The Surb Astvastatsin Church of Nerkin Sznek

Location The Surb Astvatsatsin Church is situated in the central area of Nerkin Sznek village, located in the Askeran region of the Republic of Artsakh (Fig. 1). Historical overview According to the inscription on the entrance lintel, which is now lying in the yard, the church was constructed in 1849 and was named Surb Astsvatsatsin. “This is the Church of the Surb Astvatsatsin, built by those mentioned. This was in the year of 1289.” There might have been another inscription that listed the names of the church’s builders, as indicated by the term “mentioned.” Information about the village and the church was recorded in Makar Barkhudaryants’ work “Artsakh,” where the author states: “The village of Nerkin Sznek was established not far from Verin Sznek, with similar land, crops, etc. The church, Surb Astvatsatsin, was constructed of stones and lime and has three priests. There are 92 households, with 377 men and 350 women” (Barkhutareants 1895, 99). Around the church, particularly in the southern yard, there is a small late medieval cemetery where several rectangular tombstones belonging to the clergy of the village have been preserved next to the southern wall of the church. The oldest of these tombstones bears the following inscription: “This is the tombstone of the son of Hovannes, Ter Zakarya, and year 1287 (1848).” This inscription suggests that the current church building was constructed on the grounds of an already-established cemetery (Fig. 3). Here are also the tombstones of the last priests of the church, Hovhannes Mangasaryan (1889) and Ghevond Ter Hovhannesyan-Mangasaryan (1901) (Figs. 4, 5).

The Surb Stepanos Church of Khachen village

Location The church is located in the center of Khachen village, Askeran region of the Republic of Artsakh (Figs. 1, 2). Historical overview There is limited bibliographical information available about Surb Stepanos Church in Khachen. Makar Barkhudaryants refers to the village as Seytishen in his work “Artsakh”. The village church was known as Surb Hovhannes. Barkhudaryants describes the church as “… stone-built, a tribute to Mahtesi (Pilgrim to Jerusalem) Balai Zakaryants of Shushi, but severely damaged” (Barkhutareants 1895, 163). The church mentioned by Barkhudaryants was in fact damaged and was originally named after Surb Hovhannes. The current church was constructed in 1901 and is called Surb Stepanos, as indicated by the inscription on the southern lintel. This inscription provides extensive evidence of the church’s construction. “This temple was built during 1900-1901 in the reign of Emperor Nicholas II of Russia and during the time of the Catholicos of the Mkrtich I, with the expenses of the Collegiate Assessor and knight Nerses bek Sarumeants, for the sake of the Martyr Stepannos, in memory of his most grateful parents, priest Andreas and Nanasi Asrumeants and his prematurely aged sisters, Anna, Reyhan and Mariam, also in his memory and his spouse Voski and all ancestors. And the church was consecrated on May 5, 1902.” It is probable that Nerses Sarumyants, who was a Collegiate Assessor, was instrumental in the reconstruction of the old church. The role of Collegiate Assessor was a prestigious one in the Russian Empire, offering significant financial benefits, social status, and a distinctive uniform. Architectural-compositional examination The Surb Stepanos Church is a single-nave vaulted hall, constructed with rough-polished local small and medium-sized stones. The window frames and cornerstones of the walls are made of polished stone. The church is illuminated by wide windows on all facades, with two windows on the south and north facades, and one each on the west and east. Additionally, it has two sacristies and a small baptistery. Near the church, there are several khachkars (Fig. 4) that date back to the 9th-13th centuries. These khachkars were relocated to the site from the neighboring Ulubab settlement’s field areas(http://monuments.nk.am/pages.php?al=home&id=1015&act1=more&d=3&act=filter&mtype=12&fbclid=IwAR1Q_dk7OQ9lCemlGYR0vpqMKRK02G7fQzubkG-G1S66hzJGkoZV2-qrQtk). The condition before and after the war The church remained undamaged during military operations. Throughout the Soviet era, it served as a warehouse. It underwent renovation in 2007 (https://armenpress.am/arm/news/444482.html). A small bell tower was built on the roof of the church during that time, and the roof was tiled (Fig. 5). However, during the military operations of September 19-20, 2023, the village was taken over by Azerbaijan, and the current state of the church is uncertain. Bibliography Barkhutareants 1895 – Barkhutareants M., Artsakh, Baku. The Surb Stepanos Church of Kahchen in NKR has been reopened, https://armenpress.am/arm/news/444482.html. The Surb Stepanos Church of Khachen village, http://monuments.nk.am/pages.php?al=home&id=1015&act1=more&d=3&act=filter&mtype=12&fbclid=IwAR1Q_dk7OQ9lCemlGYR0vpqMKRK02G7fQzubkG-G1S66hzJGkoZV2-qrQtk.

