LONDON — The Chilingirian String Quartet gave a superb concert to mark the start of the 100th-anniversary celebrations of St. Sarkis Church, which was filled to capacity on the evening of February 4. The quartet, led by Levon Chilingirian, performed a program of uplifting pieces, many by Armenian composers, which was met by enthusiastic applause.
Christopher Kurkjian, Chair of St. Sarkis Trust, spoke about the vital role played by St. Sarkis Church in the lives of Armenians within and outside of London: “100 years ago, a visionary by the name of Calouste Gulbenkian, had the foresight to lay the foundations of this magnificent church.”
Bishop Hovakim Manukyan expressed his pleasure that Lord Lieutenant Sir Kenneth Olisa, Bishop Christopher of Southwark Cathedral, and another representative of sister churches, were able to attend. He spoke about the importance of St. Sarkis Church for preserving and invigorating Armenian identity and spirituality. He also described the founders of St. Sarkis Church as visionaries.
He said, “As a symbol of unity for our community, St. Sarkis Church has served as the first meeting point for any Armenian arriving in London. It is where most of you, your parents, and your children were baptized or wedded. Our ancestors built this Church, and our task today is to preserve it and significantly strengthen the spiritual building.”
At the end of the concert, the Lord Lieutenant of Greater London Sir Olisa and Ambassador of Armenia Varuzhan Nersesyan addressed the congregation. Both congratulated the community on this significant anniversary and spoke about Armenian-British bilateral relations, recounting various times and different episodes.
The first day of events was concluded with a special reception organized at Gulbenkian Hall of St. Sarkis Church.