Armenian Apostolic Church, Batumi

Armenian Apostolic Church, Batumi

If you’re walking along Batumi’s Jordania Street, you may come across a church with a cross atop its dome. The colour of the building, its decorated pillars, and the bell-tower on its right all attest to its age. This church, built with baked bricks, is the Armenian Apostolic Church, “Surb Prkich”, designed by the Russian architect of Austrian origin, Robert Marfeld.

Construction of the church, decorated with arcades and pilasters, began in 1879, but a lack of finances led to construction taking more than a quarter of a century. The first incarnation was a wooden church dating back to 1885, but it soon fell apart, forcing the worshippers to instead hold services in a parishioner’s home until the new church was completed in December, 1900.

In the Soviet period the church was first closed and then turned into a film warehouse. Afterwards it was meant to be demolished, but, through the actions of the Armenian community, it was saved and used as an observatory until 1991, when the Soviet Union fell.

In 1992 the church was given to an Armenian charitable organization in Ajara, who restored it with contributions from local Armenians. After being completely renovated, it came back into use as a church in the early 2000’s.

The Armenian Apostolic Church is another fine example of Georgia’s long history of religious tolerance, and an impressive piece of religious architecture in its own right.

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