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Khor Virap Monastery in Armenia, Dwarfed by Mount Ararat

Khor Virap. The name refers to the famous monastery in Armenia that is the number one pilgrimage site in the country. But the name has a deeper, hidden meaning. The church stands on a low hillock, built over a deep vault carved out of solid rock. Saint Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned within…

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Pilgrim Lights a Candle at Khor Virap Monastery in Armenia

In the dim light of Saint Astvatsatsin chapel at Khor Virap Monastery in Armenia, I carefully picked my way over the uneven stone floor. I was concentrating so hard on where to put my feet that I didn’t look up until I reached the center of the candlelit cavern. Having visited pilgrimage sites…

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Lush Armenian Countryside with Mt. Ararat as a Backdrop

There was no escaping the imposing presence of Mt. Ararat as I traveled around Armenia. The mountain was always visible, whether driving through the lush green countryside or walking around the capital city of Yerevan. My first sight of Mt Ararat came at dawn, as my train from Tbilisi, Georgia was nearing Yeravan….

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Baku, Azerbaijan – The Smell of Money

From the moment I set foot in Baku, I knew there was something very different about Azerbaijan’s capital city. Mirror-clad skyscrapers and modern shopping centers stood juxtaposed against the 700-year old stone walls of the Old City. Elegantly dressed women in high heels negotiated crazy patchwork stone streets. Delicious cooking smells mingled with…

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The Historical UNESCO Monuments of Mtskheta, Georgia

Mtskheta, the original capital of Georgia, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the place where the country first adopted Christianity in 334. Today, not only is it the headquarters of the Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church, it is home to Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, two important…

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Homage to Seneca Falls, NY – Birthplace of Women’s Suffrage

I just finished watching day three of the Democratic National Convention. One sentence in Nancy Pelosi’s speech caught my attention. Speaking about women, she said, “Our diversity is our strength. Our unity is our power. This month, as America marks the centennial of women, finally, women winning the right to vote, we do…

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