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View of the Armenian Zorats Church

View of the Armenian Zorats Church



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Armenian Apostolic Church

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Armenian Apostolic Church, independent Oriental Orthodox Christian church and the national church of Armenia.

According to tradition, Armenia was evangelized by the apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus. Armenia became the first country to adopt Christianity about 300 ce , when St. Gregory the Illuminator converted the Arsacid king Tiridates III. The new Armenian church soon struck a course independent of the founding church at Caesarea Cappadociae (now Kayseri, Turkey), though it developed in close relationship with the Syrians, who provided it with scriptures and liturgy and much of its basic institutional terminology. The Armenian church’s dependence on the Syriac alphabet ended in the 5th century, when Mesrop Mashtots invented an Armenian alphabet and undertook numerous translations of the scriptures into Armenian.

In 506 at the Council of Dvin, the Armenian church rejected the ruling of the Council of Chalcedon (451) that the one person of Jesus Christ consists of two natures, one divine and one human. The Armenian church was one of several Eastern churches that confessed the Christological formula of St. Cyril of Alexandria, which proclaimed “one incarnate nature of the Word.” After Chalcedon, the Armenian church was considered by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches to be monophysite—i.e., taking the theological view that Christ had only one, divine nature (physis), despite his incarnation in a human body. But like the other “pre-Chalcedon” or Oriental Orthodox churches—churches in the Caucasus, the Middle East, and Asia that did not offer allegiance to Rome or to Constantinople—the Armenian Apostolic Church in fact rejected monophysitism and promoted a doctrinal position known as miaphysitism, which holds that both divinity and humanity are equally present within a single (hence the Greek prefix mia-) nature in the person of Christ. When the Georgian church broke away from the Armenians and reunited with Eastern Orthodoxy in the early 7th century, the Armenians remained in communion with the other Oriental Orthodox churches.

Gregory the Illuminator, the first head of the Armenian church, and his early successors had their residence at Ejmiadzin. It was moved to Dvin from 485 to 927 and then was located variously until 1293, when the catholicosate (the church’s highest ecclesiastical administrative office) was transferred to the Cilician capital, Sis (now Kozan, Turkey), where it remained after the fall of Cilicia to the Muslim Mamlūks of Egypt. In the 15th century Gregory IX Musabegian rejected efforts to transfer the see (ecclesiastical jurisdiction) to eastern Armenia in order to withdraw it from Roman influence. A synod of 17 bishops deposed him, and the monk Kirakos was elected catholicos at Ejmiadzin in 1441, the first in a long line of prelates bearing the title “Catholicos of All Armenians.”

The Armenian Apostolic Church comprises four sees. Two are catholicosates, at Ejmiadzin and Cilicia (now based in Antelias, Lebanon). There are also two patriarchates, at Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey) and Jerusalem, respectively. The catholicos of Ejmiadzin is generally recognized as the head of the whole church and bears the title “Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.” The catholicos at Cilicia, who bears the title “Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia,” owes the catholicos of Ejmiadzin spiritual allegiance but retains administrative autonomy. Relationships between the catholicoses have on occasion been strained by political tensions. Whereas the supreme catholicos resides in Armenia, Armenian nationalists (Dashnaks) tend to support the see of Cilicia. This division is reflected among North American Armenians.

The patriarchates of Constantinople and Jerusalem are of relatively recent origin and recognize the supremacy of Ejmiadzin. The patriarchate of Jerusalem was founded early in the 14th century when the monastery of St. James in Jerusalem proclaimed its bishop Sargis an independent patriarch. The patriarchate of Constantinople was created in 1461 by the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II, who appointed a local bishop to be the religious leader of the entire Armenian community in the Ottoman Empire. Because the territory involved included the majority of Armenians, the patriarch of Constantinople, while owing spiritual allegiance to Ejmiadzin, was effectively the most powerful prelate in the Armenian church until the end of the Ottoman Empire after World War I.

The Armenian Apostolic Church is seen by many as the custodian of Armenian national identity. It is a member of the World Council of Churches and has participated in ecumenical endeavours. Alongside other Oriental Orthodox churches, it participated since the late 20th century in dialogues with both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches in efforts to resolve doctrinal disputes dating back to the Council of Chalcedon. Many of these issues have been resolved.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Matt Stefon, Assistant Editor.


One Day Cultural Tour to Noravank

Our one day cultural tour to Noravank will start from Khor Virap and will end with the observation of bezoar goats in Shatin village. During this tour you will discover the hidden beauties of Vayots Dzor region. You will have an opportunity to communicate with culture, architecture, history and nature. Early in the morning we will drive from Yerevan to Khor Virap. From the territory of Khor Virap monastery you will enjoy the most magnificent view of Mount Ararat. This monastery is famous not only for its spectacular view of Mount Ararat, but also for its historical significance. This was where St. Gregory the Illuminator was thrown into a pit and imprisoned for 13 years by the king Tiridates III.

