List of Priests who have served at the Armenian Church, Calcutta

Early Armenian community statistics between 1811-1835

List of Armenian Advocates in of the Calcutta High Court, India 1855-1893

Benefactors who have donated to the Armenian Church, Calcutta

The first Armenian Church, a wooden structure was built by public contribution on 22nd June 1688 and was named St. John.  The East India Company for 7 years contributed £40/- per year towards the maintenance of a priest, this Church was destroyed by fire in 1707.  Three hundred years later in January 2008, a huge fire raged out of control for 5 days in Bura Bazaar very close to the current church and for many long hours the current priest, Father Oshagan Gulgulian along with the dedicated guardians of the church; the committee and wardens,  worried intently about the fire spreading to this, the Holy Church of Nazareth.  On the 5th day after the fire began, his prayers were answered and the fire was eventually put out and the church and the surrounding area was blessed and left unscathed.  It stood on the periphery of a fire ravaged scene standing tall and bright like a phoenix from a flame  Had the fire spread just a few hundred yards further, this church, due to celebrate it’s 300th anniversary this year (2008), would also have been lost in the same fashion as the first church in 1707.  Thankfully, that tragedy was averted.

St. John’s Church having been razed to the ground, The Holy Church of Nazareth was built seventeen years later in 1724 on the old burial ground of the Armenian community, by Agha Nazar and the architect was an Armenian from Iran named Mr. Levon Ghevond.  The belfry and steeple were added just 10 years later by Mr. Manual Hazarmalian in 1734.  Repaired and renovated in 1763 by Khojah Petrus Arratoon who also embellished the church and built two additional altars, one on the right hand side of the main altar, in memory of his brother Gorgin Khan, who was assassinated near Monghyr, and the other on the left side to commemorate his memory. In 1789 Agha Catchick Arakiel presented an English clock to the Church which he had ordered from the firm of Alexander Hare of London.  The clock arrived in Calcutta in 1792 and was fixed in the clock tower.  Also in 1789, he had the church compound enclosed by a substantial wall, which today is still standing as is the parsonage within the grounds.  Unfortunately, he did not see the installation of the clock as it was 2 years after Mr. Arakiel’s death which occurred on the 25th July 1790.

On the south side of the Church can be seen the oldest Christian grave in Calcutta.  The inscription reads “This is the tomb of Reza Beebeh, wife of Charitable Sookias who died on 31st July 1630”.  A little further from the south side of the church was Sookias Lane where the Sookias family lived. And today, the name Sookias is still very much associated with the Church by way of Mr. Haik Sookias Jr., who is a past Chairman of the Church Committee. A large number of prominent Armenians are buried in the churchyard.  Amongst them is a Mr. Shircore (in Persian the name means lion-eater).  It is recorded that he fought and killed a lion bare handed; but died of his wounds later.

Within the compound of the church grounds was a well stocked library.  It was made over to the wardens and commissionaires of the Holy church of Nazareth for the perusal of the Reverend Priests in Calcutta in May 1896.

Over the years, the Church has been fortunate to have received many gifts and bequests, particularly in the 18th century.  Many others by their wills have left large sums, amongst whom was the late Sir Catchick Paul Chater of Hongkong.  He was born in Calcutta in September 1846, and died in Hongkong in May 1926.  By his will he left a very substantial sum of his enormous wealth to the Armenian Church.  One of the many ways in which his legacy has been utilised is by the building of an old peoples home for the Armenian community which was named the “Sir Paul Chater Home”.  The foundation stone was laid by Mr. S.K. Sen, the Official Trustee of West Bengal on 21st November 1952.  More about Sir Catchick Paul Chater can be read here.



