During restoration works in Armenian Apostolic Church’s Cathedral in Etchmiadzin which had been going on for several months, a previously unknown fresco was discovered.
A fresco depicting the twelve apostles was found on the wall of the cathedral. Before being sent for lab examination, it will be covered by fabric for damage prevention.
“Now, we see only patterns in the form of flowers on the walls. During the restoration works, we found several layers of drawings under them that were made in different periods. These mostly are composite paintings with scenes from the Bible,” said Alik Hovhannisyan, the main specialist in the restoration of monumental painting.
“After we take the fresco off, it can be restored. The paint is in very poor condition. Complicating the process is the fact that this is the first time that we are restoring a fresco not on the wall but in a laboratory,” said Avetis Stepanyan from the restoration team.
Specialists are now restoring the fragments of the main ornament and the paintings that adorn the interior of the temple. Artist Nagash Hovnatanyan had painted the cathedral in the 18th century, but since then, the temple has been restored several times. The drawings that have survived to this day are very different from their originals. Now, the restorers want to bring back the former look to the paintings.
In addition to the restoration of the interior, experts are planning to reinforce the foundation, columns, walls, repair the bell towers, and update the slabs of the main dome. In addition to paintings, experts are to restore fragments of the main ornament.
“We have contacted specialists from abroad and are trying to use the latest reinforcement solutions. We are using carbon fiber ropes and basalt for reinforcement,” said the chief architect of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin Ara Vardanyan.
Such a thorough “repair” will allow the temple to do without restoration for another 300 years.
The cathedral will open for visitors in 2020. By 2020, it is planned to erect a tomb next to the temple, also available for visiting.
It should be noted than in 2000, the Etchmiadzin Cathedral was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.