Armenian Church celebrates 125th anniversary on Memorial Day

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE/KSEE) — A church that is a staple of the Fresno community celebrated 125 years on Memorial Day.

The first Armenian Presbyterian Church was founded on May 30, 1897. It is the oldest such church in California.

The church held not only a celebration for the anniversary of the church, but also for the Memorial Day holiday, on which their anniversary landed.

“What this picnic represents is not just the outing after COVID, but its huge arms welcoming the community,” said First Presbyterian Church senior pastor Greg Haroutunian.

He and his team put together this Memorial Day and birthday event filled with food, kids’ activities and the train at Hillcrest Farms.

He says this event is not just to celebrate the Armenian community.

“Also the valley community,” he said. “We are really excited about this. The church started 124 years ago and we arrived as immigrants, and now it is open to everyone.

“I’ve been part of the church forever. I worked for the church for 22 years as a music director. Then I worked in the office in the 70s at the church, so that’s close to my heart,” said event attendee and church attendee Jane.

On this Memorial Day, those enjoying the event remember why they are celebrating.

“What crosses my mind are those who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of our country, and beware, freedom does not come free,” Jane added.

This day meant a lot to many, especially to those who held it so close to their hearts.

“We want to pay tribute to them. My own son is currently a cadet at West Point,” Haroutunian said.

“Having a son who is [serving] makes the reality of this sacrifice or potential sacrifice…boy, it hits home, it hits home,” he concluded.

There are a total of seven churches in all of Fresno.

The event was completely free, including all food, drinks and activities.

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