Surb Gevorg of Artik

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Coming into Artik (Արթիկ, 15985 p) on the road from Maralik/Pemzashen, turn left at the entrance of town, then right on the flyover across the railroad tracks. At the town square (WWII monument), continue straight up Tonakanian St. to where the two adjacent early churches appear on the left: Marine or Astvatsatsin Church, 5th c.; S. Gevorg church =40=, 7th c.. Both are ruined, with restoration interrupted by the collapse of the USSR.

The small church is the oldest of two. The exact date of construction isn’t known, but the architectural style prompts that it belongs to ancient constructions. It can be considered as one of the first domed churches together with Tekor temple and Voghjaberd church.

The arches boarding the rectangle vaulted hall, the apse and two longitudinal arches make the underdome square, from which to the octahedral drum opens a passage. There are small vestibules in either side of the bay in the eastern side of the hall. They have half-round apses in eastern part. So it appears to be a three-apsed construction with cruciform scheme. The church has two entries from west and north. The lintels are solved restrained. The walls are ramshackle. The southern and eastern frontals are especially in bad condition. Sings from temporary reconstruction with small stones spoil its outward look.

In the center of Artik, towards southwest from the small church St. Gevorg church is situated. It is like Mastara, Voskepar, Haritch churches in scheme, but is bigger in dimensions than any of the above mentioned ones.

It has cruciform scheme, but one of the cross wings isn’t placed outside, and is put in the eastern plain. The two eastern vestibules, which also have apses, are included in the rectangle. The cruciform scheme is stressed generally by the rectangle order of apses. The western and southern apses are half-round from inside and polyhedral from outside. Pair of pillars rises in the corners and have vegetable ornamental motives on them. The northern apse is round from inside and outside. It is supposed to be the result of an old reconstruction. Two triangle passages in the eastern front door have richly processed crowns. The windows widely open and have vegetable ornamental motives. The church had two entries from south and west.

The cornice preserved on the frontal door is rather high and has beautiful ornaments. This ornamental details were effected by Zvartnots and help to come close to it date of foundation; it was built right after Zvartnots, in the second half of VII c.

The monument was reconstructed a number of times; in the top part of frontals new walls were built from clearly processed and broken stone. The destroyed cover was replaced with wooden, covered with soil roof. This reconstructions really spoilt the outward look of the monument.

Church Restoration

The article below refers to the church above by a different name St. Gregory vs. St. Gevorg (or George). Will have to double check different sources to confirm correct name.


Armenpress Jan 10 2006

GYUMRI, JANUARY 10, ARMENPRESS: On January 6 a fund-raising campaign was announced in the town of Artik, Shirak province for reconstruction of a 7-th century Saint Gregory church.

Under the Soviets the church was turned into a storehouse, like thousands of other churches across the USSR. The first attempt to restore it was made in early 90-s. The fund-raising campaign was initiated by the local priest and was backed by the municipality. According to estimates, some $600,000 are needed to restore the church. The mayor of Gyumri has pledged a door, windows and a cross.