Famagusta, Armenian Church
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Located just to the north of a much larger Carmelite church, this modest, but finely built church in the northwest sector of the city bears no evidence today1 of its dedication or patronage. In the 19th century, when Camille Enlart visited it, however, there were still painted surfaces extant that bore Armenian inscriptions, leading him to assume that this church was built soon after the Armenian community arrived in Famagusta after being driven out of Lajazzo by Muslim invaders.2George Jeffery concurred on this dating.3 More recently, based on a papal bull from John XXII, Philippe Plagnieux and Thierry Soulard date the church's completion to 1311.4
- Rory O'Neill, Apr 28, 2015
The church has a rectangular nave of one bay. Although the rectangle in plan is slightly oblong, the groin vault above is square, with its arrises terminating at the corner of the external buttresses. Three undecorated doors that seem to be of equal importance lead into the building from the south, west and north. A semicircular apse extends from the east wall.
The pointed groin vault of finely cut ashlar emerges from the wall without corbels or pilasters. In the clerestory of the two-story elevation are small windows on the north, west and south walls, while the east wall has the conical dome of the apse. Two buttresses extend from either side of the south and north walls.
The lintel above the south wall has been replaced, as is evident from Enlart's sketch. We can see that it is monolithic and supported by corbels, and can only assume it is close to the original. The ashlar blocks of the tympanum under the pointed arch are thin and would not apply much load to the lintel. The finely cut voussoir do most of the job of supporting the wall above. The west door has been narrowed from its original frame with a more pointed and smaller arch. The tympanum has a layer of stucco, which obscures the lintel. The north door lintel appears to be similar to the south, but the door has been filled in.
Although the church bears some Latin elements, such as the pointed windows, doors and vaults, the overall form of the building is Armenian, featuring triangular pediments and a highly centralized plan with its centers of rigidity and mass being somewhat coincident. The windows are small, and the church itself is diminutive in size. Even so, there is cracking propagating from the point where the apse meets the upper east wall. We cannot determine if the infill of the north door or the narrowing of the west door are anti-seismic accretions, but it is possible.