Catholicos Garegin B Involved in Another Scandal

  • Country - 01 October 2015, 11:54
“The custodians of the Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth in Burrabazar, arguably the oldest church in the city, have been accused of destroying a number of tombstones and memorial plaques to make room for a driveway and a parking lot. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) termed the demolition as 'criminal' since the loss is 'irreparable',” Radio Liberty informed, referring to the Time of India

“The oldest grave found in the churchyard is that of Rezabeebeh, the wife of the late Sookias. This tomb, dated July 21, 1630, is said to be the earliest Christian tomb in Kolkata.” 

“"This is why the tombs are priceless historical documents. Each tomb tells a story of a period. A whole genealogy of Armenians of old Calcutta can be traced here. So the destruction of tombstones and memorial plaques, mostly in marble and iron, is no less than destruction of history," said ASI regional director Dr P K Mishra, who recently made a sudden visit to the churchyard to trace the extent of damage. 

Anthony Khatchaturian, a passionate heritage activist of the city and an Armenian, was shocked with the construction. 

"I am baptized in this church. Just think of poor people who are buried under concrete car park. They have been lost forever," said Anthony. His forefather J C Gaulstaun, one of the greatest builders of the city's magnificent built heritage, was also laid to rest here. 

According to community sources, the removal process began some time in late 2008 during the visit of Catholicos Karekin-II, the supreme head of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The driveway came up at the cost of the tombstones. It came under scrutiny following the recent ASI visit. 

"The damage is horrific. Such activities must be stopped immediately. Often, people cause damage out of ignorance. But when educated people, the custodians of church property, did this, it is unpardonable. I have written a letter to the church authority," said Mishra. The church plays an important role as it is considered to be the Mother Church of the Indian Armenians.”