Surb Stephanos church of Shosh

Location Shosh village is located in the Artsakh Republic’s Askeran region. The village’s Surb Stephanos church is located in the village square (Figs. 1, 2).

Surb Astvatsatsin church of Shosh

Location                                                       Shosh village is located in the Artsakh Republic’s Askeran region. Surb Astvatsatsin Church is located on the northwestern outskirts of the village, surrounded by the old and new cemeteries. Following the 44-day war, Shosh appeared on the occupation border. Historical overview There is no historical information available about the church. Architectural-compositional examination The church is a single-nave hall with a rectangular architectural plan. It is made of raw and semi-polished white, small and medium-sized limestone. Only the entrance and window curbstones, in addition to the corner stones of the walls, are polished. The building’s only entrance is on the south side (Figs. 1, 2, 3, 4).The church’s interior is vaulted, with a low bema and two sacristies (Fig. 9). Small khachkars and tombstones from the 17th and 18th centuries are enchased on the walls (Figs. 5, 6, 7, 8). According to the inscription on the upper part of the church porch, “This sacred church was built in 1918 in memory of Deacon Baghdasar Abareants from Shushi and his friend Arusdam Gapean, which cost a pood of wheat (20 rubles)”(Fig. 10). The inscription on the right side of the high altar (Fig. 11) says, “This church was built in 1915 by Baghdasar and his wife, Margarit Abareants, for the salvation of their souls.”

Churhush Church of Taghavard

It is located in Hin (Old) Taghvard village under Armenian control, at a distance of 40 meters from the current border. Probable time of construction – 17th century. It is a single-nave vaulted hall with a sole western entrance. The eastern altar is rectangular, separated from the prayer hall by a vaulted arch made of hewn stones on their facades. There are rectangular niches opened on the southern and northern walls of the altar. The lintel made of polished stones and the northern curbstones are preserved from the entrance. The exterior of the church is built by large stones and internally – with medium-sized blue stones and lime mortar. In the line of the western facade, linear cross-figures have been preserved on the boulder placed near the foundation. There are no sculptures or inscriptions. The church has been a famous place of pilgrimage for the residents of Taghavard and neighboring villages, the limbs and heads of sacrificed animals hanging on the surrounding trees. The candle-lighting in the church continues up to day.   According to the residents of Taghavard, the church was shelled by the Azerbaijani air force on November 10 at 1 p.m., 2020. As a result, the church was turned into ruins. Twelve soldiers were martyred at the approaches and surroundings of the church.  

Ghaybalushen

Ghaybalushen is located on the left slant slope of the left tributary of the Karkar River (Ghaybalu or Karkar proper), at the foot of the north-western gorge of Shushi. In the 18th-20th centuries, it was connected to Shushi by a busy route leading from the gates of Yerevan to Khachen, and a single-span bridge was built over the underpass (the probable time of the current structure is the 17th-18th centuries). After the massacres perpetrated by the Turks of Shushi in 1919, to which the majority of the village population fell victim, the settlement was abandoned. St. Astvatsatsin church, built in the 17th century and modified in the 19th century (it is a single-nave vaulted hall with a gable roof, sole southern entrance, eastern altar, adjacent northern and southern vestries, in-built baptismal pool on the eastern side of the northern wall), the cemetery, the bridge, the ruins of several mills are preserved on the site. The lintel inscription on the portal of Ghaybalushen’s church and the solar relief of Christ, the inscriptions of the upper mill had been erased by the Azeris of Shushi before 1988.   During the war, the monument was shelled, as a result of which the crack in the western wall of the church more widened, the stones of the south-eastern plinth wall were moved, cracks appeared in different parts of the eastern altar and the vestries. Currently, the monument is located immediately on the border and needs special monitoring.    

