8 March, 2018 Gegharkunik Region 3162 Views

Sevanavank Monastery

Sevanavank (also known as “Mariamashen” or “built by Mariam”) sits on the Peninsula of Sevan Lake. Initially the monastery was built at the southern shore of a small island. After the artificial draining of Lake Sevan, which started in the era of Joseph Stalin, the water level fell about 20 metres, and the island transformed into a peninsula.
According to an inscription in one of the churches, the monastery of Sevanavank was founded in 874 by Princess Mariam, the daughter of Ashot I (who became a king a decade later). 

Complex
The monastery is comprised of two churches, Surb Arakelots (Holy Apostles) and Surb Astvatsamayr (Holy Mother of God). Other structures included monk cells, auxiliary buildings and a gavit for St. Astvatsatsin, the roof of which was originally supported by six wooden columns. Some of the remains of the gavit and 2 columns with elaborately carved capitals are on display at the State History Museum in Yerevan.

Life in the monastery
The monastery was strict as it was mainly intended for those monks from Etchmiadzin who had sinned. Jean-Marie Chopin, a French explorer of the Caucasus, visited there in 1830 and wrote of a regimen restraining from meat, wine, youth or women. Another explorer visited the monastery in 1850 and wrote of how manuscripts were still being copied manually.

Theological Academy
Vazgenian Theological Academy is also located on the peninsula, not too far away from Sevanavank Monastery. The Academy was founded in 1990 and named after His Holiness Vazgen A. It works under the direct supervision of the Mother See of Holy Ejmiatsin and belongs to the Armenian Apostolic Church. 

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