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Surb Nshan Church (Tbilisi)

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S. Nshan Church

Surb Nshan Church in Tbilisi was built in 1701. It has green roof tiles and blue crosses on the side. It is in very critical condition. It was filled with books, but a fire burned them and the floor is still littered with the remains. The Armenian Church is still not allowed to use this property. Many Armenian inscriptions, graves and some khachkars remain. Most of the graves outside have been swallowed up by the garages of neighboring houses.


TBILISI. - Municipality of Tbilisi started restoration works of the Armenian Church St. Nshan in the ancient part of the capital.

"Currently the territory is being cleaned up from rubbish. Afterwards, the restoration will start," municipality informs, Georgia Online reports.

As Armenian informed earlier, the agreement to restore the Armenian Church was reached between Armenian and Georgian Ministries of Culture during the recent visit of the Armenian experts to Georgia. According to preliminary calculations, $838,000 will be required for the renovation.

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St. Nshan Was Built On The Basis Of Another Armenian Church, Samvel Karapetyan Says

Alisa Gevorgyan

"Radiolur" 30.01.2012 18:11

The Georgian Patriarchate issued a statement recently, questioning the Armenian origin of St. Nshan Church of Tbilisi, noting that the issue should be solved before the return of the church to the Armenian community can be discussed.

The Georgian side says Armenian built their church on the basis of an older Georgian Orthodox Church. They say this is proved by the second part of its name - St. Nicholas. Georgians say the worship of St Nicholas has not been common among Armenians.

In response to this assertion, expert of monuments Samvel Karapetyan pointed to a number of churches in historic Armenia that carry the name of St Nicholas. "St. Nshan was built in the place of an older church, which had also been Armenian," he said.

Back in 1672 famous French traveler Jean Charden noted St. Nshan among the eight Armenian churches of Tbilisi, while the Georgian side has no source that would prove the Georgian origin of the church, Samvel Karapetyan said.

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Church St. or Holy Cross Nshan Signs - trehaltarny Armenian church, whose construction was begun tanuterom Bebutyanom Amir and his son Aslamazov in 1701.

S. Nshan hard to miss, given that it is located in the center, in a densely populated quarter of the old town, near the area of ​​Hercules at the crossroads of ancient narrow streets of Silver and Akopian. The church is considered one of the most remarkable of Armenian kultovyx structures, combining elements of traditional Armenian decorative as well as east.

The main church ktitorskaya inscription reads: "Jesus Christ, the grace of the Holy Spirit committed the foundation and construction of this church Surb in the summer of 1152 (the Armenian chronology - Pandukht) in the reign of Levan Khan and his sons, the lord of the patriarchate Nahapetov» (1691-1705 - Pandukht .)

In 1720, when the inscription carved, was brought to the construction of the dome and, as is clear from the record in the synodic, the church for 50 years remained without a dome, built in the future. However, in 1763 in "Dzhambre" Catholicos Simeon Yerevantsi it is mentioned among the seven major churches of Tiflis. See the church was celebrated on the third day of Easter, in ancient times it was kept a particle of the skull of St. Andrew.

At the beginning of the XVIII century Tbilisi remained multi-ethnic city with an original local color, which was felt as the cultural traditions of the Christian nations, the Persians and Muslims. Therefore, the facades of Armenian churches in Tbilisi at the time the application is characteristic elements of Persian decorative arts. The facades of churches were decorated with lancet arches, domes drums decorated with glazed tiles. Here's what he wrote about the church Georgian historian Ioseliani:

"S. Nshan available to her epigraphic inscriptions of the Armenian, was erected in the reign of Leon, the father of Vakhtang VI, in 1701. Re-erected in 1703, 1789, 1868, respectively. The church is excellent, with a dome, was erected in honor of St. Nicholas, rests on four pillars. The dome is covered with its green bricks, and the church itself, and the arches - roof tiles. There are three choir: medium - large - in honor of St. Nicholas, the north - in honor of St. Andrew and the south - in honor of St. George. There are many different images of St. Nicholas, a very great ... "

The history of the construction, upgrades and alterations posleduyuschix described in detail in soxranivsheysya nashix days before the monument of epigraphy. In the enclosure of the church there were many epitaphs, most of which were either destroyed or had been closed late residential outbuildings. Survived only those that were located in close proximity to the walls of the church, or preserved in the form of tombstones, which are attached to the church wall.