One Day Cultural Tour to Noravank

Khor Virap literally means a “deep pit”. You can descend into the pit and feel what sufferings Gregory experienced centuries ago. You will also learn why this place was considered sacred and why the Church was later built on it.

Afterwards, we will visit the Areni Wine factory. There you will take a tour through the factory, get acquainted with the process of wine making and feel the unforgettable taste of Armenian wines.

Then we will continue our tour to Noravank. Noravank is a medieval Armenian monastery which is outstanding with both its architecture and the surrounding marvelous scenery. It is believed that in the place of the monastery there used to be a sacred site. And later in the 12th century the monastery was built in the territory of two earlier churches. After admiring the monastery we will have lunch.

One Day Cultural Tour to Noravank

After lu nch we will visit the Areni 1 cave which is considered to have the oldest wine production facility. It is also the place where the oldest leather shoe known in the world was discovered by an international team of archeologists in 2008.

Our next destination is Yeghegis village where we will visit Zorats church and a Jewish cemetery. The cemetery is the historical evidence of the Jewish community in Armenia. The oldest tombstone is dated 1266 and the latest 1346, showing the cemetery was in use for at least 80 years. This cemetery is thought to be one of the biggest Jewish cemeteries in the world. Another site of Yeghegis village is Zorats church. Zorats is completely unique among Armenian churches. It is the only Armenian church that has an open-air altar. It was constructed in such a way so that the warriors sitting on their horses could enter the church and get blessed before going to war. In the 20th century the church was renovated.

One Day Cultural Tour to Noravank

Our tour will end at Shatin village, where we’ll watch bezoar goats. The special observatory called “Ditaket” will give you an opportunity to observe the bezoar goats, to see how they go down the canyon to drink water. If you visit the observatory during the mating season you will also get a chance to see the male goats which have striking horns.


The role of religion in Armenia and minorities

Even though there are not so many actively practicing religious Armenians these days, the Armenian identity is deeply connected with the Christian identity of our nation. That’s why when asked about the religion they follow, most Armenians would promptly say they’re Christian, even though they are not practicing their religion much. As a result, official studies suggest that Armenia is the second most religious country among 34 European countries [source: Pew research].

More than 92% of religious people identify themselves as followers of the Armenian Apostolic Church. This number shouldn’t be surprising, as 98% and more people living in Armenia are ethnic Armenians. And as I mentioned earlier, Christianity has become infused with Armenian ethnicity.

Altar in Khor Virap. Photo credits: Taken on Pixabay

The special church in a secular country

According to the legislation, Armenia is a secular country and doesn’t have a state religion. The Freedom of faith and religion is legally there, so all religions are equal. Unfortunately though, there is no anti-discrimination law yet to fully protect religious minorities. Along with this, the Law also states the importance of the Armenian Apostolic Church and its role in uniting the grand majority of the population. It’s also exempt from taxes whereas religious minorities are not.

Religious minorities and their places of worship

Religious minorities comprise other branches of Christianity like Evangelical and Catholic. Yazidis, Mormons, JWs, Pagans, Protestants, Molokans and Muslims. Altogether make up only 3.6% of the whole population. The number of non-religious people in Armenia is 4%.

All religious minorities are allowed to build, visit and perform ceremonies in their places of worship. The Blue Mosque in Yerevan is a vivid example. Pagans hold rites and ceremonies in Garni temple, Zorats Karer astrological monument in Syunik and in similar outdoor spaces. JWs, Mormons and Evangelical groups have their worship buildings and shrines in different big and small towns.

Some religious groups usually live in small communities or are spread around a geographical area. You can see new and old beautiful Catholic churches in Gyumri, Bavra, and many other villages where Catholic Armenians live. Yazidis have one major temple in Aknalich village, the largest Yazidi temple in the world!


Unseen Armenia: From Avarayr to Getikvank

Vayots Dzor:
Traveling south from Yerevan towards Artsakh, after passing through the province of Ararat, the main highway enters Vayots Dzor. Shortly thereafter, there is the village of Areni which is famous for its wine, and where the world’s oldest shoe was found in a cave. Nearby is the spectacular Noravank Monastery.

Vayots Dzor has an abundance of sites of scenic beauty and historical significance, such as the 14th century Spitakavor monastery, near the village of Vernashen. In 1987, during the Soviet era, the remains of Armenian hero and freedom fighter Garegin Njdeh were secretly smuggled onto this site from the soviet prison camp where he died, and reinterred in his sacred Armenian soil. From near the monastery, the fortress of Boloraberd / Proshaberd is clearly visible and accessible to hikers.

