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Goshavank 2: History


The monastery was built not far from the ruins of an older monastery named Getik which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1188. The current monastery is sometimes referred to as Nor Getik (New Getik).

In the 12th-13th centuries Goshavank became one of the most famous religious and scholarly centers in medieval Armenia, led by one of Armenia's most accomplished scholars, legal experts and scientists, Mkhitar Gosh (Mkhitar from Gosh, 1130–1213). The monastery was renamed Goshavank upon his death.

Mkhitar Gosh was one of the great intellectual powers of his day, “a humble man of wisdom”, authoring numerous works, including a Codification of Armenian Law, his extremely popular Fables, a number of prayers, theological treatises and other writings. He was twice awarded the title Vardapet (doctor of theology) and had a great reputation among politicians and state figures and was a confidant and advisor to the most important rulers of Armenia, including Zakareh II the Great. At Goshavank, he taught a number of famous scholars and established Armenia's first law library.

The current monastery was built between 1188 and the late 13th century. Chronicles record Mkhitar and his followers first establishing a small, wooden church in the name of Saint John the Baptist (St. Karapet) before laying the foundations for St. Astvatsatsin church in 1191.

The monastery is considered one of the great examples of Armenian architecture, the work of many talented architects, carpenters and stone masons. The names of three masters were preserved for posterity and come down to us: the architect Mkhitar (the Joiner, or Carpenter); his disciple Hovhannes and the sculptor Pavghos (Poghos), creator of some of Armenia's most famous khachkars (stone crosses).