Armenian Community Holiday of Dallas
Not long long St. Sarkis Armenian church of Dallas celebrated 22nd anniversary of the consecration of the church. Father Ghevond Ajemian spoke to Dallas Telegraph anour his own coming to Dallas, his church and Armenian community of Dallas.
Ludmila Kachkar: Father Ghevond, what kind of celebration did you have today?
Father Ghevond: It is 22nd anniversary of the consecration of the church. And it is a name day of the St. Sarkis, our patriarch.
LK: Who is St. Sarkis?
Fr. G.: St. Sarkis was a Greek soldier, he was not Armenian. His name is Sergei or Sarkis in Armenian. He was a general in the Roman Army in the Empire and he went to Persia because Julian Apostate, a bad emperor came, and started a war against Persia with his son Martirose.
They fought against Julian, they won but then the Persian King wanted them to become pagan. And so he said ‘no’, and then him, his son and his 14 soldiers were all martyred. They were killed for their Christianity. Then his remains (relic) were taken from Persia to Armenia, and now they are in the town of Oushi in Armenia. Later they had build a monastery there, it has collapsed by now but it is still the place where he is buried.
LK: Why his name? Why St. Sarkis?
Fr. G.: There are two reasons. One is that the person who helped to build the church also was Sarkis. It was Dr. Sarkis Kechejian, who had been with us today. He helped to build the church and gave the money for the church. So, it is named after him. But also I feel that God helped us to name that church St. Sarkis because of St. Sarkis was and how we represent what he did. We help the youth and we stand for Christ. And we have to teach and preach that and show people that we are not afraid to be Christians in this world, and we want to help with everything that is going on.
LK: Can you tell us more about church’s history?
Fr. G.: St. Sarkis community was established about 30 years ago, it was in the early 1980s. The church was built in 1992.
LK: Could you share a few words about the history of this church?
Fr. G.: This church was consecrated in 1992 by the bishop, and then in about 4 years after that, the hall was built where we have a kitchen and also Sunday Schools classes upstairs. After that in 2004 we held a sports weekend when all the Armenian youth in America came down here. It was very big, I think that had over 300 young people from all over the country and they hosted that here. That was in 2004 and in 2013 when I was ordained to the priesthood here.
This week it will be 22 years ago. And it is the only Armenian Community in the North Dallas or rather North Texas. The next closest are Houston and Austin. And this is the only Armenian community for many Armenians who come from very different cultures like Armenia, Russia, Lebanon and Iran (joking ‘you know better than I do’) and Turkey, but people who are here mostly come from the overseas, not many are born in America.
It is a growing parish; and in a couple of years, we are going to be building a new church (building) in the area next to Plano, near Hebron and Plano Parkways, near Hebron High School. And as we build a new church, we will be moving from here to a new location. We will be selling this property, and move to a brand new build that is looking like an Armenian church. This church originally was a house and we have converted that into a church but eventually we are moving to a place that would look like an Armenian church. Maybe in 2017 or 2018 we will be able to build a new church and have it consecrated. We already bought a land in Plano.