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Mysteries of Armenia

The Dungeon


The condemned cell of Khor-Virap is situated on the territory of ancient Artashat. The stoned dark dungeon is placed within the precincts of the monastery complex of the same name, 50 km south from Yerevan. The founder of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Gregory Partev, spent here long years of imprisonment. The life of this outstanding figure is cloaked in a veil of mystery. He was born to the family of the plotter Anak. The latter was an accomplice in the murder of King Khosrov, who was the restorer of Armenia’s former might and the Christians’ oppressor. All the members of the families involved in the conspiracy were executed except for little Suren, who had been taken out to Cappadocia by his wet-nurse. The child was baptized in Caesarea and was named Gregory (awakened). Some prophet appeared in Armenia at the end of the 3rd century. The Armenian King Tiridates III received the newcomer hospitably. Unlike his predecessors he did not persecute his guest who practised a different religion. He even offered him to take up a post at his court as at the end of the 3rd century the new teaching enjoyed great popularity with the representatives of the Armenian nobility. However, the princely families who adhered to traditional religious views did not cease making attempts to alter the situation. They were the ones to reveal the secret of the noble Christian’s descent to to Tiridates III, the son of the murdered Armenian King, So, in 287 Gregory was put to the contemned cell.

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