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Echmiadzin Cathedral

According to the testimony of the historian Agatangelos Echmiadzin Cathedral was founded by Gregory the Illuminator and Trdat the 3rd in 303 in the capital Vagharshapat. Echmiadzin is the 1st Christian church, since it was founded after the adoption of Christianity. According to the legend, Gregory the Illuminator had a vision where Jesus Christ descends and with a fiery hammer indicate the place where the church was founded. Hence the name of the church Echmiadzin: “the place of the descent of the Only-Beggoten”. The Cathedral is unique in that it has two altars, because besides the main altar there is a “Idjman seghan”, which was based where Jesus indicated with a fiery hammer. The construction of the Cathedral was completed in august 303 and the consecration ceremony of the Cathedral took place on the preceding Saturday of the day of the meeting of the Holy Mother and from that day till now the commemoration ceremony of the Cathedral take place on the same day. There are several versions regarding the construction place of the Cathedral: according to one version, the Cathedral was built on the place of a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Anahit (in Greek mythology Artemis), according to other version there was a temple dedicated to Spandaramet – the god of the underground kingdom, and according to excavations in 1950s on the place of the Cathedral there wasn’nt a pagan temple, there was “ojakh”, “tonir”.  There is a museum inside of the temple built in the 18th century, where are kept such sacred treasures as the Hand of Gregory the Illuminator, the Spear by which had been pierced the Jesus Christ and the plate of Noah’s Ark.
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