Journal March 2019 : The Other LA : Little Armenia
The Other LA : Little Armenia
Driving along Sunset Boulevard, a church tower crowded with golden onions and crucifixes rises incongruously above a ‘drive-thru’ gas station, marking the gateway to one of L.A.’s most intriguing, and devout, ethnic neighbourhoods - Little Armenia.
Bordered by Los Feliz to the east and Hollywood to the west, Armenians first began settling the area in significant numbers in the early 1900’s, displaced by the ravages of war and genocide in their homeland. By 1990, Los Angeles was home to the largest population of Armenians in the world outside Armenia.
The new arrivals were passionate believers, proud of their country’s history as the first to embrace Christianity, and the beating heart of their modern-day enclave remains the apostolic church, St. Garabed’s, its distinctive pointed roof an architectural nod to the volcanic cone of Mt. Ararat, said to be the resting place of Noah’s ark.
“Religion has always been a kind of cultural, social glue for those of us who ended up elsewhere”, a worshipper tells me as he awaits the ‘badarak’, the Divine Liturgy, to begin. “Faith can help unite the people of a nation which is now as scattered across the world as Armenia.”
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