Zoravor Surb Astvatsatsin Church


icon-mapGhazar Parpetsi St, Republic of Armenia, Yerevan

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Zoravor Surp Astvatsatsin Church is one of the oldest surviving churches in Yerevan. The former name was Saint Astvatsatsin(Holy Mother of God). But the name was changed because in the church are the bible (dates back to the13th century) of Zoravor. It is located in the Shahar District of Old  Yerevan. In the same district were located the tomb and the chapel of Ananias the Apostle. Once this chapel was looked upon as a famous sanctuary.

Monk Movses Syunetsi built a monastery complex with the financial support of the locals of Yerevan during the 1st half of the 17th century. The complex included the Surp Astvatsatsin church and the chapel of Saint Anania. Then a monastic school was added to the complex. Unfortunately, the newly built monastery complex did not last long because of the Great earthquake of 1679.

The nowadays Saint Zoravor Astvatsatsin Church was built in 1693-1694, on the same place of the former monastery. The church was built with the help donation of Khoja Panos who was one of the wealthiest residents of Yerevan. The church was renovated by Gabriel Haryurapet during the reign of Catholicos Luke I.  The proof of it was the inscription recorded 100 years after its construction.

The church has a style of three-nave basilica type without a dome. The main altar is on the eastern part of the prayer hall, also with vestries at the northern and southern corners. The design of the interior and exterior have astonishing simplicity. In the western part of the chapel is the three-vaulted porch which has decorative columns with substantial liveliness.

On the external walls are unique carved khachkars (cross-stones) which date back to the 17th century. In 1889, on the northeastern part of the church was build  Saint Ananias' Chapel with stairs leading to the graveyard of Saint Ananias. During 1970s Saint Zoravar was reconstructed, the parts of the walls and roofs were repaired and restored, a choir also was added, and a new house was built for the priests. Saint Ananias' Chapel was also renovated.

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