An Armenian presence in the city of Aleppo (حلب) dates back to the short-lived Armenian Empire in the 1st century BC. Armenians have had a significant community in the city since the 14th century, their population exceeding 100,000 by the early 20th century. The oldest church serving that community is the Armenian Orthodox Church of Forty Martyrs (كنيسة الأربعين شهيدا للأرمن الأرثوذكس), located in the historic neighborhood of Jdeideh (جديدة). The church was named in honor of a group of Roman soldiers who faced martyrdom near the city of Sebastia in Lesser Armenia, and were all venerated in Christianity as the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste.
The Armenian Orthodox Church of Forty Martyrs (كنيسة الأربعين شهيدا للأرمن الأرثوذكس) dates back to 1491, though an earlier church stood at the same site. As the Byzantine-era churches in the old city of Aleppo (حلب) were later converted to mosques, this church is one of the oldest remaining in the city. The church was expanded in 1499-1500 and was originally surrounded by an Armenian cemetery. The cemetery was relocated in 1579, and other renovations and expansions occurred in 1616, 1874 and 1888. A guesthouse was added in 1624 to accommodate Armenian pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem, and the bell tower was constructed in 1912.
The Armenian Orthodox Church of Forty Martyrs (كنيسة الأربعين شهيدا للأرمن الأرثوذكس) is the seat of the Armenian Diocese of Beroea, which covers the provinces of Aleppo (حلب), Idleb (إدلب), Lattakia (اللاذقية), al-Raqqa (الرقة) and Deir al-Zur (دير الزور), including seventeen churches and an estimated population of 70,000. The church contains several historic icons, many dating from the 17th century. An Armenian school and the Church of the Holy Mother of God, said to date back prior to 1429, are part of the larger church complex. The latter has been converted into a museum and renamed the Zarehian Treasury. The church has limited opening hours for visitors.
The Armenian name for the church is Սրբոց Քառասնից Մանկանց Մայր Եկեղեցի.
Getting There: The Armenian Orthodox Church of Forty Martyrs (كنيسة الأربعين شهيدا للأرمن الأرثوذكس) is located in the southwestern section of the historic Jdeideh (جديدة) neighborhood of Aleppo (حلب), approximately one hundred and fifty meters south of the Maronite Cathedral of Saint Elias (كاتدرائية القدّيِس الياس) and Farhat Square (ساحة فرحات) and one hundred meters west of Beit Ajqabash (بيت أجقباش).
Coordinates: 36°12’22.00″N / 37°09’19.00″E
Transliteration Variants: None
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