THE ZVARTNOTS' CATHEDRAL: PART II
THE OLD AND NEW FLOOR PLAN'S OF THE IŠXAN CATHEDRAL
ACCORDING TO ARCHITECT T. MARUT'EAN
P E R F E C T U N I T Y
Written by Gevork
Some segments of The Architecture of Armenia from the Siuni Server.
In the first half of the VIIth century, a number of renovations and constructions took place in and around the Mother Church of the Holy See of Echmiadzin. The Mother Church, being the Supreme Seat of the Catholicos of All Armenians, was thoroughly rebuilt and remodeled upon the orders of Catholicos Komitas of Aghts. In 618, the Monastery of St. Hripsime was completed. The church stands today and emanates beauty through simplicity, one of the trademarks of Armenian architecture. The church is complete in its formal and as well as functional design. The monastery of St. Gayane, was completed in the year 630. However, by far the most superb manifestation of the mind of the Armenian planners and builders is the marvelous Cathedral of Zvartnots, also known as the Echmiadzin Cathedral of St. Gregory the Illuminator.
S O L A R I S
THE EAGLE UPON THE OBELISK AT THE GATES TO THE SACRED CATHEDRAL OF LIGHT
...ACCORDING TO ARCHITECTURAL HISTORIAN FRANK
IS THE VERY ARCHETYPE OF THE GRAIL TEMPLE...THE ADJOINING PALACE HAD
HIDDEN CHAMBERS AND THE SANCTUM SANCTORUM WAS EMBELLISHED WITH
RELIEFS OF EAGLES, GRAPES, POMEGRANATES AND ABOVE ALL MASTER BUILDERS...
THE GUARDIANS OF THE SACRED MYSTERIES OF THE GRAIL...SAFEGUARDED IN
THE VERY HEART OF THE TEMPLE...THE MITHRAIC PEARL OF DIVINE WISDOM.
THE TEMPLE OF SPIRITUAL WISDOM...
EIGHT-FOLD PATH OF ENLIGHTENMENT SUBLIME BLUEPRINT OF
THE TEMPLE OF AWAKENING.
FLOWER OF LIFE ENCODED INTO THE VERY FOUNDATION
OF THE TEMPLE OF LIGHT.
THE SACRED EIGHT-POINTED STAR OF
...THE GUIDING LIGHT OF ARTAXIAD GOD-KINGS.
MANDALA MANIFESTS ITSELF...THAT WHICH IS...
TRIPLE DECKER UNIVERSE/COSMIC HIERARCHY THE SACRED FOUNDATION
OF THE SEVENTH CENTURY ZVARTNOTS TEMPLE.
THE TEMPLE OF GOD-MAN
COSMIC MAN AWAKENS...AND ACHIEVES CHRIST CONSCIOUSNESS. K. AVETISYAN
PUBLISHED HIS METICULOUS RESEARCH ON THE TRUE SPIRITUAL MEANING
AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ZVARTNOTS TEMPLE [BUILT BY THE SAME
ARMAN MASTER BUILDERS THAT ERECTED SACRED MITHREÆ FOR MANY
MILLENNIA...THE TEMPLE OF ZVARTNOTS WAS ACTUALLY DEDICATED TO
THE GREAT NATIONAL GOD OF WISDOM TIR [HERMES-THOTH] WHO
WAS THE OFFICIAL SCRIBE OF THE SUPREME GODHEAD ARAMAZD [AHURA MAZDA]
THE TWO ANGELS ON RIGHT AND LEFT [EAST AND WEST] LEAD TO THE
COMPLETED GOD-MAN [SYNTHESIS] WHO HAS ACHIEVED
SELF-REALIZATION. AND IT IS EXACTLY THIS SYMBOLTHAT WAS PLACED
BY THE MASTER BUILDERS [SYMBOL OF TIR/HERMES/MERCURY OF ARMENIAN
ALCHEMISTS]. ON THE COLUMN PILLARS OF ZVARTNOTS...DIVINE
[HORNS] MAN WITH OUTSTRETCHED HANDS FORMS THE COSMIC CRUX. OF
THE UNIVERSE EMERGING OUT OF THE SACRED TRIANGLE-HIERARCHY...MARKED
WITHIN IN A DOWNWARD FASHION...[CRESCENT AND THE UP DOWN N-ESQUE
ZIGZAG POINTS UP AND DOWN ON AS A SINGLE MARK/SYMBOL. FOR LARGER VIEW
SEE THE PREVIOUS PAGE OF THIS CHAPTER.
The construction of the Cathedral began in 643, by the orders of Catholicos Nerses III Ishkhantsi [one of the most learned scholars of the era, versed in the sacred teachings of the still surviving currents of the ancestral k‛rmapetakan Wisdom Schools], and was completed in 652. It was an extraordinarily enormous structure in its circumference and towering height. The three decks or parts [symbolic of the triple-decker universe and the holy trinity], one on top of another, were massive in their magnitude. The triad Cathedral was topped by the conned dome...pointed upwards to the Cosmos... to the Light..., a traditional Armenian element completing the sacred structure. The exterior as well as the interior of the Cathedral was covered by beautiful frescos and Armenian geometric symbols. One section in the interior of the Zvartnots' Cathedral housed the Catholicosal seat, monks quarters and the chapel. The Grand Hall served the function for holding mass and other processions. The Cathedral complex also included a library and number of adjoining buildings that served various functions. The frescos of the Cathedral were also found in the decorations of the Gothic Cathedral of Ste.-Chapelle (built between 1243 - 1248 A.D.) of Paris.
It must have left a deep impression on the visiting pilgrims who must have wondered at the grandeur of the Cathedral of Zvartnots. The Ste.-Chapelle frescos depict Zvartnots on top of Noah's Ark, most probably, the Cathedral along with the sacred Mount Ararat, must have stood as symbols of Armenia and the rebirth of humanity after the flood according to the biblical account.
THE ZVARNOTS CATHEDRAL. TWO-DIMENSIONAL [INTERNAL -- EXTERNAL] VIEW
The Cathedral was destroyed in the Xth century most probably by a massive earthquaker that hit the Ararat Valley during this period. The socio-political climate in the XIth century was not as such [perpetual warfare and instability] in order to undertake the very expensive venture of rebuilding the huge Cathedral. As time went on, the Cathedral was covered in deep layers of dirt and the debris. The Cathedral was virtually forgotten [removed from the collective consciousness of the people]. Even the exact place, were the Cathedral once stood was all but forgotten.
Not until the first early decades of the XXth century that the ruins of were excavated by a team of dedicated archaeologists. The remaining parts of the beautiful frescos and the eagle obelisks from the columns of the interior and exterior were uncovered. In the first years of the XXIst century a group of prominent Armenian architects and members of intelligentsia formed a society for the preservation and ultimately -- the restoration of the Cathedral to its former glory. So it seems after all, the history of the Cathedral will come to a full circle.
BANAK. SYMMETRICAL BALANCE OF THE TRIPLE-DECKER CATHEDRAL