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Echmiadzin, which is translated as “the place where the Only Begotten Son descended”, is the ancient capital of Armenia. According to a legend, Jesus Christ descended from heaven and showed the place where the cathedral should be located.

The Holy Echmiadzin Cathedral was built on that place in the fourth century (301-303), at the dawn of the Christian transformation of the country by King Trdat (Tiridates) III and St. Gregory the Illuminator. The Cathedral was built at the top of the ancient pagan temple Vagharshapat after it had been destroyed by Trdat III. Armenia was the first country in the world that adopted Christianity as the official state religion.

Echmiadzin is the residence of the Catholicos of All Armenians and the center of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Every seven years the rite of blessing of the holy oil is held here and thousands of supporters arrive in Echmiadzin as pilgrims from various parts of the world to attend this ceremony.


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