July 4, 2009 - 16:10 AMT PanARMENIAN.Net
- Today Yerevan hosted a soil consecration ceremony. The residence of the Catholicos of All Armenians will be reconstructed on the consecrated soil, nearby St. Katoghike Church at the intersection of Sayat-Nova and Abovyan Streets. The ceremony was conducted by the Catholocos of All Armenians, Garegin II
On Holy Echimiadzin's initiative, St. Anna's Church, which will complete a church complex of St. Katoghike, and the residence of Catholicos of All Armenians, will be constructed in accordance with architect Hrach Poghosyan's project and with financial assistance of Hrayr and Anna Hovnanyans.
The consecration ceremony was attended by RA President Serzh Sargsyan, Yerevan Mayor Gagik Beglaryan, Hrayr and Anna Hovnanyans, public and cultural workers.
St. Katoghike Church was located in the centre of the Shahar District (presently at the intersection of Abovyan and Sayat-Nova streets). It was built after the big earthquake, during the years 1693-1695. Built with tufa-stone and cement, it belonged to the three-nave basilica type without a dome. Considering the sizes of its prayer hall (14.0 x 19.3 m), and its outside perimeter (16.4 x 28.4 m), it was perhaps one of the most capacious churches of old Yerevan. The church had entrances on both the southern and western sides.
The walls of the Church lacked the usual means of architectural expression, save the khachkars (cross-stones) that appeared on its walls here and there dating back to the years 1679, 1693, 1694, and 1695.
When the walls were demolished, old khachkars were found in them referring to the years 1472, 1641 and 1642. According to historical studies there had been a church on the same site of the present church traditionally called "St. Astvatsatsin Church".
The hypothesis related to the existence of this old church was completely confirmed during the demolition of the St. Katoghike Church, when the southern and northern walls to which the two vestries were annexed were opened.
The St. Astvatsatsin Church, which continues to bear the name of "St. Katoghike", is relatively of small size (5.4 x 7.5 m). Due to the very limited facilities, it can offer for the required church rituals, it serves only as a chapel - merely a prayer house.