The Armenian Church is the first citadel of the Christian faith built in the Odesa region. Initially, the church was called “Greek church”. According to legend, it was built by two Greeks who lived in Bilhorod, Dnistrovsky Ukraine in the 14th century. At this time the building served as a monastery.
Later, Greek monks living in the temple sold it to Armenian immigrants. They rebuilt the church, added a room for ritual services, an altar block, a western portico with four columns, and rebuilt the south porch. Reconstruction of the building lasted continuously until the 20th century.
The vault of the temple is still decorated with hand-painted 16th century and ancient marble slabs. This symbol of Armenia is considered a real rarity in this part of the world.
Until 1940, the Armenian Church was functioning, and since 1962 it has belonged to the Museum of Local Lore. Until 2013, it was a base of an archaeological expedition, after which the temple was transferred to the Armenian community. It is almost always open to the public and remains a shrine to the local Armenian diaspora.
On the territory of the church there is a Sarmatian crypt of the III century AD, which was moved here from a sand quarry on the eastern outskirts of the city.
The main structure, built of sandstone, is T-shaped in plan. The Church of the Blessed Virgin is built in the style of a basilica, almost half of it is underground, and to enter it you need to go down 12 steps. In the walls of the church there are ancient marble slabs with the image of the Holy Cross, on one of which (on the south side of the church) the inscription is embossed:
“St. the cross of the name of the Savior, which is called a sacred sign in memory of Tinar, his wife and parents. Summer 896 (1447) »
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