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Odzun Holy Mother of God Church, Armenia

The church of the Holy Mother of God of Odzun was built in 303-313 by king Trdat III and was consecrated by Saint Georgy the Illuminator (the first Catholicos of the Armenian curch). The old church was a single-nave basilica and was smaller; however it was destroyed in the V century by an earthquake and in the VI century it was reconstructed. During the reconstruction (in VI century) of the church about 20 sculptures in the bas-relief were used from the old church. In the I century Thomas, one of the 12 apostles of Christ, came to Odzun and ordained priest and bishops in the place of the church. The name Odzun came from the Armenian word "otsel", which means to ordain and is mentioned as "Otsun" in medieval manuscripts. Before leaving to India, Thomas the Apostle buried Christ's swaddling clothes in the place of the present altar of the church of the Holy Mother of God. There is a VI century record attesting to this above the southern door of the church. Later there were doubts about the existence of Christ's swaddling clothes and the stone of altar was removed. However later the altar was reconstructed and three large stones were put in. In XIX century the tiled roof of the church (VI century) was reconstructed and changed to tufa stone (by Abovyan family). In Soviet time the church of the Holy Mother of God of Odzun was considered as emergency building and in 1980's the reconstruction work was started, but after collapse of Soviet Union the rebuilding process was also stopped.


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