BANGKOK, Thailand—In an historic event for the diaspora, Armenian communities across East Asia gathered in Bangkok, Thailand, on Jan. 10 to celebrate Christmas.
His Grace Bishop Haygazoun Najarian, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Australia and New Zealand and Pontifical Legate to the Far East, travelled to Thailand to celebrated Holy Mass with the crowd.
“It is touching to see such a vibrant community come together and to see that their faith remains as strong as the faith of their forefathers,” said His Grace Bishop Najarian.
Following mass, which was held in a local Anglican Church, the approximately 80 attendees headed to the Grand Hyatt Erawan in Bangkok where they enjoyed an evening of celebration.
“Our communities in Asia are growing and it is important to continue to maintain our Armenian culture, traditions, and language despite being so far from our roots.” said His Excellency Arto Artinian, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Armenia to the Kingdom of Thailand. He served as the host of the evening, welcoming guests that included Gegham Gharibjanian, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to the United Arab Emirates.
Armenian communities have been growing across East Asia in recent years, with active communities in China, India, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. These communities have also been active in preserving the old Armenian Churches and heritage buildings in the region, particularly in Myanmar and Bangladesh.
His Holiness Karekin II visited Myanmar in November 2014. A month later, the Armenian Community of China celebrated its first mass in mainland China in many decades. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation also recently awarded two academic fellowships to research and document the history of old Armenian communities in China, which date back to the 17th century.
Henri Arslanian, President of the Armenian Community of China, updated the attendees on the various regional initiatives taking place. “Our communities in Asia are growing very quickly with smart, ambitious and driven individuals from all around the world. It is our moral duty to ensure the preservation of our old heritage in the region,” he said.