By Vahe Assarian
The Armenian people are proud Christians. The first Christian church in Armenia was built in the 4th century; it is the oldest and most famous Christian church in Armenia called Echmiadzin. The architectural design of the churches between the 4th and 7th century lives on today in the 21st century. Sadly the churches that are in present day Turkey have for the most part been destroyed. Armenians accepted Christianity over 1,700 years ago. In 301 AD, under King Trdat the third Christianity became the official religion of the Armenian people and made Armenia the world’s first Christian state.
One of the most famous lands in Armenian History when it comes to the churches is the City of Ani, which is also known as the City of a 1001 Churches. The City of Ani today is not what it once was when the Armenian people populated that region. The churches today are unmanned and falling apart. The once great land of the Armenian people with many proud Armenian churches has turned into a ghost town.
Below I have put in a link that will show you how the churches in the City of Ani look today in present-day Turkey or, as I like to call it Eastern-Armenia. http://www.kuriositas.com/2011/01/ani-ghost-city-of-1001-churches.html
There are multiple types of church designs that the Armenian people have created and kept over the years. The most famous design is when looked from inside of the second floor of the church looking down at the first floor it is in the shape of a cross. Also on inside of each church it has its own unique ornament sketch on the wall.
The next link will show you churches that have been destroyed or have fallen apart in present day Turkey. A couple of interesting blueprints that shows the shape of some of the churches. If you scroll to the bottom of the page you will see some styles of the ornament sketches on the walls. http://www.virtualani.org/tomarza/index.htm
Aside from churches in the Historic Armenian lands, the Armenian people also have their own private Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem. There are four Quarters in Jerusalem, the smallest is the Armenian Quarter, and the others are the Christian Quarter, the Jewish Quarter and the Muslim Quarter. It is an honor for any religion to own a piece of the holy land and it’s even greater honor for the Armenian people to own a piece of the holy land. Of course the Armenian people built their own church in the Armenian Quarter.
Here in the United States, Armenian-Americans are trying to pass a bill in Congress to have Turkey return Christian churches back to their rightful owners. The Armenian National Committee of America is working hard to pass the H.R.306; the bill has passed through the U.S. Foreign Affairs Committee and it also passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in December 2011. The U.S. Senate is next on the list to pass H.R.306 but this vote has yet to be schedule. I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog and looking at the pictures in the links. Now if your really interested in getting involved, please help the ANCA in passing H.R.306 by calling or emailing your Senators and asking them to co-sponsor this bill and help the Christian populations gain their rightful churches back from the Turkish government.