List of names of benefactors who left large bequests to the Armenian Church, Calcutta

Sir Catchick Paul Chater Mr. T.M. Thaddeus Mrs Sarah Chater
Mr. Z.T. Manuk John Michael and Wife
Miss Maryn and Miss Mary Gregory Apcar
Mr. Nicholas Mackertich Carapiet Mrs. Helen Moses Miss L.M. Christian
Mr. Arratoon Galoost Mrs. C. Lumbrugen Mr. Joseph Ephraim
Mr. Thomas Seth Apcar Col. S.T. Avetoom Dr. S.J. Manuk [Manook]
Joseph Paul Miss Amy Apcar Arratoon Petrus
Petrus Stephen Arratoon Apcar Senior
and Gregory Apcar Senior
Seth Arratoon Apcar
A.S. Mackertich A.G. Apcar Massey Babjab
Gevork Manuk Anna Iscar Zorab

Below is a register of names of officiating Pastors and Priests of the Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth, Calcutta, from 1793 – 1957

Date Name Date Name
1755 Padre Daniel* 1893-1897 Rev. Sylvester Hovannesian
1779 Padre Dionysius Manasser** 1892-1895 Rev. Rethevos Davidian
1793 Carapiet Margar*** 1894-1899 Rev/ {sacl Ter Hacobian
1793-1797 Rev. Hacob Ter Petrosian 1896-1900 Rev. Andrews G. Apcarian
1793-1802 Rev. Galstaun Martyrosian 1898-1901 Rev. Mesrobe C. Davidian
1794-1795 Rev. Gevork Babanian 1899-1903 Rev. Barsiegh P. Alexy
1795-1813 Rev. Hovsep Stephannosian 1900-1904 Rev. Mackertich Petrosian
1798-1802 Rev. Martyrose Davidian 1902-1905 Rev. Essai Ter S Johannes
1803-1807 Rev. Lucas Ter Gevorgian 1903-1907 Rev. Carapiet Thoomikian
1803-1804 Rev. Gabriel Ter Stephannosian 1904-1907 Rev. Psack H. Hacobian
1805-1808 Rev. Aviet Ter Minasian 1907-1912 Rev. Vardan S. Vardanian
1808-1813 Rev. Harouthiun Ter Minasian 1907-1910 Rev. Mashtotz Israelian
1808-1813 Rev. Marcar Ter Carapietian 1908-1911 Rev. Sarkies Gregorian
1812-1814 Rev. Zakaria Ter Petrosian 1912-1920 Rev. Barsegh P. Alexy
1814-1821 Rev. Aviet Ter Minasian 1912-1917 Rev. Marcar C. Davidian
1814-1822 Rev. Lucas Ter Gevorgian 1913-1917 Rev. Garegin Johannes
1821-1828 Rev. Hovsep Stephannosian 1917-1922 Rev. Essai Ter S. Johannes (Archpriest)
1821-1826 Rev. Galoost Harouthiunian 1917-1922 Rev. Carapiet Thoomikian
1822-1826 Rev. Hovsep Ter Mackertchian 1920-1926 Rev. Vahan Aghanian
1825-1829 Rev. Abraham Ter Karapietian 1922-1927 Rev. Nierses P. Paul
1826-1827 Rev. Harouthiun Ayvazian 1923-1927 Rev. Garegin Johannes
1826-1827 Rev. Catchatour Harouthiunian 1926-1929 Rev. Hambardzoom S. Vardanian
1826-1831 Rev. Anton Avagian 1927-1930 Rev. Carapiet Thoomikian
1826-1830 Rev. Hovannes Galstanian 1927-1929 Rev. Essai Ter S. Johannes
1827-1828 Rev. Hovannes Mackertchian 1929-1933 Rev. Vahan Aghanian
1830-1834 Rev. Harouthiun Eghiaian 1929-1933 Rev. Nierses P. Paul
1831-1836 Rev. Lazar Gregorian 1930-1933 Rev. Hovakim Basis
1831-1837 Rev. Hovannes Ter Avietian 1933-1935 Rev. Theodore Isaac (Archimandrite)
1836-1840 Rev. Anton Avagian 1933-1936 Rev. Vartannes Nazareth
1837-1842 Rev. David Mackertchian 1933-1936 Rev. Garegin Johannes
1838-1841 Rev. Eliazar Andreasian 1936-1942 Rev. Nierses S. David
1841-1845 Rev. Carapiet Ter Abrahamian 1936-1940 Rev. Hambardzoom S. Vardanian
1842-1843 Rev. Abraham Ter Carapietian 1940-1944 Rev. Garegin Johannes
1842-1844 Rev. Harouthiun Ter Eliazarian 1942-1949 Rev. Vardan S. Vardanian
