175 and Counting: Armenians in Singapore celebrate church anniversary

The Armenian community in Singapore celebrated the 175th anniversary of its church on Sunday, with more than 160 Armenians from 14 countries flying in to attend the festivities.

The Church of St Gregory the Illuminator in Hill Street is Singapore's oldest Christian church, and became a national monument in 1973.

To mark the occasion, the trustees of the church organised a gala dinner on Saturday at the Raffles Hotel - a uniquely Singaporean landmark that was started in 1887 by Armenian brothers Tigran and Aviet Sarkies.

On Sunday, a holy mass at the church was officiated by the Archbishop of Armenia, who flew down for the event.
Speaking to The Straits Times after the event, Foreign Minister George Yeo, who also attended the mass, said the Armenian church and community were an important part of Singapore's heritage.

There are around 80 Armenians living here. Though small in number, the community has doubled over the past five years, mostly due to immigration from Armenia. About 10 Armenians have also been born here in the last two years.