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St. Hripsime Church

(at the eastern part of Etchmiadzin city)

St. Hripsime Church (618 A.D.) is one of the major Armenian Apostolic churches. The legend of Hripsime dates from the early days of Christianity. Hripsime fled to Armenia to escape persecution by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. A beautiful but totally devoted follower of Christ, Hripsime refused to marry the pagan Armenian King Tirdat III when ordered, and chose the death of a martyr. A small chapel was erected over the spot where she was murdered. In the 7th century a wondrous church - a masterpiece of Armenian architecture - was built in its place by order of Catholicos Komitas.

The Church of St Hripsimeh represents the perfect example of cruciform plan and central cupola. Its dominant feature is the basic harmony of layout and proportions, as well as the simplicity and classical purity of its facades, the outstanding qualities of the Armenian architecture of the high Middle Ages. Apart from the addition of a bell tower in the 17th century, the monument has undergone no fundamental transformation.