The Church of Pirumashen

It is located in the territory of Sarushen community of Askeran region of Artsakh, about 0.5 km south-west of the village, on the right edge of the Stepanakert-Hadrut highway, near the current border. It is a single-nave vaulted hall with a semicircle eastern apse and adjacent vestries. The church is built of medium-sized rough stones and lime mortar. Built by a combination of large blocks of white lime and black sandstone, the sculpted portal stands out. The volumetric and sculptural solutions of the portal indicate the 17th century. It is not excluded that it was rebuilt on the foundation dated to the 12th-13th centuries once existed earlier on the site, taking into account the 12th-13th century tombstones and khachkars embedded in the walls. The building was completely restored in 2012-2014.   It was not damaged during the Second Artsakh War. Special monitoring is required, as the adjacent highway is also used by Azeri columns heading to Shushi.  

The Surb Astvatsatsin Church of Kolkhozashen

Location The Surb Astvatsatsin Church is situated in the heart of the Kolkhozashen village within the Martuni region of the Republic of Artsakh (Fig. 1), nestled amidst the historical quarter and adjacent to the cemetery. Historical overview The village of Kolkhozashen, formerly known by various names such as Burutes, Meshadishen, Mushadeshen, Mashadishen, and Mashadi Shen, among others, is steeped in history. The Surb Astvatsatsin Church, constructed in the 19th century, stands upon the grounds of the former sanctuary. This information regarding the village and its church is sourced from Makar Barkhudaryants’ work “Artsakh,” which provides comprehensive insights into various aspects of the region.”Mashadishen village was founded on two slopes of a valley, located on the eastern side of Msmna village. The inhabitants are indigenous and the soil is both fragile and fertile. The local crops are the same and the air, climate, and water are harmless, resulting in a long life expectancy of 75-80. The church, Surb Astsvatsatsin, is made of stone, with only one priest. There are a total of 120 households, with 510 males and 433 females residing in the village.” (Barkhutareants, 1895, 108). There is no historical information available about the construction of Surb Astvatsatsin Church. However, there are khachkars on the walls of the church, particularly in the niche and on the edges of the baptismal font, that indicate the existence of the sanctuary at least from the developed Middle Ages (Figs. 2, 3, 4, 5).

The Surb Astvatatsin Church of Khnatsakh village

Location The Surb Astvatsatsin Church of Khnatsakh is situated at the heart of the village (Fig. 1). Following the Azerbaijani military aggression in September 2023 and the subsequent forced displacement of Armenians, the church is now under Azerbaijani occupation. Historical overview According to M. Barkhudaryants, the residents of Khnatsakh village migrated from Mets-Siuneats in 1686, which is now in the Syunik region (Khnatsakh village) (Barkhutareants 1895, 152-154). The Surb Astvatsatsin Church of Khnatsakh was constructed at the end of the 19th century, specifically in 1894, and funded by the residents (Barkhutareants, 1895, 226). Makar Barkhudaryants was born in this village as well. The church served as one of the centers of manuscript production. According to M. Barkhudaryants, at the beginning of the 19th century, two manuscripts were preserved here: one was a manuscript of “Chashots,” and the other was a gospel written on paper. Architectural-compositional examination The church is a rectangular hall with three naves. The vault is supported by semicircular and arrow-shaped arches that rise on cross pillars and wall pillars in the section (Fig. 2). It was constructed with local limestone and has dimensions of 18 meters in length and 10 meters in width. The entrances and window frames, as well as the columns, have been polished. During the years of independence, the gable roof underwent renovation and was covered with tiles. The primary polished and sculpted entrance is situated on the southern side (Fig. 3). Additionally, there is an entrance from the west, also polished but lacking specific embellishments. Notably, the upper section of the porch, particularly the southern entrance, stands out for its color scheme. It features a star-like rosette crafted from white and brown tabular tiles against a red-brown background, along with a cross composition and a circular rosette positioned above it (Fig. 4). All of the decorative elements in this structure were likely taken from an older building, possibly from the 13th century. The polished slabs on the edges of the composition were likely originally intended for inscriptions. However, they have remained blank or without any inscriptions.

The Surb Astvatsatsin Church of Askeran city

Location The church is situated within the boundaries of the city of Askeran, which serves as the regional center of the Askeran region in the Republic of Artsakh (Figs. 1, 2).

