Dadivank – A Witness to the Artsakh History
In Artsakh’s Karvachar region, in a beautiful valley where Kharabakh and Mrav mountain chains get closer by a hill, there stands a beautiful monastery, called Dadivank or Khutavank. It is one of the most remarkable medieval architectural complexes of Artsakh Republic.
Etymology of “Dadi” and “Khuta” names are explained in two ways. The first is related to the name of Daddy, who was one of 70 disciples of Apostle St. Thaddeus (one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ). In the first century Daddy preached Christianity in Artsakh. However, the people, not yet ready for it, stoned Dadi to death and buried him in the area of present-day Dadivank. When Christianity was adopted as the state religion in the Armenian world in 301, the area became a sanctuary. In 310-311, even Gregory the Illuminator visited the tomb of St. Daddy. In July, 2007, the grave of St. Dadi was discovered under the holy altar of the main church.
Referring to the name “Khuta”, we should mention that in Armenian “khut” means small hill, therefore, “Khutavank” literally means a monastery built on a hill.
The Monastery belongs to the Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church and consists of two bell towers, 2 ancient churches, monk cells, guest house, bookhouse, etc. According to bibliographic sources, the monastery was first mentioned in the 9th century. As evidenced by lithographic records, the monastery was already a vicarial center in the 12th century.
It should be mentioned, that the pearl of the monastic complex is St. Katoghike Astvatsatsin Church built by princess Arzukhatun, the wife of Verin Khachen’s prince Vakhtang Vakhtangyan, in 1214. She built the church in memory of her husband and 2 sons (Hasan and Grigor) who died in the war against the Turks.
The buildings of the monastery also prove that many monks have lived and worked in this Episcopal place for centuries. For example, Armenian scholar, writer, public figure, thinker, and priest Mkhitar Gosh lived and worked there for some time.
Dadivank had 200,000 hectares of land, but after Artsakh was annexed to Soviet Azerbaijan in 1920, it lost its estates. In the 1960s, the Azerbaijani authorities established a village in the area of the monastery complex, the residents of which damaged the buildings and frescoes of the Monastery. Dadivank was liberated in 1993 and reopened in 1994.
According to the document signed by 16 members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on October 8, 2001, the demolition of Dadivank in Artsakh is one of the shocking facts of the Azerbaijani policy.
The first phase of Dadivank’s restoration began in 1997. Nowadays, the monastery with a new breath stands proudly among Artsakh mountains, ready to welcome its visitors.