This region is also home to Smbataberd, an impressive fortress which was considered impregnable, sitting atop a mountain with a spectacular view and command of the surrounding valleys and villages. A narrow dirt and gravel road, with the valley below to the right, leads to the fortress. We ascended to the fort in a 4WD Niva, but there is no room for error here, and no room to turn around if another vehicle approaches from the opposite direction. At the summit of the hill near the entrance to the fort, however, there is room to turn around. Invading Turks, unable to capture this fort militarily, took the fort by interrupting its water supply.

There are a number of other interesting sites nearby which are accessible by car. In the beautiful village of Yeghegis are a number of churches, the most unusual being St. Zorats Cathedral, 1303 a unique open air church. Armenian cavalry detachments would attend church service on horseback, facing the altar from the field in front of the church. They, and their weapons, would receive blessings before riding off to battle. During medieval times this area was under the jurisdiction of the Orbeli dynasty, which produced a number of outstanding clergymen, diplomats, military leaders, and scholars.

Getikvank:
My map of Armenia showed a road ascending the local heights following the course of the Yeghegis river, ending at Getikvank, with a church icon on my map marking the end of the road. A poor but passable dirt road brought us to the destroyed village which, for a long time, remained uninhabited. From spring until fall, however, local villagers encamp here in this yayla with their families, pasturing their livestock on nearby fields. Most of the families are from Shatin, a nearby village with the scenic Shativank monastery in the hills above the village, accessible via a poor dirt road.

In the yayla, women sitting in the shade of a stone wall initially declined to be photographed, until I convinced them that I was worse dressed than they were. Children were playing a young boy posing for me while his older cousin kept an eye on him. A gentleman from Shatin, with an interest in this region’s history, took me to the few stones that remained from the church’s foundation. The church was surrounded by beehives to the left, and yeghinj (stinging nettle plants) to the right. I chose passage through the nettle at least the nettle would not fly after me to sting me repeatedly! Nearby were some tombstones, including those of clergymen. The date and name of the church is unknown but the village historian indicated that this was probably from the dawn of Armenian Christianity—perhaps from the 4th century.

Around 1604, when Persian Shah Abbas’ forcibly deported the Armenians to Persia, much of this area became void of Armenians a scorched earth policy intended to prevent Turkish invaders from living off the land and its Armenian population during Turkish–Persian conflicts to dominate this area. Without Armenians, Armenian monuments were neglected or vandalized when Turkish tribes moved in. Later, the Treaty of Turkmanchi (1828) between Persia and Russia, allowed Armenians whose families were forcefully deported to Persia to return home. As Armenians returned, many Turks and other non-Armenians moved out. The Russian writer and diplomat who helped negotiate the right of return, Aleksander Griboyedov, is credited with helping to restore the Armenian population here. He was subsequently murdered by a Persian mob. He is a hero in Armenia, with his statue standing on Tigran Mets Avenue in Yerevan and with a village named after him.

In a nearby village, one resident indicated that his ancestors came from Persia (Iran). “But,” he insisted, “We’re not Barsgahyes!” (Persian-Armenians), signifying his ancestors were from this area, forcefully deported to Persia, with subsequent generations of his family returning to Armenia.

Retreat from Avarayr:
Pointing to the mountains about 25 miles to the Northeast, our village historian in Getivank indicated that there were graves of Vartan Mamikonian’s soldiers there who survived the Battle of Avarayr (451 AD) and were withdrawing towards Artsakh. He indicated that, in his youth, he hiked there and saw the gravesites. As far as I know, there have been no archaeological investigations of that site. But, according to a number of medieval histories, survivors from Avarayr, pursued by Persians, retreated through this area.

Stepanos Orbelian (1250 – 1303), in his “History of Sisakan” (excerpt of translation by Robert Bedrosian below) relates how Armenian survivors of Avarayr were relentlessly pursued by Persians as the Armenians were seeking safety. The nearby Tsaghatskar (Tsakhatskar) monastery originally was a memorial built on or near the site of the slaughter of Avarayr warriors. Historian Stepanos Orbelian states:

[The Persians] advanced farther and killed 300 more [Christians] by the waters located between [the villages] called Ostink’ and Artaboynk’. Subsequently the residents of the area built a church over this spot. Then the Persians crossed a gorge on the left, overlooking the holy convent called Ts’aghats’k’ar, situated on an elevation between the two villages mentioned above, and there they massacred a very large number of sepuhs and elite warriors.

Artaboynk village is in a mountainous area which surely must have been an attractive site from which to present a military defense. Our village historian also told us of a nearby monument dedicated to Vartan and his soldiers. It was not clear if this was an ancient monument or a more recent one, but we were unable to find it.

