Schools and ChurchIt is no coincident that most schools and churches of the Armenian communities in the Diaspora are either build on the same premises, or near to each other.
Nicosia its the main cultural center of the Armenian Cypriots.
The first Armenian school was build in 1887, with the donation of the Armenians communities of Egypt, France and England. In 1921 and 1938 with the contribution of the Melikian and Ouzounian families, two new premises were build. The school continued to function under the name Melikian-Ouzounian until 1963 when it was taken over by the Turks after the inter communal fighting between the Greeks Cypriots and Turk Cypriots.
With the help of the Cyprus government a temporary building was build in the premises of the Melkonian Educational Institute which was used as a school until 1972, when again with the generous donation of the Cyprus government a proper school was build on Armenia Ave. The school was named "Nareg", as were all the Armenian primary schools in Cyprus.
At this point it's should be mentioned that the Armenian primary schools in Cyprus are financially supported by the Cyprus government, without interfering with the schools curriculum or internal affairs.
The Armenian community in Nicosia lost its church and Prelature to the Turks in 1963. Finally in 1981 with the help of the Cyprus government, the world consuls of churches, some European churches and individual donations a new church was build, named "Sourp Astvatsatsin". The church was build near the school. Latter on a new Prelature was build on the same premises.
MELKONIAN edu. Inst.
Melkonian Educational Institute (MEI) is the largest boarding school for the Armenians in the diaspora. It was build by two brothers, Krikor and Garabet Melkonian. The project started in 1924 and was finished in 1926, of the two brothers only Garabet Melkonian was lucky enough to see the completion.
In the beginning it was an orphanage for the Armenians who survived the 1915 massacre. Gradually it turned into a respectable secondary school. The school and its property of 16 buildings, football and basketball fields, a small forest and a large plot of land belongs to AGBU who also subsidise for the running expenses of the school.
More then 1500 Armenians have graduated from MEI. Currently 32 teachers, teach about 200 students from 21 countries, who come from the Middle East to North and South America.
As it is obvious MEI participates to the Armenian Cypriots cultural and sport activities. In 1996 it was the schools 70th anniversary which was celebrated both in Cyprus and USA.
Larnaca has the second largest community. The first school was build in 1909, not surprisingly in the same year when the Armenian church was build. Over the next years with private donations, (From the Armenian communities of Egypt and as far as USA) a new school was build in 1923. In 1926 the school was expanded with the donation of Garabet Melkonian.
In 1995 with the help of the Cyprus government a completely new and modern school was build.
As mentioned earlier, the Armenian school in Larnaca was build in 1909. Larnaca has its own priest.
Although Limassol is the second largest city in Cyprus, It has a very small Armenian community, about 250 Armenians live in Limassol, but again they have their own church and primary school.
The school was build in 1951 in the premises of "Sourp Kevork" church. Although some renovations have been done to the school (like central heating), the community is thinking of building a new modern school. Because of the small number of pupils, some teachers teach both in Limassol and Larnaca.
The church was build in 1939, it does not have its own priest, and the priest of Larnaca covers the spiritual need of the community every fortnight.