For more information about the history of work related to the church, we learn from Mr. Aganyantsa. Here are some of them:

"It was built tanuterom Amir and his son Aslamazov, then restored in 1703 melik Giorgi, yeah Megrap Sharipekyan built a dome in 1784."

"Tanuter Amir and his son built a church Aslamazov Surb with its porch and the fence. Belfry Surb and cells based on the means Parhudara Khoja and his wife Darejan. "

"Tanuter Aslamazov and his wife Shahruban renewed church."

"Melik Giorgi newly constructed and renovated from the ground, raised arched and beautiful composition of the church Surb in 1703, was dedicated in 1741 and served the service, and in the same year he died Melik Giorgi."

"Melik Giorgi, wife and sons Hampervan Zurap and Dad built a brick factory and gave the church."

"Tanuter Giorgi moved the fence of the church."

"In 1719 a daughter Parhudara Eagund upgraded tower built by his father."

"Paron Perihan built iconostasis of the church."

"Master Jacob Bana in the construction of the church gave her his apprentice named Sargis, in order to serve one year giving the church a liter of oil and a wax charek."

"Hozoents Arakel for the church bought a place in the cell, and a cemetery."

"The priest Ter-Nikogos Avak updated entry new church hewn stone."

"The sons of Murad Alaguluntsa Martiros and Panos have built a large porch door."

The exceptional importance, and the inscriptions on the walls of the church. Here is fragments of inscriptions carved on the north entrance (complete, it consists of 13 lines): "I, Giorgi Melik, the son of tanutera Aslamazov, built this temple, dedicated to St. Nicholas, in memory of me and my parents, my brothers and my wife Hampervan, sons my - Zurapa and Dad, my daughters and my indefatigable priest Ter-Movses. And I melik Giorgi, paid the entire cost of this [building] in the 1169-m (Armenian chronology - Pandukht) year. Left dome - in an indelible memory of those who [his] complete. "

All mentioned in written sources and lapidary tanutery - Amir, Aslamazov and Giorgi - inherited by the mayor took office in Tiflis, and belonged to the genus Bebutyanov.

Of value and the inscription, announcing the construction and restoration of the Dome (1780), doors (1781), new doors (1833), the chapel (it is the south entrance in 1861). In 1868 it was restored and made cross-stone whitewashed interior.

In Soviet times the church was used in different ways. During the war there was a warehouse of pasta. Then - the stacks of the Georgian National Library for the most part it was stored pre-Soviet Armenia, as well as Russian and German periodicals.

Gradually the Church of St. Nshan declined. The newspaper "Voice of Armenia" in its issue of September 26, 1998 wrote: "Today, the church in disrepair, broken entrance on the north side, but, as usual, and the Armenian community and the diocese did not take any action. Recently, a group of people, provide the staff of the Society for the Protection of Monuments, filed an ultimatum to the inhabitants of the court, if the Armenians during the month do not take action, the church will go to the Diocese of Georgia. "

Narrated by actor, director and playwright Thank Stepanian:

"The Church of St. Nshan - it's stunning beauty of the monument. When I once read "Wave of happiness" Zurabyan, I realized that there is a mural painter of the kind Ovnatanyanov. And I always thought - ever open that door for me to see the frescoes. The church was closed at all times. Beside acting Georgian church, and about St. Nshan we were told that there are many books and it is used as a book depository.

