Feast of the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin Date in the current year: May 29, 2016

Feast of the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin Sixty-four days after Easter, the Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates the feast of the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin. The Etchmiadzin Cathedral was the first cathedral built in ancient Armenia. It is located in the city of Vagharshapat.

According to legend, the original cathedral was built by Saint Gregory the Illuminator, the patron saint of Armenia who converted the country to Christianity. Armenia adopted Christianity as its state religion in 301.

That same year, Saint Gregory had a vision of Jesus Christ who descended from heaven and stroke the Earth with a golden hammer to indicate the place where the cathedral should be built. The name of Etchmiadzin is a reference to that vision, it can be translated from Armenian as “the Descent of the Only-Begotten”.

The original cathedral was completed circa 303. The core of the current building was built in the 480s, and in 1868 a sacristy was added. In 2000, the cathedral was added to the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites.

During the feast of the Etchmiadzin Cathedral, a special hymn is sung. The hymn tells of Saint Gregory's vision and the construction of the cathedral. It was written in the 8th century by Sahak III of Dzorapor, the Catholicos of all Armenians (head bishop of the Armenian Church).

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