Armenian Church 3D Flythrough


Monument Focus: The Armenian Church

The Armenian Apostolic Church of Saint Gregory the Illuminator, more commonly known as the Armenian Church, is the oldest Christian church in Singapore. Established in 1836, it served as the spiritual centre for the Armenian community during the colonial period and remains a symbol of their contributions to Singapore's development.

Members of the Armenian community of Singapore in front of the Armenian Church in 1917.

The Armenians, among the earliest traders in Singapore after it became a British port in 1819, initially worshipped in a makeshift chapel. With the British authorities' assistance, they obtained land at the foot of Fort Canning Hill for a permanent church. The church, designed by Irish architect George D. Coleman, features a distinctive cross-shaped plan with large Doric columns, triangular pediments, and unique architectural elements. The interior includes historic pews and a circular design not found in other Singaporean churches. The Church was also one of the first buildings, and the first church in Singapore, to have electric fans and lights installed in 1909.

The church's bell turret underwent several modifications, and the interior reflects Coleman's sensitivity to the tropical climate, with ample windows for ventilation. The sanctuary houses an altar with an altarpiece depicting the Last Supper, and memorial plaques in both Armenian and English adorn the walls.

According to Dr Nadia Wright, historian and author of The Armenians of Singapore: A Short History (2019), the Persian Armenians of Singapore never numbered more than 100, and over 10 percent of the population died in the Second World War in prison camps and on the Siam Railway. With the end of the war, they began to emigrate to Australia and the United States, and by 1970 only a handful remained. The community today consists of more recent immigrants from Armenia and Russia, and numbers around 750.

While the last resident priest left in the 1930s due to the declining Armenian population in Singapore, the Armenian Church remains active, organising events in 2011 to commemorate its 175th anniversary. The church occasionally hosts Orthodox and Eastern Catholic divine liturgies, preserving its historical and cultural significance.

Former President of Armenia (2008-2018) Serzh Sargsyan and an Armenian delegation inside the Armenian Church, 12 Mar 2012. Image courtesy of Press Service of the President of the Republic of Armenia.

Former President of Armenia (2018-2022) Armen Sarkissian and his family in the Armenian Church, 17 Nov 2021. Image courtesy of Press Service of the President of the Republic of Armenia.



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