Akhaltsikhe St. Gregory the Illuminator Church (Surb Grigor Lusavorich)

1 axalcixe surb grigor lusavorichFounded in 1837

Address: St. Khmaladze ,7 (St. Guramishvili ,7)

Church construction and renovation: St. Gregory the Illuminator Church is located in the Rabat district of Akhaltsikhe. Since 1837, the archival documents have provided information about the church by the name of St. Gregory the Illuminator in Akhaltsikhe. Particularly, the mentioned name of the church is available in the lists of movable and immovable property of churches in the Georgian and Imeretian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, founded in 1837.[1] The metric book of the deceased of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in 1839 has also been preserved.[2] According to one of the two Armenian lithographs on the western wall of the church, the church renovations were carried out in 1837 (the other inscription refers to the construction of the belfry in 1878).[3]

The article, published in one of the regular editions of the "Echo (Ardzagank)" newspaper, is also a matter of interest according to which Khrimyan Father visited the St. Saviour (Surb Prkich) and St. Gregory the Illuminator churches in Akhaltsikhe in 1895. Related to the latter, it is noted that St. Gregory the Illuminator Church is remarkable as the first pilgrimage site of Karno refugees.[4]According to the data reported by another article, published in the "Experience (Pordz)" magazine, in 1832 there existed a church in Akhaltsikhe by the name of St. Gregory the Illuminator, which, however, did not operate because of being old .[5]

According to another archival document, in 1840 the Diocesan Leader Karapet Bagratouni applied to the Echmiadzin Synod requesting permission to build a monastery by the name of St. Gregory the Illuminator in Akhaltsikhe. In the statement it is also mentioned that Akhaltsikhe does not have a suitable place of worship where it is possible to care for spiritual needs. There exists only a ruinous place where relics of a cross are seen. At the end of the application, the Diocese Leader adds that he has bought a "convenient place” by his own means and is waiting for the Synod’s permission to start the construction. As of 1841, the writing on the church construction are still in the progress.[6]

According to S. Eprikyan, St. Saviour, St. Stepanos and St. Gregory the Illuminator churches were built in Akhaltsikhe during the Karapet Bagratuni’s diocesan leadership. The latter used to be a mosque, where before the foundation of the Karapetian school, Armenian children assembled to study the national language and religious studies.[7]

According to the afore-mentioned, one can conclude that in the 1830s there was a church or a place of worship by the name of St. Gregory the Illuminator in Akhaltsikhe. The improved or demolished state of the church is another affair, in its place (possibly also somewhere else) the present St. Gregory the Illuminator Church was built on the initiative of Karapet Bagratuni.

Architecture: The external dimensions of the church are 13,30x17,05m. The belfry is built in the south-east corner. The middle part of the walls and the ceiling is decorated 2 axalcixe surb grigor lusavorich 1with a cornice. The entrance leads to the western wall. The hall is divided into three ships with arched columns. The altar is located in the eastern part of the building, where the chapels are on its right and left sides . In the north-western corner there is a small mezzanine floor. The font is located on the northern wall.[8]

Renovations in the 20th century: In the period of Father Gevorg Bishop Seradaryan's leadership, in 1977 among the number of churches of the diocese, partial external and internal renovations of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church were also carried out .The construction of a new pavement was also carried out at church expenses.[9]

Church objects: According to the above mentioned lists of movable and immovable property of the churches, in 1837 the church by the name of St. Gregory the Illuminator had one Thought-book, one Gospel, one Dinner book and other ritual books, moreover the silverware was not registered. [10]

Parish priests: In 1837, the priest was Ter-Martiros Mnatsakanyan,[11]Ghazaros Gevorgyan was ordained a priest in 1843[12] and Harutyun priest Grigoryan was in the 1870-80’s.[13]Ter-Hambardzum Melkonyan was one of the Soviet period priests (anointed in 1967 by Ter-Hambardzum Ter - Stepanyan).[14]

Re-dedication: In April, 2009, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church in Georgia, His Grace Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan and the General Vicar of Samtskhe-Javakheti and Tsalka, Father Babken monk Salbian solemnly rededicated the armenian church of St. Gregory the Illuminator in Akhaltsikhe .[15]

St. Gregory the Illuminator Church operates up to now (also operated in Soviet times). Near the church operates Saturday spiritual courses, a national dance group and Ladies' Union.

Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia

Armenian Historical and Cultural Heritage Study Center in Georgia


[1] NAA, ֆ. 56, ց. 6, գ. 39, թ. 109 շրջ.-110:

[2] NAA, ֆ. 53, ց. 2, գ. 151, թթ. 1-11 շրջ.:

[3] S. Karapetyan, Akhaltskha, Yerevan, 2008, pp.141-142.

[4] “Ardzaganq”, 1895, N 78,p. 1

[5] “Pordz”, 1876,N 1,p.443

[6] NAA, ֆ. 56, ց. 1,գ. 732, թ. 1, 5:

[7] S. Eprikyan, Illustrated Nature Dictionary, Venice, 1902, V. 1, p. 58.

[8] The Armenian Historical and Cultural Heritage Study Center in Georgia. Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia

[9] “Etchmiatsin”, 1978, (C), p.62

[10] NAA, ֆ. 56, ց. 6, գ. 39, in the same place

[11] NAA, ֆ. 56, ց. 1, գ. 215, թ.1:

[12] NAA, ֆ. 56, ց. 1, գ. 1158, թ. 14-ի շրջ.:

[13] NAA, ֆ. 53, ց. 2, գ. 171, թ. 2; գ. 177, թ. 3:

[14] Leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia, Gevorg Archbishop Seraydaryan's private archive. It is circulated for the first time.

[15] armenpress.am/arm/print/464763/:

  • Hits: 41

Contact us

5, Samghebro St., 0105 – Tbilisi, Georgia
Phone: +995322922248
+995322754111
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.