The Surb Astvatsatsin Church of Murishen

Location The Surb Astvatsatsin Church is situated in Myurishen village of the Martuni region (Fig. 1). Located in the southeastern part of the Republic of Artsakh, the village is approximately 34 km away from the regional center of Martuni. Murishen has been under Azerbaijani occupation since September 2023. Historical overview M. Barkhudaryants, in his description of the village, highlights that “Murishen residents are indigenous, and the land holds historical significance. The village church, Surb Astvatsatsin, is a stone-built, vaulted structure. The priest is originally from Avtur (Barkhutareants 1895, 127). An inscription preserved on the tabernacle of the church reveals that it was constructed in 1869. Architectural-compositional examination The Surb Astvatsatsin Church is situated at the heart of the village. It spans 12 meters in length, 6.34 meters in width, and stands at a height of 5.5 meters. The church features a single-nave vaulted hall with a rectangular layout. Towards the eastern side, it concludes with a semicircular tabernacle and a pair of sacristies (Figs. 2 and 3). The vault is supported by arrow-shaped pilasters emerging from both the pillars and the tabernacle’s pillars. The stage has not been preserved. However, the northern wall still retains the baptismal font. Openings for storing church utensils are present on both the northern and southern walls of the Tabernacle and the hall. On the southern wall of the Tabernacle, there is a 12th-13th-century khachkar adorned with intricate relief (Fig. 4). The church is lit up by four small windows. Two of the windows are located on the southern facade, one on the western facade, and one on the eastern facade. During the Soviet era, the church roof was covered with a metal sheet and was used as a warehouse.

The Surb Astvatsatsin Church of Tsaghkavank

Location The Surb Astvatsatsin Church is situated at the heart of Tsaghkavank village in the Hadrut region (Fig. 1). The village of Tsaghkavank has been under Azerbaijani occupation since October 2020. Historical overview Tsaghkavank village is situated in the Hadrut region, approximately 12 km northeast of Hadrut city. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the village was known as Kharmanjugh (Barkhutareants 1895, 46). Following the establishment of the Soviet order, it was officially named Kharmanjugh. In December 1991, Azerbaijani troops captured and set fire to the village. Subsequently, after the first Artsakh liberation war, the village was liberated. In 1995, it underwent a renaming and is now known as Tsaghkavank. Architectural-compositional examination The church, constructed in 1830, takes the form of a single-nave rectangular hall. It features a spacious semicircular tabernacle and sacristies on the eastern side. The cylindrical nave is supported by two arches rising from pillars. The sole entrance is situated on the southern side, with a single broad window adorning the south wall. Notably, due to the slope of the terrain, the western facade and northern part of the church are partially embedded in the ground (Fig. 2). In the Soviet era, the church underwent a shift in purpose and was utilized for economic activities. Adjacent structures were constructed along the southern section of the church, and as a consequence of their collapse, the entrance to the church became partially obstructed. The condition before, during, and after the war As of September 2020, the church was standing. There is no available information regarding its current state or condition beyond that date. Bibliography Barkhutareants 1895 – Barkhutareants M., Artsakh, Baku. Balayan 2020 – Balayan V., Outlines of the History of Settlements of the Republic of Artsakh, Yerevan, “Zangak” Publishing house”.

The Surb Astvatsatsin Church of Kavahan (Ghavakhan)

Location The Surb Astvatsatsin Church is situated in the central part of the village of Kavahan, in the Martuni region of the Republic of Artsakh, on the southern edge of the residential district. Historical overview According to the construction inscription engraved on the entrance, the Surb Astvatsatsin Church was built in 1871. The inscription reads, ‘This holy church was built by the work of the Ghavakhan society, 1871’ (Fig. 1). Before the construction of the current church, there existed an older sanctuary at this location. This is supported by two khachkars from the 12th-13th centuries, which are positioned on the walls of the church and feature sculptures (Figs. 2, 3).

The Srbots Nahatakats (Holy Martyrs) Church of Aghavno village

Location The church is situated in the administrative region of Aghavno village in the Kashatagh region of the Republic of Artsakh, near the checkpoint serving as the official entrance to the Republic of Artsakh (Figs. 1, 2).  It is currently under the occupation of the Azerbaijani military.