1843-1846 Rev. Petrose Antonian 1944-1947 Rev. Hambardzoom S. Vardanian
1844-1847 Rev. Carapiet Gregorian 1948-1958 Rev. Aramais Mirzaian
1844-1847 Rev. Marcar Andreasian 1948-1953 Rev. Avetice Edgarian
1844-1872 Rev. Hovannes Khachikian (Vicar) 1953-1956 Rev. B.S. David
1845-1846 Rev. Mathevos Gregore Karibian 1957 Rev. Pogose Petrossian
1846-1849 Rev. Barsiegh Galstanian (Archpriest) 1957-1962 Bishop Asoghik Ghazarian
1846-1849 Rev. Martyrose Ter Hovakiemian 1961 Archbishop Haikazoon Abrahamian
1850-1856 Rev. Mackertich Ter C. Gregorian 1964 Archbishop Haikazoon Abrahamian
1850-1856 Rev. Mackertich H Ter Lucasian 1964-1968 Rev. Vazken Stepanian (Priest at Bombay)
1852-1854 Rev. Hovannes Galstanian 1964-1970 Rev. Fr. Kegham Zakarian
1856-1860 Rev. Harouthiun Ter S. Ter Harouthiunian 1966 Archbishop Haikazoon Abrahamian
1856-1860 Rev. Nicholaose Ter H Eghiaian (Archpriest) 1967-1968 Archbishop Haikazoon Abrahamian
1860-1863 Rev. Mackertich H. Ter Lucasian (Archpriest) 1968-1972 Archbishop Haikazoon Abrahamian
1861-1863 Rev. Sylvester Hovhannesian 1968-1974 Rev. Fr. Vazken Stephanian
1863-1865 Rev. Galstaun Nazarethian 1968 Mario Stepanian (Deacon)
1863-1867 Rev. Dyonisius Ter Eliazarian 1969 Phoghose Aratoon (Deacon)
1863-1866 Rev. Aristakes Hovannesian 1969 Sam Aviet (Deacon)
1866-1868 Rev. Retevos Davidian 1969-1970 Martyrose Aivaz (Deacon)
1866-1869 Rev. Ephiphan H. Gregorian 1972 Archbishop Haikazoon Abrahamian
1866-1869 Rev. Nicholaose Ter H. Eghiaian (Archpriest) 1972 Bishop Vahan Terian
1869-1872 Rev. Aviet Astvatsatourian 1973-1974 Very Rev. Fr. Hair Woskan Kalpakian
1870-1873 Rev. Martyrose Ter Hovakimian (Archpriest) 1974-1981 Very Rev. Fr. Vazken Tatoyan
1870-1873 Rev. Gregor Ter Marcarian 1982-1984 Rev. Fr. Hagop Guekchian
1874-1876 Rev. Nicholaose Ter H Eghiaian (Archpriest) 1985-2000 Anthony Galstaun (Deacon)
1872-1875 Rev. Gasper Ter Simonian 2000-2003 Rev. Fr. Sahak Sahakyan
1874-1875 Rev. Gregor Ter Harouthiunian 2003-2004 Very Rev. Fr. Ghevond Ghervondyan
1875-1877 Rev. Barsgh Ter Gevork Gasparian 2005-2007 Very Rev. Fr. Oshagan Gulgulian
1875-1878 Rev. Dyonisius Ter Eliazarian 2005-2009 Tigran Baghoumyan (Deacon)
1877-1881 Rev. Minas Barseghian 2007-2008 Very Rev. Fr. Oshagan Gulgulian
1878-1882 Rev. Mackertich Petrosian 2008-2009 Haroutyn Hambardzumyan (Deacon. Became Rev. Fr. Avetis below)
1880-1884 Rev. Martyrose G. Apcarian 2009-2010 Rev. Fr. Avetis Hambardzumyan (ordained a Priest in Kolkata)
1882-1885 Rev. Mesrobe C. Davidian 2010-2013 Very Rev. Fr. Khoren Hovhannisian (defrocked in 2002, refrocked 2009, defrocked again 2017)
1883-1885 Rev. Rethevos Davidian 2010-2010 Very Rev. Ignatious Malkhasyan
1885-1888 Rev. Psack H. Hacobian 2010-2015 Rev. Fr. Geghard Ghabaghyan
1885-1892 rev. Gregor Ter Marcarian 2010-2011 Samvel Harutiunian (Deacon)
1885-1889 Rev. Galstaun Ter Barseghian 2013-2016 Ver Rev. Fr. Zaven Yakichyan
1886-1891 Rev.Elisha H. Mackertoumian 2013-2015 Rev. Fr. Arsen Saroyan
1889-1893 Rev. Barsegh Ter Gevork Gasparian 2016-2021 Rev. Fr. Movses Sargsyan
2016 Varazdat Kocharyan (Deacon)

