AZG DAILY

http://www.azg.am | WAP | WAP-CULTURE

#130, 2003-07-10 | #131, 2003-07-11 | #132, 2003-07-12


ARMENIAN CHURCH IN DHAKA PLEADS FOR HELP

Two Armenian doctors, who spent a month in a village clinic in Bangladesh run by Rotary International benevolent organization, told the daily Azg upon their return that one of the biggest impressions they got in that faraway country was the Armenian Church in the capital Dhaka. Located in Armenian Street, it is supposed to have been built by once thriving Armenian community between 17-18-th centuries. Being abandoned for tens of years it is now a building with mouldy walls, dilapidated cross, with a Bible printed in 1903 and several graves in the churchyard.

Armenians who used to live in this street, moved away at different times and the only Armenian still living there is the fifty-year old Martin, the guardian of the Church. He was born and grew in Dhaka and his house is now in the churchyard in which he lives with several servants. His wife also left him and moved to their children who live in another district. Martin does not speak Armenian and his sole aim is to guard the Church.

He said that there are at least 800 Armenian families living in Dhaka, but there is no organized community with no schools and other establishments. Local Armenians do not attend the Church, living each a separate life. Unlike in other countries with Armenian communities, where the church is the uniting force, in Dhaka it does not serve as such.

"Unfortunately, we are out of the sight of the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin. If there is a vacancy for a clergyman in Los Angeles there will be no end of priests wishing to serve there. To be a minister of religion means first of all self-sacrifice," one of the doctors told.

"Before we had left for Bangladesh, the head of Echmiadzin press office, Archbishop Arsen Berberian said Echmiadzin lost ties with the Armenian community of Bangladesh and asked us to collect all available information. We took it as our duty and found the Church and Martin to tell him about the Archbishop’s request. Martin said they need encouraging letters and warm words," the doctors said.

"The following is the address of Martin and by publicizing it we hope that there will be people who will be willing to write to him," they concluded.

4, Armenian Street, Armenitola, Dhaka-Hoo, Bangladesh. Phone: 88-02-7316953.E-mail: MJMARTIN68@hotmail.com

By Melania Badalian


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