Sacred Transformation: Armenian Churches in Los Angeles
March 2003 – May 2003
Supported by an undergraduate research grant from the Center for Religion and Civic Culture, University of Southern California, with funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts.
There are thirty-six Armenian churches in the Los Angeles basin, with concentrations in Glendale, Hollywood, Pasadena, and Montebello. There are twenty Armenian Protestant churches, the majority of which adhere to the Evangelical Church; thirteen Armenian Apostolics (five under the jurisdiction of the Catholicos of Antelias (Cilicia), eight under the Catholicos of Etchmiadzin); and two Armenian Catholic churches. In their design, the church buildings are a syncretism of traditional Armenian design and twentieth-century California architecture. It is that transformation from tradition and Armenia to modernity and Southern California that is most striking.
Armenia is a country with a more than two- thousand year history. Christianity became the state religion in 301 CE, Armenia being the first state to adopt Christianity. Distinctively, the Armenian Apostolic Church accepted only the earliest Christian doctrines. In the nineteenth century, European and American missionizing led to the formation of the Armenian Protestant Church and the Armenian Catholic Church.
Throughout the history of Armenia, when it was controlled by external forces (often under the auspices of Islam) and without a state, and in the Diaspora communities, the Armenian Apostolic Church became the enduring symbol of the distinctive Armenian people and their land.
More than a hundred years ago, Armenians came to Southern California, at first to Fresno, and then to Los Angeles and San Francisco. They were migrants who had settled first on the East Coast, and only later moved to the West Coast. More recently, many Armenians came directly from the Soviet Union. In building churches in the Diaspora, Armenians wanted to recall the ancient edifices in Armenia, yet those churches were adapted to the styles and realities of their new homes. Those ancient edifices were based on a Roman ground plan and the Greek basilica. The church should be oriented toward the East, it almost always has a pointed pyramidal dome resting on arches extending above the roof, and its proportions and guidelines are set by past Armenian examples.
Church architecture is always the presence of the sacred in the everyday world. For the Armenians, the Church is as well a sign of their survival and endurance.
Yeghig L. Keshishian Undergraduate Student University of Southern California
This exhibit continues our tradition of highlighting work initiated in Price School of Public Policy courses and projects. We are grateful for our students’ deep commitment to their endeavors.
Martin H. Krieger Professor of Planning
|Armenian Apostolic Church||Tujunga||Apostolic|
|Armenian Apostolic Church of La Verne||La Verne||Apostolic|
|Armenian Apostolic Church of Pasadena||Pasadena||Apostolic|
|Armenian Baptist Church||La Verne||Protestant- Baptist|
|Armenian Bible Church||Pasadena||Protestant|
|Armenian Bible Church of the Nazarene||Sun Valley||Protestant|
|Armenian Brotherhood Bible Church||Pasadena||Protestant- Brotherhood Bible Churches|
|Armenian Brotherhood Bible Church (Glendale/Burbank)||Glendale||Protestant- Brotherhood Bible Churches|
|Armenian Brotherhood Bible Church (Hollywood||Los Angeles||Protestant- Brotherhood Bible Churches|
|Armenian Catholic Church Queen of Martyrs||Los Angeles||Catholic|
|Armenian Church of The Nazarene||Glendale||Protestant|
|Armenian Cilicia Congregational Church||Altadena||Protestant- Evangelical|
|Armenian Evangelical Brethren Church||Los Angeles||Protestant- affiliated with Evangelical Union of America|
|Armenian Evangelical Brethren Church||Pasadena||Protestant- affiliated with Evangelical Union of America|
|Armenian Evangelical Church of Hollywood||Los Angeles||Protestant- affiliated with Evangelical Union of America|
|Armenian Evangelical Church of Montebello||Montebello||Protestant- affiliated with Evangelical Union of America|
|Christ Armenian Church||Glendale||Protestant|
|First Armenian Evangelical Church of Glendale||Glendale||Protestant- Evangelical|
|First Armenian Pentecostal Church||La Habra Heights||Protestant- Pentecostal|
|Holy Cross Armenian Apostolic Cathedral||Montebello||Apostolic|
|Holy Martyrs Armenian Apostolic Church||Encino||Apostolic|
|Holy Trinity Armenian Church||Hollywood||Protestant- Presbyterian|
|Immanuel Armenian Congregational Church||Downey||Protestant- Evangelical|
|Pasadena Armenian Church of The Nazarene||Pasadena||Protestant|
|Sheen Chapel||Mission Hill||Unconsecrated- open to all denominations|
|St. Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church||Los Angeles||Apostolic|
|St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church of Pasadena||Pasadena||Apostolic|
|St. Gregory Armenian Catholic Church||Glendale||Catholic|
|St. James Armenian Apostolic Church||Los Angeles||Apostolic|
|St. John Garabed Armenian Cathedral||Los Angeles||Apostolic|
|St. Kevork Armenian Church Glendale||Glendale||Apostolic|
|St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church||Glendale||Apostolic|
|St. Nareg Armenian Church||Montebello||Protestant- Evangelical|
|St. Peter Armenian Apostolic Church||Van Nuys||Apostolic|
|St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church||Los Angeles||Apostolic|
|United Armenian Congregational Church||Hollywood||Protestant- Evangelical|