(9 July, 2006)
The Armenian Church of St Gregory the Illuminator
(GPS: 1.29314, 103.84933) is the oldest Christian church in Singapore. Located at Hill Street
, it was designed by George Drumgoole Coleman, the man responsible for many of Singapore's historical buildings from the colonial era.
The Armenian community in Singapore was granted by the government the piece of land where the church stood in 1833. They started a fund raising campaign among the Armenian communities in Singapore who managed to collect half the construction cost of 5,000 Spanish dollars, with the balance coming from communities in India and Java. Construction of the church began the following year. It was completed in 1835 and consecrated on 26 March, 1836, dedicated to St Gregory the Illuminator, the first Patriach of the Church of Armenia.
The Armenian Church is built in the British Neo-Classical style, and modelled after the St Gregory's Church in Echmiadzin, in northern Armenia. The architect George Coleman produced a design that is specially adapted to Singapore's tropical climate. He included wide verandahs to provide adequate shade and protection against the tropical downpours.
(9 July, 2006)
The original bell turret which Coleman designed turned out to be structurally unsound, and had to be demolished. In its place, a square tower was erected in 1846, and in 1853, the spire was added.
The Armenian community in Singapore included several prominent personalities. Among them are the Sarkies brothers, Archak, Aviet and Tigran, who were responsible for the founding of the Raffles Hotel, the E&O Hotel in Penang, and the Strand in Yangon. Another prominent Armenian in Singapore is Agnes Joaquim, the horticulturist who in 1893 discovered Singapore's first hybrid orchid which is today known as Vanda Miss Joaquim, and which in 1981, was made Singapore's national flower. Finally, there was Catchik Moses, the person who started The Straits Times in 1845, but sold it a year later because it was unprofitable to him, little knowing that his creation would one day become Singapore's national English newspaper.
All the above personalities are said to be buried in the Memorial Garden at the back of the Armenian Church. Interestingly, however, they were not originally buried there, for the Memorial Garden was never used as a burial ground. The tombstones were only brought over when the Bukit Timah Christian cemetery was exhumed in 1988.
360° View of Armenian Church on Google Maps Street View
(13 September, 2010)
(13 September, 2010)
The Armenian Church was gazetted as a National Monument of Singapore on 6 July 1973.
60 Hill Street
Armenian Church is on the map of Hill Street
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