October 2019


Hiking to Samson monastery

Hiking to Samson monastery 16:59 - 29.09.2011

September 25th, 2011, Sunday. It was Teryan’s autumn  morning. Our team was ready to start a trip. Starting from Yerevan we went to one of the most solitary places of Armenia, Tavush marz. We had to walk about 12km. through the forest to get to the Samson monastery built in 12-13 cc. In spite of rainy weather everyone was in a good mood. Soon nature showed its face to us and spread Sun rays on our road. Autumn Sun did not just warm us it also provided positivity to all team.

Our way lied through the forest and we had to pass green covered hill flanks and canyons to reach Samson monastery. The more we were away from civilization the more changed our inside world. Everyone was caught in thoughts and reminiscences. In this kind of trips one can realize why Armenian churches and monasteries were built far from civilization. These are places where people go to obtain spiritual support in the name of their beliefs and the road is the best way to communicate to the nature, to analyze everything, to realize how far a modern  human has gone from nature.

Man created a huge educational system on basis of which he teaches the new generations. This system allows us to explore the space, atom e.t.c., but one is for sure, all great thinkers created their religious studies after they isolated themselves from the people they went in themselves in forests and deserts, then returning they brought wisdom and spiritual progress. Jesus, Moises and Siddharta Gautama known as Buddha were among them.

After resting and photographing the group was ready to go back. Dinner was lively as always.

The architecture of the monastery was also very unique: it had a very high dome. May be the architect tried to give some kind of a mutual feature with biblical Samson, who had very long hair and was betrayed by his beloved Dalila. But everyone was disturbed by another question:  “Was this monastery which stood here for centuries doomed to collapse because of human’s indifference?”

Unfortunately peace and harmony were disturbed by man and sometimes we could hear a sound of a sawed off tree falling down. Old and wise forest was sleeping, but its peace was broken by men. Involuntarily another question came to our mind: “How patient is the nature, for how long will it bear the pain which causes a man?”.

With various thoughts on our mind and 4 hours later we reached Samson monastery. It is hard to describe what felt each of us seeing the monastery, which had stood there for many centuries, but besides delight, some disappointment could be noticed on the faces of the team members. The monastery was forgotten and abandoned, it was overgrown with wild plants and on the edge of destruction. There were some frescoes partly preserved on inner side of the walls, khachkars (cross-stones) engraved in the walls and other biblical episodes. Everyone felt safe inside, some mythical peace could be felt in the air.

So after completing our mission we continued our journey back home. It was dark and we switched on the flashlights. Stars shone in the clear sky.

Our return journey passed without any adventures. We got on the cars and returned to the city, back to the civilization and everyday worries.

In Yerevan everyone said goodbye to each other with hope to meet again soon.

Hovhannes Yeritsyan

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