Armenian Church in Chennai 300 years old

On December 18, 2012, members of Armenian community in India marked the 300th anniversary of Chennai's (Madras) St. Mary Armenian Church.

Rev. Fr. Geghart Ghabaghyan celebrated the Divine Liturgy, followed by a requiem service.

The St. Mary Armenian Church of Chennai is one of the oldest Armenian Churches in India, originally built in 1712 and reconstructed in 1772.

The Armenians of Chennai were famous for their Printing Press and charitable works. It was in Madras that Azdarar (i.e. Intelligencer/adviser) the first ever Armenian newspaper was printed and distributed by Rev. Harutiun Shmavonian (Arathoon Shmavon) in the year 1794.

Armenians of Chennai were known to be famous merchants who dealt with precious stones, silk, spices and other items. They were credited for charitable works in Chennai and elsewhere. Records show that an Armenian settlement began to flourish in Chennai (then Madras) in the 17th century.

Information provided by Zaven Stephen ([email protected])

Photo from the courtyard of the church.