Odzun, Lori Region, Republic of Armenia
Odzun Church is located in the central part of the village of Odzun, Lori Region. It is one of the early medieval unique religious buildings that has completely preserved its exterior appearance. Many inscriptions from different periods are craved on the walls from both outside and inside. The church is of domed basilica type.
Odzun was built in 303-313 by Trdat 3rd and was blessed by Gregory the Enlightener. Today’s appearance of the church reached us from the 8th century. The church has been repaired several times, but the dome has not been changed since its construction.
Many old stones with carvings are preserved in the walls of the church, twenty-five of which date back to the 4th century. The most remarkable sculpture depicts the Holy Mother of God with the baby Jesus.
The legend says that Thomas the Apostle, one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus, came here and blessed the priests and Christians of the village. He named the village Odzun which means "blessed' in the Armenian language. Before leaving, Thomas the Apostle buried Christ's swaddling clothes in the territory of the church.
A unique funeral monument of the 6th century stands behind the church. High stairs lead to the two arches of the monument where two rectangular steles stand. The steles are carved with the scenes depicting the propagation of Christianity. This monument is a remarkable specimen of the old Armenian religious art.
There is an ancient cemetery around the Odzun church and khachkars (cross-stones) which date back to the 13th-20th centuries. The church was built with light brown felsites stone which sparkles in the sun with different shades.