St. Gevorg Armenian Apostolic church has opened in Mykolaiv region recently, having received its name from St. George the Martyr. Mykolaiv’s Armenian community had waited for four years for it to happen,Ukraine’s The Day weekly reports
Having said a prayer, the head of the Ukrainian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Grigoris Buniatian opened his oration with the following words: “I would like to address all those who put their whole soul into building this church. You all have to remember that this beautiful church will always require your material and spiritual support.”
The Minister of Culture of Ukraine visited the shrine’s opening ceremony and noted that it was not just a building, but a unique church, a “Little Armenia.”
The first all-Ukrainian census recorded 4,300 Armenians as living in Mykolaiv region, more than twice their numbers there in 1989. Chairman of the Mykolaiv Regional State Administration Mykola Kruhlov emphasized that “such a strong, close-knit community is hard to find elsewhere. These are people who are able to work, have a good time, and keep their culture and language alive. Many thanks to you all for what you do for yourselves, your families, and your community. You provide peace and stability to your community and our entire nation. I wish it would remain so forever.”
The opening ceremony involved presentation of awards, diplomas and letters of appreciation to all those who contributed to the construction of the church. The official part of the celebrations having ended, all attendees were invited to participate in a matagh, or offering animal sacrifice to God in gratitude for his help in implementation of inspiring ideas designed to promote social peace and good feelings.
According to the Chairman of the Union of Armenian Youth of Ukraine Vilen Shatvorian, the new church will fulfill one of the main goals of the Armenian community, that is, to fully reveal Armenian culture to the people of Ukraine: “In fact, the church is a special place for the Armenians, as grandparents and grandchildren come together at it. Our culture is kept alive in the ecclesiastical environment. Here, you will pass down to next generations these innermost emotions that every Armenian feels.”
Construction of the church complex, designed by Vadym Popov, is not completed yet. According to the architect, only the first stage of the construction has been completed, while the second one calls for the building of an Armenian civic and cultural center with a library, a school, study group rooms and a dining hall next to the church. The timetable for the cultural center’s construction has not been established yet. The church is special with respect to its building material, too, as most of it was brought from Armenia. Over 150 Armenians from all over Ukraine have funded the construction. There are a few such churches elsewhere inUkraine, but Mykolaiv Armenians insist that this one is the soul of the city’s Armenian community, their little Armenia, The Day reports.