The Vanevan Monastery – Artsvanist, Armenia

The Vanevan Monastery – Artsvanist, ArmeniaThe Vanevan (Վանևան) Monastery is located 24 km southeast of the Artsvanist village, Gegharkunik Province, Armenia. The medieval one-nave basilica of St. Gregory the Illuminator adjoins the monastery from the south.

It was built under Armenian sparapet Shapouh Bagratuni with the guidance of his sister, Sunian princess Mariam. He also founded the monastery order and put four villages and mills under its jurisdiction.

The Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator was built of uncut basalt while its arches and the dome were made of tuff. It has a pair of sacristies in the eastern part.

According to historian and archeologist Stepanos Orbelian, the Armenian king Smbat I Bagratuni was buried in Vanevan in 914. In the 980s, the monastery was reconstructed and received an additional porch between two main church buildings, which was in all likelihood build at the initiative of Gagik, the son of the Armenian king Ashot III Voghormats (Gracious) and the future king of Armenia.

In 1502, one Bishop Melkiset was buried in the courtyard of the church. A large khachkar (cross-stone) was then erected on his grave. In 1871-1880, the abbot of the monastery, Theodoros Shirakatsi, initiated the renovation of the monastery buildings.

Ayvazyan, encyclopedia “Christian Armenia”, publishing house “Armenian Encyclopedia”, Yerevan, 2002.

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