The Vartanantz War:
The Vartanantz war with Persia was fought over the right of Armenia to remain a Christian nation, with Armenia refusing to obey Persian demands to abandon Christianity and convert to Zoroastrianism. Vartan Mamikonian, the hereditary commander in chief of Armenian forces, was killed in the Battle of Avarayr and subsequently sainted. The numerically smaller Armenian army, however, inflicted disproportionally large casualties on the Persian forces but lost the battle. Armenians continued to wage a guerilla war for decades under the leadership of Kayl Vahan (Wolf Vahan), the nephew of Vartan. The conflict ended with the Treaty of Nvarsak (484 AD) which guaranteed Armenia religious freedom, the first known treaty to guarantee freedom of religion. The Mamikonians continued as hereditary commanders of Armenia’s armed forces, though the Armenia continued to pay tribute to Persia in the form of taxes and military service.

References:
1. History of Vayots Dzor
2. Armenia and Karabakh: The Stone Garden Travel Guide, by Matthew Karanian and Robert Kurkjian
3. Rediscovering Armenia, Guide: Brady Kiesling, Raffi Kojian
4. History of Syunik, Stepanos Orbelian, translation by Robert Bedrosian


Unseen Armenia: From Avarayr to Getikvank

Vayots Dzor:
Traveling south from Yerevan towards Artsakh, after passing through the province of Ararat, the main highway enters Vayots Dzor. Shortly thereafter, there is the village of Areni which is famous for its wine, and where the world’s oldest shoe was found in a cave. Nearby is the spectacular Noravank Monastery.

Vayots Dzor has an abundance of sites of scenic beauty and historical significance, such as the 14th century Spitakavor monastery, near the village of Vernashen. In 1987, during the Soviet era, the remains of Armenian hero and freedom fighter Garegin Njdeh were secretly smuggled onto this site from the soviet prison camp where he died, and reinterred in his sacred Armenian soil. From near the monastery, the fortress of Boloraberd / Proshaberd is clearly visible and accessible to hikers.

This region is also home to Smbataberd, an impressive fortress which was considered impregnable, sitting atop a mountain with a spectacular view and command of the surrounding valleys and villages. A narrow dirt and gravel road, with the valley below to the right, leads to the fortress. We ascended to the fort in a 4WD Niva, but there is no room for error here, and no room to turn around if another vehicle approaches from the opposite direction. At the summit of the hill near the entrance to the fort, however, there is room to turn around. Invading Turks, unable to capture this fort militarily, took the fort by interrupting its water supply.

There are a number of other interesting sites nearby which are accessible by car. In the beautiful village of Yeghegis are a number of churches, the most unusual being St. Zorats Cathedral, 1303 a unique open air church. Armenian cavalry detachments would attend church service on horseback, facing the altar from the field in front of the church. They, and their weapons, would receive blessings before riding off to battle. During medieval times this area was under the jurisdiction of the Orbeli dynasty, which produced a number of outstanding clergymen, diplomats, military leaders, and scholars.

Getikvank:
My map of Armenia showed a road ascending the local heights following the course of the Yeghegis river, ending at Getikvank, with a church icon on my map marking the end of the road. A poor but passable dirt road brought us to the destroyed village which, for a long time, remained uninhabited. From spring until fall, however, local villagers encamp here in this yayla with their families, pasturing their livestock on nearby fields. Most of the families are from Shatin, a nearby village with the scenic Shativank monastery in the hills above the village, accessible via a poor dirt road.

In the yayla, women sitting in the shade of a stone wall initially declined to be photographed, until I convinced them that I was worse dressed than they were. Children were playing a young boy posing for me while his older cousin kept an eye on him. A gentleman from Shatin, with an interest in this region’s history, took me to the few stones that remained from the church’s foundation. The church was surrounded by beehives to the left, and yeghinj (stinging nettle plants) to the right. I chose passage through the nettle at least the nettle would not fly after me to sting me repeatedly! Nearby were some tombstones, including those of clergymen. The date and name of the church is unknown but the village historian indicated that this was probably from the dawn of Armenian Christianity—perhaps from the 4th century.

Around 1604, when Persian Shah Abbas’ forcibly deported the Armenians to Persia, much of this area became void of Armenians a scorched earth policy intended to prevent Turkish invaders from living off the land and its Armenian population during Turkish–Persian conflicts to dominate this area. Without Armenians, Armenian monuments were neglected or vandalized when Turkish tribes moved in. Later, the Treaty of Turkmanchi (1828) between Persia and Russia, allowed Armenians whose families were forcefully deported to Persia to return home. As Armenians returned, many Turks and other non-Armenians moved out. The Russian writer and diplomat who helped negotiate the right of return, Aleksander Griboyedov, is credited with helping to restore the Armenian population here. He was subsequently murdered by a Persian mob. He is a hero in Armenia, with his statue standing on Tigran Mets Avenue in Yerevan and with a village named after him.

