Geghardavank (meaning: the monastery of the spear) was founded in the fourth century by Saint Gregory. It’s principal chapel was build in the 13th century. The name comes from the monasteries most relevant relic: The spear with which Jesus was wounded during crucification. Today it is displayed in Echmiadzin, currently on loan to a New York exhibition. As in many relics there is more than one: Other lances are located in Rome, Vienna, Antioch and Krakow.
An additional particularity of the monastery is, that part of its chapels are not build, but caved into rocks. That gives the architecture a distinctive atmosphere which lets you feel more in proximity to the elements.
We had the incredible pleasure to listen to a professional choir from the Yerevan Opera in the great acoustics of the upper chapel. I was so moved that I had to shed some tears.
After so many monasteries I wasn’t really in the mood to see another one. But this one really caught me with it’s mystical animal- and partially celtic-style stonegravings. A real dark beauty.
Die Kerze flackert
Ihr Atem räuchert den Stein
Brennt ihm Wunden ein.