St. Hripsime Church in Echmiadzin, completed in 618, is one of the oldest surviving churches in Armenia.It is known for its fine Armenian architecture of the classical period, which influenced many other Armenian churches. The church, together with other nearby sites, is a UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The church has undergone several changes. The western and southern entrance porticos have been pulled down, and the side windows of the altar apse have been walled up. In 1790 a two-tier bell-tower with an eight-column belfry was added.
Internally, of particular interest is the inlaid mother-of-pearl altarpiece of 1741, which demonstrates the high level of Armenian applied art of the 18th century. The composition of the ornament, made up of framed interwoven branches with stylized leaves and various fruit and blooms, arranged around an encircled Greek cross, is most original.
The graves of two 18th century Armenian Catholicoi are located in the church's courtyard, those of Asdvadzadur and Garabed II.