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Memorials of Swansea IL.

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  • Memorials of Swansea IL.

    Title Memorial Khachkar, Swansea, Illinois,
    Type of Memorial Tribute to the Armenian Genocide & 50th Anniversary of the Church.
    Sponsor(s) Members of Holy Virgin Mary
    and Shoghagat Armenian Church.
    Architect/Designer/Artist Carved in Armenia (Natural Stone in Armenia).
    Placement Sculpture standing in the front courtyard of the Holy Virgin Mary & Shoghagat Armenian Church. Facing eastward.
    Physical Setting Memorial Garden Courtyard
    Tourist Amenities
    Map Designation
    Physical Condition Excellent.
    Location Holy Virgin Mary & Shoghagat Armenian Church, 400 Huntwood Rd., Belleville 62226-1824 United States

    Department of Communications
    Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
    630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
    Contact: Jake Goshert, Coordinator of Information Services
    Tel: (212) 686-0710 Ext. 160; Fax: (212) 779-3558
    E-mail: [email protected]

    December 4, 2006


    Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church
    of America (Eastern), traveled to Belleville, IL, on November 12, 2006, to
    join the parishioners of the Holy Virgin Mary and Shoghagat Church in
    celebrating the 50th anniversary of the parish.

    The original parish began in 1956 in East St. Louis, IL, and the community
    built its new sanctuary in Belleville in 1978.

    "This is an intent and focused community," said the Primate. "They have
    created a solid foundation for their community, building a beautiful
    sanctuary that is reflected in the spirituality present in their homes."

    The Primate celebrated a joyful Divine Liturgy on November 12, which was
    followed by a banquet. The night before, he led the blessing of a new
    khatchkar from Armenia and memorial garden designed to commemorate the

    With the memorial garden, the parish hoped to sell 100 bricks, instead they
    sold 227 and raised $67,000, including a generous donation of $20,000 from
    Dr. Raffi and Lydia Krikorian.

    "That $67,000 is a lot for a small community," said one of the anniversary
    celebration organizers, Zabelle Vartanian. "But our parish is very strong
    in faith. We're small in number, but strong in resolve."

    One of the exciting aspects of the weekend, Vartanian said, was the make-up
    of the committee organizing the events.

    "The committee was composed of many of our younger people, the ones that
    need to step up to the plate now and take over," she said. "They worked
    very hard and we had many younger people in the audience, who were moved.
    So now we have to work to make sure that spirit remains and continues."

    Joining the Primate at the banquet in Belleville were several clergymen with
    ties to the community. Fr. Yeprem Kelegian, pastor of the St. Mesrob Church
    of Racine, WI, began his ministry as deacon-in-charge of the church in
    Belleville. Also attending was Fr. Diran Papazian, who once served as the
    visiting pastor of the parish, a duty now performed twice a month by Fr.
    Abraham Ohanesian. When he's not there, the parish's deacon, George
    Marifian, performs services.

    The parish has changed and evolved over time as well, moving from its
    initial home in East St. Louis and welcoming new waves of immigrants as the
    face of the Armenian community in America changed.

    Today, the parish is home to a diverse yet small community of about 70
    families who regularly attend services.

    There is a lot of work and coordination for the small community, but it is
    all worth it, Vartanian said. As the parish marked its anniversary,
    Vartanian said, the hard work and effort to keep the Armenian Christian
    faith alive was worth it even more.

    "We're a very small community and basically a handful of people are there
    every week doing most of the work to keep our parish going. So it is a
    major accomplishment that the parish has survived," she said. "Our
    anniversary is a testimony to the people here who help make sure the church
    is maintained."

    "In my opinion, and the way I have been nurtured, the church is our home,"
    she added. "It is our cultural lifeline. It is not only the religious
    home, but it is also the cultural home. People know that to keep our
    Armenian culture alive we need the church."

    Speaking for the next generation was Nicole Vartanian, who was a guest
    speaker of the program and spoke about the importance of maintaining the
    Armenian Christian faith and heritage.

    -- 12/04/06

    I finally got a chance to get over there this morning to take some photos. The sun was coming up from behind the sculpture, making it a little difficult to get a good shot. But I hope these will give you an idea. Very beautiful work!
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Holy Virgin Mary
    and Shoghagat Armenian Church
    Side View
    Attached Files


    • #3
      Originally posted by SoulD View Post
      Holy Virgin Mary
      and Shoghagat Armenian Church
      Side View
      SoulD, thank you very much for the photo.
      General Antranik (1865-1927): I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.


      • #4
        Holy Virgin Mary
        and Shoghagat Armenian Church
        Whole View
        Attached Files


        • #5
          Your most welcome Joseph.