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Araratian Pontifical Diocese

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Diocese of Araratian

Արարատյան Հայրապետական թեմ
- Total
(as of 2011)
DenominationArmenian Apostolic Church
RiteArmenian Rite
Established4th century
CathedralSaint Sarkis, Yerevan
Current leadership
PatriarchKarekin II
Pontifical vicarArchbishop Navasard Kchoyan
Official website

Araratian Pontifical Diocese (Armenian: Արարատյան Հայրապետական թեմ Araratyan Hayrapetakan t'em) is the largest diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church and one of the oldest dioceses in the world, covering the city of Yerevan and the Ararat Province within Armenia.[1]


The origin of Araratian Pontifical Diocese dates back the beginning of the 4th century. With the Christianzation of Armenia, Saint Gregory the Illuminator established the Catholicosate of All Armenians in Vagharshapat, as well as the Araratian Pontifical Diocese and appointed Bishop Albianus as the first primate vicar of the newly-founded diocese. The name of the diocese is derived from Mount Ararat; the symbol of the Armenian nation. At first, the diocese included the territories of the Ararat plain, Nakhijevan, Kotayk and the western territories of Lake Sevan. It is believed that the diocese was commonly known as the Diocese of Yerevan between the 15th and 19th centuries. Under the Russian rule during the mid-19th century, the jurisdiction of the diocese was expanded to include the territories of Syunik and Shirak as well, followed by the area of Kars in 1878, covering almost the entire area of Eastern Armenia.

The prelacy building near the Surp Sarkis Cathedral in Yerevan

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Araratian Pontifical Diocese had 643 churches, 13 monastic complexes and more than 150 schools functioning under its jurisdiction. In August 1920, upon a kontakion issued by Catholicos George V, the territory of Shirak was separated from the Araratian Diocese to form the Diocese of Shirak. After the Treaty of Moscow in 1921, the Araratian Diocese lost the territories of Kars and Nakhijevan. The diocese lost most of its properties under the Soviet rule between 1920 and 1991.

With the independence of Armenia in 1991, the Armenian Church was reorganized, most of the properties were returned to the church and many new dioceses were established based on the administrative divisions of Armenia.

Currently,[when?] the Araratian Pontifical Diocese is the largest diocese of the Armenian Church, with around 1.3 million people under its jurisdiction. The primate vicar of the diocese is Archbishop Navasard Kchoyan, serving since 1999.[2] The diocesan headquarters are located in the capital Yerevan, next to the Saint Sarkis Cathedral.

Active churches[edit]

As of June 2017, the diocese has the below listed churches and chapels functioning under its jurisdiction, operating throughout Yerevan and Ararat Province, with the exception of the 17th-century Khor Virap monastic complex in Ararat Province, the Cathedral of Saint Gregory in Yerevan opened in 2001, and the Surp Anna Church in Yerevan opened in 2015, which are directly regulated by the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.[3]

Here is the list of churches, monasteries and chapels functioning under the jurisdiction of the Araratian Pontifical Diocese, along with their location and year of consecration:


In Yerevan
In Ararat Province


  • Saint Ananias' Chapel, Yerevan, 1889
  • Surp Khach Zoravor Chapel, Yerevan, 1991
  • Surp Karapet Chapel, Berkanush, rebuilt in 2006

Inactive/ruined churches and monasteries[edit]

This is an incomplete list of inactive or ruined churches and monasteries in the territory regulated by the Araratian Pontifical Diocese:

  • Holy Mother of God Chapel of Avan, Yerevan, 4th century
  • Katoghike Tsiranavor Church of Avan, Yerevan, 591
  • Surp Hovhannes Chapel of Avan, Yerevan, 12-13th centuries
  • Aghjots Vank near Goght and Garni, 13th century
  • Hovhannes Karapet Monastery near Lusashogh, 13th century
  • Holy Mother of God Church of Kanaker, Yerevan, 1695
  • Holy Mother of God Parochial Church of Avan, Yerevan, 19th century


  1. ^ "History". Archived from the original on 2014-10-16. Retrieved 2014-10-07.
  2. ^ "Archbishop Navasard Kchoyan". Archived from the original on 2018-10-05. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  3. ^ "Churches of the Araratian Pontifical Diocese". Archived from the original on 2020-10-09. Retrieved 2017-05-24.