Benefactor Calouste S. Gulbenkian sponsored and oversaw the building of St. Sarkis Church in London to provide “spiritual comfort” to the Armenian community and a place of gathering for “dispersed Armenians,” as he wrote at the time to the Catholicos of All Armenians. Built in 1923 for a community who at the time had just experienced the annihilation of their people in the Ottoman Empire, the mission of St. Sarkis Church in London has continued into the 21st century: to serve the descendents of a resurrected people here in the United Kingdom. For nearly 90 years, the Church building, an Armenian architectural gem, the Nevart Gulbenkian Hall and the Vicarage have served and continue to serve the community.
St. Sarkis Church, a Trust created by the benefactor in September 1937, has flourished over the decades and has remained true to its mission and purpose. This has been made possible through the individual and collective efforts and resources of past and present Trustees, host of bishops, vardapets and priests, and myriads of faithful members of the Armenian community in London. The Church has been financially supported through significant contributions by St. Sarkis Charity Trust, an independent charity established by Gulbenkian to provide for the needs of the church. In continuing this legacy of service passed down to successive generations of Armenians in London, the Trustees of St. Sarkis Church are committed to providing religious and spiritual comfort and nourishment, cultural enrichment and social interaction to members of St. Sarkis Church congregation.
The Church Building
Chosen by Calouste Gulbenkian, architect Arthur J. Davis, in partnership with Charles Mewes, designed the scheme of the church based on the 13th century free-standing bell-tower of the church of the Holy Sign within the monastery of Haghpat in Armenia. Davis, in collaboration with Mewes, is best known for the Ritz Hotel in London, the Royal Automobile Club, the Carlton Hotel (interior) and the old Morning Post offices. St. Sarkis is a departure from the kind of architecture associated with the firm, but its calm elegance fits in with the spirit of their work.
The foundation stone of St. Sarkis Church was laid in February 1922 and the consecration of the church took place on 11 January 1923. The adjacent vicarage was built at the same time. In 1937 an apsidal baptistery was added on the north side of the church and a new western entry made to secure extra seating. Later in 1950 a sacristy was added in the south-east side of the church. All these additions were built by Holloway Brothers and designed by Davis and Mewes. The whole of the exterior (including the church and turret roofs) is constructed in Portland stone.
Rev. Fr. Shnork Baghdassarian, MA
St. Sarkis Parish Office, The Armenian Vicarage, Iverna Gardens, London W8 6TP
Telephone: 0207 937 0152. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Sarkis Parish Council
Bagrad Nazarian (Chair), Lusine Hanson (Vice-Chair), Alan Simonian (Secretary), James Harland (Treasurer), Zaghgoosh Matusian (Ladies Liaison).