Local church consecration to be held Oct. 15-17, new crosses raised in special ceremony

The church is nearing completion.
The church is nearing completion. The consecration celebration of St. John Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church will occur Oct. 15-17. Photo above was taken at the blessing and raising of the crosses, held on Sept. 17.
(Robert McKenzie)

The Consecration Weekend of the new Armenian Church of San Diego will be held Oct. 15-17, at the church site on 13925 El Camino Real, San Diego, 92130. The blessing and raising of the crosses, held on Sept. 17, was the first event to kick off the church’s grand opening, according to a news release.

According to Parish Priest Very Rev. Fr. Pakrad Dz V Berjekian, “The sacred tradition of blessing and raising the crosses follows the biblical example of what Moses did as was instructed by God, who commanded him to consecrate the tabernacle and all therein. The Cross is consecrated and elevated to the top of the dome of the sanctuary, first because Christ overcame the world (John 16:33). We also believe that cross on the top of the dome is the meeting point between heaven and earth.”

The Semerdjian, Kellejian and Mikaelian families donated the two raised crosses in memory of the Very Rev. Fr. Shahe AK and Yeretzkin Alice Semerdjian.

This event leads up to San Diego’s Consecration Weekend from Oct. 15-17. Ceremonies will be presided by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, and the Very Rev. Fr. Pakrad Dz V Berjekian, Parish Priest.

Benefactors for the funding
Benefactors for the funding of the two crosses are the children and spouses of Rev. Fr. Shahe and Yn Alice Semerdjian, the first visiting priest in San Diego. They are Dr. Gregory and Zari Semerdjian, Steven and Nanette Mikaelian, Mary and Joe Kellejian, Peggy and Dick Semerdjian, pictured with Parish Priest Very Rev. Fr. Dz. V. Berjekian and His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian (Primate Of The Western Diocese Of The Armenian Church Of North America And Mexico)
(Robert McKenzie)

The Opening Ceremony will be Friday, Oct. 15 at 4 p.m., followed by a refreshment reception. The Consecration Ceremony will occur Saturday, Oct. 16 at 1 p,m,, also followed by a light reception. And the first mass (”Badarak”) to be conducted in the church will be Sunday, Oct, 17 at 10 a,m,, followed by an Armenian luncheon at $30/person. Comfortable clothing and shoes are recommended for all weekend attendees.

A Consecration Celebration Banquet & Recognition Ceremony will be held on Saturday night, Oct. 16, starting at 6 p.m. This event is taking place at the San Diego Marriott Del Mar, 11966 El Camino Real, San Diego, 92130. Seating is limited.

Recognition of past and present church leaders, donors, and volunteers will occur at the banquet and at all three ceremonies throughout the weekend, including the unveiling of the new church name, which takes place at Saturday’s Consecration ceremony.

Nora Balikian and Lisa Kradjian, consecration co-chairs, commented on this milestone event. “The new church campus is more than 14 years in the making. We thank everyone who has made it a reality, and we are looking forward to a new chapter for our San Diego Armenian Community with this once-in-a-lifetime weekend.”

Reservations and prepayment for the banquet are required and due Oct. 1. All San Diego County Covid protocols will be observed, and masks are strongly encouraged.

For more information or for RSVPS or sponsorships, contact Consecration Co-Chair Nora Balikian (858) 342-0500, njanoyan@yahoo.com or Banquet Co-Chair, Viviane Hagopian (619) 884-8983, vivianehagopian2014@gmail.com.

To make donations or ticket/table purchases, please mail to Armenian Church of San Diego, P.O. Box 1719, Vista, CA 92085 or visit www.stjohngarabed.com/donateshop.

When completed, the campus will feature a sanctuary designed to resemble St. Hripsime in Etchmiadzin, elegant social hall, youth center and gymnasium, education and cultural building with classrooms, the news release stated.