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Mysteries of Armenia

The Last Saint

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One of the most magnificent monuments of the Armenian Middle Ages, Tatev Monastery, is perched on the rocky gorge of the Vorotan River. It used to be the settlement of hermits, who were the followers of apostle Thaddeus’ disciple, Eustaphius. The Monastery became famous for having kept most valuable relics at the dawn of Christianity, such as fragments of the crucifixion cross, the Blessed Virgin’s hair and others. In the 7th century the Monastery became the center of Syunik Episcopacy, although it won true recognition much later, when one of the greatest universities of Medieval Armenia began functioning here. The most important hearth of enlightenment was established in the 14th century. It reached its fullest flower under the rectorship of one of the most educated people of the time, Gregory Tatevatsi. Tatevatsi was in his thirtieth year when the last Armenian monarchy, Cilician Kingdom fell. The clergy, who were the only remaining national structure, did not state their distinct position regarding the new location of the Catholicos’ residence. The Rector of Tatev University evinced the vital necessity of returning it to the Patronal Edjmiatsin despite the heavy Muslim oppression. Unfortunately, he did not live to that historical day. Nevertheless, his disciples accomplished his will in 1441. Gregory Tatevatsi was the last figure to have been canonized by the Armenian Apostolic Church. His gravestone is located on the territory of Tatev Monastery.

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