Large Hand-Carved Armenian Cross-Stone (Khachkar)

Collection ID







Arshaluys, (Armenia)




Volcanic Tuff and Granite


82 × 33.5 × 9.75 in. (208.2 × 85 × 24.7 cm)

Exhibit Location

On View in the Hallway of the World Stage Theater

This khachkar is a replica of the 1308 khachkar at the Noravank monastery in Armenia. The original was carved by master carver Momik Vardpet in memory of the renowned historian and bishop Stepanos Orbelian. The centerpiece of the khachkar is a cross adorned with sprouting plants, blooming flowers, and fruit in what is called the “tree of life” tradition. Below the cross is a circle that symbolizes the earth, which the cross covers. Above the cross are three figures. In typical Byzantine art, these three are called the Deësis or Deisis, and consist of Christ Pantocrator (“almighty”), who holds a Gospel book, the Virgin Mary, and St. John the Baptist. This khachkar, however, deviates from this pattern, instead showing Christ flanked by two men.

Created from 2019–2020 by Ruben Nalbandyan in Arshaluys, Armenia; Donated in 2020 to Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.[1]

Notes: [1] Donated on behalf of the Armenian people and His Excellency Mr. Varuzhan Nersesyan, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the United States of America, Washington, DC.

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