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Architecture to the Glory of God: Saint Sarkis Armenian Church


Saint Sarkis Armenian Church
Saint Sarkis Armenian Church

History of Community

It is hard to believe that less than 30 years ago Armenian community had no church and no place that they could call home. In the early eighties the community was focused around the weekly Armenian school and the occasional mission visits of Fr. N. Jebejian to perform Divine Liturgy. Those visits became the seeds to help grow a church-based community..

..The St. Sarkis Armenian Church is now the gathering center for a large number of Armenian families living in the North Texas area and including parts of Oklahoma. It has an active youth group that brought the ACYOA Sports Weekend to Dallas in 2004. An energetic Women’s Guild that helps support a number of projects including the annual food and cultural festival – ArmeniaFest which celebrates its 24th year this October. An Armenian language Saturday school, a Sunday school, and a Seniors Group." from the website: stsarkis.org


Our Patron Saint St. Sarkis The Warrior

The namesake of our church, St. Sarkis, was a Roman soldier who was persecuted for his Christian faith and sought refuge in Armenia in the fourth century.

Saint Sarkis the Warrior
Saint Sarkis the Warrior

Hailing from a town in the plains of Cappadocia, Sarkis was a valiant and faithful soldier in the Christian Emperor Constantine's army. But when Julian the Apostate became emperor in A.D. 361, and started persecuting Christians, Sarkis took refuge with his son Mardiros under the protection of King Tiran of Armenia. From there, he went to serve in the Persian army, where he and his son won many converts to Christianity.


But soon the religious leaders in Persia found out about Sarkis and tried to force him and his son to worship their gods. When he refused to worship pagan idols, the Persian religious leaders killed them both. Fourteen of his faithful soldiers were determined to bury the general's body despite great risk. They were beheaded for their faith. The Armenian Church remembers St. Sarkis, his son and the faithful soldiers each year on the third Saturday prior to the beginning of Lent." from the website: stsarkis.org


Saint Sarkis Armenian Church


Saint Sarkis Armenian Church - Photo: Dror Baldinger
Saint Sarkis Armenian Church - Photo: Dror Baldinger

On Saturday, April 23, the new Saint Sarkis Armenian Church in Carrollton, Texas, was consecrated, with its first Sunday service coming one day later, on April 24, the traditional day for commemorating the 1.5 million victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide. The design by David Hotson Architect melds ancient forms and contemporary technologies to express the church's Armenian roots and memorialize the victims of the genocide. Hotson answered a few questions about the newly consecrated church.

Project: Saint Sarkis Armenian Church (2022) Location: Carrollton, Texas, USA Client: Saint Sarkis Congregation Architect: David Hotson Architect

  • Design Principal: David Hotson

  • Project Architect: Stepan Terzyan

  • Project Manager: Michael Konow

  • Project Team: Ani Sahakyan, Ben Elmer, Cesar Elias Quintero, Cheuk Kei Hui, Rome Cao

Associate Architect: Richard A. Calvert, Calvert & Co/Architects, Inc. Structural Engineer: Glenn Campbell, GWC Engineering MEP/FP Engineer: Gupta and Associates, Inc. Landscape Architect: Zepur Ohanian, Garden Transformations, LLC Lighting Designer: Tirschwell and Company Construction Manager: HighCoCo, Carrollton, Texas Site Area: 5 acres Building Area: 4,350 sf (church); 32,000 sf (entire three-building campus)


Photo: Dror Baldinger
Photo: Dror Baldinger

What are the main ideas and inspirations influencing the design of the building?

The new church building is modeled on the ancient Armenian church of Saint Hripsime, which still stands near Armenia’s modern capital of Yerevan. The connection of the new church building to this ancient prototype provides a link to Armenia’s legacy as the world’s first Christian nation, having adopted Christianity in 301 AD, and it reflects the faith and endurance of the Armenian people through seventeen centuries of challenge and upheaval as surrounding empires rose and fell. The church of Saint Hripsime was completed in 618 AD and the cornerstone of Saint Sarkis was laid exactly fourteen centuries later, in 2018.


Church of Saint Hripsime, 618 AD (Photo courtesy of David Hotson Architect)
Church of Saint Hripsime, 618 AD (Photo courtesy of David Hotson Architect)

How does the design respond to the unique qualities of the site?

The site is situated on a slight rise in the vast flat Texas landscape. As a result, the church has an open view to the western horizon across the gently descending campus grounds. The site is encircled by unobstructed sky and natural light, which provides 100% of the daytime illumination for the church interior by means of indirect light coves that reflect the powerful Texas sunlight into the interior. Saint Sarkis is approached through an austere, shaded entrance courtyard that spans between the athletic and community center buildings which form part of the three-building campus. The gently sloping floor of the courtyard brings visitors past a reflecting pool set beneath an oculus that frames a view of the dome of the church beyond. During the hot summer months, breezes channeled through the shaded courtyard and across the reflecting pool will provide evaporative cooling to visitors entering the green compound that surrounds the church.." from the article: Saint Sarkis Armenian Church


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