The mother cathedral of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Etchmiadzin is an imposing building. The interior is rather simple; it is grand and cosy at the same time. There is an open space under the dome, there are some icons on the walls, and at the corners candles are sold. Lighting candles is a common and important thing people do when they visit the church. I love this act of burning candles; the moment of concentration when the little candle is lit, the fascination – and smiles – on the children’s faces. I love the moment of contemplation of young and old, men and women, individuals and families.
People visit at all hours of the day, so not only during the set occasion of the divine liturgy. And even during the liturgy you see how people create their little islands of contemplation. They don’t come across as a collective in the sense that most people appear to do their own thing. They take their personal moments in everything that is going on – which is often a lot. The community is held together by the immense church that is experienced as a sacred or special place.
Some impressions from Etchmiadzin Cathedral. Pictures taken in April 2015.