The Srbots Targmanchats church of Kghartsi

Location The Surb Targmanchats Church is situated in the center of Kghartsi village in the Martuni region (Fig. 1). The village has been under Azerbaijani occupation since September 2023. Historical overview According to M. Barkhudaryan, the church was constructed with contributions from the community. Inside the church, significant artifacts were stored, including a silver cross-reliquary, a tree of life, and an illustrated gospel manuscript written by Hovhannes in 1477 in Aghtamar (Barkhutareants 1895, 111-112). Architectural-compositional examination The church was constructed in the 19th century and is a three-nave vaulted hall with a rectangular layout (Fig. 2). . On the eastern side, there is a semi-circular tabernacle with a pair of sacristies. The dimensions of the church are 18.7 meters in length and 12.6 meters in width. The northern wall retains the baptismal font, on the arched stone of which verses from the Gospel of John are inscribed. “Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (Fig. 3). Similar lines can be found on the front part of the arch of the tabernacle’s dome: “Whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you” (Fig. 4).

The Surb Astvatsatsin Church of Arajadzor

Location The Surb Astvatsatsin Church of Arajadzor is situated in the Martakert region of the Republic of Artsakh, within the boundaries of the village bearing the same name (Fig. 1). The village has been occupied by the armed forces of Azerbaijan. Historical overview According to the construction inscription, the church was constructed in 1668, with the inscription positioned on the south wall of the church. “In the year 1117 of the Armenian calendar, during the reign of Catholicos Petros of Caucasian Albania, Yaghub Beg and Aghsakhkhali Pahar, I, the humble elder priest Davit, erected this church in memory of our souls. To those who read this, may they extend their mercy to the sinner” (CAE 1982, 89). Makar Barkhudaryants also references the inscription similarly. He also provides a concise description of the church, stating, “Surb Astvatsatsin church, vaulted over two arches, with a length of 16 meters and 13 centimeters, and a width of 9 meters and 15 centimeters…” (Barkhutareants 1895, 187). Architectural-compositional examination The church is a rectangular single-nave vaulted hall. The church is constructed using small and medium-sized limestone blocks held together with mortar. Its sole entrance is situated on the south side (Fig. 2). Atop the church, there is an arched belfry supported by six single columns (Fig. 3). It has suffered partial destruction and there is no katoghike (main church) (Fig. 4). The church’s vaulting is held up by pilasters that rise from pairs of wall pillars located on both the southern and northern sides (Figs. 5, 6). The presence of khachkars on its southern facade adds to its unique aesthetic appeal. These khachkars are placed near the entrance and window (Figs. 7, 8).

The Surb Astvatsatsin Church of Upper Ghlijbagh

Location Surb Astvatsatsin Church is located in the Askeran region, in the Upper Ghlijbagh village (Fig. 1). It has been under the control of the Azerbaijani military since September 2023. Historical overview The Upper Ghlijbagh village is situated to the northwest of Khnapat village. According to M. Barkhudaryan’s work “Inhabitants of Ghlijbagh are natives” (Barkhutareants 1895, 106). During the years of Soviet rule, the village’s inhabitants were relocated to the foothills, to an area known today as Inner Ghlijbagh. Architectural-compositional examination The church is a single-nave hall with a rectangular floor plan. It features a semi-circular tabernacle at the eastern end, flanked by storage rooms on both sides (Fig. 2). There are two openings on the northern and southern walls of the Tabernacle, although the stage is not currently preserved. The cylindrical nave is upheld by arches that ascend from two sets of pillars located near the walls (Fig. 3). The roof is externally covered with earth. The church lacks ornamentation, except for a few simple khachkars integrated into the interior walls (Figs. 4, 5). Constructed from local rough limestone, the corners of the walls, the porch’s curbstones, and the windows are all meticulously polished. The church has a single entrance located on the southern side (Fig. 6). The construction date, “1861” (Fig. 7), is still legible on the nave of the church.

The Surb Astvatsatsin Church of Karashen (Dashushen)

