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Traditionally, an eagle was soaring over the dome of the main building at its dedication and thus it became commonly known as the monastery of the playing (or soaring) eagle ("Hagh" means a game while "Artsin", a form of "Artsiv", means eagle in Armenian).
St. Astvatsatsin Church in Haghartsin (1281) is the largest building and the dominant artistic feature. The sixteen-faced dome is decorated with arches, the bases of whose columns are connected by triangular ledges and spheres, with a band around the drum’s bottom. This adds to the optical height of the dome and creates the impression that its drum is weightless. The platband of the southern portal's architrave is framed with rows of trefoils.
The sculptural group of the church’s eastern facade differs in composition from the similar bas-reliefs of Sanahin, Haghpat, and Harich. It shows two men in monks’ attire who point with their hands at a church model and a picture of a dove with half-spread wings placed between them. The umbrella roofing of the model’s dome shows the original look of the dome of Astvatsatsin church. The figures are shown wearing different dresses — the one standing right is dressed more richly than the one standing left. The faces, with their long whiskers, luxuriant combed beards and large almond shaped eyes, are also executed in different manners. These are probably the founders of the church, the Father Superior and his assistant.
The gavit of St. Astvatsatsin Church is severely damaged. The ruins show clearly where it stood however, the walls are almost completely destroyed.
The oldest large structure of the complex, the St. Grigor Church, is accessible through its gavit.
The 12th-century gavit abutting St. Grigor Church is of the most common type of plan. It is a square building, with roofing supported by four internal abutments, and with squat octahedral tents above the central sections, somewhat similar to the Armenian peasant home of the "glkhatun" type. The gavit has ornamented corner sections. Decorated with rosettes, these sections contain sculptures of human figures in monks' attires, carrying crosses, staffs, and birds. The framing of the central window of Haghardzin’s gavit is cross-shaped. Placed right above the portal of the main entrance, it emphasizes the central part of the facade.
One of the half-columns along the right hand wall towards the back has come forward, showing that it is hollow. According to legend, this was swung open and shut in the past and monastery riches were hidden inside at times of war and invasion.
The small St. Stepanos Church dates back to 1244.
The Bagratuni sepulchre is where some of the Bagratuni royalty are buried.
Like the Haghpat's refectory, the refectory of Haghardzin, built by the architect Minas in 1248, is divided by pillars into two square-plan parts roofed with intersecting arches.
The walls are lined with stone benches, and at the western butt wall, next to the door, there is a broad archway for the numerous pilgrims to navigate. Decoration is concentrated only in the central sections of the roofing, near the main lighting apertures. The transition from the rectangle of their base to the octagon of the top is decorated with tre- and quatrefoils. The low abutments determine the size of the upstretched arches. The proportionally diminishing architectural shapes create the impression of airiness and space.
Today this space has large wooden log tables and chairs, and is where receptions take place after marriages or baptisms at the monastery.
The monastery of Haghartsin, together with that of Goshavank, may become part of a natural site based on the state protected area of Dilijan National Park, an important forest in north-eastern Armenia. 
In 2011, Haghartsin Monastery underwent major renovation by Armenia Fund with a donation from HH Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah.  Today the complex is reachable by paved road with a large parking area, a gift shop, bakery and other facilities on site. In 2017 the monastery was incorporated into the Transcaucasian Trail long-distance hiking route. 
The Haghartsin monastic complex in July 2007 before restoration
Location of Haghartsin near Dilijan
S. Stepanos Church exterior carvings and sundial
Low-relief depiction of a lion (symbol of the Bagratuni family) on the exterior wall of S. Stepanos Church
Khachkar of the 13th century next to the southern door of the church
Haghartsin Monastery in the process of renovation (August 2009)
Haghartsin Monastery in the process of renovation (September 2010)
Haghartsin Monastery right by the end of the renovation process (August 2011)
What's Happening at the Dome
The Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand, Indiana have announced the lifting of most COVID restrictions and a phased schedule for re-opening the Monastery Immaculate.
In Memoriam: Sister Mary Karen Hill
Sister Mary Karen Hill, 88, of Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Indiana, died at 11:50 p.m. on Sunday, June 13, 2021, at the monastery. Sister.
Summer Issue Now Available
The Summer 2021 Issue of Seek. Pray. Share. is now available to read online. In this issue, you can read about Sister Jane McClure’s and.
