Home/The Primate of the Artsakh Diocese, Bishop Vrtanes Abrahamyan
The Primate of the Artsakh Diocese, Bishop Vrtanes Abrahamyan
He received his primary education at the secondary school of the village starting in 1969. He graduated in 1979.
Upon his graduation, he entered the Gevorkian Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in 1980.
From 1981 to 1983 he deferred the continuation of his education to serve in the Soviet army. After the completion of his tour of duty, he continued his studies at the Seminary. Following his graduation he was appointed to serve in the Museum of the Mother Cathedral.
He was ordained to the diaconate on the Feast of St. Stephen the Protodeacon, December 25, 1987, by Archbishop Housik Santourian.
In March of 1988 he successfully defended his thesis entitled "The Brief History of the Aghvank Church in the IV-XVII centuries" and received a mark of very good.
He was ordained as a celibate priest in that same year on the Feast of Pentecost, May 22, by Archbishop Housik Santourian, in the Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin and given the priestly name of Vertanes.
Following his ordination he served as the Abbot in the Amaras Monastery in the Diocese of Artsakh until 1994.
While serving as the Abbot, he also presented and successfully defended his thesis entitled "Hovsep Artsaghetsi - Shield of Orthodoxy".
Father Vertanes remained in Artsakh, and in 1994 was appointed to serve as the Acting Primate of the Diocese.
He remained in Nagorno Karabagh until 1996 whereupon he returned to Armenia. In June of that year he was appointed to serve as the Abbot of the St. Hripsime Monastery.
In 1997, the Armenian Church initiated the Armed Forces Ministry program to serve the Republic of Armenia.
Father Vertnes was appointed to serve as the first Head Chaplain. He remained as the spiritual advisor until 1999 whereupon he returned to St. Hripsime to serve as the Abbot of the monastery.
In August of 2001, he was appointed to serve as the spiritual pastor in the Diocese of Gougark for the region of Tavush where he provided to the faithful until 2006.
In September 2006 Father Vertanes left Armenia to serve as a spiritual pastor in the Diocese of New Nakhichevan and Russia.
He returned to Armenia in October 2007 and was reappointed to serve as the Head Chaplain of the Republic of Armenia Armed Forces Ministry, where he continues to serve today.
On August 24, 2008 Father Vertanes was consecrated as a Bishop by the Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Karekin II in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
By Pontifical Order of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; on January 21, His Grace Bishop Vertanes Abrahamyan has been appointed to serve as the Primate of the Diocese of Artsakh, completing his duties as the Head Chaplain of the Armed Forces Ministry of the Republic of Armenia. Rev. Fr. Yenovq Yesayan has been appointed to serve as an acting Head Chaplain of the Armed Forces Ministry of the Republic of Armenia.
Askeran region occupies the central part of the Artsakh Republic with an area of 1196.3 km2.
Part of the territory (right bank of Karkar) was part of the province of Varanda, and the other part (left bank of Karkar) was part of the province of Khachen. In this regard, Askeran is of particular importance for the development of the history, culture and economic life of Artsakh.
In the northwest, Askeran borders with Azerbaijan. The relief of the territory of the region is diverse: in the southwest, it is more mountainous, and in the northwest, it is plain. The rivers Karkar, Patara and Kolatak run through this region.
There are numerous preserved architectural monuments of different periods, starting from the 7th century BC in Askeran. Of particular interest are the monuments of Berdavan, Askeran fortress Mayraberd and many other natural and architectural monuments.
Hadrout is situated in the south-eastern part of the Republic of Artsakh.
The regional center, Hadrout city is situated 75 km away from the capital of AR, Stepanakert. At the end of 19th and the beginning of 20th cc. Hadrout was the second important locality after Shoushi.
Hadrout region, known in the history of Armenia under the name Dizak as well, is considered to be an open-air museum. The region is famous for a number of monastic complexes and churches, old settlements and fortresses.
