Bjni Surb Astvatsatsin Monastery -

Bjni Surb Astvatsatsin Monastery

№ 137 from 277 - Attractions - Yerevan
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Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Virgin) Monastery is situated in Kotayk Province of Armenia in the village of Bjni. It was founded in 1031. Its main Surb Astvatsatsin church was built at the same time by Grigor Magistros Pahlavuni by the order of King Hovhannes Smbat and Catholicos Petros I Getadardz. The monastery was due to become an Episcopal residence.
Surb Astvatsatsin church is a domed hall. The fan shaped dome is resting upon a polyhedral drum. The central niche of the Main altar set off with plaster frame is one of the remarkable architectural and decorative elements.
Surb Astvatsatsin Monastery known also as a «Magistros`s lyceum» was one of the largest centers of Armenian script, education and science. It enjoyed authority under Catholicos Grigor III Pahlavuni, son of Grigor Magistros (XII). In 1209 the monastery was reconstructed by prince Vahan after Ivaneh and Zakareh Zakarians liberated Bjni from the Seljuk Turks (1201).
The monastery was damaged during Tamerlane`s invasion. Father Superior of the monastery was killed in the church.
In XV century Surb Astvatsatsin monastery once again became one of the largest spiritual and scientific centers. There were written a number of manuscripts including the Gospel copied by Father Superior Grigor.
Later in the 19th century Mkrtich Khrimian (Khrimian Hayrik) ordered to built a school on this site.
There was a legend, according which the monastery and Bjni fortress were connected with secret subterranean road broad enough so those besieged in the fortress were delivered food and drink. A fragment of subterranean passage was found during the excavations but the experts still doubt whether this road was existed. They are inclined to think it`s just a nice legend composed to glorify courageous defenders of the Bjni fortress.
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