The Congregation

Congregation in the late 1950's or early 1960's

Congregation in the late 1950’s or early 1960’s

In my last post I gave you a little bit of the history of the Armenian Church in Rangoon. After I visited and went home, I emailed the Yangon Heritage Trust to ask if the church could be put on the register of historical buildings. After all, the church was the first Christian church to be established in Rangoon in 1766, when it was made of  wood and brick. I corresponded with them regularly and tried to dig up more about the church. A relative I had met in Burma sent me two scans of the congregation, with pretty much the same members  in it. With help from my uncle Arthur in London, my dad’s cousin, Noel Minus and his daughter Chris in California, Rachel Minus in Rangoon and various others in Australia I added names and in some cases a word or two about their lives. I would dearly love to identify the question marks in this list.

The Yangon Heritage Trust put up a blue plaque on a building the other day, the first of many, we hope. One day this church will have its plaque, and it will be well deserved. Until I visited it was not a part of the tourist trail. I wrote the first review on Tripadvisor  in 2013 and told my friend Paula Swart-Till, who was the first person to encourage me to go to Burma. She is an Asian art history expert, hired by tour operators like National Geographic to lead tours in Burma, and now the church is one of the must-see places on the itineraries she devises.

Despite the fact that the current congregation when I was there consisted solely of my relative Rachel, her father Richard (the Warden) and the odd NGO worker, I think this church could have a future.Air max pas cher, This does not include selling the property to a developer, much as some people would like. I don’t usually espouse causes. I don’t belong to any political party. I don’t donate to Greenpeace, although I did attend their Amchitka concert years ago, but that was because of the music. I am a member of the silent majority but this cause stirs my heart. My grandparents were married in this church in 1920. My grandfather, broken and in ill health after the Japanese occupation, died at the age of 51, and his funeral ceremony was held in this church. The plaque honouring his sisters and their families who died in the Trek is in this church. I will do my utmost to see that this church survives.

Those identified in the photograph:

Front Row, L to R:

1. Pete Aratoon. Owned the Silver Grill pre-war. After 1945 he managed the Strand Hotel and later the Kanbawza, Nike Air Max 90 pas cher,the government run hotel that used to be Chin Tsong’s Palace.

2. Archie Gregory. Ran Gaspar and Co., started by his uncle, a bachelor. Archie’s younger brother is John, end of third row.

3. Carr Johns. A long time employee of A.C. Martin and Co. He married a Burmese lady and never left Burma.

Priest from Julfa, Ter Poghos Petrossian.

4. Joe Martin, youngest son of A.C. Martin. He married Helen Apcar, third row.

5. Alfred Simon Mackertich Minus,Air max 95 pas cher, eldest son of Simon Minus. Father of Keith and Eric.

6. Leon or Gregory Elias. Worked for years at Balthazar and Co.

Second Row, L to R.

7. John (?) Alexander.

8. Marjorie Minus, wife of Keith Minus

9. Priest’s wife, Mrs. ? Petrossian

10. Edie Gregory, nee Minus, married to Bertie Gregory, top row. Sister of Alfred Minus.

11. Annie Minus. Spinster sister of Edie and Alfred Minus.

12. Mrs. Gaspar, related to the Elias family who owned the Continental,Nike  air max pas cher france, a big catering and bakery business.

13. Mrs. Elias

14. Miss Christine Elias

15. Dr. Kenny Minus, second son of George N. S. Minus. He stayed in Burma but went to the U.S. for a short while, then spent the rest of his life in Fiji. I met him when our family travelled to California in 1960, so this photo is more likely to be from the 1950’s.

Third Row, L to R

16. Alexandra Maud Minus, my great-aunt

17. Helen Martin (nee Apcar.)

18. ?

19. Margaret Minus, youngest child of Simon Minus.

20. Sarah MacJohn.

21. ?

22. Noreen Martin, sister to Basil Martin.

23. Ripsy Minas ( wife of Jockey Minas, manager of Kanbawza Hotel.)

24. John Gregory, younger brother of Archie.

Fourth Row

Two men standing:

Man # 1, ?

Man # 2, William Hugh Minus, son of John Mackertich Minus, married to Alexandra Maud Minus.

Back Row, L to R

25. Bertie Gregory, husband of Edie Minus

26. Catchik Stevens, husband of Grace Minus, father of Kay Stevens

27. ?

28. ?

29. Keith Minus

30. Basil Martin

31. Jockey Minas, manager of Kanbawza Hotel

32. ?

33. ?

34. Joe Aratoon, nicknamed ‘Oxford Joe’

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