, the public is welcome to a fellowship reception in Haik and Alice Kavookjian Auditorium; suggested donation of $10 at the door.)
Click here to view a flyer. Look for further details of the May 5-6 weekend (and other events). But mark these dates—and make sure you’re a part of St. Vartan Cathedral’s golden anniversary year.
—C. H. Zakian
Above: St. Vartan Cathedral under construction in 1967.