Our History

The History of Armenian Apostolic Church Of St. Mary in Melbourne

On 8th April 1962, thanks to the efforts of early Armenian settlers in Melbourne, some 200 people, Armenians became the proud owners of a Church in North Fitzroy.
On Palm Sunday, 15th April 1962, St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church was consecrated by His Grace, Bishop Assoghig Ghazarian and Rev. Aramais Mirzayan with attendances of Australian council of Churches and others.
In June 1964, Church By-Laws were constituted and registered with the help of visiting clergy, His Grace Archbishop Haigazoon Abrahamian.
During the Archbishop’s visit, The Armenian Church Youth Organisation (A.C.Y.O.) was formed.
In September 1965, Very Rev. Father Voskan Kalpakian (now Archbishop) was appointed as the first Parish Priest for Melbourne.
In the same year the Armenian Church became a member of the Australian Council of Churches and also was allocated a lawn cemetery at the Necropolis in Springvale.
In 1966 January, The Church monthly “Hooyce” was founded and published by Very Rev. Father Voskan Kalpakian.
In December of the same year, His Grace, Archbishop Karekin Kazandjian (then Bishop) was appointed Primate for Australia and New Zealand, thereby making this a separate Diocese in 1968.
In 1968, Very Rev. Father Voskan Kalpakian and Mrs. Sirarpi Der Avedissian established St. Mary’s Armenian Church Sunday School (later know as Armenian Aginian School) which was formalized with the appointment of a School Committee.
In April 1970, Diocesan properties were transferred to the Diocese of The Armenian Church of Australia and New Zealand (Properties Limited) which was incorporated under the companies Act of 1961.
In the same year, Agnotz launched as the A.C.Y.O.’s magazine by Noubar Apakian and Nairi Bozajian.
In October 1972, our first Parish Priest Very Rev. Father Voskan Kalpakian resigned.
In February 1973, Very Rev, Father Khatchadour Sarian was appointed Parish Priest for Melbourne.
In December 1975, Very Rev. Father Khatchadour Sarian resigned as Parish Priest of Melbourne and from the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand.
In March 1976, Rev. Father Nerses Krozian was appointed Parish Priest for Melbourne.
In the same year, Armenian Church Ladies Guild, which had been operating in Melbourne since 1958, were given By-Laws.
In August 1976, the Surrey Hill Church was purchased, renovated and remodelled by professionals and many kind volunteers.
In March 1977, Noubar Apakian completed painting of The Church murals which he donated to The Church.
On Palm Sunday, 15th April 1977, 15 years to the day since the consecration of the Fitzroy Church, the new Church in Surrey Hills was consecrated by our Primate, Bishop Karekin Kazanjian.
In November 1980, Church Theatre Group “Massis” was launched with its first play “Tiv Hink Khelakare”.
In May 1981, Archbishop Kazanjian resigned as Primate of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand.
In November 1981, Very Rev. Father Aghan Baliozian was appointed Primate of Australia and New Zealand and ordained Bishop in 14th February 1982.
In August 14 1982, Community celebrated the 20th Anniversary of The Church and the elevation to Bishop of our Primate, His Grace Bishop Aghan Baliozian.
In April 1984, Armenian Aginian School building foundation laid in the presence of congregation members, government and Church dignitaries.
In October 20 1985, New School building completed. Ribbon cutting ceremony took place with His Grace, Bishop Baliozian officiating.
In February 1986, Rev. Father Nerses Krozian ceased to be a member of the Diocese of The Armenian Church of Australia and Parish Priest for Melbourne.
In August 17 1986, Sargavak Giragos Panossian was ordained Priest, renamed Assoghig Panossian and assigned to Melbourne.
In November 1988, Rev. Father Hagop Cherkezian becomes the Parish Priest of the Melbourne Community.
In August 13 1988 Aginian School celebrates its 20th Anniversary.
In 1996, Rev. Father Cherkezian establishes The Zevartnots Armenian Church Choir with Conductor Dr. Gakik Tamanian. The first concert is performed at Deakin University On November 3 1997.
On January 23 2005, Rev. Father Assoghig Panossian passed away.
In November 2008, Very Rev. Father Giragos Davtian arrives from Armenia.
In the same year, Aginian School celebrated its 40th Anniversary with the presence of His Eminence Archbishop Aghan Baliozian and His Eminence Archbishop Voskan Kalpakian.
In the same year, Principal Mrs. Sirarpi Der Avedissian resigns and Assistant Principal Mrs. Ilda Deryan is appointed as the new Principal of the School.
In 2011 Rev. Father Hagop Cherkezian ceased to be a member of the Diocese of The Armenian Church of Australia and Parish Priest for Melbourne.