Hadrout borders with Martuni, Askeran and Shoushi regions in the north and with Kashatagh region in the west. The total area of Hadrout region is a little over 1800 sq.km.
The southern boundary passes through the river of Araks. The river of Ishkhanaget, falling into the Araks, flows along the territory of the region.
The state boundary of AR with the Islamic Republic of Iran also passes through the Araks. The eastern boundary of Hadrout region is the state boundary with Azerbaijan. The southern and south-eastern parts of the region are comparatively flat. The mountain masses, covered with dark forests and alpine meadows are situated in the north and north-west.
The famous Armenian actor V. Papazyan during his visit to Hadrout said phrase that became a popular quotation: “If Karabakh is a golden ring, Hadrout is a brilliant on this ring”.
As a result of 44-day war, the region was completely occupied.
Martakert province is situated in the north of Artsakh and occupies the territory north of the Khachen and Kolatak river basins. In the north, the border of the region reaches the Shahumyan region; in the west, it borders with the Karvachar district, in the south with the Askeran and Kashatagh regions, and in the east with Azerbaijan.
The total area of the province is 1795 square kilometers, and the population is about 22,000 people.
To the north of the provincial center Martakert, on the Tartar River, there are the Sarsang reservoir and hydroelectric power station, which is of strategic significance for the republic.
The area is famous for its historical and architectural monuments, including monasteries of Gandzasar (XIII century), Erek Mankunk, Yeghishe Arakyal, Hakobavank, Melik-Beglaryan's palace, Jraberd Fortress, Kachaghakaberd, Khokhanaberd, and many others. It is worth telling in more detail about the two most significant architectural monuments of this region - Gandzasar and Kachaghakaberd.
Martakert region ranks first in the number of ancient monuments, the largest part of the Artsakh forests is also located in this region. Martakert district is one of the most picturesque.
Martuni province occupies the southeastern part of the Artsakh Republic. In the northwest, it borders with the Askeran province, in the south with the Hadrut province. The state border with Azerbaijan runs in the east and northeast of Martuni. Compared to the other areas of Artsakh, Martuni has a flatter landscape; the Varanda River, with its tributary Amaras, flows through its territory.
The territory of the district is 951 square kilometers. The provincial center is the city of Martuni, situated 45 km from Stepanakert. In ancient times, there was the historical province of Myus Haband, and then part of the area of Varanda.
Various ancient monuments have been preserved here, among which the most impressive ones are the Amaras (IV-XVII centuries), Bri Eghtsi monasteries and the fortress Kusaberd-Akhchkaberd. The Martuni province is also fascinating in that on its territory in the village of Skhtorashen is the largest in the world and one of the oldest plane trees (a genus of trees, lat. Plátanus). The tree is more than 2000 years old, 54 m high, and the trunk coverage at the base is 31.5 m.
The Martuni region is famous for its excellent vineyards and grapes, pomegranate plantations; the climate is so warm that even palm trees grow here. Martuni district is one of the sunniest areas of Artsakh.
Shahumyan region is an administrative-territorial unit of the Republic of Artsakh, which belongs to the northern and northwestern parts of the country. The administrative center of the region is the city of Karvachar.
Shahumyan region has centuries-old history and it is rich in many and varied historical and cultural monuments. It has been inhabited since ancient times, as evidenced by the ancient monuments that have been found in the area.
Near the Gulistan village of Shahumyan region, there is the monastery of Holy All-Savior (Napat), 3 km from the village there is a dilapidated fortress (XVIII century), which was the former residence of the meliks of Gulistan, the ruins of castles, houses and churches have been preserved there.
In the city of Shahumyan there was the church of the Holy Mother of God (XVII century), to the south of the city there is the dilapidated monastery "Yerek Mankunk" (XVII century), in Buzlukh-the church of the 18th century, and nearby was the place of pilgrimage named after St. Minas, in Hay Paris - churche ruins and the chapel "Napat", in Verinshen-the church of the 18th century, etc.
