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  1. Constantza
    / Culture & Community / Community / Communal organizations / Armenian community

    Armenian community EN

    In 1880 there were 175 Armenians at Constanţa, and in 1894 their number increased to 559. In 1905 the community numbered 610 people, and in 1916 a total of 1,002 members.

    The Armenian community was organised in August 1880. The leadership of the Armenian community was elected under the auspices of the municipality, at the request of the prefect. Out of the four candidates Matos Hagi Hampartumian was elected, and he together with the priest of the church and an ephoros appointed by the Romanian government constituted the Armenian ephorate (there were 102 church goers to the church in 1890).

    The construction of a new Armenian church began in 1879–1880 and was ready in 1880, together with the Armenian school. It was closed in 1897, being too small and inappropriate for the needs of the community. In 1898 Dicran Emirzian gathered the community and the new school was ready in 1899. The community was led by Gr, M. Grigoriu, Dicron S. Emirzian, Chevorc Manisalian, Aram Acterian, Misac M. Frenkian, all important grain merchants [1]. Other important members of the community were George Caridia, Al. Logaridi, Al. Cecilianopolu, Arist Benderli, Baruh Seni, D. Sassu, M. Frenchian, O Despoti.

    Since 1906 the community published “Maro”, the first Armenian publication in Romania, the director and proprietor being Murat Kevorkian Venicoglu. Another publication, “Ararat”, started in 1907.

    [1] Simion Tavitian, Armenii dobrogeni în istoria şi civilizația românilor (Constanţa: Ex Ponto, 2003), 35, 65–66; Dobrogea în arhivele româneşti. 1597–1989, edited by Virgil Coman (Constanţa: Etnologica, 2013), 191–193.

    Archival sources:

    Serviciul Judeţean Constanţa al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Constanţa Branch), Primăria municipiului Constanţa (The Municipality of Constanţa), files starting with 1878.


    Tavitian, Simion, Armenii dobrogeni în istoria şi civilizația românilor [The Armeanians from Dobrudja in the History and Civilisation of the Romanians] (Constanţa: Ex Ponto, 2003).

    Stan, Florin, “Sinopticum. Din trecutul celor de lângă noi. Incursiuni în istoria comunităţilor etnice dobrogene” [Sinopticum. From the Past of Those Next to Us. Incurssions in the History of the Ethnic Communities from Dobrudja]”, in Tomis , 1–5 (2008), 71–74, 68–70, 71–74, 83–85, 84–86.

    Dobrogea în arhivele româneşti. 1597–1989 [Dobrudja in Romanian Archives. 1597–1989], edited by Virgil Coman (Constanţa: Etnologica, 2013).

  2. Armenians in Eastern Europe

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    The large Armenian communities of Eastern Europe no longer exist. In Poland, the last Armenian Catholic archbishop died in 1938 and most of the remaining Armenians were killed during the Second World War. Lvov, now part of Ukraine, still maintains an active Armenian community centered around its fourteenth-century church. The world wars and the communist regime virtually ended Armenian presence in Hungary. The Armenians of Romania and Bulgaria, received many refugees from the political upheavals in neighboring Russia and Turkey in the years 1915-1922. Following the Second World War Communism closed most of the private enterprises owned by these Armenians. Many Romanian Armenians left for Europe and the United States, while large numbers of Bulgarian Armenians repatriated to Soviet Armenia. In the 1960s, they, too, began to leave for Europe and the United States. Some 5000 Armenians remain in Romania and are concentrated in Bucharest, Constantza, and Tulca. The 10,000 Bulgarian Armenians live primarily in Sofia and Plovdiv. Both communities maintain Armenian centers and churches.

    The Armenian Community of Cyprus is also the product of refugees who arrived during the 1895-1922 years. In 1926 the Melkonian Educational Institute was founded to educate and shelter the orphans of the genocide. During the Lebanese civil war, the Melkonian had many students from that war-tom country. Today a large number of its students are Bulgarian Armenians. The 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus seriously affected the Armenian community, for most of the Armenian quarter of Nicosia, with its clubs, school, and church, fell into the Turkish-occupied sector. The same was unfortunately true of Famagusta, whose Armenian church and monastery of Surb Makar have been left in ruins and converted to a store. The Cyprus community, which had over 15,000 members before the invasion, has been reduced to only 2,000, with the rest emigrating to the West. Prior to 1895 there were only some 500 Armenians in all of Greece. About 150,000 Armenians arrived after the massacres and the genocide, especially following the expulsions of the Christians from Smyrna in 1922. After the Second World War, thousands left for Armenia, North America, Australia, and Europe. A number of churches, including an Armenian Evangelical church, serve the 10,000 Armenians in Greece, most of whom live in Athens.

  3. After the Armenian genocide of 1915, Romania was the first state to officially provide political asylum to refugees from the area.

    In 1940 about 40,000 Armenians lived in Romania. Under communist rule, Armenians started to leave the country, and Nicolae Ceaușescu’s regime eventually closed all Armenian schools.

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