The interior of the Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator

St. Gregory Church Preserves Armenian Heritage in Singapore

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By Vahe Artinian

Special to the Mirror-Spectator

The church plaque

SINGAPORE — When traveling as an Armenian, you tend to look for symbols and places where our small but ancient nation has a place. One such place is Singapore, a wonderful island of order and harmony, where Armenians who traded internationally established a community in the early 19th century. Today Singapore is a modern city with a democratic parliamentary system and currently, a female prime minister.

The exterior of the Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator, with some of the relocated tombstones of the early Armenians of Singapore visible in the foreground

As elsewhere, one of the first acts of Singapore Armenians was to build a church in 1835. Today, the Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator remains preserved thanks to the efforts of its trustees. I and my family visited, lit candles, and prayed for our Artsakh living under siege. I hope one day many others will come and visit this historic place and be inspired by what a nation can achieve with hard work and discipline.

An Armenian khachkar erected in 2015 in honor of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide in the Armenian Church Memorial Gardens

When we arrived, only the caretaker was there. A museum is being completed next to the church. The Armenian Heritage Gallery was opened in 2018. There are only a few Armenians at present who reside in Singapore. Occasionally the Armenian archbishop and priests travel from Sydney, Australia, to conduct a church service.

A view of the exterior of the Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator

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