Gndevank Monastery

According to historian Stepanos Orbelian, the monastery was built in the 10th c. for Princess Sophia of Syunik, who appointed Priest Sargis as the abbot and artist Yeghishe Priest as the head of the construction.

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Gndevank Introduction

This monastery lies to the west of the village, on the right side of Vayk-Jermuk old highway, overlooking the left bank of the Arpa River.

According to historian Stepanos Orbelian, the monastery was built in the 10th c. for Princess Sophia of Syunik, who appointed Priest Sargis as the abbot and artist Yeghishe Priest as the head of the construction.

St. Stepanos church, built in 931-936, is a cruciform domed structure with four altars. Priest Yeghishe had the church decorated with wall paintings, of which only the portrait of Jesus Christ on the altar wall survives.

Mother Mary's portrait on the north annex wall is considered among the Armenian masterpieces of the late middle ages. The interior boasts pendentives that are faced with four carvings representing the evangelists.

Gndevank and Atchar villages, plus a number of gardens, were donated to the monastery to ensure the economic independence of the congregation.

To the west of St. Stepanos lies the gavit, a vaulted hall with two rooms in the north. It was built in 999 for Abbot Christopher, whose successor Sargis commissioned a canal for drawing water from the Vararakn River. The canal functions even today.

Abbot Petros (Peter) had the church and the gavit renovated in 1691, surrounding the monastery by a wall. Houses and industrial buildings were built nearby.

The area includes some elaborate khachkars (cross stones) and tombstones. Various religious items were uncovered in the hiding place of the churchyard in 1875. Gndevank was renovated in 1965-1970.


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    How to reach There are two ways to reach Gndevank, both are roads leading to Jermuk. If you take the new highway to Jermuk, you will have to exit into the village of Gndevaz, and hike down the canyon (approx 45 minutes down) to reach the monastery.

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