Etchmiadzin

Etchmiadzin is the center of the Armenian-Apostolic Church and the seat of the Catholicos of All Armenians. 

Until 1945, once called Vagharshapat, today’s Etchmiadzin was built from the ruins of the Urartian settlement in the 3rd century BC. In the second half of the 2nd century this place was declared the capital of the Kingdom. Only in the 4th century after Christianity was adopted as the state religion (301), the city experienced fame and glory. Vagharshapat became the religious center of the land and the construction of the cathedral was undertaken.


St.Etchmiadzin Cathedral was built in 301-303 by the Armenian King Tridates III and St. Grigor Lusavorich (Gregory the Еnlightener). Sundays and on church holidays, many people go to St. Etchmiadzin Cathedral to receive Holy Communion. They get Lord’s bread, called “nshkharh’’ in Armenian. Once every seven years, the Holy Muron - the anointing oil - is prepared from olive oil and extracts of more than 40 different kinds of flowers. The ceremony also includes the blessing of the Holy Muron. The preparation of the Holy Muron used during baptism and priestly ordination is a part of the most important Christian holiday celebrations of Armenia.