Hello Armenia!

We arrived in Armenia last Thursday and it's been great week of being introduced to this special little country. You might be wondering where Armenia is and also why we've decided to spend time here. I'll be trying to answer that over the next few months, but let me give you a little background information. Armenia is a small country (I'm guessing about the size of West Virginia) and is located in what's called the Caucasus region which is roughly the area between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. It shares borders with Georgia to the north, Azerbaijan to the east, Iran to the south, and Turkey to the west. In other words, Armenia is a crossroads between Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. While in search of guidebooks, I found that bookstores would sometimes shelve Armenia in the Eastern Europe section while others would choose either the Central Asia or MIddle Eastern sections. Suffice it to say that Armenia is tough to categorize. There is a lot more to say about Armenia's history and its relationship to its neighbors. I'm sure I'll be learning more about that in the coming months too.

I have many reasons for choosing Armenia as one of the sites for my fellowship. This year we've been engaging questions about Christian faith, creation, land stewardship, farming, and food. In Armenia we'll be shifting gears a bit. We came to Armenia in search of an ancient Christianity. It is said that this was the first country to adopt the Christian faith in 301. Armenians take great pride in this and see a strong connection between their land and their faith. Furthermore, Armenia is a kind of forgotten Holy Land, a place where ancient churches and remote monasteries are an integral part of its geography. We are hoping to gain some understanding of this holy geography in our travels.

For now let me share some pictures of our first week here in the capital city of Yerevan.

St. Sargis where we we went to worship on Sunday

Saw a wedding at the big shiny new cathedral in Yerevan

1 of 2 folk dance performances that we've seen. This makes Anna very happy.

At the Cascade, a Soviet building project now just coming to completion

Unripened apricots are a snack sold on the street.

At the weekend craft market

We had a nice meeting with Habitat for Humanity in Armenia and learned about the housing crisis and poverty facing the country.

A tiny 13th century (!) church in the city center surrounded by the construction of another church.


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