Donors Visit Garni Temple and Geghard Monastery

During an annual trip to Armenia, organized by COAF, our donors, Peter Sarkesian, Mary Pendergast, and Larry Peters saw the impact that their hard work and financial endorsements have had in Armenia. There’s no better way to be connected to the cause than to be in the very heart of it and see things firsthand. We find it incredibly important to be transparent about our work and show the impact the donors have had in helping COAF.

Donors have visited not only the villages but the historical sights as well.


Garni Temple and Geghard Monastery are two incredibly important historical monuments that showcase Armenia’s past, as well as it present in a most formidable way. Our donors even got a chance to participate in the Feast of the Cross, where the church celebrates both the discovery and recovery of the true cross of Jesus Christ.

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross marks the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It is directly connected to the discovery of the True Cross by Saint Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great.


Our donors got a chance to see the renowned Garni Temple– one of the most ancient monuments of Armenian architecture. It rests on a rocky 300m high of Azat river and was once the impregnable fortress of Garni.

In the first century, King Terdat I built a magnificent pagan temple in the fortress dedicated to the god of sun Mithra. In 1679, a terrible earthquake left it in ruins. Only 300 years after the excavations this masterpiece of world architecture, remnants of the royal palace, the barracks, a Roman bath and a Christian church were discovered.

Our wonderful donors were all equally as amazed by the striking beauty of the temple remains.


Lastly, the team visited Geghard, which is a medieval monastery in the Kotayk province of Armenia and is partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, surrounded by cliffs. It is even listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name commonly used for the monastery today, Geghard, or more fully Geghardavank, meaning “the Monastery of the Spear”, originates from the spear which had wounded Jesus at the Crucifixion, allegedly brought to Armenia by Apostle Jude, called here Thaddeus, and stored amongst many other relics. Now it is displayed in the Etchmiadzin treasury.

For history buffs and appreciators of architecture alike, the trip to Garni and Geghard did not go to waste!

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