Hildegard Health Center and monastery employees test negative for COVID-19
The safety and well-being of our sisters and staff at Monastery Immaculate Conception, especially those in our Hildegard Health Center, continue to be a priority.
Sisters of St. Benedict Join Call for End to Racism and Violence
Racism is the original and persistent sin of the United States. Unarmed black people are killed by police authorities and armed members of the public.
We are delighted to invite you to participate in the launch of our website, dedicated to the sights of Kotayk region, particularly Geghard, Garni temple and monastery complex.
Visiting our site you will be able to learn about our rich history, beautiful traditions, unique cultural heritage and new programs. Our site's primary purpose is to provide concise yet comprehensive information to all the tourists who want to visit Armenia. Our new website enables you to organize the desired quiet, scenic places around the Kotayk region, housing Garni, Goght villages, get familiarized with the traditional families, unique flavor, taste the cuisine.
Sincerely waiting for your feedback and suggestions.
Our address is:
2215 Garni, Kotayk Marz
Tel. +374 98 58 42 58
For more information about Garni in Spanish you may visit the following link:
According to Armenian church tradition, Hovhannavank Monastery was founded in the fourth century by St Gregory the Enlightener. A single nave church now attached to the northern wall of the main church is believed to be the earliest structure on the site. The building underwent reconstruction first in the sixth century, and then between 1652 and 1732.
The main church of the monastery was built between 1216 and 1221, financed by a donation by Prince Vache Vachutian. It is a large domed church rectangular in plan and cruciform in space. The dome is supported by apse walls on the east and projections of the longitudinal wall on the west. The building has narrow rooms in two-storeys in all four corners. This type of structure, which is typical of Armenian architecture, was designated as a ‘Kuppelhalle’ by Josef Strzygowski, although this term is now outdated. The dome, which is not original, has an umbrella-shaped roof. In 1918, both the dome and the south wall were destroyed by an earthquake and were fully restored between 1970 and 1990.
The eastern façade of the church is noteworthy for its decoration. Instead of a horizontal orientation of decorative elements, which is more characteristic of the façades of Armenian churches, here one finds the decorative elements arranged along a vertical axis. On both sides of the central area of the façade are triangular cockleshell niches adorned with festoons. The decorative composition consists of a large cross, a boss below it, a rectangular, narrow window and two squares underneath the window. Scholars have suggested that the design of the eastern façade was inspired by Georgian art. Similar decorative compositions can be found on the facades of Georgian churches from the eleventh to thirteenth centuries, the earliest of which is Samtavisi Cathedral, built around 1030. Indeed, the depiction of this type of cross was not common for medieval Armenian architecture and it appears mostly in monuments related to Zakaria and Ivane Mkhargrdzelis’ building activities, for example in Akhtala and Kobayr.
The church has a building inscription engraved on its northern wall. It states: “…By the grace of merciful God, during the reign of Queen Tamar, daughter of the great Gevorg, in the year 642 (1200 AD) of the race of Torgom, we—brothers Zakaria and Ivane—sons of Sargis the Great, son of Avag Zakarian, when the light of God’s grace rose and entered Armenia and raised us from weakness in the battle against the enemies of Christ and destroyed their power and quenched their violence, with the country of Ararat delivered from the heavy yoke of their servitude, wished to make offering and gave the tribute of the grace to the Holy Forerunner of Hovhannavank …”.
The lavish decoration of the western façade is arranged around the entrance at the centre of the wall. The frame of the door and three khatchkars flanking the entrance are covered with elaborate ornament. The tympanum is decorated with a relief carving depicting the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13).
In 1250, Kurt Vachutian, son of Vache Vachutian, added a gavit to the western wall of the church. The dome of the gavit rests on four piers. The transition from the square bay to the dodecagonal base of the drum is accomplished by means of squinches. The decoration of their surface resembles that of muqarnas. Twelve arches resting on polygonal columns form the open drum. A composition of six blind arches is applied to the western façade of the gavit. Trefoil arches of equal height flank the entrance.
In the medieval period, the monastery was fortified. The ruins of the walls and towers date back to the twelfth century. The thickness of the walls reaches up to 4m in some sections. To the southwest of the church, a stele monument was erected between the two walls of the fortifications in 1311.
In Memoriam: Sister Sylvia Gehlhausen
Sister Sylvia Gehlhausen, 97, of Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Indiana, died at 4:25 a.m. on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, at the monastery.
