We then headed towards the Echmiadzin Cathedral compound area, called the Armenian Vatican, whose entrance is made through the Trdat's Gate.
As we walked along the entrance gardens we came across the seminary on our right in front of which stood some beautiful and intricately carved khachkars with floral and geometrical ornaments as well as various scenes featuring figures of men and saints.
On the cathedral yard one could see several other structures, which included buildings pertaining to the Catholicosate, who actually live here, a school, a hostel and a monument remembering the genocide, to mention just a few.
The Cathedral was undergoing external restoration, which didn't allow us to admire its acknowledged beauty. It is said to have been built in 480 on the very spot where St. Gregory the Illuminator dreamt Jesus Himself descended to from Heaven striking the earth with a golden hammer to let him know where he wanted a church to be built.
As we were admiring the stunningly beautiful belfry entrance with its twisted arcature columns and the lower tiers, the floral ornaments, the busts of clergymen and the six winged seraphs on the vaulted ceiling a rather discreet bustling was felt and we soon found ourselves among the local journalists and photographers covering the arrival of the head of the Catholikos amidst a group of other Catholikos.
It was quite an impressive moment not only because of the unexpected factor but also the solemnity and pomp associated to the event. As they approached the main entrance a worshipper forced his way towards them so as to ask the head of the Catholikos for a blessing.
(To be continued)