Echmiadzin, situated 20 kilometers far from Yerevan, is the religious capital of Armenia (Holy See). The Cathedral, the oldest Christian temple, was founded in 301 and is one of the first churches in the Christian World. Holy Mass takes place on Sundays in the Cathedral. It is an architectural monument of early Christianity. It houses a unique museum of religious artifacts. There is a small altar in the center of the Cathedral where, according to legend, Christ descended from Heaven and with a golden hammer pointed to the site upon which the Cathedral was to be built. The remnants of a pagan temple have been discovered during excavations made inside the Cathedral.
For seventeen centuries the Cathedral has been the center of Armenian apostolic church where all church gatherings and religious holidays are being conducted. Every seven years there is a solemn ceremony of Chrism preparation attended by thousands of Christians from all over the world. On Sundays and during church festivals, Holy Mass takes place with the participation of the All-Armenian Catholicos (head of the Armenian church), whose residence stands near the Cathedral. Not far from the Cathedral, there is St. Gayane church (built in 630) with her silhouette forming a cupola basilica against the background of Ararat’s snowy summits. The wonderful churches of Shoghakat, Marine and Virgin Hripsime are situated in Echmiadzin, as well as the Theological Academy of St. Echmiadzin, Synod of the Armenian Church and Library. Halfway from Yerevan to Echmiadzin, near Musaler village, one can see a red-stone monument dedicated to the heroic self-defense of Armenians on Musa-Ler (Musa Dag) in Cilicia. The descendants of Musa-Ler defenders live in the village of Musaler.
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19 Hrachya Kochar street, #39 Yerevan 0012, Republic of Armenia