|Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin
Մայր Տաճար Սուրբ Էջմիածին
|Location||Vagharshapat, Armavir (province), Armenia|
|Affiliation||Armenian Apostolic Church|
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|Official name: Cathedral and Churches of Echmiatsin and the Archaeological Site of Zvartnots|
|Designated:||2000 (24th session)|
Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin (Armenian: Մայր Տաճար Սուրբ Էջմիածին Mayr Tajar Surb Ejmiatsin; originally known as the Holy Mother of God Church, Armenian: Սուրբ Աստուածածին Եկեղեցի Surb Astvatsatsin Yekeghetsi) is a 4th-century Armenian church in the town of Ejmiatsin, Armenia and is the oldest state-built church in the world. It is also the central cathedral of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
The Etchmiadzin Cathedral is the oldest state-built church in the world. The original vaulted basilica was built in 301-303 by Saint Gregory the Illuminator when Armenia became the first officially Christian country in the world. Gregory had converted King Tiridates III and members of his court.
According to the 5th-century Armenian annals, St. Gregory had a vision of Christ descending from heaven and striking the earth with a golden hammer to show where the cathedral should be built. Hence, the patriarch gave the church and the city the new name of Echmiadzin, which may be translated as "the place where the Only Begotten descended".
In 618, the wooden dome was replaced with a stone one, resting on four massive pillars linked to exterior walls by arcades. This was the church much as it is today.
Murals in the interior and extravagant rotundas surmounting the apses appeared in the early 18th century. A three-tier belfry was constructed half a century earlier.
|This section requires expansion. (July 2011)|
Immediately west of the cathedral is the Gate of St. Tiridates, leading to the imposing patriarchal palace. To the northeast, with buildings both within and outside the enclosure, is the Spiritual Academy. Several khachkars are north of the cathedral.
Ancient Vagharshapat and Etchmiadzin complex
See also 
- Armenian Apostolic Church
- Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin
- Vagharshapat, Armenia
- Armenian architecture
- Zvartnots Cathedral
- Saint Gayane Church
- Saint Hripsime church
- Saint Shoghakat Church
- Academic American Encyclopedia, p 172, Grolier Incorporated.
- St Etchmiadzin at Armenica.org
- UNESCO World Heritage Site profile
- "Etschmiadzin". Catholic Encyclopedia. 2007-02-22.
- Etchmiadzin Cathedral at GEOnet Names Server
- World Gazeteer: Armenia – World-Gazetteer.com
- Report of the results of the 2001 Armenian Census, National Statistical Service of the Republic of Armenia
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Etchmiadzin Cathedral|