Charlotte Parish Welcomes Primate

10 February 2017

From February 3 to 5, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese, visited St. Sarkis Church of Charlotte, NC. The Primate’s visit included a number of meetings with community members and the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on Sunday.

“The weekend was a great blessing and opportunity for the St. Sarkis community of Charlotte to welcome the Primate, pray together, and engage one another through open discussion,” said St. Sarkis pastor the Rev. Fr. Samuel Rith-Najarian. “The visit was an inspiration for the various church organizations and strengthened the connection between the parish and the Diocese.”

On Friday, the Primate and Fr. Rith-Najarian met with young professionals from Charlotte’s Armenian community. At the meet-and-greet they discussed important social issues and challenges facing the young professionals, including taxing work schedules that take away time from connecting to their families and the church. Many attendees also expressed an interest in being more connected with the church and Armenian community in the region.

On Saturday morning, the St. Sarkis ACYOA Seniors and Juniors welcomed the Archbishop Barsamian. At a brunch prepared by the ACYOA, members shared their activities from the past year, and perspectives on faith, the Armenian Genocide, and their role in the church.

Archbishop Barsamian and Fr. Rith-Najarian met with the St. Sarkis Women’s Guild on Saturday afternoon, going over a variety of topics such as the refugee crisis and the importance of women in the life of the church. The clergy also made pastoral visits, including a home blessing and dinner and meeting with the parish council at the home of one of the council members. The parish council members shared their successes and challenges, as well as ideas to strengthen the parish. Arpi Nakashian from the Eastern Diocese’s Department of Creative Ministries also attended and introduced the “Bread and Salt” video series produced by the Diocese.

On Sunday, the Primate celebrated the Divine Liturgy and ordained Michael Manucharov and Ovik Ayvazyan to the rank of acolyte. Following the badarak the community gathered in Acopian Hall for lunch and a town-hall style meeting.

“It was exciting to see how active St. Sarkis Church has become as it continues to grow and reach out to the Armenians in Charlotte and North Carolina,” said Archbishop Barsamian. “I congratulate Fr. Samuel, the parish council, and all the organizations for their dedicated work to making St. Sarkis such a vibrant parish.”