The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin is the spiritual and administrative headquarters of the worldwide Armenian Church, and the residence of His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos and Supreme Patriarch of All Armenians.
The Mother Cathedral, founded by the Descent of Christ, built by St. Gregory the Illuminator and King Trdat III in 303 AD, has stood as a symbol against time of the Armenian faith, nation and people. No other silhouette is so instantly recognized by Armenians the world over.
St. Gregory chose the location of the Cathedral in accordance with a vision that he had. In his dream he saw “Miatsin”, the Only Begotten Son of God, with glittering light on his face descending from the Heavens and with a golden hammer striking the ground where the Cathedral was to be located. Hence comes the name “Etchmiadzin”, which translates literally to “the place” where the Only-Begotten Son of God descended.
Preserving the past are the numerous museums, libraries and the Mother Cathedral itself, all holding a vast richness of history and treasures. The Mother See is responsible for the preservation of artifacts, both those created by the Church and those given to the church as gifts over time.
Carrying on the work of our present and future are the departments and programs of the Armenian Church. Under the grace filled leadership and guidance of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, the Mother See administers to social, cultural and educational programs for Armenia and the Diaspora.