Javakhk 1915-23

Our Program

The “Surb Nshan” Project

The earliest information

Construction of the new church building
Consecration of the new building in 1864
Lapidary inscriptions
St. Nshan as a religious center
Vardanants School
Church property
St. Nshan in Soviet years
Latest developments around St. Nshan
Latest News
Distribute information!
Surb Nshan, Javakhk


St. Nshan church in Akhaltskha (Zarehnu Surb Nshan, i. e. Holy Sign Church, or St. Vardanants) is one of the most important churches in Lower Javakhk (Samtskhe). It was taken from the Armenian Apostolic Church in 1938 (see below), and the problem of its return still is not solved. Recent Armenian-Georgian disputes around some churches stress importance of unbiased study of this problem.

The first aim of the “Surb Nshan” project is to collect material about St. Nshan from various sources and to present them in the Internet for maximally wide access. The next aim is translation of the material to English and Russian to present the issue to broader audience (we also prepare French and Georgian translations).

We hope this material will also help Georgian readers to understand how important is St. Nshan for Armenians, and how harmful and unpromising are attempts of its “kartvelisation”. The Georgian people has such a historical heritage that doesn’t need to be “enriched” by a church, the Armenian origin of which is more then convincingly documented.

Sometimes the political situation pushes to do historical mistakes (such as: seizing of many churches in the Soviet years of “fighting atheism”). But sometimes poetical development allows to correct the mistakes done (such as: the spiritual rebirth of the last Soviet years allowed to restore thousands of churches in Armenia, Georgia, Russia and elsewhere). But if one doesn’t use those opportunities to correct mistakes, the mistakes get even worst. In 1990 the attempts to return St. Nshan went I a very unexpected way (see below). Thus, the problem created in 1938 did no receive a solution in 1990, but yet received one more “layer”, which reflected the nationalist issues of the collapsing USSR.

Now, twenty years after the events of 1990 we again have the same problem to solve. And it depends on us if we solve it or add one more “layer” to it.

The main source of historical information for the project was the valuable monography of Samvel Karapetian “Akhaltskha”. A few other sources also are used. Information on the newest period is based on testimonials of eyewitnesses. The Russian text is prepared by Pandukht. The English version and edition are done by Kars. Photos are taken by Armenian Youth Center in Akhaltskha. The project concept, Armenian text, design and programming are done by site.

The authors of this project invite to cooperation everybody, who has information, document, photos of St. Nshan. Your material will be published with your contribution acknowledged.,

Akhalkalak - Akhaltskha - Yerevan - Los Angeles, 2009

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Javakhk 1915-23