In a nearby village, one resident indicated that his ancestors came from Persia (Iran). “But,” he insisted, “We’re not Barsgahyes!” (Persian-Armenians), signifying his ancestors were from this area, forcefully deported to Persia, with subsequent generations of his family returning to Armenia.

Retreat from Avarayr:
Pointing to the mountains about 25 miles to the Northeast, our village historian in Getivank indicated that there were graves of Vartan Mamikonian’s soldiers there who survived the Battle of Avarayr (451 AD) and were withdrawing towards Artsakh. He indicated that, in his youth, he hiked there and saw the gravesites. As far as I know, there have been no archaeological investigations of that site. But, according to a number of medieval histories, survivors from Avarayr, pursued by Persians, retreated through this area.

Stepanos Orbelian (1250 – 1303), in his “History of Sisakan” (excerpt of translation by Robert Bedrosian below) relates how Armenian survivors of Avarayr were relentlessly pursued by Persians as the Armenians were seeking safety. The nearby Tsaghatskar (Tsakhatskar) monastery originally was a memorial built on or near the site of the slaughter of Avarayr warriors. Historian Stepanos Orbelian states:

[The Persians] advanced farther and killed 300 more [Christians] by the waters located between [the villages] called Ostink’ and Artaboynk’. Subsequently the residents of the area built a church over this spot. Then the Persians crossed a gorge on the left, overlooking the holy convent called Ts’aghats’k’ar, situated on an elevation between the two villages mentioned above, and there they massacred a very large number of sepuhs and elite warriors.

Artaboynk village is in a mountainous area which surely must have been an attractive site from which to present a military defense. Our village historian also told us of a nearby monument dedicated to Vartan and his soldiers. It was not clear if this was an ancient monument or a more recent one, but we were unable to find it.

The Vartanantz War:
The Vartanantz war with Persia was fought over the right of Armenia to remain a Christian nation, with Armenia refusing to obey Persian demands to abandon Christianity and convert to Zoroastrianism. Vartan Mamikonian, the hereditary commander in chief of Armenian forces, was killed in the Battle of Avarayr and subsequently sainted. The numerically smaller Armenian army, however, inflicted disproportionally large casualties on the Persian forces but lost the battle. Armenians continued to wage a guerilla war for decades under the leadership of Kayl Vahan (Wolf Vahan), the nephew of Vartan. The conflict ended with the Treaty of Nvarsak (484 AD) which guaranteed Armenia religious freedom, the first known treaty to guarantee freedom of religion. The Mamikonians continued as hereditary commanders of Armenia’s armed forces, though the Armenia continued to pay tribute to Persia in the form of taxes and military service.

References:
1. History of Vayots Dzor
2. Armenia and Karabakh: The Stone Garden Travel Guide, by Matthew Karanian and Robert Kurkjian
3. Rediscovering Armenia, Guide: Brady Kiesling, Raffi Kojian
4. History of Syunik, Stepanos Orbelian, translation by Robert Bedrosian


External links

  • Ghazar P'arpec'i, History of the Armenians and Letter to Vahan Mamikonean, trans. R. Bedrosian, (1985)
  • Hacikyan, A. J. (Editor), The Heritage of Armenian Literature: From the Oral Tradition to the Golden Age (Heritage of Armenian Literature, vol. 1), (Detroit, 2000) [PK 8532 .H47 2000 vol.1] [anthology of Armenian texts]
  • Koriun, The Life of Mashtots, trans. B. Norehad, (New York: Caravan, 1985) [hagiography of the monk who invented the Armenian alphabet]
  • Lewond, The History of Lewond, trans. Z. Arzoumanian, (Philadelphia, 1982) [History of the Arab conquest of Armenia, 7C-8C]
  • Movses KhorenatsiMoses of Chorene, History of the Armenians (trans. R. Thomson, Harvard, 1978)

Primary Sources

  • The Armenian genocide – Director Andrew Goldberg. (During World War I, over 1,500,000 million Armenians died at the hands of the Ottoman Turks in dead camps of Western Armenia and Syrian deserts and 1,500,000 were forcely islamized and turkified. Another 600,000 Armenians escaped to Eastern Armenia in Russian Empire). 2006
  • Seven Songs About Armenia (Yot yerg Hayastani masin) – doc. Director Grigoriy Melik-Avagyan 1972
  • Armenian Eyes (Haykakan achker), (documentary).1980 Ruben Gevorgyants
  • The Manuscript of independence (Matyan Ankakhutyan) This film is dedicated to the 10th Anniversary of independence of Armenia. Director Levon Mkrtchyan 2002

