YEREVAN, AUGUST 14, ARTSAKHPRESS.BTA.The Armenian Church of Surp Astvadzadzin, or Holy Mother of God, in Silistra celebrates 403 years since its construction, said the local Armenian Board of Trustees on Monday. It is considered the oldest Armenian church in Bulgaria.
Repair works at the church some years ago led to the discovery of a stone slab with what is believed to be the year of the church’s construction: 1620.
The church sits in a courtyard which also has a small house for a priest, a building that used to house the Armenian school and is now a community centre, and a memorial to the victims of the Armenian genocide.
The church’s dome is covered with frescoes which makes it unique as frescos are rare for Armenian churches. The walls are covered in religious oil paintings, many of them created by Silistra-based painter Bedig Bedrosyan.
Since 1963, the church has been without its own priest and relies on visiting priests to officiate at services on major dates in the Armenian church calendar. This year, the Armenian priest of Ruse will lead a service on Sunday, August 20.
Although there are only about 30 members of the Armenian community left in Silistra today, Armenians are among the oldest residents of this northeastern Bulgarian town. According to historical records, Silistra – then Dorostol – had an Armenian ruler in the 11th century: in 1016, its military governor, or strategos, was Dzhodzhik, who was of Armenian-Georgian origin.
(This information is being published according to an agreement between Armenpress and BTA.)