St. Hripsime

Saint Hripsimé Church

Saint Hripsimé Church is one of the oldest surviving churches in Armenia, built by Catholicos Sahak the Great in 395 AD that contained the remains of the martyred Saint Hripsimé to whom the church was dedicated. It is famous for its Armenian-style architecture of the classical period, which has later influenced many other Armenian churches. 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 this church, while Gayané was tortured and martyred at a site where the Saint Gayané Church was built in the year 630. 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 Hripsimé Church is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.