YEREVAN, DECEMBER 14, ARTSAKHPRESS. The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem is planning to build a new church on the banks of River Jordan, enabling Armenian pilgrims to participate in ceremonies and hold baptisms, Chancellor of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem Koryun Baghdasaryan told ARMENPRESS.
He said the area has been recently cleared from landmines and all Christian communities were given land for building churches. Now the patriarchate is actively working to find a philanthropist for building the church in the important shrine.
Baghdasaryan says the new church will boost the spiritual-cultural life of the Armenian community of Jerusalem.
The Chancellor added that the Helen and Eduard Martikian Museum was recently reopened after 10 years of being closed. The museum displays the historic presence of Armenians in the Holy Land, spanning from the Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Crusader, Mamluk, Ottoman, British, Jordanian and Israeli eras.
Exhibits include the historic proclamations recognizing the Armenian Church’s rights in the shrines and property in the Holy Land.
The history of the Armenian Genocide is presented in a separate department, with special focus on the history of the Araratean orphanage which was opened in the museum’s building in 1922.
The Chancellor said that visitors will perhaps be most impressed by the first monument dedicated to the memory of the Unknown Soldier in the Holy Land – a 6th century 4,4m x 7,15m Armenian mosaic.
The Patriarchate is also working to transform the building formerly housing the college into an art gallery.
Speaking about problems, Koryun Baghdasaryan said the main problems of Armenians and all other representatives of Christian communities are connected with the security of the country. He said that due to the Arab-Israeli conflict acts of terrorism, killings and disturbances happen often, negatively affecting the daily life, work and business of the Armenian community.
“The security issues have negative impact also on the state’s economy, which led to many of our compatriots moving from the Holy Land to the fatherland or to various Diaspora communities,” he said.
Before 1948, 25,000 Armenians lived in the Holy Land. An Armenian village called Atlit was established in the 1920s in the country’s north. The number of Armenians dropped significantly as a result of the 1948 war and the economic crises.
8 to 10 thousand Armenians live in the Holy Land (including Palestine). Approximately 3,000 Armenians live in the Armenian quarter of Jerusalem.
The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem was established in 638 AD.