Plans afoot for Armenian museum here

Venture capitalist Pierre Hennes, one of the trustees of the Armenian church, says the Armenian community has been discussing setting up the museum since 2005.
Venture capitalist Pierre Hennes, one of the trustees of the Armenian church, says the Armenian community has been discussing setting up the museum since 2005.ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM

110-year-old building may house maps, religious relics

Singapore's oldest church, the 180-year-old Armenian Apostolic Church of St Gregory The Illuminator in Hill Street, will soon have an Armenian heritage museum.

Venture capitalist Pierre Hennes, 43, one of its four trustees, says the tiny, close-knit Armenian community here and about 15 Armenians overseas have been discussing setting it up since 2005.

Before that, the community was focused on sprucing up the church, which was declared a national monument in 1973.

Hardly any Armenians here worship in the church and Armenians say there is no pressure on them to attend church regularly, as religion is a very personal and private matter to them. But building churches everywhere they landed was their way of preserving their roots.

The premises are often rented out to other Orthodox Christians, such as the Coptics, for their services. What they earn goes towards maintaining the church.

If all goes well, the museum will open next year in the 110-year-old house across the church.

The two-storey building was originally a parsonage but there has not been a resident priest since 1933.

The trustees hope the museum will have maps, religious relics and Armenian literary works. The mother church in Armenia is giving the museum plan its support.

Last November, the world leader of the church, known as the Catholicos, was here to bless the Armenian congregation and the church.


•Do you have Armenian memorabilia to lend or give to the new museum? Write to singapore@armeniansinasia.org

Correction: An earlier version of the story said the late Armenian archbishop Aghan Baliozian tried to sell the Armenian church and parsonage here. The trustees of the Armenian church in Singapore have since clarified that the late archbishop did not try to sell off the properties, but actually tried to stop their sale.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2015, with the headline 'Plans afoot for Armenian museum here'. Print Edition | Subscribe