"[152] The cathedral complex has been called "Armenian Vatican" or "Armenian Mecca" as it is a major pilgrimage site for religious Armenians worldwide. [57], The early frescoes inside the cathedral were restored in the 18th century. As of 2011, most Armenians are Christians (97%) and are members of Armenia's own church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, which is one of the oldest Christian churches.It was founded in the 1st century AD, and in 301 AD became the first branch of Christianity to become a state religion. Sahinian added many other medieval churches in Europe, such as the Palatine Chapel of Aachen in Germany, to the list of churches to have been influenced by the cathedrals of Etchmiadzin and Bagaran and by Byzantine decorative arts. Thus, plundered and rebuilt over and over for more than 1500 years, and having survived not only the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire but also the Great Soviet Purge, the Echmiadzin Cathedral is today a monument that incorporates different styles of Armenian architecture. Thaddeus suffered martyrdom in Armenia, according to the same tradition, and is revered as an apostle of the Armenian Church. [115], Today, Etchmiadzin "has a cruciform plan with a central cupola, four free-standing piers, and four projecting apses which are semicircular on the interior and polygonal on the exterior. Old Church in Armenia #3 Talin Cathedral. His paintings on the dome and the painting of the Mother of God under the altar have survived to this day. The person in charge of this second construction was Vahan Mamikonian. [38] The renovations resumed under Catholicos Pilippos (1632–55), who built new cells for monks and renovated the roof. [77] He wanted to destroy the cathedral and have its remains brought to Isfahan. People say that it goes back to the 914-918 and was probably built during the years of Ashot Shapuhyan. According to … [71] The cathedral was restored by Catholicos Kirakos (Cyriacus) between 1441 and 1443. [2][102] It was reportedly the only church in Soviet Armenia not to have been seized by the Communist government. The foundations of the current building, however, were built at the end of the 5th century, after the initial building suffered major damage after a Persian invasion. [53], According to Faustus of Byzantium, the cathedral and the city of Vagharshapat were almost completely destroyed during the invasion of Persian King Shapur II in the 360s[57] (circa 363). Etchmiadzin cathedral holds the distinction of being the oldest church in the world that was originally built by a state. In 1720, Catholicos Astvatsatur and then, in 1777–83 Simeon I of Yerevan took actions in preserving the cathedral. [111] In September of that year an academic conference was held at the Pontifical Residence. Within, is a city in miniature. 335 votes, 40 comments. Location: Vatican City. [4] Catholicos Ghukas (Lucas) continued the renovations in 1784–86. "[66] The last known renovations until the 15th century were made by Catholicos Komitas in 618 (according to Sebeos) and Catholicos Nerses III (r. [2] In 1874, he established the Gevorgian Seminary, a theological school-college located on the cathedral's premises. [L] In the poem, which tells about the consequences of the Mongol and Mamluk invasions of Armenia and Cilicia, Orbelian portrays Etchmiadzin Cathedral "as a woman in mourning, contemplating her former splendor and exhorting her children to return to their homeland [...] and restore its glory. [148], —Italian historian and traveler Luigi Villari, 1906[149], For many centuries, Etchmiadzin was the national and political center of the stateless Armenian people. The number of baptisms conducted at Etchmiadzin rose greatly: from 200 in 1949 to around 1,700 in 1951. [38] In 1770, Simeon I established a publishing house near Etchmiadzin, the first in Armenia. The Armenian Church defines religious groups operating outside its domain as "sects" and, in the words of spokesman Bishop Arshak Khachatrian, considers that "their activities in Armenia are nothing but a denial of the creed of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which is considered the national religion of the Armenian people". Mamikonian was a member of an Armenian noble family, and became governor of Persian Armenia in 485, after recovering several cities that had fallen under the dominion of the Sassanid dynasty. [112] In 2006, a same-sex couple celebrated an informal wedding ceremony in the Etchmiadzin Cathedral. "[155] American journalist and historian Francis Whiting Halsey described the cathedral as "the most treasured possession of the Armenian nation" and "the source of that strength which has held them together through centuries of persecution, warfare and massacre. Grigoryan wrote in 1986 that even the main dimensions of the cathedral are unknown. [2] Today, it incorporates styles of different periods of Armenian architecture. Active churches Armenian Apostolic. Pope Francis gave a prayer at the cathedral on 24 June. Alexander Ryumin\TASS via Getty Images In a church in Takyaghaya, the entrance is … [92][93] Due to popular resistance and the personal defiance of Catholicos Mkrtich Khrimian, the edict was canceled in 1905. Their work was continued by the succeeding generations of the same family (Mkrtum and Hakob) in the 19th century. The initial