History of HTAAC
Download our 50th Anniversary Commemorative Booklet for a complete history, photos, past clergy, parish council, parishioners of the year, and more.
The first Armenian Church in Boston was purchased on December 21, 1921. A former public library, the building underwent major renovations to resemble the atmosphere of an Armenian Church. It was consecrated on November 11, 1923, Armistice Day, by the then Primate, Archbishop Tirayr Ter-Hovhannessian and Bishop Papken Gulesserian. The Church was named the Armenian Holy Trinity Church, and its first pastor was the Very Rev. Father Shahe Kasparian through whose efforts the purchase of the Church was facilitated. The Church on Shawmut Avenue administered to the spiritual needs of Boston-area Armenians for 38 years, during which time various clergy served as pastor.
While each pastor left a personal legacy to the Church and its parishioners, it is Rev. Father Papken Maksoudian, who assumed the pastorate of the Church in 1952, who led the effort to build a new Church. Fr. Papken’s pastorate was distinguished by profuse activity that encompassed spiritual, educational, and administrative achievements. It culminated in the erection of the new Church on Brattle Street in Cambridge in 1961. It was Fr. Papken’s conviction that Greater Boston-area Armenians needed a Church that was more conveniently located to its parishioners and, importantly, was constructed in the style of traditional Armenian architecture.
On September 17, 1961, the day of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the Church was consecrated in a solemn ceremony and the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated by the Primate at the time, Archbishop Sion Manoogian. The Church overflowed with people who came to worship, to celebrate, and to give thanks.
On January 3, 1977, Rev. Father Mampre A. Kouzouian assumed the pastorate of the Holy Trinity Church after having served as Canon Sacrist of St. Vartan Cathedral in New York and Director of the Ecumenical Relations of the Diocese of the Armenian Church. Fr. Mampre ushered in a new era of activity and awareness into parish life. Gathering parishioners from the four corners of the parish, he established a profound committee whose efforts were focused solely upon showcasing the best of the Armenian culture and experience. Thus began a new facet of parish life. Through musical concerts, ecumenical services, art and artifact displays, lectures, and sports nights all featuring well-known and established Armenians from around the nation, Holy Trinity became a strong witness of the Armenian faith and heritage.
During the pastorate of Fr. Mampre, the original colored-glass windows were replaced with stained-glass depicting the art found in ancient Armenian manuscripts of biblical and important events in Armenian Church history. The magnificent tones of color created by the stained-glass bathe the sanctuary in warmth and mystery.
In 1995, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the parish commissioned a Khachkar from Armenia to be created and erected on the Church plaza. Today, on any given day, people stop by the Church simply to view this impressive stone work up close and read the message beginning with the words “Lest We Forget . . .”
Fr. Mampre retired at the close of 2001, leaving a lasting legacy. During his time as pastor, our Trust Fund grew unimaginably; a Man of the Year Award was established honoring one of our own for outstanding dedication to the parish; and close ecumenical ties were established with Church leaders throughout Greater Boston.
In 2002, Rev. Father Vasken A. Kouzouian was welcomed to the pastorate of Holy Trinity. Choosing to perpetuate the legacy of our parish by honoring tradition and forging ahead with new ministries and programs, new chapters of parish life are being written. Arriving to Holy Trinity after having served as the Director of Youth Ministry for the Diocese, Fr. Vasken brought about a renaissance of direction and activity into the parish youth program. Our parish youth and young adult programs have flourished growing in size and discovering added purpose.
Soon after his arrival, Fr. Vasken led our parishioners on transforming pilgrimages ranging from Yerevan and Holy Etchmiadzin, to our ancestral homelands of Kharpert, Ani, Van, Mush, Erzerum, Bitlis, Palu, and Kars. This new parish tradition has benefited the lives of over 100 of our parishioners. A Distinguished Speaker Series, a fellowship group for our senior parishioners, and camp-like programs for our youngest have been established; an annual Blessing of Babies Service has become a favored tradition; and major renovations to the systems of our Church complex have taken place.
Assuring the present and future stability of the Church have been two important programs –Stewardship and the Trust Fund. Both have been given impressive support by the thoughtful members of our parish. Stewardship began in 1981 to provide an opportunity for a systematic giving vehicle for the parishioners. Gifts to the Stewardship Program are used towards the current operating expenses of the Church and, thus, provide the means for the parish to meet its financial needs. The Trust Fund has also been an important component of securing our future; this endowed fund greatly provides for the ongoing financial obligations of our parish.
From the beginning, the Church on Brattle Street has been blessed with the pontifical visits of H.H. Vasken I (1968, 1987) and H.H. Karekin I (1996, 1998), both of blessed memory, and in 2007, H.H. Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians.
Holy Trinity has been honored to host two Diocesan Assemblies in 1988, with Helene Dorian as Chairman, and 2011, with Janice Dorian and Nancy D. Kasarjian as Co-Chairmen. These Assemblies gather the leadership from the four corners of our Diocese to set the theme for the coming year, and secure the financial and ministry aspects of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern). Without the support of the entire parish, especially the dedicated Chairmen, these mammoth undertakings simply could not have been carried out as successfully as they were.
Looking towards Holy Trinity’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, with Aram and Becky Hintlian and Harvey and Valerie Kolligian Thayer as Co-Chairmen, a unique way of celebrating the fullness of parish life was realized. The Pastor and Anniversary Committee, working hand-in-hand, created a year-long, five-event celebration focusing on the sacramental and social life of our parish. Starting off the celebration, we honored both the baptisms and marriages that were blessed in our sanctuary. From there, our attention turned to the social, by celebrating the children of our parish with Lisa Stephanian Burton, Cheryl Balian Scaparrotta, and Kim Newell Chebator as the event organizers, followed by a soldout magnificent Golden Jubilee Gala held in the Charles and Nevart Talanian Cultural Hall. Today’s Grand Finale Banquet marks the conclusion of what has been a memorable year that will stand out in the pages of Holy Trinity history as truly unique.
Holy Trinity Armenian Church of Greater Boston has, indeed, been working to meet its mission to propagate the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and to preserve the Armenian identity and culture. We feel blessed to have so many dedicated parishioners who actively do their part in helping us carry out our mission.