St. Astvatsatsin Church
St. Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God), the smallest of the three churches in Tatev Monastery and the last to be built, is perched snugly atop the northern wall of the mighty complex, in a corner near the entrance. It was built under the order of Bishop Grigor of Syunik in 1087. The position of this tiny church, like an angel watching over the monastery and the villages below, is intriguing. It was actually built directly above the monastery''s ancient mausoleum, perhaps as a symbolic protector of the souls that rest beneath it. It is indeed the smallest and youngest of Tatev''s three churches, but it is built on the highest spot, though with its dome kept respectfully lower than that of the main cathedral.
St. Astvatsatsin suffered two major blows. It was damaged by the 1931 earthquake and completely ruined by another earthquake in 1968. Reconstructed in the 1970's, it was actually the first structure in the Tatev complex to be restored. Unfortunately, the restoration effort was flawed. The roof was reassembled at the wrong angle, threatening its stability and causing flooding inside the church. The main goals of the present restoration effort are to return the steeple to its original position and prevent further water damage.
Target completion date: April 2013