In the heart of the Artsakh world, the Tsitsernavank Monastery stands as an emblem of Armenian heritage and religious fervor. Beyond its stone walls lies a history intertwined with legend and tradition, making it a must-visit for those delving into the depths of Armenian culture.
The monastery’s unique name, Tsitsernavank, is derived from the ancient Armenian term “tsitsern,” which translates to “bow.” This nomenclature is deeply rooted in the belief that the apostle Peter’s tomb resides here. The presence of such a revered figure has endowed the place with an aura of sanctity and reverence.
Interestingly, in some medieval chronicles, the monastery is referred to as Matnevank. This alternate naming traces back to a local legend that suggests a relic of a saint, specifically a finger, is buried within its precincts. The mysteries surrounding Tsitsernavank don’t end here.
In Armenian folklore, there’s a captivating tale related to the capture and eventual return of the Holy Cross to Jerusalem by Emperor Herakles in 614 AD. In this narrative, Christ’s crucifix is often referred to as the “Tsitsernai Cross,” drawing yet another link to the monastery’s name and its deep-seated spiritual significance.
Today, the monastery stands as a silent witness to centuries of faith, tradition, and stories passed down through generations. The stones may be weathered, and the walls may have witnessed countless sunsets.
Image source: Ashot Simonyan Nairian