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Surp Asdvadzadzin church

Surp Asdvadzadzin church

Bratya Miladinovi 18, Rousse, Bulgaria



Surp Asdvadzadzin is an Apostolic church dedicated to the Holy Mother Mary. It has been a pillar of the Armenian religious community for more than 400 years. In 1987, it has been declared a cultural heritage site of national importance. The temple is unique with its 3 apses (altars) on the central alley. The Holy Table, located in the middle, bears the name of the Temple, and on its two sides are built two small altars. The left, St. Stephen, and the right St. Gregory the Enlightener. According to the canons, the temple has its own repository in which there is a baptistery - a baptismal cup. There is another smaller altar in the repository, called by the local laymen "Little Virgin". Its miraculous powers are legendary. A monument dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide is located in the church yard. A memorial service in their honor is held every year on 24 April.
Surp Asdvadzadzin church is situated in the heart of the historic Armenian Quarter of the Rousse. Many of the oldest Armenians families came to the city in the 1600s from South Ukraine by the Danube river. The temple was erected in 1610, just 10 years after the oldest Armenian church in Bulgaria, which is in the town of Silistra. The original wooden chapel was destroyed by fire in the beggining of the 18th century. In 1832 the temple was completely reconstructed as it is preserved to this day. Since the establishment of the Surp Asdvadzadzin church, there was an Armenian school across the street. It was called after the creator of the Armenian alphabet Mesrop Mashtots. The school was closed by the communist regime during the second half of the twentieth century. The Armenian diaspora in the city increased considerably during and after World War I. Numerous refugees fled from the Ottoman Empire, surviving the atrocities of the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian community became one of the largest ethnic groups in Rousse, with several thousand proponents living in the city today.
In the courtyard of the Temple is the old Armenian cemetery. The oldest tombstones are made of limestone and are smaller in size. The newer ones date from the early to mid 18th century. They are made of marble and lavishly decorated in the tulip era style, exhibiting a fusion of aesthetic influences from western Baroque art and Ottoman court fashion. Fructieres, flowers and tiaras are commonly used ornamentations in this period. Some of the tombstones depict objects that indicate the social status or the vocation of the deceased.
The temple celebrates its patron saint with the Feast of the Assumption of Virgin Mary. A solemn Holy Mass is held in the glory of the Holy mother, the patron of maternity, marriage, and family hearth. Typical of the feast is the delivery of a matagh, containing light grapes, bread and meat. The holy ritual incorporates sacrificial offerings, prayer and charity.
- Direct visit
- Virtual visit - See the photo galleries in the media resources section.
Classroom activity (pre- and post- visit) Use the extensive photo gallery “Ruse Armenian relics” from the links sections to explore the esthetics of Armenian Orthodox religious objects.

Holy Mother of God Apostolic church - Sofia, T.Aleksandrov Blvd 31, 1000 Център, София

Surp Asdvadzadzin Apostolic Church - ул. „Кеворк Арабаджян“ 45, 7504 Силистра Център, Силистра

Surp Kevork Apostolic church - ul. "Turist" 2, 4000 Staria grad, Plovdiv




  • Bread & Salt: Mother of God
    This short video recaunts some episodes of the life of Virgin Mary and presents the Feast of the Assumption and the “Blessing of Grapes” service in the armenian apostolic tradition.


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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.