Films

Books

  • Chahin, M. 1987. The Kingdom of Armenia. Reprint: Dorset Press, New York. 1991.
  • Lang, David Marshall. 1980. Armenia: Cradle of Civilization. 3rd Edition, corrected. George Allen & Unwin. London.
  • Luttwak, Edward N. 1976. The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire: From the First Century A.D. to the Third. Johns Hopkins University Press. Paperback Edition, 1979.
  • George A. Bournoutian, A History of the Armenian People, 2 vol. (1994)
  • I. M. Diakonoff, The Pre-History of the Armenian People (revised, trans. Lori Jennings), Caravan Books, New York (1984), ISBN 0-88206-039-2.
  • M. Chahin, The Kingdom of Armenia (1987, reissued 1991)
  • Nicholas Adontz, Armenia in the Period of Justinian: The Political Conditions Based on the Naxarar System, trans. Nina G. Garsoïan (1970)
  • George A. Bournoutian, Eastern Armenia in the Last Decades of Persian Rule, 1807–1828: A Political and Socioeconomic Study of the Khanate of Erevan on the Eve of the Russian Conquest (1982)

Louise Nalbandian, The Armenian Revolutionary Movement: The Development of Armenian Political Parties Through the Nineteenth Century (1963).

  • Comprehensive list of historical documents relating to the treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire

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Bike Armenia Tour Route

The half day and one day itineraries are recommended trips that start from Yerevan. For two day trips or longer, overnight stay locations are in italics. (Sites in parenthesis are optional) Crossed out sites mean that you probably do not want to go unless you have a 4x4 vehicle, or are willing to take a long hike. To see ratings of how much I like particular sites, visit the site ratings page. Many of these places may be very difficult to find without a copy of Rediscovering Armenia Guidebook

HALF DAY TRIPS

    -> Geghard (although a popular half day trip, it is a waste not to incorporate it into a larger trip)
  • Mughni -> Hovhannavank -> Saghmosavank
  • Hripsime -> (Vogharshapat) -> Echmiadzin -> Gayane
  • Aruj Cathedral -> Aruj Caravanserai -> Talin Cathedral -> Dashtatem Fortress
  • Karmravor -> Mariane-> Mughni-> Hovhannavank-> Saghmosavank
  • Ptghni -> Avan Museum and Monument
  • HIKE from Odzun -> Horomayri -> Kobayr
  • HIKE from Garni -> Havuts Tar -> Geghard
  • HIKE from Sanahin -> Haghpat

ONE DAY TRIPS

All assume you begin the day in Yerevan, and give you time to return to Yerevan if you'd like. Or you can look at the 2 day trips, and combine one of these with one of those, which begin outside of Yerevan.

  • Climb Mt. Aragats
  • Garni Temple -> Garni Gorge -> hike to Havuts Tar and back -> Geghard
  • Amberd Fortress -> Byurakan Observatory -> Byurakan Church -> Tegherivank Monastery
  • Yeghegis Church-> Teghenyats Monastery (hike final portion) -> Tegherivank

(Shativank) -> Tsakhatskar -> Smbatabert

  • Bjhni Church -> Bjhni Fortress -> Makravan -> Kecharis
  • Aruj Cathedral -> Aruj Caravanserai -> Talin Cathedral -> Dashtatem Fortress -> Mastara -> Gyumri
  • Aruj Cathedral -> Aruj Caravanserai -> Talin Cathedral -> Mastara -> Harichavank -> Gyumri -> Marmashen
  • Sardarapat -> Yereruyk -> Ani Overlook (if possible) -> Gyumri -> Marmashen
  • Khor Virap -> Surp Karapet -> Areni -> Noravank -> Zorats (or Glazdor)
  • Lake Sevan (Sevanavank, Hayravank, Noratus, Vanevan, Makenyats)
  • Erebuni Museum -> Shengavit -> Metsamor Museum
  • Khor Virap -> Surp Karapet -> Selim Caravanserai -> Noratus -> Hayravank -> Sevan Monastery
  • Kecharis -> Dilijan -> Haghartsin -> Goshavank -> (Aghjkaghala)

TWO DAY TRIPS

These trips are better if you overnight in or near the town where they begin. You may seriously cut into your day and spend too much of your time in the car if you start from Yerevan, but it is doable. If you combine one of these with a trip above that takes you closer to the general area these trips begin, you'll save a lot of travel time and expense.

