The Armenian Church of Saint Gregory the Illuminator popularly known as the Armenian Church is Singapore's oldest church. The Armenian Church is situated at Hill Street inn Singapore's Museum Planning area. The Armenian Church, designed by George Drumgoole Coleman is a landmark building in Singapore's architectural history. On the 6th of July, 1973, the Armenian Church was officially declared as a national monument. On the 6th of July, 1973, the Armenian Church was officially declared as a national monument.
History of the Armenian Church
The Armenian Church is the masterpiece of the renowned architect of the time, George Drumgoole Coleman and is a landmark building in Singapore's architectural history.In 1833 the Government granted the church land to the Armenian community in Singapore and the building was constructed in 1835.The church was dedicated to the Church in Armenia's first Patriarch, St. Gregory the Illuminator and was consecrated in 1836 by Reverend Eleaza Ingergolie. On the 6th of July, 1973, the Armenian Church was officially declared as a national monument.
The present building of the Armenian Church follows the British neo-classical style of architecture and is inspired by Echmiadzin's St. Gregory's Church. The structure of the building is circular with square porticos projecting out and the chancel-cum altar is semi-circular in design. The church spire with a cross and a ball on the top is mounted on an octagonal tower. The architecture of the building is designed to suit the tropical climate of Singapore as the large verandahs provide shade and give protection to the timber-built louvred windows from the torrential rain. The windows are designed to aid cross-ventilation.
The pews are backed with a much cooler and lighter material called the rattan instead of wood. Tuscan Doric porticos topped with triangular pediments adorn the west, north and south portions of the church. The main entrance to the church on the east side has a bowed apse with a gable and the year 1835 is inscribed on it which marks the year of the Church's foundation. The porticos on the west, north and south are designed so that the horse carriages can make their way into the porches and straight to the church-doors. Though it is supposed that the circular interior of the church resembles Cambridge's Round Church, the actual concept is taken from the square cross, related to the Cross of Christ.
Present Usage of the Armenian Church
For the last couple of years on the occasions of Christmas and Easter, Eastern Orthodox and Armenian services are held. St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox community is the only orthodox group who holds Matins, Divine Liturgy and Vespers each month on the first weekend. The church acted as Singapore Biennale's exhibition site in the year 2006.
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