- Title: First nunnery in Armenia - a mountain refuge for seven souls
- Date: 24th December 2019
- Summary: PRIEST CONDUCTING LITURGY NUNS CROSSING THEMSELVES LIT CANDLE IN CHURCH PRIEST GIVING ALTAR BREAD TO BELIEVERS AFTER LITURGY RELIGIOUS ICON (SOUNDBITE) (Armenian) NUN, SHUSHANIK GHAZARYAN, SAYING: "Sometimes it seems to you that you pray automatically. And it doesn't come from the bottom of your heart. At that moment you wish to leave (the nunnery). But it is better to overcome that (challenge) inside the nunnery".
- Embargoed: 7th January 2020 10:29
- Keywords: Armenia Christian convent nunnery nuns prayer religion
- Location: GHAZARAVAN, ARMENIA
- City: GHAZARAVAN, ARMENIA
- Country: Armenia
- Topics: Religion/Belief,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA003BBC56IH
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Nested on the hill of the Ghazaravan village, Armenia's only nunnery gives sanctuary to seven souls, pioneers who chose monastic lives, isolated from the hustle and bustle of city life, at peace and prayer.
For centuries Armenian women were barred from becoming nuns, being viewed by society primarily as future mothers.
The ban was lifted in the beginning of 2000s by Catholicos Garegin II, the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and the Ghazaravan nunnery opened its doors in 2018. However, the choice to dedicate one's life to god is still a challenge for an Armenian woman.
"Our families are against those women who prefer celibacy and prefer to live in chastity in the monastery," says Tatev Danielyan, one of the convent dwellers, who left a life as an English language specialist at the nunnery's door.
Seven nuns aged between 20 and 70 chose it as their permanent residence. However, with visiting nuns, the community sometimes grows to ten people.
The Brides of Christ keep a modest household, growing vegetables on the harsh soil around the convent, breeding chickens, ducks and keeping bees.
Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its state religion in 301 AD, and remains predominantly Christian, with around 95 percent of the population practicing this religion.
(Production: Nvard Hovhannisyan, Irina Narodnitskaya, Anton Derbenev)
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