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Armenian Church

Armenian Church
Location
Armenian Church is located in Armenian Street, at the north-west corner of Barabazaar, near Howrah Bridge in Kolkata.

About the Church
Built in 1764, designed in the early 18th century, the Armenian Church is today the oldest extant church in Kolkata. The interiors of the church are decorated with marble, and the overhead gallery contains mural tablets. The altar has a cross, the gospels and 12 candlesticks symbolizing Christ and his Apostles. There is a staircase leading to an overhead gallery whose walls are full of mural tablets. Three oil paintings - 'The Holy Trinity', 'The Last Supper' and 'The Enshrouding of Our Lord' - by the English artist A E Harris also adorn the altar. Remains of the Armenian cemetery can be seen in the premises.

Some opine that this is the oldest Church in Calcutta. The Armenians have been staying in India since remote antiquity. The Armenians claim to have arrived in India before the British. They also claim to have been the forerunners to be converted into Christianity in the European continent. On 22nd June, 1688, the East India Co. had entered into a contract with the Armenians in Europe. Sir Josia Child on behalf of the East India Co. and Khoja Sarhad along with Khoja Phanoosh on behalf of the Armenians, signed the contract. As per the contract, the East India Co. was supposed to construct a church in all corners of India where a minimum of 40 Armenians would inhabit. The former would also grant 50 pounds to the appointed priest as his remuneration.

In 1690, Job Charnock came to Calcutta for the last time. After 17 years, the East India Co. built a tiny wooden church at the south-eastern wing of the present Armenian Church. A different opinion suggests that an Armenian named Aga Nazar had collected funds painstakingly and constructed this church.

In 1734, this church was built by Aga Mamed Hazaar Maliyar. The interior decoration of the church was done by Katchik Arfiel. He was of Armenian origin. He built residential abodes for the priests and erected high wall around the cemetery. He also donated the wonderful church clock.

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