Newly Built Armenian Church Opens in Carmel Valley


After years of planning, St. Sarkis Armenian Church has opened in the Carmel Valley, about 2 miles southeast of the Del Mar Fairgrounds on Interstate 5. It sits near the Evangelical Harvest Church of San Diego on El Camino Real.

The newly constructed 8,500 square foot shrine was designed to resemble the 7th century Armenian Apostolic Church, St. Hripsime at Etchmiadzin, Vagharshapat, Armenia. The shrine has four 28-foot stained glass windows on its north and south sides depicting stories from the Bible and ancient Armenian religious history. Its bell tower is over 90 feet high to the top of the cross.

Since 2008, St. Sarkis Congregation, formerly known as St. John Garabed, began making plans to move out of its overcrowded building in North Park and relocate to North County where many of its members. The church serves approximately 1,200 families in San Diego County. Groundbreaking for the $7 million church project took place in the spring of 2019 after obtaining city and state permits.

“It took 15 years of hard work and perseverance by the community to make this dream a reality. The church isn’t just for Armenians — it’s for all of San Diego and beyond,” said Nora J. Balikian, co-chair of the church’s dedication committee.

The church’s 18-acre campus is expected to include a social hall, youth center and gymnasium, as well as an educational and cultural building with classrooms and a library. These buildings and the sanctuary are expected to take up about a third of the site, with the rest being a protected reserve. An Armenian Heritage Park is planned on campus, including an Armenian Genocide Memorial and open meditation spaces. The church raises funds for the remaining construction.

“In addition to weekly services, we plan to have an Armenian language and heritage school for young people, concerts and festivals and much more,” said Lisa Kradjian, co-chair of the church’s dedication committee. .

Several consecration celebrations, including an opening ceremony and the first Badarak (divine liturgy) were held on January 28-30 at the church led by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Church Armenian of North America, and the Very Reverend .Pr. Pakrad Dz. V. Berjekian, parish priest. (See photos from any of these events in the photo galleries section of this website and at the link below):

The church is open to the public for Sunday services, which are from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Call the church office at (619) 284-7179. Visit


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