Armenian Church Chennai

An exciting amalgamation of rich culture, varied religious faiths, and mouth-watering delicacies make Chennai an interesting holiday destination. Imposing places of worship, impressive beaches, inspiring historical monuments, and informative museums suit the taste of every traveler.

Chennai or the older Madras has been visited by different communities of the world for trading in the early centuries. Armenians were important traders from South East Asia who moved to India to trade silk, spices, and gems. They also built the Armenian Church in the city.

The other churches built by them are in Kolkata and Mumbai. The 300-year-old Armenian Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary is located in a pristine area in Parrys in George Town.

History of Armenian Church Chennai

The Armenian Church was built in the year 1712 and reconstructed in the year 1772. The initial church was constructed using timber. Till 2004 the church was taken care of by Michael Stephen post and Trevor Alexander took charge in 2010. The shrine is funded by the Armenian Apostolic Church and maintained by the Armenian Church Committee of Calcutta.

Armenia is the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as its religion. Armenians are believed to have settled in Chennai in 1512 and the first Armenian journal Azdarar was published in 1747. With not many Armenians left in the city, the iconic structure has become more of a heritage site today.

The architecture of the Armenian Church in Chennai

This glorious shrine features Mother Mary taking Jesus to heaven. The one-story graceful complex has a chessboard floor design and religious paintings on the walls. Visitors would be awestruck seeing the bell tower called the Belfry which houses six bells in three rows. The bells weigh around 150kgs each.

Every bell ranges from a height of 21 to 26 inches and has its details inscribed on each of them. All the six bells are rung together every Sunday at 9.30 AM. Among the six bells, two were brought in 1754 and 1778, and the other two date back to 1837 and were given by Thomas Mears of London. The rest of the two bells were given by Eliazar Shawmier, an Armenian Merchant.

Another noteworthy feature of the church is that it accommodates around 350 graves of the Armenians. Haroutiun Shmavonian, the founder of the Armenian journal, “Azdarar” was also buried within the premises of the Church. The last burial was made in 1850.


Image Gallery of Armenian Church Chennai


P.S Question from Andre Dolmayan in ANCIENT ARMENOIDS aka THE LOST TRIBES group: Can anyone comment as to why a Masonic symbol would appear in the Armenian Church?

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