11 March, 2018 Armavir Region 2542 Views

Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin

Echmiadzin is the Vatican of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the place where St. Grigor Lusavorich saw a beam of light in a divine vision, and where he built the first Mother Cathedral. 
The seat of the Catholicos then wandered across western Armenia for centuries before returning here in 1441, with substantial rebuilding occurring in the 15th century.

Mother Cathedral
The Mother Cathedral was consecrated in 303 CE but later fell in ruin and was rebuilt in 480–483. More work and expansion occurred in the 600s, 1600s and 1700s, and a major restoration of the exterior was being undertaken at the time of writing. The three-tiered bell tower at the entrance of the church is richly carved and dates from 1654. The roof of the church gleams with frescoes. At the center is an altar at the place where St Gregory saw the divine light strike the ground. 
Divine Liturgy is celebrated every Sunday starting at 11am (10.30am on feast days). 

Relics of the Museum
At the rear of the church is the Cathedral Museum which houses precious objects and relics collected by the church, including the Holy Lance (Geghard), the weapon used by a Roman soldier to pierce the side of Christ while he was still nailed to the cross. There are also clerical vestments and crowns, illuminated manuscripts, processional crosses, a hand-shaped reliquary of St John the Baptist, and a beautiful beaten-gold reliquary dating from 1300 that is said to contain a relic of the True Cross.

Palace of the Catholicos
The Palace of the Catholicos is the home of the present Catholicos, Karekin II, who was enthroned in November 1999. He is the supreme prelate of the 1700-year-old Armenian Apostolic faith. On its 2nd floor is the Pontifical Residence Museum, a series of galleries showcasing the art collections, treasured possessions and personal effects of the Catholicoses and kings of Armenia. This is visited on a guided tour (Armenian-language only).

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