Artavazd Nazaretyan, Chief Architect at the Holy See of Etchmiadzin, told Hetq that construction of a restaurant on the grounds of the Kecharis Monastery has been halted, pending approval of the Church’s Architectural Council.
Once approved, the plans must then go to the Ministry of Culture for the final OK.
Hetq has covered the matter in an article entitled “Kecharis Monastery: Is the Church Now in the Restaurant Business?”
The restaurant is being built by Davit Ghazinyan, son of Yerevan State University Law Faculty Director Gagik Ghazinyan.
Ghazinyan started construction without proper approval.
Architect Nazaretyan has inspected the site in person and issued a work stoppage order. He says the plans must be reviewed so that the restaurant complex can meet aesthetic standards.
When asked if he agreed with the construction, Mr. Nazaretyan said, “There is no architect that can give a definite answer to such a question since various architectural solutions can be utilized to build something appropriate to such a site.”
Nazaretyan said that he had no idea that construction had started without proper approval and immediately visited the site once he found out.
He said that even Catholicos Garegin II found out about the construction through the press and is waiting to hear the review findings of the committee.
Meanwhile, the Holy Resurrection Church at the monastery is being renovated and that the former basalt floor is now being tiled.
Nazaretyan says that upon seeing what the new floor looks like, he would have preferred another material.
“It’s up to the church’s benefactor,” the chief architect said, adding that renovations are often started without consulting church specialists.
Nazaretyan told Hetq that he didn’t know who is funding the renovation of the church.
According to Hetq sources, the benefactor is General-Major Vladimir Gasparyan.
When asked if he didn’t have the right, as Chief Architect, to make changes to any work plans not meeting with his favor, Nazaretyan answered, “Of course I do.”
Hetq asked Nazaretyan what, if anything, he has done about the floor tiling.
“Well, I’ve spoken to the primate of the diocese,” Nazaretyan responded.