Momik: Arates

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Arates (Arites, Aratinets) Monastery

Arates (Arites, Aratinets) Monastery

Arates Monastery's main church is small but very beautiful. Sadly, the dome is greatly damaged and the walls are half-ruined. According to popular legend, this unique monastery's name came from the combination of “ari” (come) and “tes” (see).

The monastery mainly consists of three partially ruined churches and a gavit (enclosed space): Surb Zion (Holy Zion), Surb Karapet (Holy Precursor or Saint John the Baptist) and Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) are in an axis, North to South.

Surb Zion church dates back to the 7th century. On the opposite end is Surb Astvatsatsin, a domed cruciform type, the time of its construction is unknown, though there is an inscription dating to 1073 on an internal wall.

The gavit-church of Surb Karapet (John the Baptist) with its square plan was built between Sts. Zion and Astvatsatsin. The exact date of the construction is also not known, though there is a 1251 inscription inside.

The most interesting part of the complex is the gavit-chapel. The monastery's rector, Hairapet, had the gavit built by the architects Siranes and Grigoris under the patronage of Prince Smbat Orbelian in 1270. The roof of the gavit was done using a unique system of intersecting arches—two east-west semi-arch vaults begin from a pair of arching in the north-south vault. Centrally situated between was the now ruined stalactite dome.

During the reign of Metropolitan Stepanos Orbelian (ca. late 1280s) Arates Monastery was the summer residence of Siunik metropolitans, whereas the residence itself (the archbishopric) was at Noravank Monastery.

The oldest inscription in the monastery dates to 907, the youngest to 1713.

Original text provided by the "Historical Environment and Historical-Cultural Museum Preserves Protection Service" NCSO of the Ministry of Culture of Armenia, edited by ICOMOS-Armenia and Karen Matevosian, co-author “Momik Miniaturist”, author “Momik”.