St Sarkis church was built in 1922-23.
Sont notamment reproduits dans ce document les correspondances entre les fondateurs et Calouste Gulbenkian, qui intervient alors qu'une souscription a déjà été lancée dans la communauté arménienne.
Calouste Gulbenkian est très clair :
- il souhaite ardemment contribuer
- il souhaite d'ailleurs être l'unique contributeur, et suggère de rembourser les précédents donateurs
- et bien entendu l'église devra porter la dénomination "St Sarkis", du nom du père de Calouste
- ce qui fut fait. On ne résiste pas à "M. Cinq pour cent" !
27 Quai d'Orsay Paris, 10 January 1921
Very esteemed and dear Dr Abrahamian , With reference to the conversation I had the pleasure of having with you in Paris, when I intimated that I would be very interested in the construction of a Chapel for our Colony in London, I beg to pat on record the tenor of our conversation to the following effect, i. e. I shall be very pleased indeed to place at your disposal the sum of 15,000 Pounds, on the understanding that you will appoint a Committee of the Members of our Colony in London to be presided over by you, which Committee will act in consultation with me for the purpose of erecting a small Armenian Chapel with an adjoining residence for the Incombent thereof.
The principal of my offer is that the construction of the Chapel and the purchase of the land -- in a word the whole operation, shall not exceed the above sum of 15,000 Pounds. As I explained to you. I can only maintain this offer on the understanding, first, that the above sum shall not be exceeded, secondly that no other contributions which you may have received or may receive from Members of our London Colony or elsewhere shall go to increase the 13,000 Pounds for the purpose of building a larger edifice, as it is my intention that the whole building and the land should be dedicated to the memory of my father and be called « SOURP SARKIS ».
I am aware that you have already purchased the land, so that out of the above sum of 15,000 Pounds you will have either to refund the contributions thus employed, or on the other hand, to set aside those contributions to be used by our Colony as an Endowment for the Chapel and for the Incumbent. Thus those of our Colony who are desirous of making donations, financial or otherwise, may do so — provided that my desire be recognised to be the sol instrument in the purchase of the land and the erection thereon of the Chapel. I would respectfully suggest that the construction be delayed for a few months in order that advantage may be taken of a fall in the cost of materials. There is no immediate hurry for this Chapel, and I believe greater advantage will be obtained in the laying out of the fund if the construction be not unduly pressed forword.
I would like to point out that, in limiting the fund to 15,000 Pounds, my aim has not merely been to restrict expenditure, but rather because I am firmly convinced that in the present distressed condition of our Nation, it would be improper to expend a larger amount for the construction of a Chapel in London. When the construction commences, I will place at your disposal the necessary amounts as and when they are needed, and I will be pleased to refund the sums already paid for the land when the construction has been decided upon and work commenced. It is my desire that the Chapel should be erected on the lines of the Armenian Architecture about which I have spoken to you.
In conclusion I beg to emphasize that had it not been for your personal and strenuous efforts in this connection, I would have deemed this work to be premature having regard to the sad state of our general national conditions. Believe me, dear Dr Abrahamian, with the highest consideration, Yours very sincerely (Sgn.)