Churches & Monasteries

Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin

Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin



Architectural style:


Date of foundation:

4th century




The main cathedral in Armenia, Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, is a must-see religious site representing the Armenian path towards the Christian faith.


Located just 30 minutes away from Yerevan, Etchmiadzin is the main church of all Armenians. Discover the history of the first Christian nation and church while exploring Etchmiadzin's architectural marvels, religious frescoes, decorations, and holy relics kept in the Treasury Museum. The complex consists of religious buildings and auxiliary structures, all of which are magnificent in terms of architectural solutions and patterns.


In its capacity as the residence of the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians (the pontiff of the Armenian Church), Holy Etchmiadzin is known as the “Catholicate of All Armenians.” It became the seat of the Catholicate of the entire Armenian nation in the 4th century, following the conversion of King Tiridates III to Christianity by St. Gregory the Illuminator in AD 301. 


According to the chronicler Agathangelos, soon after Armenia’s conver­sion to Christianity, St. Gregory had a vision of the Son of God. Appearing as a heroic figure of light surrounded by a mighty angelic host, Christ struck the ground with a golden ham­mer, indicating the place where the Mother Cathedral of the new Christian nation was to be established. The name Etchmiadzin–literally, “where the Only Begotten descended”–refers to this episode.