GUANGZHOU, China (A.W.)—The Armenian community in China gathered at a church in Guangzhou on Dec. 14 to celebrate mass for the first time in decades.
Bishop Haigazoun Najarian presided over the mass that brought together dozens of Armenians from Guangzhou, Shanghai, Nanjing, Hong Kong, and other cities.
Bishop Najarian, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Australia and New Zealand and Pontifical Legate of All Armenians in India and the Far East, said he was pleased that decades after the last church mass was held by the Armenian community in China, Armenians from around the world who now call China and Hong Kong home have gathered again to celebrate mass.
A small yet vibrant Armenian community existed in Harbin, Shanghai, and Hong Kong from the late 19th till the mid-20th century. In that period, Harbin had an Armenian church and Shanghai boasted a vibrant community center.
Most Armenians left for the Americas or for Soviet Armenia by the 1950s.
Lecture on Armenian community in China
On Dec. 13, scholar Khatchig Mouradian presented his illustrated talk on the Armenian communities in Harbin and Shanghai from the late 19th to the mid-20th century. (Click here for detailed report.)
Pulling from memoirs, accounts, archival material, and photographs from China, Armenia, and missionary archives in the U.S., Mouradian depicted the life of Armenians from the Caucasus and the Ottoman Empire who went east in search of opportunity or to escape genocide and political upheavals.
In August, Mouradian received a Gulbenkian Armenian Studies fellowship to research the history of the Armenian community in China.