St. Gayane

Saint Gayané Church

Saint Gayané Church was built by Catholicos Ezra I in the year 630 in Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin). Despite partial renovations of the dome and some ceilings in 1652 its design has remained unchanged. Gayané was the name of an abbess who together with other nuns was martyred by king Tiridates III of Armenia in year 301. Later she was made a saint of the Armenian Apostolic Chirch. As the fifth century Armenian historian Agatangelos wrote, the young and beautiful Hripsimé was a Christian nun in Rome, was to be forcefully married to the Roman emperor Diocletian. She and the abbess Gayané together with other nuns left to Armenia. The pagan King of Armenia Tiridates III fell in love with Hripsimé and later Gayané. After her refusal, Hripsimé was tortured and martyred at the location of Saint Hripsimé Church, while Gayané was tortured and martyred at this site where the church was later built. The remaining group of thirty-eight unnamed nuns were martyred at the location of Saint ShoghakatChirch. During the time that Hripsimé was being tortured, Gayané told her to "be of good cheer, and stand firm" in her faith. Saint Gayané Church is listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.