Sevan, Gegharkunik Region, Republic of Armenia
Sevanavank monastery is located on a peninsula of Lake Sevan, the church was founded by Gregory Enlightener in 305. In 301, when the King Trdat adopted Christianity as a state religion, everywhere were built Christian churches. Gregory founded the first two churches of the complex and called St. Harutyun and St. Karapet.
The peninsula had been surrounded by high gates still in Bronze Age which proved during the excavations. On the same site of the church was once a pagan temple. In the 9th century, Syunyats Princes settled here and in 874. The daughter of Ashot Bagratuni Mariam who was a wife of Syunats Prince Vasak, built two churches: Saint Arakelots and Saint Astvatsatsin. In St. Arakelots was kept an inscription about the construction of the church in 874.The monastery includes Saint Karapet church, Saint Arakelots and the remains of Saint Harutyun monastic cells and courtyard.
The church was developed center during the reign of Mashtots Eghivardetsi, a Catholicos of Sevanavank. According to the historian Stepanos Orbelian, Mashtots saw a dream in which he gets the order to built churches with the names of 12 Apostles․ Then the apostles come over the Lake Sevan and appointed the place of the new church. After his dream by the help of duchess Mariam, he built the second church and called it Saint Astvatsatsin.
In the western side of St. Astvatsatsin church was the courtyard, one of the oldest buildings in Armenia, it preserved until 1930. The columns with wooden carved heads are kept in the History Museum of Armenia. It was suggested that they were brought the church from the royal palaces. In the top of the hill was found the remains of a domed church. In the are of the complex are many ancient and interesting green khachkars which were carved from a plentiful local green stone.
Here lived and worked one of the famous Armenian Historians and Catholicos Draskhanakertsi. In the period of Mongolian invasions, the monastery was damaged but in 1441, the seat of Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin started the reconstruction of the Church. Several years later was founded the University of Sevanavank which had the same program of Tatev University.