Khachkars: The Armenian Statue of Christian Art

By Vahe Assarian

Last week my blog was about how passionate the Armenians are about their churches and all the hard work they put into making them look nice and unique. This week my blog continues to address the pride that the Armenian people take in Christianity, and the best way I figured to continue is to talk about a key element that you can see in front of any Armenian Church, the Khachkar.

The Khachkar, also  known as the Cross-Stone in the English language, has been a key symbol of Armenian pride when it comes to anything related to the Armenian Apostolic Church. One could argue that the designs of Khachkars comprise a significant part of Armenian architecture. In addition, each one is completely hand made.

There is a rule that no Khachkar can be duplicated, the design could be the same, but the size of the stone would have to either be bigger or smaller than the one that is being duplicated. The idea of not having the same size or design of the Khachkar is to keep it unique. These Khachkars are not only used in front of Armenian Churches or in an Armenian garden, but they are also put in place as tombstones. The artists of these Khachkars don’t want to make the same design over and over again, they want to change it up and bring new life into their work.

Khachkars were created after the Armenian nation adopted Christianity. The idea behind these Cross-Stones was to celebrate religious events, important events, and victories in battle. They were placed in holy lands, graveyards, and on top of hills. The oldest Khachkar that is in decent condition in Armenia today was carved  in the year 879 and it is located in the City of Garni. In present day Armenia, there are over 50,000 hand-made Khachkars.

Armenians also brought these Khachkars to America and wherever else Armenians have settled around the world. Many of these Khachkar’s found in America will be located on the grounds of most Armenian Churches. If you take a look at this interesting website, it will show you some pictures of different types of Khachkars. At the bottom, it will show some pictures on how these artists work on these hand-made Khachkars. http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/Khachkar

These Khachkars were found all over Historic Armenian lands. Unfortunately, over the past hundred years, Turks in Turkey destroyed these Khachkars in an act of hatred for the Armenian people and in an attempt to remove the Armenian History from  stolen lands. On the eastern border of Armenia, Azeri’s in Azerbaijan also followed in the footsteps of their Turkish brothers in removing these Khachkars off of the stolen Historic Armenian lands by destroying every piece of the Khachkars and burning the remnants.

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