Armenians in Singapore

News media across the world have been reporting on this week’s 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire. Turkey still does not recognize this episode as a genocide, but many historians have concluded that more than one million Armenians were killed by the end of World War I.

I visited Armenia nearly a year ago primarily because I had been planning some summer travel with one of my friends. She has Armenian heritage; some of her ancestors did not survive this period, but a few were able to escape. No member of her family had been back to Armenia for a century, so we decided to put it on our travel itinerary. My photos and comments are included in several blog posts from last summer.

IMG_6057The Cascade in Yerevan, Armenia

My friend’s story and our visit to Armenia certainly sensitized me to this historical event. It also gave me a reference point when I was wandering through the streets of Singapore four months later. While touring the Peranakan Museum, the docent recommended that I visit the nearby Armenian Church. I didn’t know the church was even there, so it was one of those fortuitous moments that make travel so interesting.

I haven’t shared these photos publicly, so this is the first time for them to be featured on my blog. I took pictures of the surrounding grounds and inside of the church. The Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator was the first Christian church established in Singapore. You can read about its history and other items at armeniansinasia.org.

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Though this church was established decades before the events of World War I, a photograph hanging on the wall showed members of Singapore’s Armenian community in 1917. It makes me wonder if anyone from the photo had relatives who escaped from — or did not survive — the killings in Armenia.

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Bonus Photo!

I usually take pictures of plaques and historical markers so I can go back later and read them. It’s not the best photo, but if you’d like to read a little bit more about the church, the upper plaque is readable when you zoom in.

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