Welcome to St. James Armenian Apostolic Church of Los Angeles. This church has a great history of progress, growth, and development. As early as 1941, a committee was organized, and by April of 1942, the first parish assembly was held in a converted residence on West Adams Boulevard and consecrated on December 27, 1942. The parish grew rapidly after the end of World War II as families moved to the Los Angeles area. The growth began with a new auditorium dedicated in 1949 and a new sanctuary and classroom buildings were consecrated in December 1957. The move to our present parish site at Slauson and LaTijera in southwest Los Angeles began in January 1964 when the property was acquired and the first structure of the tan auditorium was built. The auditorium was used temporarily for church services and underground parking structures were completed in 1965.
We were honored and proud when His Holiness Vazken 1. Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians officiated at the Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new sanctuary on May 19, 1968. Construction was completed and the sanctuary was consecrated on March 21, 1971. At this time, the auditorium was enlarged and renamed St. James Gogian Hall in recognition of the role Mr. Gogian had played I in the building campaign for the new sanctuary and expansion of the hall.
A major phase of development was the completion of the St. James Sunday School in May of 1974. These classrooms are used primarily for the Sunday School and Armenian School. The St.James Haiganosh Dulgarian Hall is a part of this building and was dedicated in June 1975. There is also in this structure, the St. James Library, which is open to one and all.
The church thrives by the contribution, strength, and vitality of the various church organizations and under the leadership; and guidance of the Parish and the Parish Priest and the Parish Council. Fr. Haroutioun Tachejian is the present Parish Priest serving since September 2011. Parishioners enjoy attending the Fellowship Club, the Mr. and Mrs. Club, the Ladies Society, the ACYO for our youth, and the Sunday School. The church has a beautiful choir as well as devoted deacons and acolytes serving on the altar. Every Sunday, following church services, a coffee hour is held with traditional Armenian refreshments and affording parishioners and the opportunity to meet and visit with the Armenian faithful.
St. James, a Syrian monk and first cousin of St. Gregory, was appointed bishop of the Christian city Nisibis in Mesopotamia in 308 A.D. According to his disciple, St. Ephraem, James founded the basilica and theological School of Nisibis. Additionally, he was recorded as a signatory for the canons produced at the first of three ecumenical councils accepted by the Armenian Church:
the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. St. James played a leading role among the 318 Christian leaders present during the sessions of the Council of Nicea and merited the attention of St. Athanasius and other bishops of the Eastern as well as the Western churches. The most important canon created at the Nicaean Council was the Nice a Creed or the official declaration of the principal doctrines of the Armenian Church. We solemnly chant the Creed at every Divine Liturgy as a formal declaration that we are unified by the same understanding of who God is, and who we are relative to Him—a declaration of faith that has united Christians throughout the world for 1,700 years. We affirm that our own faith is rooted and nourished by the "one, catholic and apostolic holy Church" with Jesus Christ as its head (Colossians 1:18). The other two councils accepted by the Armenian Church are the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. and the Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D. The fourth council of Chalcedon, held in 451 A.D., made formulations on the nature of Christ that were rejected by Armenian and other Oriental Orthodox churches, distinguishing them from Roman Catholic and Byzantine Orthodox churches. St. James is also known for his divine vision on Mount Ararat, where he found the sacred relic of Noah's Ark and brought it to the Armenian people. According to tradition, while St. James preached in and around Nisibis, he heard that people doubted the story of Noah's Ark. He was determined to provide his flock with evidence, so he set out on a journey to the top of Mount Ararat to find the remains of the ark. Some time into his journey, before reaching his destination, he felt tired and decided to stop and rest before moving forward. After he continued on his journey, he took a second break. However, when he awoke, he found himself in the spot that he originally chose as his resting place. He continued on his journey, yet he encountered the same phenomenon for seven years. Nevertheless, James carried forward, relying on his faith to see him to the end of his journey. One day, while he slept, an angel appeared to him in a vision and brought him a piece of the wood from Noah's Ark. The angel told him that he could not see any more of the ark, but that the wooden remnant would be proof enough for the naysayers. St. James prayed to God to produce an eternal miracle on the spot where he had the vision and immediately afterward a spring gushed forth, which exists to this day. The relic of Noah's Ark received by St. James is currently in possession of Holy Etchmiadzin.