Ardwick Heritage Trail

Armenian Church


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armenian church manchesterThe first Armenians to arrive in Britain settled in Manchester in the 19th century. A mixture of textile traders, small manufacturers and retailers, in 1870 they built the first Armenian church in Britain, which still stands and is in use today. Other community organizations, such as the Armenian General Benevolent Union, were also first established in Manchester.

The First Armenian Priest

It is well known that as soon as a few Armenians settle in a place they endeavour to have their own church. A church for the Armenians is more than a place of worship. It is a focal point and a monument that represents their independence wherever they are. The new settlers in Manchester were no exception to this.

Armenians in Manchester invited a well known and learned clergyman, Rev. Father Karapet Shahnazarian, who wasted no time in joining his new flock. The Chapel at 151 Romford Street was rented and the first Armenian Mass was celebrated on March 31, 1863.

A special request was sent to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, for a part of the cross on which Christ was crucified. The request was granted and it arrived on 20 August 1864.

Rev. Ft. Shahnazarian was the spiritual leader in Manchester for about 4 years. During those years he was instrumental in initiating the publication of the first Armenian literary periodical called “Yercragound” in Britain. Unfortunately none of the first editions are known to be in existence, barring the ones published after 6 September, 1866.

CONSTRUCTION OF THE FIRST ARMENIAN CHURCH

After Rev. Father Shahnazarian, Rev. Ft. Khoren Kiuroyan came to Manchester to be the spiritual leader of the ever increasing Armenian community. It was during his time that at a general meeting it was decided to pay for the construction of their own Armenian church. The construction of the Church started in 1869 on the High Street and was completed in 1870 at the cost of £2725. With mutual agreement of the community the new Armenian Church was named “Holy Trinity”.

In 1897 Rev. Father Ghevond Phrghalemian was elected to be the new spiritual leader. He was well, respected and loved by the community. Most of his time and energy were spent on two very important issues. Paramount and very acute was the famine in Armenia, for which Father Phrghalemian organised a collection and sent the proceeds of £1000 to the Patriarch. The second and equally important issue the “Armenian Question”.

With thanks to http://www.caia.org.uk

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