God Kathoghike Church
by Taron, published
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Officially the Holy Mother of God Kathoghike Church is a small medieval Armenian church located in the centre of the ancient Shahar district of Yerevan, associates with the present-day Kentron district of the Armenian capital.
The surviving church dates back to the 13th century. After the 1679 Yerevan earthquake, a large basilica named after the Holy Mother of God was built between 1693 and 1695, in the ancient Shahar district of Yerevan. It was founded on the western side of the Katoghike chapel. It was built of typical Armenian tufa stones and cement and belonged to the three-nave basilica type with no dome. With its prayer hall measuring 14.0 x 19.3 meters, and an outside perimeter of 16.4 x 28.4 meters, it was considered one of the most capacious churches of old Yerevan. The church had entrances on both the southern and western sides.
In 1936, the basilica church of the Holy Mother of God was demolished under the Soviet rule to make way for residential buildings at the Sayat-Nova Avenue. During the demolition process, the 13th-century chapel of Katoghike was discovered encased within the structure of the large basilica. After protests from archaeologists, the chapel was preserved. Many old khachkars (cross-stones) were also found in the walls of the demolished church dating back to the 15th and 17th centuries.
However, the demolished basilica itself was built on the foundations of an old church known as the Holy Mother of God. The hypothesis related to the existence of this old church was completely confirmed during the demolition of the 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 faÃ§ade 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 Holy Mother of God Church at whose site the building of the Katoghike Church was erected toward the end of the same century. This finding was significant in that it confirms the conclusion that the St. Holy Mother of God Church was the only one of the churches of Yerevan that survived and stood firm after the earthquake.
The current Holy Mother of God Church, which continues to bear the name of Katoghike, is relatively of small size (5.4 x 7.5 m). Due to the very limited space it can offer for the required church rituals, it serves only as a chapel and prayer house.
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God Kathoghike Church by Taron is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution - Share Alike license.
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