Monday, January 14, 2013

following the Bible trail in Armenia

Khor Virap ("deep well") is the most visited pilgrimage site in Armenia, a country chock full of monasteries. St. Gregory was imprisoned in a well here for 13 years and left to die amongst poisonous snakes, surviving only because an old woman dropped some bread into the pit for him due to visions she had in her dreams telling her to do so. When it was discovered he was miraculously alive, and he subsequently cured the king, the king proclaimed Christianity as the official religion of the country, thereby making Armenia the first Christian country in the world (301 AD).

The backdrop of the monastery is the prominent Mt. Ararat (Turkey), the mountain where Noah's Ark landed after the great floods (book of Genesis). My Christian educational roots made it impossible to not be completely ecstatic to be here....Ritchie didn't exactly share the theological thrill. 

The pit responsible for the spread of Christianity. Ritchie responsible for the spread of.... a few things...

Mt. Ararat is a dormant volcano

A dove brought the olive branch back to Noah, signaling there was dry ground and it was okay to come out of the ark.

Some brushing up

Cemetery just near the monastery 

Most of the cemeteries in Armenia have pictures of the people on the outside of the tombs, kinda creepy.

View of Khor Virap and Mt. Ararat while walking on the road to hitch hike back to Yerevan

Another day trip from Yerevan that we took was to Etchmiadzin, the spiritual center for Armenians. Located there is a religious complex: churches, cathedrals, seminaries, museums and more - a veritable Christian playground. 

St. Gayane Church of 630

The Holy Lance, used to pierce Christ's side to see if he was dead

Various Biblical relics

Wood carving by John the Baptist

Piece of the cross

"Peculiar travel suggestions are like dancing lessons from God." - Tom Robbins


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