PLACES OF WORSHIP
Saint Sarkis Church (Cathedral)
Saint Sarkis is considered one of the favorite saints of Armenians. The church operates in the center of Yerevan, and is the leading church in the Araratian Pontifical Diocese.
The church occupied the southern part of the ancient Yerevan's Episcopal residence. The monastery is believed to have consisted of four parts. The first was the seat of Catholicos (the Head of church in Eastern Christian traditions), located up the Hrazdan river, on the slope. The second was the Church of Sourb Hakob (St. Jacob), built to the north of the seat. Church of the Sourb Gevorg (St. George) completed the complex along with the Churches of Sourb Hakob and Sourb Sargis.
St Sargis Church believed to date back to 1453, was located to the south of the Seat of the Catholicos. It was the parish church of Dzoragyugh, and it was facing the old Erivan Fortress on the left bank of the River Hrazdan. The monastery itself was a small chapel, where Catholicos and the Prelate prayed.
St Sarkis Church, with the hermitage-monastery, was destroyed by the large earthquake of 1679 but was rebuilt on the same site during the rule of Nahabet Catholicos from Edessa (1691–1705).
At the beginning of the 19th century the Church was shattered again. No inscriptions of that period has survived. In 1835-1842, the Church was pulled down by Bishop Hovhannes Shakhmatunyants to build a new larger domed church supported by four pillars.
During the rule of Vazgen I Catholicos of All Armenians (His Holiness Vazgen A Palchyan), the church underwent basic renovations and improvements. Based on a plan drawn up by architect Rafayel Israyelian in 1972, the reconstruction works of the St Sarkis Church began and the character of the old building of the church was basically preserved. The face was covered with Ani orange tufa rocks and engraved with triangular niches. After Israyelian's death, the construction works were taken over and continued by the co-author, architect Ardzroun Galikian, who designed the prelacy building of the Araratian Diocese at the church yard.
From 1971-76, the interior look of the church was significantly improved. On the eastern part of the church, a gallery was added for the church choir. As a result of such additions, it was found necessary to remove the old dome and the old drum and to replace them by a much higher dome with polyhedral fan-shaped spire. The construction of the bell tower of the St Sarkis Vicarial Church was completed in 2000. It was built by the donation of the benefactor Sargis Kyurkjyan from London.