The First Armenian Church in Australia
And so the fundraising effort began to establish the first Armenian Church which took considerable time to fulfil. Visiting Australia, His Grace Bishop Terenig Poladian assisted the Church Council and congregation in raising funds. A small Presbyterian church, located on the second floor of 108 Campbell Street, Surry Hills with seating for about 70 people was purchased by the Armenian Church Council in 1957. Though modest in form, it would become the first Armenian Church in Australia, the Armenian Apostolic Church of Holy Resurrection, and was consecrated by His Grace Bishop Terenig Poladian on 11th November 1957.
In late 1957, Father Assoghig was appointed to the Province of India and Far East, and was consecrated Bishop. Reverend Father Aramais Mirzaian, then in Calcutta, was appointed the minister of the newly acquired church in Sydney and took over his religious duties in August 1958.
When the wave of mass Armenian migration started to reach Australia in 1961-62 it soon became evident that the small church at Campbell Street would not be adequate to cope with growing community needs. Mindful also of the need for a community hall and adequate facilities to cater for a Sunday school to instruct younger generations in their mother tongue, culture and religion, the Church Council avidly began its search for new premises. It was not until September 1965 that a suitable site was found.
Formerly the East Chatswood Baptist Church, 10 Macquarie Street, Chatswood was purchased thanks to generous donations and sale proceeds of the church premises in Surrey Hills. The new church was rededicated as the new Armenian Apostolic Church of Holy Resurrection and consecrated by His Grace Bishop Komitas Der Stepanian on Sunday, 27 February, 1966.
It is important to highlight the contribution of the early Armenian settlers to the acquisition of this Armenian sanctuary which until today is the hub of the Armenian Community for worship and gathering. Most noteworthy for his benefaction is Mr Arthur Aginian, a patriotic Armenian who not only gave moral support and liberal donations toward the purchase of the churches and rectory but also assisted many compatriots migrating to Australia.