The northeastern part of the region has been under the control of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces since 1992. The local Armenian population (about 20,000 people) was evacuated. And the southwestern (Karvachar) part, according to the signed trilateral agreement, was transferred to the Azerbaijani Armed Forces on November 25, 2020.
It occupies a small southwestern part of Artsakh, the central part of the Artsakh mountain range. It is the smallest region of Artsakh, with an area of 381.3 square kilometers.
The surface of the region is completely mountainous, mostly covered with forests and shrubs. Mount Mets Qirs (2724 m) is located in the southern part of the region, on the border with the Hadrut region. The Karkar River flows through the region with its upstream, which has many fast flowing tributaries here.
On this small territory, there are 152 Armenian historical and architectural monuments. Most of them are located in the city of Shushi. It is often called a cultural capital of Artsakh, even “Paris of Caucasus”.
Shoushi, in fact, is one of the most beautiful corners of the Republic of Artsakh with the Shoushi plateau which was populated by our ancestors since ancient times. Archaeological excavations have revealed cultural artifacts from the Hellenistic period and early Middle Ages. By the end of the first millennium CE, protective constructions had already been erected on the plateau.
By the beginning of the 20th century Shoushi was a city with all the European conveniences: water pipes, drains, paved streets and sidewalks. The cultural level of this region was very high. The widely known Artsakh silks, carpets, jewelry and other luxury goods presented in the markets stunned travelers with their wealth and bright oriental colors.
Shushi is famous for its fortress, St. Amenaprkich Ghazanchetsots (Cathedral of St. Christ the Savior), Real College, Katarot canyon.
Stepanakert is the capital of the Artsakh Republic. It is industrial, cultural and educational center of Artsakh. The city situated at the foot of the eastern slope of the Karabakh ridge, in the valley of the Karkar river. The area of Stepanakert is 25.6 square kilometers; the climate of Stepanakert is subtropical semi-dry. The summers are relatively warm, and winters are mild and dry, but quite harsh frosts are seldom possible.
In 1924, the city received the name Stepanakert, in honor of Stepan Shahumyan. The first plan for the city was drawn up by Aleksandr Tamanyan in 1926.
The city has an ancient history - the first settlements on the site date from 3-2 millennium B.C. During archaeological excavations led by Emil Rosler in the 19th century, numerous valuable exhibits were found, some of which are in the greatest museums of the world. In the 5th century, A.D. on the site of the nowadays capital of Artsakh was the settlement of Vararakn (in Armenian, high-flowing spring), named after the large spring beating in the settlement.
Only one inn has survived to this day.
The city and the area surrounding it are rich with archaeological, architectural and historical monuments.
KASHATAGH REGION (BERDZOR)
Kashatagh district is the largest in the Republic of Artsakh, with an area of 3,376 square kilometers. In the west, the region borders with Armenia, and in the south, the state border with Iran runs along the Araks River. The provincial center of the district - Berdzor is founded on the site of ancient Armenian settlements. The Yerevan - Stepanakert highway passes through it. Aghavno River runs through the region.
The territory of the region is rich with preserved Armenian architectural monuments. The most prominent of them are the Tsitsernavank Monastery, Saint Hambardzum church, the church of the XIX century in the village of Tandzatap, and the palace of Melik-Haykaz.
On the territory of the Kashatagh region, in the course of a scientific speleological expedition in 2002-2003, exploring the caves, five-rock churches, four defensive and protective structures, and more than 30 residential complexes were discovered. The most prominent of the structures found are the monastery complexes Kron (Kronk) and Chochandza (Gochandz) described by the Armenian historian Stepanos Orbelian (XII century), as well as a cave with a cuneiform inscription of the 7th century BCE. Furthermore, in 2010, a treasure containing 112 items of gold, silver, and bronze was found in the district.
In addition to architectural monuments, the region is renowned for its natural resources - dense virgin forests and mountain rivers.