    -> Makaravank -> Akhtala -> Haghpat -> Sanahin -> Odzun -> Kobayr -> Satan's Bridge -> Tatev -> Bgheno-Noravank
  • Goris -> Khndzoresk -> Dzidzernavank
  • Goris -> Bgheno-Noravank -> Kapan -> Vahanavank -> Baghaberd -> (Meghri) -> Sisavan Church -> Waterfall -> Sisian Museum -> Aghudi Memorial -> Vorotnavank -> Shamb
  • Sisian -> Ughtasar /Sanahin -> Akhtala -> Haghpat -> Sanahin -> Odzun -> Horomayri -> Ardvi -> Kobayr
  • Alaverdi/Sanahin -> Arakelots -> Kirants
  • Alaverdi/Sanahin -> Mt. Lalvar -> Khorakert
  • Alaverdi/Sanahin -> H'nevank -> Lori Berd -> Khuchapi /Ijevan -> Nor Varagavank Monastery -> Berd Fortress -> (Khoranashat, after peace treaty is signed)
  • Dilijan/Ijevan -> Yenokavan Canyon and cave with prepackaged camp/tour -> Shativank Monastery -> Tsakhats Kar Monastery-> Smbataberd Fortress
  • Yeghegnadzor -> Yeghegis Church-> Zorats Cathedral -> Jewish Cemetary -> Arates Monastery
  • Jermuk -> Spend one or more nights in Jermuk soaking in mineral springs, hiking, and exploring Gndevank -> S'khtorashen tree -> Amaras Monastery -> G'tichavank Monastery
  • Stepanakert -> Askeran Fortress -> Aghdam Ghost Town-> Dadivank Monastery

ALMOST EVERYTHING IN ONE TRIP

14 days & nights, 90 sites, non-stop

(Dvin) -> Khor Virap -> Noravank -> Tsakhats Kar -> Smbatabert -> Zorats -> Yeghegnadzor -> Spitakavor -> Boloraberd -> Tanade -> S. Khach -> G'ndevank -> Jermuk -> Zorakarer -> Sisavan -> Aghudi -> Vorotnavank -> Kotrats Caravanserai -> Goris -> Tatev -> Bgheno-Noravank -> (Yeritsavank) -> (Halidzor) -> Vahanavank -> Baghaberd -> Kapan -> Khndzoresk -> Tsitsernavank -> Shushi -> Stepanakert -> S'khtorashen -> Amaras -> G'tichavank -> Stepanakert -> Aghdam -> Gandzasar -> Dadivank -> (via Kelbajar pass continue to Lake Sevan) -> Makenyats -> Vanevank -> (Selim Caravanserai) -> Noratus -> Hayravank -> Sevanavank & Beaches (beachfront hotel) -> Dilijan -> Haghartsin -> Goshavank -> Makaravank -> Arakelots -> Kirants -> Alaverdi -> Akhtala -> Haghpat -> Sanahin -> Odzun -> Kobayr -> Hnevank -> Lori Berd -> Stepanavan -> (Dendropark) -> Marmashen -> Gyumri -> Harich -> Lmbatavank -> (Makaravank) -> Mastara -> Talin Cathedral -> Dashtadem -> (Kristapori Vank) -> Sardarapat -> Echmiadzin Cathedral & Museums -> (Gayane) -> Hripsime -> Zvartnots -> Echmiadzin -> Karmravor -> Mariane -> Tegher -> Amberd -> Byurakan B&B (Observatory) -> Saghmosavank -> Hovhannavank -> Mughni -> Garni -> (Havuts Tar) -> Geghard -> YEREVAN

It is really possible to do this "almost everything trip", and in 14 days at that, but it is more of an example than a recommendation. You would be rushing like mad, and would almost certainly need a 4x4 and someone who speaks eastern Armenian or Russian along with you. but if you do try it, buy tons of film and tell me all about your trip! :-)


Life in America: Descendants of the Armenian Genocide

This story was originally published in the April issue of ICC’s Persecution magazine.

04/15/2021 United States (International Christian Concern) For descendants of the Armenian genocide living in America today, the heart-aching reality of their history is something they never want to experience first-hand. As Turkey and Azerbaijan continue to spread their ideology throughout the region and the world, anti-Armenian rhetoric and hate crimes are spilling over onto U.S. soil.

Many displaced Armenians came to America to seek refuge and find safety under the blanket of religious freedom. Now, the stories Armenians grew up listening to from their grandparents are being replayed in real-time in front of their eyes.

Death March
Lucy is one of those who grew up listening to these stories from her grandfather.

Lucy was born in Soviet Armenia. Her paternal grandparents were on a death march in the early 1920s.

“It’s kind of funny because anytime you ask an Armenian where they are from, regardless of whether we were born in Massachusetts, if we were born in Fresno, California…when you ask that question, what you are really asking is ‘Where were your grandparents from?’ We never really stopped looking for our families because, in 1915, there was a systematic effort on the part of the Ottoman Empire to exterminate Armenians,” said Lucy.

