Arizona Republic, AZ
June 15 2005

Armenians build new sanctuary
City must OK design so building can start

Diana Balazs
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 15, 2005 12:00 AM

Jerry Avakian displayed the portable altar that is wheeled out for
Sunday services at the Armenian Apostolic Church of Arizona in

It is kept in a storage room and takes center stage on an actual
stage. The only Armenian church in Arizona has been holding its
services, known as divine liturgy, in the same cultural center where
it holds its non-religious functions.

That will soon change. The church, at 8849 E. Cholla St., plans to
build a main sanctuary, with groundbreaking set for early 2006, said
Avakian, chairman of the parish council. It would take eight to nine
months to build the church. advertisement

Funds are being raised for the $1.5 million project. Church member
and architect Artin Knadjian has designed a building with a stone
fašade that is patterned after a church in Armenia. The church must
receive design approval from Scottsdale before construction can

The sanctuary will be the latest in a number of diverse houses of
worship in the city.

Scottsdale is also home to a Coptic Orthodox church and a Hindu
temple, both in the southern part of the city. The city's first
mosque and Islamic cultural center is under construction in northeast

Scottsdale has become a melting pot of sorts for a number of faiths,
Avakian said.

"From a selfish standpoint," he said, "diversity gives the
opportunity for a church like mine to exist in a very nice situation
of free Arizona, free America, etc. And I believe that people should
be able to develop their lives according to what their wishes are."