Soorp Haroutiun Armenian Church
Pastor: Rev. Fr. Armash Bagdasarian
Established: May 8, 1985
Consecrated: June 2010 by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian.
Sanctuary: St. Haroutiun Church had its beginnings in 1985 when then-Primate Archbishop Torkom Manoogian established a mission parish in the Orlando area and the community began considering the construction of a church.
A five-acre plot was purchased in 1993, and smaller purchase followed three years later. As property value rose, the parish council decided to sell both parcels and purchase a third section of land on which to build the new church. The sale, completed in 2005, helped the community raise money for construction costs.
Designed by the late Ramon H. Hovsepian of Worcester, Mass., the new church would feature a copper dome and elements of traditional Armenian Church architecture. The House of worship would, first and foremost, serve the community's spiritual needs. But organizers hoped it would also become an important cultural beacon, inspiring its members to carry forth the Armenian language and traditions.
A little more than a year ago, the Orlando parish received the final permit needed to proceed with the project. Construction began last August, with the official groundbreaking and cornerstone-blessing ceremony taking place on September 27.
It was also on that day that Archbishop Khajag Barsamian announced that the Toufayan family of New Jersey had pledged $750,000 for the church. Longtime supporters of the Eastern Diocese and the global Armenian Church, Hratch and Suzanne Toufayan run a bakery in Orlando, and their son Greg Toufayan also served on the building committee for Soorp Haroutiun Church.
Other godfathers of the new church include Richard Bargamian, Charles and Sara Chemenian, Ethel Duffet, Dr. Albert G, Eckian, Haig Hagopian, Lucine Mardirosian-Harvey, Dr. Michael Keotahlian, John Shahinian, Simon Tashjian, Samuel Vardanian, Marietta Vazquez, Drs. Aram and Aida Tchobanian, and Jerry L. Youderian. In addition, hundreds of others have volunteered their services over the years to ensure the success of the initiative.