11 March, 2018 Ararat Region 4138 Views

Khor Virap Monastery

The main destination of the region is Khor Virap Monastery -the most visited spots in Armenia, offering the best view of biblical Mt. Ararat (5165M). Much to your surprise the monastery Khor Virap is located at the site of a pagan temple, dedicated to goddess Anahit. 

The Khor Virap (translated as "deep dungeon") is located near the closed border with Turkey, within the territory of ancient Artaxata. The monastery was host to a theological seminary and was the residence of Armenian Catholicos.  

Legend
Legend tells us that the pagan King Tiridates III imprisoned St. Gregory the Illuminator (Surp Grigor Lusavorich) here for around 13 years. Pilgrims queue to climb down a metal ladder into the well where the saint was incarcerated. 
After his cruel treatment of the saint, the king was cursed by madness and was miraculously cured by St Gregory. Historians contend that Trdat may have switched allegiances to tap into the strength of Armenia’s growing Christian community in the face of Roman aggression. In any case, the king converted to Christianity and St. Gregory became the first Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church. 

Monastery complex
The oldest church of the Khor Virap complex has been repeatedly rebuilt since the 6th century. The main Surp Astvatsatsin Church dates from the 17th century. Look for the carving of the saint curing the possessed King Tiridates on its eastern facade, facing visitors as they enter the compound.

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