The Tatev Monastery – Armenia

The Tatev Monastery – ArmeniaTatev Monastery (Armenian: Տաթեւի վանք) is a monastic complex of the 9th-13th centuries located in the Syunik province, Armenia, in 20 km from the town of Goris. Over its existence, it has been the spiritual center of Syunik since the 9th century.

The complex also includes the hermitage of Tatevi Anapat. In 1995, the Tatev Monastery was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The monastery was founded in 895-906 by the ruler of Syunik Ashot and his wife Shushan as well as the prince of Gegharkunik Grigor Supan II and Prince Balka Dzagik.

In the 10th century, about a thousand people lived in the monastery. In the 13th century, the monastery taxed the 680 surrounding villages and sought to expand its influence, on the basis of which a number conflicts arose between the monastery and the local settlements.

The monastery was one of the most important centers of science and education in Armenia in 14th-15th centuries. In the Middle Ages, the Tatev school of miniature developed here. Besides, the monastery was one of the intellectual centers of medieval Armenia.

At a congress in the Tatev monastery on April 27, 1921, the Dashnak Republic of Mountainous Armenia was proclaimed.

The monastery was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1931. Currently, the territory is undergoing restoration works, but the monastery is open to visitors without restrictions.

On October 16, 2010, the “Tatev Revival” project was commenced, the first result of which was the launch of the 5.7-km Wings of Tatev cableway going through the Vorotan gorge.

There are two versions of the origin of the name of the monastery. According to one of them, “Tatev” is translated from Armenian as “give wings”. It is rumored that having completed the work, the master builder rose to the edge of the gorge, crossed himself, and said, “Ogni, Surb, ta tev” (“May the Holy Spirit give me wings”), and rushed to the abyss. In his fall, the master grew wings and flew away. The monastery he built was named Tatev.

The second version is associated with the name of St. Eustatheos (Eustache), a disciple of the Apostle Thaddeus who preached Christianity in Armenia.

In these places, the missionary suffered martyrdom, and in the 4th century, a church was built over his grave, which was consecrated by Grigor Lusavorich (St. Gregory the Illuminator).

The ruins of the temple were preserved behind the fortress walls not far from the entrance to the monastery. The restoration of this medieval monastery is the main goal of the “Tatev Revival” project.

by Asot Ter-Abrahamyan (Alexander Bakulin)


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