Monastery of the Miracles

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Monastery of the Miracles
Սքանչելագործ վանք
Basic information
Location Turkey Van province, Armenian highland
Geographic coordinates 38°54′29″N 42°42′10″E / 38.9080°N 42.7028°E / 38.9080; 42.7028Coordinates: 38°54′29″N 42°42′10″E / 38.9080°N 42.7028°E / 38.9080; 42.7028
Affiliation Armenian Apostolic Church
State Turkey
Region East Anatolia
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Destroyed by Turks in 1915
Status ceased functioning as a monastery in 1915
Architectural description
Architectural type Armenian church
Architectural style Armenian
Completed 8th century

Monastery of the Miracles also known as Monastery of Ardzgue (Armenian: Սքանչելագործ վանք) is a destroyed Armenian monastery on the hills in 2.18 miles northwest to the Adilcevaz city of Bitlis province of modern Turkey, to the north from the Lake Van.


It is believed that the earliest known mention of this monastery is from the second quarter of the 8th century when, according to the Acts of the Martyrs, Vahan of Goghthen stayed there. He was the son of a local Armenian ruler and had been taken by the Arabs to Syria and raised as a Muslim. He was later sent back to Armenia to govern his territory under Arab suzerainty. However, as soon as he arrived he renounced Islam, returned to Christianity, came to Artzque, and retired into a nearby hermitage called Erashkhavor. His abandonment of Islam would eventually lead to his martyrdom around the year 737. Erashkhavor, which means Monastery of the Protector, is probably an earlier name for Sk'anchelagortzi vank (Armenian pronunciation to Monastery of the Miracles'). However, it is possible that Erashkhavor may have been another, now vanished, monastery that was also close to Artzque. The importance of the monastery arose from its possession of certain relics that were believed to have the power to cure disease. This accounts for its later name being Sk'anchelagortzi vank, the "Monastery of the Miracles". Until about the 14th century a relic known as the "Holy Emblem of War" affected these cures. After that time a second relic gradually superseded it. This new relic was a piece of a large bronze caldron that had been found, buried in the ground, by the monks during an epidemic of pestilence. It came to be believed that this was the basin in which Jesus had been washed in just after His birth. It is likely that what the monks had actually uncovered was part of an Urartian caldron. During the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries the monastery housed a scriptorium - about 20 manuscripts have been identified as having been created there. At the end of the 19th century the monastery was still wealthy and owned much land. In 1893 an earthquake struck Artzque, destroying many houses. It is not know if the monastery was affected. In 1895 the monastery was attacked and robbed by Kurds, who also burned down the monastery's supplementary buildings. These were rebuilt at the start of the 20th century and the monastery continued to operate until Armenian Genocide in 1915.


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