EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

February 20, 2011

Haverhill's Armenian church gets new pastor

HAVERHILL — After not having a spiritual leader for almost a decade, members of the Armenian Apostolic Church at Hye Pointe finally have one.

The Rev. Vart Gyozalian, who was ordained to the priesthood in July 2009, has been named interim pastor at the church.

"The future is looking brighter and brighter for us," said Scott Sahigian, chairman of the parish council at Hye Pointe. "This is all part of God's plan coming to fruition. He fully understands the mission and the needs of this parish."

Before Gyozalian was assigned to the parish, a visiting priest led divine liturgies.

The Armenian apostolic church at Hye Point was formed in 2002 after the merger of Holy Cross Armenian in Lawrence and St. Gregory the Illuminator in Haverhill. The merger between the Lawrence and Haverhill churches is the first of its kind in North America.

Members sold Holy Cross Armenian Church at 54 E. Haverhill St. to a Hispanic Evangelical church, and are still in the process of selling the historic church building at 110 Main St., Haverhill.

The Haverhill Historic Commission was against a proposed sale of the 136-year-old church to a developer who wanted to raze it and build a Burger King.

"We're on hiatus right now," Sahigian said. "With the winter we've had and the new priest, that is not our first priority. Our emphasis is making sure that Father has a very positive experience."

The Hye Pointe Community still uses the historic church while it works to build a new church at 1280 Boston Road in Bradford, near the North Andover line.

Sahigian recently gave Gyozalian a tour of the building site, and the priest said he was impressed.

"It's a perfect place for us to have a new church and future home," Gyozalian said.

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