construction of the Etchmiadzin cathedral dates back to the early 4th century, and was ordered by St. Gregory the Illuminator, patron saint of Armenia, after the adoption of Christianity as the official religion of the Armenian kingdom by King Tiridates III, who had been baptized by St. Gregory himself. [125][204], The theological college is mentioned in The Forty Days of Musa Dagh. Armenia also recognises the Armenian Apostolic Church, the world's oldest national church, as the country's primary religious establishment. [110] Catholicos Karekin II declared 2003 the Year of Holy Etchmiadzin. [59], In 450, in an attempt to impose Zoroastrianism on Armenians, Sasanian King Yazdegerd II built a fire temple inside the cathedral. [203], The museum of the cathedral has numerous items on display, including manuscripts and religious objects. [84][2] During Simeon's reign, the monastery was completely walled and separated from the city of Vagharshapat. In fact, it has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Armenian Orthodox Church is one of the oldest Christian churches in the world. Now the Tsar has fallen, the Soviets have come. [116] According to Mack Chahin the cathedral's building is of "immense architectural interest, especially because of the many alterations and additions that have been made to it since its foundation. A 1920 book prepared by the Historical Section of the British Foreign Office acknowledged that Etchmiadzin "was regarded as the national capital of the Armenians. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Armenian painters created frescoes of scenes from the old testament and Armenian saints. In June 1804, during the Russo-Persian War (1804–13), the Russian troops led by General Pavel Tsitsianov tried to take Etchmiadzin, but failed. World Oldest Church, St. Thaddeus Armenian Church – VIDEO February 14, 2014 945 0 Qara Kelisa, also known as the St. Thaddeus Church, is one of the oldest and most notable surviving Christian monuments of Iran that carries great significance for the country’s Armenian Orthodox community. [127] These reliefs have been dated by various authors between the first and sixth centuries. [107], Etchmiadzin revived under Catholicos Vazgen I since the period known as the Khrushchev Thaw in the mid-1950s, following Stalin's death. [I] Agathangelos narrates in his History of the Armenians the legend of the origin of the cathedral. Belfries were added in the latter half of the seventeenth century and in 1868 a sacristy was constructed at the cathedral's east end. Architecture researcher Vahagn Grigoryan. Mar 27, 2014 - Explore Sidon Travel's board "Armenian Churches Around the World", followed by 193 people on Pinterest. Persia's Erivan Khanate, in which Etchmiadzin was located, became an important target for the Russians. Thus, at the present day, the cathedral building incorporates more than one styles of architecture. 20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about... Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on YouTube for kids with... Did you know Martin Luther King appreciated the Rosary? "[124] Herbert Lottman wrote in a 1976 New York Times article: "Like all ancient Armenian churches, the cathedral is characterized by a disarmingly naive, coneshaped steeple. The unique Armenian alphabet was created by Mesrop Mashtots in 405 AD. The oldest references to the Sanahin monastery were found in early 10th century Armenian manuscripts and relate that the monastery was constructed over the ruins of a 4th or 5th century church. It was built by Saint Gregory the Illuminator between 301 and 303 AD in what is now known as Armenian style, known for its emphasis on height, pointed domes, and stone materials. Etchmiadzin Cathedral (Armenian: Էջմիածնի մայր տաճար, Ēǰmiatsni mayr tačar) is the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church, located in the city of Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin), Armenia. "[150] The locus of Etchmiadzin is considered "a sanctified soil" in a way similar to Temple Mount and the Golden Temple, for Jews and Sikhs, respectively. [62] According to Hewsen the bell is of Tibetian origin with a Buddhist inscription, "probably the long-forgotten gift of some Mongol or Ilkhanid khan. [36] Along with several important early medieval churches located nearby, the cathedral was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000. [1][38] Based on these findings, Sahinian asserted that the original church had been a three-naved[53] vaulted basilica,[1] similar to the basilicas of Tekor, Ashtarak and Aparan (Kasakh). [202], In 2002, the cathedral complex with over 50 monuments, including many khachkars (cross-stones) and graves located around the cathedral, was listed by the Government of Armenia in the list of historical and cultural monuments of the Armavir Province. [103] The dissident anti-Soviet Armenian diocese in the US wrote that "the great cathedral became a hollow monument. "[2] James Bryce wrote that the cathedral is "small, that is to say, compared with its fame or importance". This country made Christianity its official religion in 301 AD, and this history can still be seen today. Armenia is known as having the oldest state church or being the oldest officially Christian nation, a designation they are very proud of. 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