Home Travel Armenia Destination Etchmiadzin Cathedral

Etchmiadzin Cathedral is the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church, located in the city of Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin), Armenia. According to History of the Armenians  by Agathangelos, Armenia's patron saint Gregory the Illuminator had a vision of Jesus 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 the name of Etchmiadzin "descent" +  "only" +  a (linking element) + "begotten", which translates to "the Descent of the Only-Begotten According to scholars it was the first cathedral (but not the first church) built in ancient Armenia, and is considered the oldest cathedral in the world. The original church was built in the early fourth century—between 301 and 303 according to tradition—by Armenia's patron saint Gregory the Illuminator, following the adoption of Christianity as a state religion by King Tiridates III. It replaced a preexisting temple, symbolizing the conversion from paganism to Christianity. The core of the current building was built in 483/4 by Vahan Mamikonian after the cathedral was severely damaged in a Persian invasion. From its foundation until the second half of the fifth century, Etchmiadzin was the seat of the Catholicos, the supreme head of the Armenian Church. Although never losing its significance, the cathedral subsequently suffered centuries of virtual neglect. In 1441 it was restored as catholicosate and remains as such to this day. Since then the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin has been the administrative headquarters of the Armenian Church. Etchmiadzin was plundered by Shah Abbas I of Persia in 1604, when relics and stones were taken out of the cathedral in an effort to undermine Armenians' attachment to their land. Since then the cathedral has undergone a number of renovations. Belfries were added in the latter half of the seventeenth century and in 1868 a sacristy was constructed at the cathedral's east end. Today, it incorporates styles of different periods of Armenian architecture. Diminished during the early Soviet period, Etchmiadzin revived again in the second half of the twentieth century, and under independent Armenia. As the main shrine of religious Christian Armenians worldwide, Etchmiadzin has been an important location in Armenia not only religiously, but also politically and culturally. A major pilgrimage site, it is one of the most visited places in the country. Along with several important early medieval churches located nearby, the cathedral was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000.
Etchmiadzin Cathedral is the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church, located in the city of Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin), Armenia.

You may also be interested in

Best travel tours
Explore the Land of Noah

start

12

Apr

A Taste of Armenia
Our mission is to create one-of-a-kind experiences for food lovers who want to see the world a little differently.

from

357$

6 days

Read more

start

28

May

The Land of Christianity
Christian Tour is the most popular trip as the first Christian Country. During your holidays in Armenia, you will learn Armenian C . . .

from

368$

8 days

Read more

start

10

May

Beauties of Armenia and Artsakh
Have a chance to visit the main sights of South Armenia and discover this unknown land and its unbelievable nature. Many questions . . .

from

785$

14 days

Read more
The Festival of "Tolma" in Armenia
The festival takes place in the village of Musa Ler, in Armavir region of Armenia. The aim of festival is the popularization of Ar . . .

from

322$

6 days

Read more

start

28

May

Great Silk Road of Armenia
Armenia was on the Great Silk Road as this ancient country had something special to offer. In Armenia the monks would produce a ve . . .

from

406$

8 days

Read more
Paragliding tour in Armenia
These tours are aimed at improving your flying skills, and gain an understanding of the information to keep you flying safe and fl . . .

from

332$

5 days

Read more

start

10

Sep

Barbecue festival in Armenia
Armenian Barbecue Festival is organized in Akhtala. The purpose of the feast is to provide promotion and dissemination of traditio . . .

from

357$

7 days

Read more

start

20

May

Weekend in Armenia
Have a chance to spend your days in the forest kingdom of Armenia, a small paradise with its charming nature and extraordinary arc . . .

from

192$

3 days

Read more

start

01

Nov

Winter in Tsaghkadzor
A beautiful place for active winter vacations. This resort is often chosen for family vacation with children, newcomers and profes . . .

from

160$

6 days

Read more

start

01

Apr

Biblical Armenia
This tour is the most highlighted trip in this first Christian Country in the world. Visit temples dating back to 1st Century and . . .

from

276$

6 days

Read more
Extreme Tour

from

462$

7 days

Read more
Share with friends