Echmiadzin is a separate city which even was one of the capitals of Armenia in the 2 nd – 4 th centuries. In antiquity the site was occupied by the village of Vardkesavan . Tsar Vagarash I (117-140) chose that place for his capital in the beginning of the 2 nd century AD and named it Vagarshapat. From 163 after the Romans destroyed Artashat the city became the political, cultural and afterwards the religious and educational centre of the country.

After Christianity was adopted in 301 tsar Trdat III destroyed a pagan temple in Vagarshapat and built the Cathedral St. Echmiadzin instead. The temple's name is connected with a legend according to which St. Gregory the Illuminator had a vision of Christ descending from heavens and pointing to the site for the temple construction: "Echmiadzin" is translated as “the only begotten Son of God has descended” meaning Jesus Christ.

Since that time St. Echmiadzin is the sanctuary of Armenian Apostolic Church esteemed by all Armenians, a kind of Armenian Vatican, the religious and spiritual centre of the entire country. There, on green well-groomed territory of about 60 thousand sq meters are located St. Echmiadzin Cathedral, Theological Academy of St. Echmiadzin, the residence of the Catholicos of all Armenians, the Synod of Armenian Church, the library and the book-depository, and the monastery. The most structures were erected in the 17 th – 19 th centuries instead of the former ones.

Before 1945 the city had been called Vagarshapat; and then was renamed into Echmiadzin.


04 October 2017




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