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