The Church of Saint Gayane (pronounced Surb Gayane) is a 7th-century Armenian church in Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin), the religious center of Armenia. It is located within walking distance from the Etchmiadzin Cathedral of 301. St. Gayane was built by Catholicos Ezra I in the year 630. Its design has remained unchanged despite partial renovations of the dome and some ceilings in 1652.
Gayane was the name of an abbess who was martyred with other nuns by Tiridates III of Armenia in the year 301, and subsequently made a saint of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
In 2000, Saint Gayane Church was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites along with historical churches of Vagharshapat.
Saint Gayane Church is a three-nave domed basilica with an octagonal drum resting on four internal pillars that divide the interior of the church into three naves. The middle sections of the side naves are elevated slightly over the corner ones and roofed with vaults across the building, forming a transversal nave. At the eastern wall of the church’s interior is a semicircular apse with a rectangular chamber at either side. Three portals lead into the interior of the building. The main portal enters through the arched portico, while two side entries are located at the north and south walls.
The exterior of Saint Gayane differs from the interior in that it has a cruciform-plan gable roof with the drum and dome placed central to the main structure.
Saint Gayane along with eminent churches such as Saint Hripsime, Cathedral of Zvartnots and the Mother Church of Holy Etchmiadzin would become the essence and the pillar of spiritual strength of Christian Armenia.