advanced search

Holy Mother of God Kathoghike Church

Holy Mother of God Kathoghike Church

The Katoghike St. Astvatstsin Church was located in the centre of the Shahar District (presently at the intersection of the Abovyan and Sayat-Nova streets). It was built after the big earthquake, during the years 1693-1695. Built with tufa-stone and cement, it belonged to the three-nave basilica type without a dome. Considering the sizes of its prayer hall (14.0 x 19.3 m), and its outside perimeter (16.4 x 28.4 m), it was perhaps one of the most capacious churches of old Yerevan. The church had entrances on both the southern and western sides.

The walls of the Church lacked the usual means of architectural expression, save the khachkars (cross-stones) that appeared on its walls here and there dating back to the years 1679, 1693, 1694, and 1695.
When the walls were demolished, old khachkars were found in them referring to the years 1472, 1641 and 1642. According to historical studies there had been a church on the same site of the present church traditionally called "St. Astvatsatsin Church".
The hypothesis related to the existence of this old church was completely confirmed during the demolition of the St. Katoghike Church, when the southern and northern walls to which the two vestries were annexed were opened. The oldest inscriptions found on these walls date back to 1264. There are inscriptions engraved on the western façade dating back to the years 1284, 1229 and to the sixteenth century, whereas on the northern walls the inscriptions refer to the year 1609. Consequently, a chapel has probably been built early in the 17th century at the western side of the St. Astvatsatsin Church at whose site the building of the St. Katoghike Church was erected toward the end of the same century. This finding was significant in that it confirms the conclusion that the St. Astvatsatsin Church was the only one of the churches of Yerevan that survived and stood firm after the earthquake.
The St. Astvatsatsin Church, which continues to bear the name of "St. Katoghike", is relatively of small size (5.4 x 7.5 m). Due to the very limited facilities it can offer for the required church rituals, it serves only as a chapel - merely a prayer house.