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ARMENIAN MONASTERY OF SURB-HA

The monastic complex Surb Khach – the national monument of Ukraine, is on the state books since 1963. Located in a wooded valley North-West slope of grytsia mountain (Holy cross, Saint, Monastery), 3.5 km South-West from the town of Staryi Krym, Kirov district of the Crimea.
For the beauty of its proportions and magnificence of Surb-Khach is the first in the Crimea among the monuments of Armenian architecture. The Church of the monastery survived since 1358 and its architecture is similar to temples of the XII – XIII centuries in Armenia.

Armenian monastery of Surb-Khach monastery in Crimea.
The Foundation of the monastery and apparatus in the Diocesan see of the Armenian Apostolic Church dates back to the mid fourteenth century Scholars link this event with the mass migration of the Armenian population from native Armenia to the Crimea and the religious politics of the Genoese aimed at the imposition of Catholicism Gazaria Genoese subjects, of whom the Armenians made up a significant portion.

But according to the legend, Armenians, who came to earth Solkhat (Old Crimea) in the thirteenth century he founded four monasteries and nine churches. However, time did not spare them. Destined to stand only one monastery located on the slope of wooded mountains. He built on the site of an even more ancient unknown temple will become a place of pilgrimage, a Sacred place not only for Armenians but also for all those who were searching and looking for spiritual purification. The legend says that the founders of the monastery Hovhannes Sebastatsi and his brothers saw in the sky a vision of a cross, showing them to this place.

Armenian monastery of Surb-Khach monastery in Crimea.
Then, in 1358, was built the Church of Surb Nshan (Holy Sign) is the first building of the future complex. The temple is built in the form of centrocorynus facilities (inside cross, outside right angle) with focused to the East of the Central semicircular apse. Respect and sacred awe pervaded many poems about him.

The Turkish invasion of 1475 is not interrupted spiritual and cultural activities of the monastery. In XVII-XVIII centuries the monastery was repeatedly rebuilt, most fully reflected in the building inscriptions preserved on the walls of the buildings of the monastery. The monastery became a major pilgrimage centers of the Armenian Church in Crimea and the Northern black sea coast. In the middle of XVIII century the border of the diocese, with the center in the monastery, reach Moldavia and the Balkan Peninsula. In 1778 the clergy leaves the convent and the head of the congregation moved from Crimea to the Lower don.

In the late eighteenth century with the efforts of the clergy of the Armenian Church of the monastery revives. Although the diocesan throne in the monastery of Surb Khach Church was not renewed, the monastery is traditionally retains the value of the largest spiritual center of Crimean Armenians.

Armenian monastery of Surb-Khach monastery in Crimea.
In 1925 a decree of the Soviet power the monastery of Surb Khach Church as a spiritual institution, is eliminated. After the closure of the monastery the monastery buildings were transferred to the Crimea Agrisa and its territory up to the great Patriotic war, housed a summer camp. During the war the buildings of the monastery were seriously damaged from the fighting and looting. In the post-war period the buildings of the monastery were abandoned and, despite some rehabilitation works, actively destroyed. In the late 80s – 90s, XX century in the monastery restoration work was carried out. In 1994 in the Church of Surb Nshan Church were resumed. In 2002 by the ARC CM decree the monastery was returned to the Armenian Apostolic Church.

The monastery of Surb Khach Church is the only surviving monastic complex of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the XIV-XIX centuries on the territory of Ukraine.