Sister Sylvia was born Leona Gehlhausen on January 10, 1924 in Ferdinand, Indiana, the eighth of ten children of Richard and Catherine (Zeller) Gehlhausen. She entered the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand in 1940 from St. Ferdinand Parish and made her monastic vows in 1942.
She was preceded in death by her parents her sister and brother-in-law, Bernice and Hilbert Fischer her sister and brother-in-law Virginia and Louis Harter her brother and sister-in-law, Melvin and Flora (Paleschi) her brother Gerald her brother and sister-in-law, Merrill and Lucille (Stetter) her brother and sister-in-law Herman and Doloras (Bich) her brother and sister-in-law Sherman and Elizabeth (Friebert) and her brother and sister-in-law Leander and Juanita (Baker). She is survived by her sister and brother-in-law, Bonita and Robert Emmert, and her religious family.
Sister Sylvia held a Bachelor’s degree in Education and taught elementary school for 42 years at Sts. Peter and Paul School in Haubstadt, IN Schnellville Elementary School in Schnellville, IN (twice) St. Joseph School in Evansville, IN St. Philip School in St. Philip, IN St. Joseph School in Dale, IN St. Mary of the Knobs School in Floyds Knobs, IN Dubois Elementary School in Dubois, IN St. Anthony School in St. Anthony, IN (twice) Ireland Elementary School in Ireland, IN and St. Meinrad Elementary School in St. Meinrad, IN.
Sister Sylvia served as Assistant Director of Oblates and Minister of Hospitality and Chaplains with the Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand.
Visitation will be in Alumnae Center at the Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Indiana, Friday, May 21 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Social distancing and masks will be required. Funeral Mass will be private for community members and family only on Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. with burial in the monastic cemetery following services. Becher Funeral Home in Ferdinand is in charge of the arrangements.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand.
The Incredible Achievements Of Saint Cornelius
In 1529 AD, when Cornelius was 28 years old, he was raised to the office of hegumen (a role similar to that of an abbot), and under his leadership, the Pskov-Caves Monastery flourished like never before. This is seen, for instance, in the number of monks, which increased from 15 to 200. This number was not surpassed by any other hegumen that succeeded Cornelius. Many other achievements were made by the Pskov-Cave Monastery under Cornelius’ leadership.
One of the most significant of these was the transformation of the Pskov-Caves Monastery into a center for the propagation of religion and knowledge. For example, the saint created a library for the storage of manuscripts, established chronicling, and founded a workshop dedicated to the painting of icons. Furthermore, missionaries set out from the monastery to spread the Orthodox faith to the neighboring Seto people, who had not yet been fully converted to Christianity at that time. Thus, the Pskov-Caves Monastery is still considered by the Seto as an important spiritual center.
In addition to preaching to the Seto, the missionaries from the monastery also built churches, hospices, and homes for orphans and those in need. Cornelius himself is said to have performed these works of charity. According to one story, when the plague struck Pskov, Cornelius walked through a plague-infested village to give Communion to the living, and to sing burial services for the dead.
The monastery’s Church of Saint Nicholas was commissioned during the time Saint Cornelius was head of the monastery. (GAlexandrova / CC BY-SA 4.0 )
Apart from that, Cornelius made important architectural additions to the monastery complex. The Church of the Annunciation and the Church of Saint Nicholas were built during Cornelius’ time, as were the stone walls with bastions that surrounded and fortified the monastery. These defensive structures were constructed between 1558 and 1565 AD, as the monastery was located on the western borders of Russia and was constantly at risk of being attacked by foreign enemies. Moreover between 1558 and 1583 AD, Russia was engaged in the Livonian War, which meant that the situation at the monastery was even more precarious.
Despite the war, Cornelius found opportunities to perform acts of charity. In addition to preaching Christianity in the occupied towns, the saint also distributed food from the monastery’s storerooms to those affected by the war, and opened to gates of the monastery to refugees, who were fed and nursed back to health.
Cornelius died on the 20 th of February 1570 AD. According to tradition, some envious people slandered the hegumen in front of the tsar, Ivan the Terrible. Believing the slanderers, Ivan became furious, and went to the Pskov-Caves Monastery to meet Cornelius. Hearing of the tsar’s arrival, the saint went out of the monastery with a cross to meet him. Ivan, however, beheaded Cornelius with his own hands. Immediately, the tsar regretted his action, and carried Cornelius’ body to the Church of the Dormition. This path became known as the “Bloody Path.” The tsar’s remorse is also evident in the generous endowment he made to the monastery after Cornelius’ murder.
