October 17, 2018

Tatev church of the Holy Mother of God opens after restoration

Residents of Tatev and neighboring communities, guests from Yerevan, as well as tourists, attended the event.

IDeA Foundation’s Tatev Revival program has transformed Tatev, turning it into a cultural, touristic and spiritual center for the region. On October 16, as part of the program, the church of the Holy Mother of God, located in the Tatev monastery complex, was re-consecrated. After a complete restoration, the temple is once again open to public.

Residents of Tatev and neighboring communities, guests from Yerevan, as well as tourists, attended the event. The consecration ceremony was performed by bishop Moushegh Babayan, Director of Administration-Operations Department of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin (Armenian Apostolic Church).

“The restoration of the church of the Holy Mother of God, a part of the monastery complex, was only possible thanks to the group of philanthropists who rallied around IDeA Foundation’s Tatev Revival program. Without their efforts this sacred work would not have been possible to undertake. This bright day has also become a reality thanks to the hard work of the builders and architects,” said bishop Moushegh, congratulating the guests and residents of Tatev on the restoration and consecration of the church.

The church of the Holy Mother of God was built in late 1080’s on the wall of the fortress that towered over the ancient monastic crypt. In the 20th century, earthquakes twice damaged the temple: in 1931, and again in 1968 when new tremors destroyed the church.

Throughout the restoration at the Tatev monastery complex, IDeA Foundation has worked closely with the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Ministry of Culture of Armenia. In August 2016, after the church and state government officials approved the plan, restoration work began. As a result, the drum of the temple and the dome were restored and returned to their original form; the facing plates were replaced, and all cracks were identified and marked. The ground floor of the church and the roof have been completely renovated. The problem of drainage and water insulation of the temple has been resolved: previously, after rains or snowfalls, water collected on the first floor of the building causing new cracks.

“Tatev Revival is one of IDeA Foundation’s anchor programs. It was launched in 2008, combining traditional charity, socially beneficial investments, and impact investments for the development of local communities. Restoration of the Tatev monastery complex is the central element of the Tatev Revival program. In addition to restoration work and infrastructure development around the monastery, the program is aimed at preserving the cultural heritage of Tatev Monastery and the revival of spiritual life in the cloister,” said Rafi Baghdjian, CEO of IDeA Foundation.

Alongside the construction work, IDeA Foundation together with partner agencies continues to prepare an application for the inclusion of Tatev Monastery and Vorotan Gorge, where it is located, into the UNESCO World Heritage List. Leading local industry experts and international specialists are involved in this process.

The repair of all the churches and auxiliary buildings of the monastery complex are included in the Tatev Revival program.

October 16 also marked eight years since the launch of the Wings of Tatev aerial tramway, constructed as part of the Tatev Revival program. All the proceeds from the Wings of Tatev are directed to the restoration of the Tatev monastery complex.

The Wings of Tatev cableway is recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest reversible ropeway (5,752 m). It also set a record for the speed of construction – just 10 months, despite the difficult geographical and climatic conditions. The introduction of the aerial tramway increased the number of visitors to the Tatev monastery manifold. Since the launch of the ropeway, more than 750 thousand people have used it, and more than 25 guesthouses and hotels have been opened in Syunik region. 

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