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Mysteries of Armenia

In the Name of a Maiden

100_2588_ripsimeHripsime church is situated 20 km west from Yerevan. This universally recognized masterpiece of Christian architecture was consecrated in 618 by Catholicos Komitas I. At the very beginning of the 4th century there stood a small Christian structure here, which had appeared on the site of a destroyed pagan temple. This beautiful edifice holds the legend of the 37 maidens, who had fled from Rome to Armenia in 301 to save themselves from Diocletian’s persecution. The presumptuous King Tiridates III was charmed by the stunning beauty of one of them, Hripsime. However, in response to the pagan King’s marriage proposal Hripsime declared that she belonged to Christ only. The story had a tragic ending. Most of the maidens were martyred in the capital city of Vagharshapat. Their bodies were buried only nine days after, when Armenia became the first country to adopt Christianity as a state religion. The maidens were canonized.

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