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|Armenian Apostolic Church
|Odzun, Lori Province, Armenia
|Three-nave basilica with dome
|c. 5th–7th century
The first church appeared here in the 6th century. In the 8th century it was reconstructed by Hovhannes III Odznetsi (Հովհաննես Գ Օձնեցի) who served as the katholikos between 717 and 728 and was, as his name suggests, from Odzun. This is the time the church got its current form of a pink felsite basilica with three naves, the two side naves being narrow. At the northern (not preserved anymore) and southern side there are unusual arcaded cloisters and the west cloister has a blind wall with an arched entrance in the middle.
The roof is barrel vaulted. Four columns support the rib vaulted tambour and there are two more columns at the western part of the church. At the eastern façade above the central window one can observe a carving of Christ with the gospel of St. John and two angels below. At the southern façade, at each side of the central window there are two angels and traces of another figure, probably Christ. Much later, in the 19th century two small bell towers were added. The church was renovated between 2012 and 2014.
There are numerous gravestones of the clergy around the church, as well as a funerary monument. Its stepped platform supports two carved stelae, each within one of a set of double arches. The east and west sides of the monument are carved with scenes from the Bible and introduction of Christianity in Armenia. Its north and south side are carved with geometrical motifs and floral shapes. It is suggested that this monument commemorates Hovhannes Odznetsi, but its style suggests that it was probably erected earlier, in the 6th century.
This is one of only two such funerary monuments in Armenia. The one located in Odzun is claimed to have been given as a gift to Armenia from an Indian king around the 8th century. The other one is situated in Aghudi in southern Armenian province of Syunik.
Map of Odzun and surrounding region.
North and west sides of the church.
Portal to the church.
The church in the early 20th century
- Cathedral of Mren, a similar and contemporaneous three-nave basilica with dome in historical Armenia (in Turkey)
- "Սկսվել է Օձունի Սուրբ Մարիամ Աստվածածին եկեղեցու վերականգնումը". Lragir.am. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
- "Ավարտվել է Օձունի սբ Աստվածածին եկեղեցու վերականգնումը - Հանրային հեռուստաընկերություն". Archived from the original on 2015-11-17. Retrieved 2015-11-15.