Trickle-Down Intolerance
Today, Turkey continues to deny the history of the Armenian genocide. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is power-hungry and does not tolerate anyone who creates opposition to his viewpoint within Turkey and beyond its borders.

“For example, when Erdoğan was visiting Washington, D.C. a couple of years ago, there were individuals who were protesting his visit. Erdogan’s bodyguards beat up these individuals. When they returned to Turkey, they were celebrated.”

Erdoğan seemingly wants to build Turkey to the power of the Ottoman Empire, a superiority complex that has infiltrated its way throughout the world… into our own backyards.

On U.S. Soil
The first skirmishes of the conflict in Artsakh happened on July 12th, 2020. Just 12 days later, in San Francisco, an elementary school located inside a church was attacked. Over the course of the next several months, numerous attacks targeting Armenian Americans occurred.

In the first incident, vandals spray-painted “Azerbaijan” in the colors of the Azerbaijani flag on the property of an Armenian elementary school. Families coming into the school the following morning were confronted by the vandalism.

On September 17th, the Armenian church in San Francisco was set ablaze. At this time, the same elementary school was fired upon by a gunman.

False Security
Last year, red cross markings appeared on the front doors of Armenian households, a tactic used during the anti-Armenian pilgrimage in Sumgait. In 1988, a red cross on your door indicated that the inhabitants would soon be killed.

“These weren’t isolated, and they weren’t separate. This happened in 2020, not 1920,” said Lucy. “When you had a red cross on your door when you were 10- or 11-years-old when you first saw that, you are now seeing it as a 40- or 50-year old. That’s a little bit hard to imagine because you’re now being attacked on peaceful soil in a country that accepts and celebrates diversity.”

Many Armenians from Sumgait ended up immigrating to the United States, and a fairly large population of Armenians escaped those pilgrims in San Francisco.

“In a country that was built upon one’s ability to practice its religion, that is being challenged by something that is 7,000 miles away. But, is it? Is it 7,000 miles away if it’s happening to you in your own city?” Lucy adds. “How does that feel if you are living in what you think is a modern, western society and hate crimes are happening around you? You are now having these feelings of what your grandparents had shared with you as a grandchild of genocide survivors. What does that say about your sense of security, about your sense of freedom, about your sense to identify yourself as who you are—a Christian and an Armenian—when all you know is what your grandparents had told you is that your family was persecuted because they were Armenian Christians.”

A Descendant of Two Genocides
Anahit’s mother and father are Assyrian and Armenian, both groups of people subjected to genocide at the end of the 19th century and during World War I.

“My grandfather used to live in a village in Iran called Khosrova (Husrava), where I get my last name. During World War I, Ottomans were just entering those villages because of the genocide of the Christian population (Ottoman Christians). In Iran, we used to have 70,000 Assyrians who were subjected to genocide, also by the Ottomans. My grandfather’s family was one of those families. He lost a lot of members, such as his older brother and his father,” said Anahit.

According to documents in the Armenian National Archive, on January 2-3, 15,000 refugees came from that Iranian territory, escaping the Ottoman genocide. Anahit’s grandfather was one of them.

“There are so many sad stories, so many sad stories. And being the kid, sometimes you don’t even realize and maybe it becomes boring when you hear those stories. But you grow up and you see, especially now, history repeats itself.”


Worldwide Apostolic Churches

The Following is a List of Apostolic Churches around the World linked to the church website or Wikipedia page:

1. The Armenian Apostolic Church, the national church of the Armenian people. Part of Oriental Orthodoxy

3. Apostolic Christian Church, worldwide Christian denomination in the Anabaptist tradition

4. Apostolic Church (Czechoslovakia), a Pentecostal denomination now divided into:

- Apostolic Church (Czech Republic)

- Apostolic Church (Slovakia)

5. Catholic Apostolic Church, formed in 1835, the church movement associated with Edward Irving

6. Old Apostolic Church, Christian faith community with roots in the Catholic Apostolic Church. The Old Apostolic Church is a branch of Christianity separate from Protestantism and Catholicism.

7. New Apostolic Church, formed in 1863, a chiliastic Christian church that split from the Catholic Apostolic Church during an 1863 schism in Hamburg, Germany

8. United Apostolic Church, independent communities in the tradition of the catholic apostolic revival movement which started at the beginning of the 19th century in England and Scotland. The church also includes:

- Apostolic Church of Queensland

- Apostolic Church of South Africa – Apostle Unity

This article is part of our Denomination Series listing historical facts and theological information about different factions within and from the Christian religion. We provide these articles to help you understand the distinctions between denominations including origin, leadership, doctrine, and beliefs. Explore the various characteristics of different denominations from our list below!


Watch the video: ARMENIAN AVI (August 2022).