Saint Hripsime Church

The story of Saint Hripsime is usually presented as a crucial episode in the Christianization of Armenia. Hripsime is said to have been a granddaughter or niece of the spouse of the Roman emperor Claudius. 

As the legend goes, she was raised in the Roman female Covent of Gayane. Afterwards, along with 70 other nuns, she fled from the monastery because the Emperor Diocletian, enchanted by her beauty wanted to marry her.

Eventually, she found refuge in Armenia. However much in vain, there were also attempts of the Armenian King Trdat to make her his wife. After her refusal, she and her companions were tortured and martyred.

Shortly thereafter, Saint Grigor who was called forth to cure King Trdat (who is said to have behaved like a wild boar) asked the king to grant the remains of the saints a Christian burial. As Trdat was cured, he converted to Christianity and the whole country with him as well.

Saint Hripsime Church (dating from 618) was restored in the 17th century, using Saint Etchmiadzin Cathedral as an example. Yet, the church largely preserved its original appearance.