Khor Virap Monastery: Birthplace of Christianity in Armenia


A young couple nervously waiting to begin their lives together, and they couldn’t have picked a more meaningful place to exchange their vows. Khor Virap Monastery- positioned in western Armenia a half mile from the Turkish border is said to be a place where wishes come true. It’s also the Armenian birthplace of Christianity. “In 301 AD, that’s the 4th century, Armenia became the first christian nation and we pride ourselves with that,” explains Serpuhie Messerlian of Fresno.

As the story goes, the region’s pagan King sentenced Saint Gregory the Illuminator into a dungeon with snakes for spreading his christian beliefs. But when the king became sick, Gregory, who survived years in the pit, was able to cure him. “The king seeing the power of a christian god, he converted to Christianity, and asked Gregory to bless him and convert him to Christianity,” says Messerlian.
Visitors can still make the treacherous climb into the dungeon– now thankfully snake free, and feel the spiritual presence. Touted as one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in Armenia, Khor Virap is a place filled with history and religious significance. It’s believed to be a place where wishes come true.

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