One day pass - the doors are open. It was the second half of the '90s. Straight back, and what I see - in the woods there are two workers with the Georgians, chisels in hand and knock these frescoes. You can not look at this barbarity - no matter Hovnatanian there or not. At a minimum, you - a Christian. Brother, what are you doing? Not to mention the fact that it is a historical monument. I asked, "What are you doing?" - "What are you doing here, an Armenian? - Answer me very roughly. - Come, come, this is not your place. " We went down and came at me with their hammers. I went out, found a Georgian priest. "Holy Father, you know what's going on?" - "This is not your space, please release". The only thing I could do - to call the chairman of the Union of Armenians of Georgia G. Muradyan. He rushes back to the car - looks, makes sure that happens. To solve the issue could not, until he turned to the Catholicos Vazgen. Vazgen appealed to the Georgian Patriarch Ilia - everything stops, the doors are closed and the matter is still unresolved. What's inside, nobody knows. "

In the church, abandoned for decades without the slightest repair and supervision, October 20, 2002 there was a large fire, which firefighters extinguished a few calculations. The version of the electrical fault was immediately swept away, as the voltage is here no longer served. According to the Georgian law enforcement agencies and the church which was in its periodicals were burned because of careless children playing with matches. In a not too hard to believe, given that the fire started at 3:00 am.

So burned the Armenian St. Nshan - the temple, whose walls have many years of service have not heard the sounds. Literature was in so much that the entire floor was covered with a spacious half-meter layer of the Church of the ash. However, a fire engulfed not only the book. Fresco artists were Ovnatanyanov pokorezheny and lost its original appearance. Unfortunately, under the action of fire all the plaster and the whole top layer of fresco crumbled, leading to their death. And because the church was closed permanently, they could not in time to photograph and perpetuate. As a result, the walls were only traces of the flames, and over his head - the blackened dome.

The fire actually put an end to the destruction of the historical monument, the temple turned into ruins, and bad people turned it into a latrine. Destroyed the church yard, the neighborhood, which in some ways has already merged with housing court. Near the entrance to St. Nshan a sign that says only the name of the church, and nothing else. The walls of the entrance on the verge of collapse and tombstones at the entrance covered with a wooden supports.

S. Nshan was large and spacious church, but now located between the half-ruined houses, narrow streets and old houses, wounded by fire, it produces a feeling of depression. When a walk around the building in memory of the picture emerge unwittingly ruined churches and cross stones of Western Armenia, which served as the local population the usual building material. And that does not damage the fire, destroying the time and "neighbors". People living neighborhood, so enthusiastic about the erection of outbuildings around the church, it seems that she did not have any relationship with God.

And it is in Georgia, where the people with great trepidation relates to their own churches. It's hard to explain, especially bearing in mind that the Georgian Orthodox Church is trying to present S. Nshan precisely as the Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas. Thus, it is argued (as usual, the most impressive phrases marked me - Pandukht), that "St. Nshan was not built in the XVIII century, as the inscription, and in the XVI-th, and until the middle of the XIX century there was a Georgian church. Then the local Armenians cleaned it up to him for debt. "

Or this gem:

"We need to think, and rightly so, that, according to the ancient Georgian tradition, the name of Saint Nikoloz preserved in the name of the native Georgian, but facing the Armenian Church of St. Nshan. Much before the 1700s, this Georgian church was a chapel, but during the hard times passed into the hands of Armenians. For whatever reason this happened is hard to say, but, despite Armenian inscription ktitorskuyu 1703, for its re-erection took one melik Kiork. And still some work previously performed as the father melik Kiorka Aslamazov Amir and his grandfather. Because of their official position (they were Mamasakhlisi - Elder), they were easy to acquire the remainder of the Georgian church unattended. Although it is possible even earlier assignment. "

One gets the feeling that the Armenians in Tiflis built their church in Georgian ruins: that if they did not have enough space, whether contemporary Georgian "historians" do not have enough imagination. Still more second. In addition, it became "a tradition" that the Georgian side of their claims on the Armenian heritage is not backed up either by a single archival document.