The only Armenian Church in Switzerland, celebrated its 50th anniversary

Единственный армянский храм в Швейцарии отметил свое 50-летие

Architectural gem of Geneva quarter Trouhans, this modern Church is the guardian of the centuries-old Christian culture and the place of unity of the Armenian nation in Europe. Yesterday in the Church of Surp Hakob – St. James – a solemn Liturgy, which was held by the Catholicos of all Armenians His Holiness Garegin II.

It is unique in its architecture religious building in the suburbs of Geneva, and drew the attention of his old form, but with clear modern lines and modern materials. The only Armenian Apostolic Church in Switzerland, crowned by a voluminous hex dome that covers the light turquoise enamel. The light color of the facade of the building resembles a stone volcanic tuff, commonly used in Armenia. Every Sunday there is going to two or three dozen people, but during major religious holidays, to pray in these walls come the faithful from all over Switzerland.

Sunday, October 13, 2019, here gathered a few hundred people, for the congregation had established tents near the Church walls, and the service was broadcast on the big screen. The reason for the celebrations was the fiftieth anniversary of the Church and the Liturgy, which was conducted by His Holiness Karekin II. The ceremony was attended by wife of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikolai Pashinian Anna Hakobyan, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia in Switzerland, authorities of Geneva and the Swiss public figures, as well as the rectors of other churches of Geneva and representatives of other religious communities.

History of the Armenian Church

When after the Second world war, the Armenian community in Switzerland is particularly increased and there is a need to have their own Church, in 1963, Hagop (Jacob), Topalian, a wealthy businessman from Italy, proposed to allocate 480 thousand francs for the construction of the building in honor of their parents. Provided that the Armenian-Swiss community itself will choose a plot of land, buy it, furnish the Church and take care of him.

The first attempt to purchase land in Geneva respectable quarter Sampel failed – the neighbors feared that they would interfere with bell ringing. However, we can say that it was for the best – in our day and in this place build a new railway line between Switzerland and France CEVA, on the site of the proposed temple is already built the new station, and most likely, the Church would go under demolition.

To create the project appealed to Parisian architect and engineer Eduardo Utudjian (Edouard Utudjian), which is proposed for Geneva to build an exact copy of the Church of St. Riskaware link, built in the 7th century in the South-West of Armenia, and is still in effect. Since 2000 it is included in the world heritage List of UNESCO.

Interestingly, he was also a great expert of his time in underground structures. If you bypass the Church behind, we will reach a located below an Armenian cultural centre. Inconspicuous from the road, it takes as much as 800 square meters, it has a hall with a capacity of three hundred people, the Armenian children’s school and a library with over six thousand volumes. Initially it was planned to make the international center for the coordination of diasporas scattered across Europe, but then the project was much more modest – in this moment there was a terrible earthquake in Armenia in 1988, and the funds allocated to the centre in Geneva, went to help the victims.

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