The seat of the Aghovanian Catholicos since the Middle Ages, the monastery was founded in 1216 by Prince Hasan Jalalian, protector of the convent. 

Although officially attached to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, the Church of Artsakh has always kept a certain autonomy and played a significant role in the intellectual life of the region.

The main church, dedicated to St. John, is preceded by a narthex, built in 1238. The seat of the Catholicos of Aghovanie has long housed a large Armenian scriptorium.