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The revival of Odzun

Odzun is a Christian sanctuary that dates back to the first century. According to legend, in the 1st century Thomas the Apostle came to Odzun and ordained priest and bishops in the place of the church. The name Odzun came from the Armenian word "otsel".Thomas the Apostle brought with him Christ's swaddling clothes which are buried under the altar of the church. There is a VI century record attesting to this above the southern door of the church.
Yet in the 4th century, Saint Gregory the Illuminator and king Trdat III built a church which was a domeless single-nave basilica. It was destroyed in the V century by an earthquake and only in the VI century the today’s church was built. Later the existence of Christ's swaddling clothes was probably questioned; this is why one of the altar’s stones was removed and then patched with three large stones. More than 20 sculptures of the 4th century have survived on the territory of the church and today have a universal value.
In the 19th century the cracked tiled roof of the church was reconstructed and replaced to tufa stone by Abovyan family. The church has never seen any other attempt of total restoration. 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.
For this purpose three pillars of the northern arcade were dismantled, 30 percent of churchyard’s tombstones were disturbed. The reconstruction works were stopped after the collapse of Soviet Union…
This unique historical place of worship celebrated the Independence Day of Armenia in an emergency condition with five cracks in the dome.
Thanks to “Hovhannes Imastaser His Holiness Odzneci” Foundation the church will finally be reconstructed in 3 to 4 years.
Particularly, as part of the program for restoration of the monument, the RA Ministry of Culture has already prepared and confirmed the plan of the church according to the 2010 RA state budget. In its turn, the Fund is committed to provide funding for all reconstruction and restoration efforts.