Idea #499 – Exploring the monastery of Khor Virap near of Mount Ararat
The monastery of Khor Virap (in Armenian “the deep well”) in reference to St Grégoire’s martyr, is situated at the foot of the Mount Ararat, not far from Yerevan. It constitutes the first holy place of Christian Armenia.
In the Armenia’s History, Moses de Khorène told how king Tiridate IV of Armenia chased and persecuted the first Christians in the IVth century. One of his victims, Grégoire Loussavoritch, who will be renamed Grégoire l’Illuminateur, was thrown in a pit, where he survived supernaturally for thirteen years, in the middle of snakes and scorpions. When king, having tortured Gayané, Hripsimé and their partners, fell ill, Grégoire Loussavoritch appeared as only capable of healing him, cured the king and converted him to the Christianity, Armenia becoming then the first Christian country. In the VIIth century, the catholicos Nersès III Chinanar, said the builder(manufacturer), made build a church over Grégoire l’ Illuminateur’s pit to celebrate the memory. In the XIIIth century, the monastery is reconstructed, and becomes famous by his(her) university. Very degraded by several earthquakes, the monachal establishment is restored in the XVIIth century.
The monastery, still surrounded by its medieval wall, occupies the site of an antique city.You can see the the main church, called Atvatsatsin, and another smaller, called church of Saint-Georges. Atvatsatsin still allows to reach both pits where Grégoire l’ Illuminateur, was tortured ; the first is 2 meters deep and the second 6 meters deep.
Where is it?
Khor Virap, Armenia