Our Springfield History
St. Mark Armenian Church (formerly known as St. John the Divine Armenian Church) was organized as a community in the early 1900s. In 1956, visiting clergyman, Very Reverend Father Guregh Kapikian of Jerusalem, who had come to the United States on a fund raising mission for the St. James Brotherhood and had visited Springfield during this time, formed the first parish council, with the consent of His Grace Archbishop Mampre Calfayan, Primate of North Amerca.
The parish council began a fund raising campaign, and in July, 1957 purchased the Chase Memorial Baptist Church, on Dresden Street in Springfield, MA for $12,500. The building was remodeled to fit the needs of the Armenian services.
On June 15, 1958, the church was consecrated by Archbishop Mampre Calfayan, Primate of the Diocese, and named St. John, in honor of John Melikian, the deceased brother of Levon, who with his wife Aznive, became Godparents of the church. Fr. Guregh Kalfayan became the first pastor in 1958 and served the parish until 1962.
In 1967 Azniv Melikian donated a large parcel of land in East Longmeadow. Permission was granted to sell the land and search for a more suitable building sight. In 1968, the land was sold and a Building committee was appointed to explore parish needs. In 1973, the Parish Assembly voted to purchase 6.4 acres on Wilbraham Road for $35,000.
The proceeds from the sale of the property donated by the Melikian family, the sale of the church property on Dresden Street in 1979, and the generous contributions of all parishioners and friends, made it possible to launch the building of our present St. Mark Church. During the transition period of about four years, church services were held at the Ursuline Academy in Springfield, and Parish Council meetings were held in the office of the Toros Omartian & Son Oriental Rug Company.
Construction began on June 1, 1982 following the uniquely Armenian design by architect Ramon Hovsepian of Worcester, MA. On January 7, 1983, on Armenian Christmas Day, the Very Reverend Father Mesrob Semerjian conducted the first service in the semi-completed church facility.
Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese, consecrated the Church on May 22, 1983. The godparents of the church were Mr. and Mrs. Fred and Betty Zeytoonjian. The church was renamed after the saint, Mark, and in honor of the godparents' son, Mark.