The Feast of Shoghakat of Holy Etchmiadzin that is always observed on the Saturday prior to the Feast of the Assumption. Shoghakat refers to the vision of the rays of light seen by St Gregory when God chose the site for the Mother Cathedral. The feast is celebrated at the time of Assumption because the Cathedral in Etchmiadzin is named in honour of the Holy Mother, although through the years it became known as Etchmiadzin. The name of St Shoghakat was given to the church, according to tradition, because it was built where “the divine light had shed” (shogh gatadz er) on the Hripsimiants virgins.
The foundation was laid in 301 A.D and the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin was consecrated in 303 A.D on the day of the Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God.
For 1,700 years, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin has been, and continues to be, the spiritual heart and centre of the Armenian Church and is her most sacred sanctuary. Her spiritual, national and historical significance has only increased through the centuries. Through the vision of St Gregory, God Incarnate descended upon the soil of Armenia and predetermined her future, making Armenia the first nation in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion.