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The proposed 15-day package tour (guided) to the ancient Christian states – Armenia and Georgia, takes travelers on a journey through the history of Christianity in the region, introducing some of the oldest monasteries, cathedrals, churches, chapels and other places of worship.
The adoption of Christianity as a state religion in Armenia in 301 AD contributed to the spreading of the Christ’s teachings, boosting the construction of new places of worship, thus, continuing the mission of the Saint Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew. In his vision, Gregory the Illuminator saw the Armenian land all covered with churches and monasteries, as if a “winged army”. Unique constructions dating back to the 1st century AD, which belonged to the Saint Apostles and their followers, survived to this day and can be found in Artsakh, Nakhijevan and other places.
Devoted to the Christian faith, the Armenian Apostolic Church managed to overcome many obstacles throughout its history and celebrated the 1700th anniversary of the adoption of Christianity in 2001.
Continuous invasions of Arabs, Seljuk Turks, Mongols, Persians, Ottomans and others resulted in an unstable life of the Armenian people in their homeland, because of which the Armenian diaspora was formed – with many religious monuments in different countries, including Christian Georgia.
According to evidences found in the documents survived from the VII century, when the Georgian church separated from the Armenian and shared communion with the Byzantine Orthodoxy in VII century, the religious monuments were divided between Georgians and the Armenian community of Tbilisi.
The reorientation of the Georgian church was final, while the Armenian church remained on its initial positions.
As for Chalcedonian Armenians, they maintained religious and cultural ties with Chalcedonian Armenian communities outside the Caucasus, and always served the liturgy in Armenian language, keeping that right even in the Greek monasteries of the Christian East.
However, the spiritual, political and military leaders of both Armenia and Georgia practiced loyalty in subsequent centuries, maintaining civil equality of representatives of different faiths.
After the fall of the Byzantine empire and the establishment of the Ottoman empire on its territories, long lasting wars between Persia and Turkey began over division of Armenia and dominance in Georgia.
In XV-XVI cc., some parts of Armenians and Georgians converted into Catholicism.
Seeing that the centers of science and culture cannot enjoy full activity on the territory of Armenia, a prominent Armenian linguist and educator Mekhitar of Sebaste created the Mekhitarist Congregation on the Saint Lazarus island. Throughout the 300 years of its existence, the Congregation made an invaluable contribution to the development of the Armenian linguistics and culture. The Mekhitarists had their monastic schools in Vienna and many other cities with large Armenian population. During the pilgrimage tour, travelers will also visit the Catholic churches in Armenia and Georgia.
After the Russo-Persian war of 1826-1828 and the incorporation of the Eastern Armenia into Russian Empire, the Church of the Intercession of the Holy Mother of God was built in Yerevan in 1830 to commemorate the capture of Erivan.
At the end of XIX century, the Saint Nikolai Cathedral was built at the site of what is now Shahumyan square in Yerevan. Just as many Armenian churches, this cathedral was destroyed by the Bolsheviks, too.
During the Perestroika period, the Church of the Intercession of the Holy Mother of God was revived in Kanaker and returned to the believers. Standing next to it is the “Holy Russia and her army” Memorial Cross.
And the Holy Cross Cathedral is preparing for consecration these days.
Getting acquainted with the Christian monuments during the pilgrimage tour, one feels assured in the righteous position of the Armenian Apostolic Church: “Today, the three Christian confessions, three sister churches look in one direction and think about saving the world from the danger, which threatens the personality of every human and the safety on Earth.”
*The price is given in USD per person with double/twin occupancy.