Ejmiatsin, Armenia

  • Ejmiatsin is the fourth-largest city in Armenia and the spiritual centre of the Armenians, as it is the seat of the Catholicos (Bishop) of all Armenians, the head of the HolyArmenianApostolicChurch. It is the most populous city in Armavir province, located about 18 km west of Yerevan (capital of Armenia).

    Bird’s–eye View of Ejmiatsin City

    Bird’s–eye View of Ejmiatsin City

 Ejmiatsin Map from www.armenica.org

Ejmiatsin Map from http://www.armenica.org

The population of Ejmiatsin is estimated 56,757 in 2008.

Petrozavodsk Street

Petrozavodsk Street

Memorial to died flighters, 1988

Memorial to died flighters, 1988

Zvartnots Cathedral (“celestial angels”) is a 7th-century centrally planned aisled tetraconch type Armenian church built by order of Catholicos Nerses the Builder from 641-653. Now in ruins, it is located at the edge of the city of Etchmiadzin in Armenia’s Armavir Province.

Remains of Zvartnots Cathedral in Ejmiatsin City, Armenia

Remains of Zvartnots Cathedral in Ejmiatsin City, Armenia

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The plan of Zvartnots Cathedral

tetraconch, from the Greek for “four shells”, is a building, usually a church or other religious building, with four apses, one in each direction, usually of equal size. The basic ground plan of the building is therefore a Greek cross. They are most common in Byzantine architecture, and related schools such as Armenian and – it has been argued that they were developed in these areas or Syria, and the issue is a matter of contention between the two nations in the Caucasus. The plan of the cathedral, as drawn by Toros Toramanian.

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The Ruins of Zvartnots Cathedral

A drawing of the cathedral was depicted on the first issue of 100 AMD banknotes and its model can be seen in Yerevan History Museum.

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Ruins of Zvartnots; One of the eagle capitals and a modern reproduction of the sun-dial

Saint Hripsimé Church is one of the oldest surviving churches in Armenia. The church was erected by Catholicos Komitas atop the original mausoleum built by Catholicos Sahak the Great in 395 AD that contained the remains of the martyred Saint Hripsimé to whom the church was dedicated. The structure was completed in 618 AD. This church together with other nearby sites is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is located in the present day city of Ejmiatsin.

Saint Hripsimé Church

Saint Hripsimé Church

The main altar in Saint Hripsimé Church

The main altar in Saint Hripsimé Church

Coffin of Saint Hripsimé; there is still the remain of the martyred Saint Hripsimé in the church.

Coffin of Saint Hripsimé; there is still the remain of the martyred Saint Hripsimé in the church

Saint Hripsimé

Saint Hripsimé

According to legend,  Hripsimé was possibly of noble birth. She belonged to a community of virgins and under the leadership of Gayane in Rome; she was known to be extremely beautiful, and attracted the notice of Diocletian (Roman Emperor). To avoid his advances she, along with her community, fled the city, going first to Alexandria before settling in Vagharshapat (Ejmiatsin). King Tiridates III noticed her beauty and proceeded to pursued her. Upon being brought before him, she refused his advances and was punished by being roasted alive. Gaiane was then put to death by Armenian soldiers, as were all members of her community except for Saint Nune, who was later a missionary in Georgia and is praised as the founders of the Georgian Orthodox Church being named as Saint Nino.

At the facade of Saint Hripsimé Church

Three beauties of Armenia at the facade of Saint Hripsimé Church

Armenia is a major source of brandy and beauty.

Ejmiatsin Cathedral; Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin (Ejmiatsin、originally known as the Holy Mother of God Church, Armenian) is a 4th-century Armenian church in the town of Ejmiatsin, Armenia and is the oldest state-built church in the world. It is also the central cathedral of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Etchmiadzin Cathedral is listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Ejmiatsin Cathedral; Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin

Ejmiatsin Cathedral; Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin

A pious woman and the altar

A pious woman and the altar

The Etchmiadzin Cathedral is the oldest state-built church in the world. The original vaulted basilica was built in 301–303 by Saint Gregory the Illuminator when Armenia officially became the first Christian country in the world. Gregory had converted King Tiridates III and members of his court.

Beautiful vault of the cathedral

Beautiful vault of the cathedral

According to the 5th-century Armenian annals, St. Gregory had a vision of Christ descending from heaven and striking the earth with a golden hammer to show where the cathedral should be built. Hence, the patriarch gave the church and the city the new name of Echmiadzin, which may be translated as “the place where the Only Begotten descended”.

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