Gevorg, or on Being Pagan in Christian Armenia

Author: Ani Hakobyan


In Armenia national identity and religion are intertwined - you are Armenian, hence you are Christian. Gevorg Ghazaryan started questioning this postulate when he was still a schoolboy. Now 28, he defines himself as a pagan and adheres to the traditions of the country’s pre-Christian paganism - he regularly attends ceremonies in the colonnaded temple of Garni, in central Armenia, which has been the renowned symbol of Armenia before conversion to Christianity in 301 AD.

The journalist-soon-to-be-archeologist believes that neo-Paganism reconnects with the authentic Armenian roots - followers like Gevorg honor Vahagn, God of fire and war in ancient Armenia. According to the 2011 census, 5,434 Armenians identify themselves as pagans, the majority of them in Yerevan.

Gevorg does not preach his faith - while people occasionally question his beliefs, he never has.