Noravank Monastery, Armenia

The next morning after the Areni Wine Festival in Vayots Dzor region of Armenia, together with my friends we decided to visit the famous 13th century Noravank Monastery. Leaving the village of Areni, we walked along the road until the Novravank intersection and from there hitchhiked an old red school bus full of 10th grade pupils who sang The Beatles and Bob Dylan songs with us all the way to the monastery. Meanwhile, the mad driver was doing his best in attempts to scare us to death cutting the sharp curves of the road through the Arpa river canyon without slowing the speed. When we arrived (thanks God, in one piece), the school teachers offered as a ride back. We thanked them and together with youngsters went to explore the monastery and its surroundings. According to a legend, Noravank is said to have housed a piece of the True Cross stained with Christ’s blood, found by a mysterious stranger who discovered its origin after it performed a miracle raising a child from the dead.
Noravank monastery, Vayots Dzor, Armenia
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Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Georgia

Listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is located in the city of Mtskheta, about 20km northwest of Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi.
The Cathedral is known as the burial site of Christ’s robe. It used to be the largest church in Georgia until the Tbilisi Holy Trinity Cathedral was recently consecrated. Today it is one of the most venerated places of worship and serves as the seat of the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia. During my recent visit to Georgia I visited Svetitskhoveli twice: first time with my Georgian friend Vakhtang, and then on the next day with friends from Russia and Belarus who were in Georgia at that time.

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Ashtarak: The Legend of Three Sisters

In the town of Ashtarak, where I live now in Armenia, there aren’t many interesting places to explore.. But the town has some beautiful churches.. The four churches I am going to tell about below are related to each other in a story of tragic love.. That’s the town’s most famous legend – The Legend of Three Sisters..

According to the legend, three sisters lived in Ashtarak, all of whom fell in love with the same man, prince Sargis..The two elder sisters decided to commit suicide in favor of the youngest.. The threw themselves into the gorge of Kasakh river.. When the youngest sister found out what her sisters have done, she also committed suicide.. The prince, after knowing that three innocent girls died because of him, became a hermit.. And on the edge of the gorge, on the spots from where the three sisters threw themselves into the gorge, three churches were built, named after the sisters’ dress colors..

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Dali Catholic Church, China

If you walk down the Renmin Road in Dali Old Town, then take a right onto Xinmin Road, eventually you will come across the most unusual Christian church I have ever seen in my life.. It’s the Catholic Church of Dali Old Town, Yunnan province, China.. The church is located at the East of Dali not far from the town’s flea market.. Dali Catholic Church was built in 1938 by the French in the style of traditional Chinese architecture with three sections of double-tiered eaves.. During the Cultural Revolution in China severe destructions were caused to the church, it was closed.. In 1984 the church was renovated by the Religious Department and was listed under the History Protection since 1985..

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Armenian Cathedral of Lviv

The summer of 2009 I spent traveling in different parts of Ukraine.. Eventually, I ended up in the city of Lviv where I found out that throughout the history of the city Armenians played a big role in the social and economic life.. Being devoted followers of Christ, wherever Armenians lived it was important for them to have their church.. Armenians of Lviv weren’t an exception..
The Armenian Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary in the city of Lviv, Western Ukraine is a historical and architectural monument located in UNESCO World Heritage Old Town of Lviv.. Built in 1363-1370 AD, the Cathedral served as a storage during Soviet times and was passed to the Armenian Apostolic Church only in 2000, shortly before the visit of Pope John Paul II..

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