The monastic complex Kecharis is located in the Kotayk region of Armenia, in the northwestern part of Tsaghkadzor. The monastery is harmoniously connected with the surrounding nature. It consists of four churches, a gavit-porch, chapels and about three dozen dating back to the 11th-17th centuries. khachkars. The monastery complex was formed in the XI-XIII centuries. by the efforts of the princes Pahlavuni and Proshyan (Khaghbakyan). Kecharis was one of the major cultural and spiritual centers of medieval Armenia. Talented politicians, philosophers Grigor Magistros Pahlavuni, Prince Vasak Khaghbakyan, architect Vetsik, monk and poet Khachatur Kecharetsi and others lived and worked here. Kecharis was also one of the manuscript centers: several dozens of Armenian manuscripts written and copied here have been preserved.
Church of St. Grigor Lusavorich (St. Gregory the Illuminator) - the main church of the monastery, built in 1003 by Grigor Magistros Pahlavuni. However, some researchers, according to the inscription on the southern wall of the church, date it to 1033. The church belongs to the structures of the domed hall type and has two entrances, western and southern. The southern portal stands out with its magnificence. The church was built with cleanly hewn black stones. Four pilasters carry three intersecting semicircular arches carrying the dome.
Surb Nshan Church is located south of the main church. In all likelihood, this small cross-domed church was also erected by Gregory Magistros, perhaps in 1051. Later, small chapels were built in the space between these two churches. In the second half of the XII century. in front of the western entrance to the church, a porch was built.
The Cathedral Church of Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) was built in 1203-1214. architect Vetsik with the assistance of Prince Vasak Khakhbakyan. The church was built with cleanly hewn black stones. Compositionally, this is a domed hall with four two-story aisles. Horseshoe-shaped arches supporting the dome rest on four pilasters.
Surb Harutyun Church (Holy Resurrection) is located 120 m from these three churches. This building, exceptional in its planning composition, with a porch gavit in front of the western entrance, is a single whole. The church was erected in 1220. Prince Grigor Apiratyan (1099), Grand Duke Prosh (1284), who fell in the war with the Seljuks, and others were buried in the church.
One of the notable monuments of the complex is a tombstone khachkar (XIII century) erected in memory of the architect Vetsik.
The monastery was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt. In the XVIII century. Kecharis monastery was depopulated. In 1828, as a result of an earthquake, the dome of the Church of St. Grigor Lusavorich collapsed. In 1957-1959. the territory of the monastery was landscaped and surrounded by a wall, the roofs of the buildings were covered with stone slabs. The complete monastery complex was restored in 1998-2001. at the expense of the Austrian philanthropist of Armenian origin Vladimir Harutyunyan. Kecharis is the seat of the Kotayk Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
Photo By: Artur Martirosyan
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