Location Dashushen (also known as Karashen) village is situated in the Askeran region of the Republic of Artsakh. It is located 23 km from Askeran and 6 km from Stepanakert. The village area is home to several notable landmarks, including the Surb Astvatsatsin Church, surrounded by tombstones, the Karin Jur spring (For further details refer to https://monumentwatch.org/en/monument/the-karin-jur-spring-monument-of-karashen-dashushen-village/), and the Tadeos Bridge (https://monumentwatch.org/en/monument/qarashen-villages-tadeos-bridge/), Surb Saribek sanctuary, etc. Dashushen village is currently under Azerbaijani military occupation. Historical overview Makar Barkhudaryants provides information about Dashushen village in his work “Artsakh” (Barkhutareants 1895, 131). The author describes the village’s location, amenities, and climate, highlighting that the village’s 40 local households are indigenous. He mentions the Surb Srabek pilgrimage site and observes that it attracts numerous pilgrims, primarily from Shushi. Barkhudaryants also makes note of the ruins of the Nerkin Shen and Soghomon Shen settlements, explaining that their residents relocated to Shushi in 1860 (Barkhudaryants 1895, 131). Information about Dashushen (Karashen) can also be gleaned from inscriptions that are still preserved on the church, springs, and tombstones in the area. Barkhudaryants also makes a mention of Surb Astvatsatsin Church, noting that the church had one priest. During the Soviet period, Surb Astvatsatsin Church served as a house of culture and later as a warehouse. A two-story adjacent building was constructed on the western side. In the years of independence, the church’s original purpose was reinstated, and it underwent restoration thanks to the contributions of benefactors. Architectural-compositional examination The Surb Astvatsatsin Church is situated in the village and has dimensions of 8 meters in width and 11 meters in length (1843, fig. 1). It is a single-nave hall with sacristies on both sides of the high altar. The baptismal font is located on the northern wall (Fig. 2). Constructed using local rough limestone, the entrance is situated on the southern side. The interior is vaulted, with the roof being supported by the structure’s walls, the tabernacle arch, and the vaulted arch. Polished stones are used in the construction of the corner sections of the building, the entrance lintels, the tabernacle arch, and the arch that supports the vault (Fig. 3). The arches are designed in a stylized manner (Fig. 4). The structure originally had a tiled roof, which was later replaced with tin sheets during the Soviet period. As part of the restoration efforts, a four-column bell tower was added to the central portion of the roof of the building.

The Surb Stepanos church of Khachmach

Location The Surb Stepanos Church of Khachmach is situated in the Askeran region of the Republic of Artsakh, at the heart of the village bearing the same name (Fig. 1). Historical overview According to the inscription on the door (Fig. 2), the Surb Stepanos Church was constructed “in the year 1651” (Figs. 3, 4). Usta Hovsep is mentioned as the builder of the church. Makar Barkhudaryants writes in his work “Artsakh”: “… the church of Surb Stepannos built on an arch without columns, which has a small main church (Katoghike), with a length of 13 meters and 90 centimeters and a width of 9 meters and 32 centimeters. On the east side of the door, an inscription is engraved.” “I, Usta Yusep, and Georg built this church as a memorial. May God have mercy on whoever sees it” The year 1651 is engraved on the facade stone of the door (Barkhudaryants 1895, 200, cf. CAE 1982, 159). Unfortunately, the original construction inscription has not survived to this day.

The Karmir (Red) Church (Mausoleum of Melik Pashayans)

Location Situated on the eastern periphery of Tsovategh village within the Martuni region, the Karmir Church complex, renowned alternatively as Melik Pashayans’ mausoleum, occupies an elevated position atop a hill (Fig. 1). Historical overview In the 19th century, scholars verified the presence of a complex ensemble of structures at this site, encompassing a church, three subterranean tombs in its vicinity, and an extensive cemetery (Barkhudareants 1895, 106-108). “Graves can be found both within the chapels and the main church, with tombstones fashioned from solid black stones, devoid of any inscriptions or carvings” (Lalayan 1897, 49). “Towards the eastern fringes of the village, atop a modest hill, lies a cluster of closely situated graves. Amidst this burial ground stands a distinctive four-nave, arched church. Among these chambers, three are situated underground, while one partially emerges from the earth’s surface, resembling an akeldama (graveyard). There is a multitude of graves, including the resting places of Melik Pasha and Bishop Sahak” (Jalayants 1858, 514). Today, only the church and the cemetery have endured the test of time. As indicated by an inscription etched onto a stone at the entrance of the church, its construction dates back to the year 1621. “The year 1621, Bishop David. This church monastery is a commemorative tribute, intended to serve as a tomb and final resting place for our forebears” (CAE 5, 160). In the year 2022, excavations were conducted within the vicinity of the church, primarily to uncover chapel tombs. These endeavors did not yield the anticipated discovery, and no such tombs were unearthed. The excavations yielded an array of findings, including fragments of khachkars spanning various epochs (Figs. 2, 3), inscription stones, and tombstones integrated into the church walls (Fig. 4). Furthermore, burials were uncovered at various locations within the church premises.