While we are all God’s children, our Armenian Apostolic faith binds us together even further. Our parish Soorp Khatch serves as our spiritual home, where we come together for religious, educational, cultural and social events. Our pastor Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian serves as our spiritual leader and shepherd. And the Eastern Prelacy provides our community with the additional support it needs to help us achieve our full potential. These are the components that make up “Our church,” along with you. We welcome you to learn more, and become a part of our inclusive community, if you are not already a member.
The Armenian Apostolic Church descends directly from Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholemew, who were the first evangelizers in Armenia. As a result, our faith continues to be practiced in the same way, and our beliefs have not changed, from what the Apostles taught us almost 2,000 years. Armenia also became the first Christian nation in 301, when St. Gregory baptized the King and royal family. Gregory was later ordained as the first Catholicos of the Armenians, but persecution and conflict led to the movement of the Holy See several times throughout history, until it was based in Cilicia in 1116. While some church leaders returned to Etchmiadzin after the fall of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia more than three centuries later, the Catholicate of the Great House of Cilicia remained and a second Catholicos was named in Etchmiadzin. We invite you to learn more about our faith and its history.
While Armenians began moving to the Washington, DC area at the turn of the century, it was not until World War II that a large influx of Armenians led to visiting priests being sent to serve our community. Ultimately, Soorp Khatch (Holy Cross) Church was established in Bethesda, Maryland on September 24, 1959, with Reverend Father Dicran Khoyan appointed as our permanent priest. Over the next few years our current property was acquired, with our church built and consecrated on October 10, 1964. We invite you to learn more about our dynamic parish, our dedicated members as well as our current history.
Our community is truly blessed by the many dedicated spiritual leaders who have served our church. Each priest has brought his own unique experiences and insights to Soorp Khatch, helping us foster our faith and preserve our identity in service of Jesus Christ. On October 2019, our current priest Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian will celebrate 20 years of service to the Armenian Apostolic Church since his ordination to the priesthood. We welcome you to learn more about our current and previous pastors and their service to Soorp Khatch.
The Prelacy is not just a building or a place. It has a heart and soul made up of the people who give generously of their time, talent, and money for the glory of God and His Church. The mission of the Prelacy is a story of service and commitment to our parishes and the faithful. The Eastern Prelacy continues to serve Soorp Khatch (and its many other parishes), in helping us meet the: religious, educational, cultural, and social needs of our members. The Prelacy also leads numerous philanthropic efforts. We welcome you to learn more about the Eastern Prelacy and its history.