The Armenian Church of Saint Gregory the Illuminator is the oldest Christian church in Singapore, located at Hill Street in Singapore’s central business district. The Armenian Church, arguably the masterpiece of the famous architect George Drumgoole Coleman, is perhaps the finest landmark in the early architectural development of the nation. Coleman modeled the Church after St Gregory’s Church in Echmiadzin, Armenia. In 1827, after funds had been collected, the first priest, the Reverend Krikor Hovhannes (Gregory John), arrived. The government granted the land on which the church stands to the Armenian community, by 1835, the building was completed. Consecrated by Reverend Catchick Johannes in 1836 and dedicated to St Gregory the Illuminator, the first Patriarch of the Church in Armenia. Armenian Street is named after the church and its Chinese name is “seng poh sin chu au”. Armenian Church was gazetted as a national monument on 6 July 1973.
On the church grounds are the parsonage and the beautiful Memorial Garden to Armenians. The parsonage, a two-story bungalow, was built in 1905 by Nanajan Sarkies in memory of her late husband, John Shanazar Sarkies. Amongst the Armenians in Singapore, the Sarkies family was probably the most notable, in particular brothers Archak, Aviet and Tigran of Raffles Hotel fame. A number of tombstones of prominent Armenians, such as Agnes Joaquim discoverer of Singapore’s national flower – the Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid and Catchik Moses who founded the Straits Times newspaper lie here.
Below more pictures of the beautiful memorial garden and the church.