* Padre Daniel was an Armenian priest at the Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth in 1755, details extracted from the Will of Catchick Coja Maul dated 17th November 1755.

** Padre Dionysius Manasser was an Armenian priest in Calcutta in 1779, details extracted from his Will dated 2nd February 1779, Calcutta.

*** Carapiet Margar was an Armenian priest at the Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth in 1793, details extracted from the marriage register entries for 1793.


My thanks to Mario Stepanian, son of Rev. Vazken Stepanian for assistance with information and dates in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Also Very Rev. Fr. Zaven Yakichyan for updating the list in February 2014

Armenian population snapshot below.

1814 1815 1836
Male 269 272


For 1836 the adults of all ages were 313 and children 192.  The number of houses in which the 505 people resided were 101
Female 195 208 215
Total 464 480 505


Year Births Marriages Deaths
1811 10 7 12
1812 8 2 12
1813 8 4 14
1814 13 5 21
1815 9 4 21
1816 11 7 15
1817 11 3 20
1819 5 1 23
1820 11 5 17
1821 16 4 16
1822 12 5 16
1823 8 2 10
1824 7 6 21
1825 15 5 19
1826 8 3 19
1827 18 5 15
1829 12 4 15
1830 9 4 14
1831 19 3 17
1832 13 2 17
1833 13 3 23
1834 9 7 16
1835 19 4 7
Total 280 99 395


An early statistical snapshot of the Armenian community in Calcutta gives you an idea of the thriving community. The Births, Marriages and Deaths of the Armenian population of Calcutta for a 25year period from 1811 to 1835 inclusive.*


Armenian population count in Calcutta for the years*


*Taken from “Statistics of the Colonies of the British Empire 1839, From the Official Records of the Colonial Office”
By Robert Montgomery Martin.

Armenian Advocates of the Calcutta High Court from 1855-1893


Inn Names Year of Admission Appointment or Chambers
L Honorable Sir Gregory Charles Paul B.A., K.C.I.E. 1855 Advocate-General
I J.H.W. Arratoon,B.A. 1864 England
I Gasper Gregory 1868 Durbhungah
I G.J. Pogose 1869 Dacca
I Aviet Agabeg 1869 England
I Thomas Alexander Apcar 1870 11 Old Post Office Street
L Malcolm Peter Gasper* 1872 England
L Arrakiel Peter Gasper 1872 9 Old Post Office Street
L J.G. Apcar 1874 Clerk of the Crown
I John A. Apcar 1875 High Court
I A. Arathoon 1875 England
I A.A. Shircore 1875 Chittagong
I St. John Stephen, B.A., LL.B. 1880 9 Hastings Street
I J.N. Pogose 1882 Allahabad
I A.E. Gasper 1882 High Court
I A.T. Apcar, M.A., LL.B. 1883 11 Old Post Office Street
M A.A. Avetoom 1885 11 Old Post Office Street
I Osmond J. Bagram 1887 Rangoon
M M. Zorab 1889 6 Hastings Street
I Walter Gasper Gregory 1889 5 Old Post Office Street
M John George Bagram 1890 Bar Library
I G.I.M. Gregory 1890 Mozufferpore
I C.A.O.T. Gregory 1891 High Court
G.I. J. Ernest Bagram 1893 Bar Library
M John Chater Jordan 1893 N.W.P.

* Malcolm Peter Gasper was one of the leaders of the Calcutta bar.  He was a respected member of the Armenian community of Calcutta, and they paid a tribute to his memory, by erecting a marble mural tablet in the Armenian Church of St. Nazareth. Follow this link to see it