Tsar Ivan the Terrible asks hegumen Kornily to admit him as a monk in the monastery after feeling incredible remorse for murdering Saint Cornelius. (Klavdy Lebedev / Public domain )
Garni is a village in the Kotayk Province of Central Armenia. Most visitors come on day trips from Yerevan to see Garni Temple and Geghard Monastery, but the area deserves a longer stay.
Garni is rich in history. The area was first occupied in the 3rd millennium BC along easily defensible terrain at one of the bends of the Azat River. In the 8th century BC the area was conquered by the Urartian King Argishti I. The fortification at Garni was erected probably sometime in the 3rd century BC as a summer residence for the Armenian Orontid and Artaxiad royal dynasties. Later around the 1st century BC the fortress of Garni became the last refuge of King Mithridates of Armenia, where he and his family were assassinated by his son-in-law and nephew Rhadamistus. The fortress was sacked in 1386 by Timur Lenk. In 1679 an earthquake devastated the area destroying the temple.
Much of the population today descends from people settled in the population exchange of 1829–1830, following the Treaty of Turkmenchay between Russia and Persia.
By marshrutka Edit
Marshrutkas are the standard way to reach Garni, but they're not the fastest or the most comfortable option. They run from Yerevan's Gai Bus Station every 30 mins or so, cost 250 dram. (See Yerevan#Get in for directions to Gai Bus Station.) The route is east to Garni, where the 40.1176 44.7299 1 main bus stop is in town centre, and onward to Goght and Geghard Temple.
You can also go the whole way to Goght, which is also 250 dram. Another 250 and they will even bring you up to the Geghard monastery if there are other tourists on board and depending on your bargaining skills. Otherwise it is just 3-4 km each between Garni, Goght and Geghard, which you might just walk or hitch are ride.
Generally, you are better off, first going to Geghard, and from there working you way back to Garni and all its sights. A taxi from Goght to Geghard, and then to Garni should not be more that 2000-2500 including waiting at Geghard. It is just 15 km.
By taxi Edit
Taxis are the quickest way to reach Garni, Goght or Geghard (+/-17 km). The one-way fare from Yerevan will be about 2,000-3,000 dram.
Unless you are in a hurry, walking is the best way to see Garni. If you need to know where to find something, almost any of the residents will be willing to point you in the right direction or even walk you there.
Monastery Immaculate Conception is located in Ferdinand, Indiana, just off of I-64. Ferdinand is within driving distance from several metropolitan areas: Evansville (1 hour) Louisville (1 hour 15 minutes) Lexington (2 1/2 hours) St. Louis (3 hours) Cincinnati (3 hours) Indianapolis (3 hours) and Nashville (3 hours). Regional airports are located in Evansville, Indiana, and Louisville, Kentucky.
From the east:
From I-64, take Exit 63 and turn right (north). Follow Main Street about 1 mile into the town of Ferdinand. Turn right onto 10th Street. The monastery will soon appear on your left.
From the west:
From I-64, take Exit 63 and turn left (north). Follow Main Street about 1 mile into the town of Ferdinand. Turn right onto 10th Street. The monastery will soon appear on your left.
From the north:
Take IN-162 South into Ferdinand, where it becomes Main Street. Turn left onto 10th Street. The monastery will soon appear on your left.
From the south:
Take IN-162 North into Ferdinand, where it becomes Main Street. Turn right onto 10th Street. The monastery will soon appear on your left.
St Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery
Looking from St Sophia's past the Bohdan Khmelnytsky statue, it's impossible to ignore the gold-domed blue church at the other end of proyizd Volodymyrsky. This is St Michael's, named after Kyiv's patron saint. As the impossibly shiny cupolas imply, this is a fresh (2001) copy of the original (1108), which was torn down by the Soviets in 1937. The church's fascinating history is explained in great detail (in Ukrainian and English placards) in a museum in the monastery's bell tower.
Heading around the left of the church to the rear, you'll find the quaint funicular that runs down a steep hillside to the river terminal in the mercantile district of Podil. Although in summer trees partially obscure your view, this is still the most fun public-transport ride in town.