Yerek Mankunk

The monastery is situated on a forested slope of the Mrav ridge, 7 km from the Jraberd fortress, and 10 km from the village of Tonashen.

Artsakh is an ancient land. It is filled with various surprising discoveries. The Martakert province of the Republic of Artsakh is extremely rich with monuments and architecture of different historical periods. One of them is the majestic monastery complex “Yerits Mankants” or the monastery of the Three Youths.

The rare name of the monastery refers us to the great Old Testament history from the Book of the Prophet Daniel. It is the story of three youths, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who, being in Babylonian captivity, refused to worship the idol. The furious king Nebuchadnezzar ordered them to be thrown into the burning furnace. Surprisingly, they remained alive and unharmed due to the protection of the Archangel Michael.

The monastery is situated on a forested slope of the Mrav ridge, 7 km from the Jraberd fortress, and 10 km from the village of Tonashen. The full construction of the monastery dates back to 1691 (end of the 17th century). Based on the evidence from historical chronicles, the monastery was founded and built in opposition to the Gandzasar Catholicosate, during a period of severe political disagreement between the rulers of Jraberd, the princes Melik-Israelyan and the princes of Khachen - Hasan-Jalalyan, the patrons of Gandzasar.

The monastery complex consists of a central church, a refectory, monastic cells, utility rooms, protective structures, and a cemetery. The main church with a three-nave domed basilica is built of yellow-white limestone and leaves a very bright and pacifying impression, despite some damage. The church is lavishly decorated; the leading portal with a straight stone lintel covered with masterfully carved lapidary inscription stands out, especially on the edge of the ravine. The roof of the chambers is a continuation of the monastery yard. The Patriarchal houses include two large halls and a corner cylindrical tower.

 

The complex was fenced by a fortress wall, which, unfortunately, was almost not preserved as a result of repeated earthquakes, invasions, and wars. The monastery was one of the centers of medieval manuscripts and miniatures for a century. Due to numerous political and historical events, by the middle of the XIX century, the monastery experienced a decline and was under the supervision of the secular clergy.

Today the monastery is in a state of restoration work. By being surrounded and protected by the virgin forests of Artsakh, the monastery leaves an unforgettable impression with its divineness and beauty...

Photo credits: Sevak Asryan, Arevik Tsatryan