Haghardzin and Goshavank, are two monasteries of the Dilijan district. The first is closer to the town of Dilijan than the other. Both the monastery complexes are tourist attractions of Armenia:
("Hagh" may mean a play/game while "Artsin" a form of "Artsiv" means eagle in Armenian). Traditionally, an eagle was soaring over the dome of the main building at its dedication and thus it became commonly known as the monastery of the playing (or soaring) eagle. Some have said "hagh" is reference to "salt" as "agh" means salt in Armenian and is used for blessing purposes, by sprinkling it on bread for example. And "hagh" does not mean "play or playing" but is close to it because as "xagh" means play in Armenian so the "salt of the eagle" is a more accurate translation. What the Armenians meant when they called the monastery "Haghatsin" at inauguration when they saw an eagle over the dome was: "The Blessing of the Eagle" or the monastery upon whom the blessing of the eagle rested, as is said in the Bible: I will make you soar high as an eagle". MAN
Imārat al-Shāriqa is one of the emirates of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The emirate has a population of over 800,000 (2008). A constitutional monarchy of the Al Qasimi dynasty; it has been ruled by Sultan bin Mohamed Al-Qasimi since 1972.
Ruler of Sharjah’s generosity enables Armenian monastery to reopen
November 26, 2013
Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi made a fortuitous visit to the Haghartsin Monastery when “In 2005 His Royal Highness visited Armenia and generously offered to renovate the complex during a tour of various Armenian regions,” said Varouj Nerguizian, an al-Shāriqa (Sharjah) based Armenian businessman who has advised Dr Sheikh Sultan.
Mr Nerguizian would not say how much was donated, but local media reports said it could be about US $1.7 million
Now, after years of building work including a new road up to the monastery to help to boost visitor numbers, the refurbished structure was finally opened last month.
“I cannot recall anything similar to this happening in our history that an Arab Sheikh, a Muslim, helped to restore and rescue an Armenian Christian church,” the priest, Aristakes Aivazyan, said. “Without doubt it was God who brought the Sheikh to Haghartsin.”
Perched spectacularly amid thickly forested mountains about 100 kilometres north-east of Yerevan, Haghartsin Monastery is a masterpiece of medieval Armenian ecclesiastical architecture.
Founded in the 10th century, the monastery, which includes three churches and once housed about 250 monks, survived attacks from Arab and Ottoman invaders and anti-religious campaigns under Soviet rule during its turbulent history.
But after weathering those storms, decades of neglect meant the complex looked headed for collapse as plants twisted through walls and cracks threatened to send buildings tumbling.
“The monastery was in need of serious reconstruction but the repairs were always delayed by the lack of finances,” Father Aivazyan said.
The donation, said Mr Nerguizian, “falls within the natural context of His Royal Highness’s philanthropy as well as respect for other religions”.
Sharjah has a thriving Armenian community which has its own church.
For those working at the monastery, the surprise of seeing an Arab leader visiting the holy Christian site remains a vivid memory.
“He came with his entourage of about 10 people and looked around for quite a while at all the churches and stone crosses before asking to go into the main Church of Our Lady,” said Artak Sahakyan, who sells candles to visiting worshippers. “When he came out he said that he believed that the word of God was really heard here.”
Armenia is considered the oldest Christian country in the world and its Apostolic Church belongs to the ancient Oriental Orthodox branch.
The church is hugely influential in Armenia and two monasteries and its main cathedral are already listed on Unesco’s list of world heritage sites.
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