With its inherent purity, simplicity, and at the same time mystery, Debed canyon is a unique place to be cut off from the world to sanctify and purify the human soul and mind. Noteworthy is the village of Ardvi surviving with its simple lifestyle in the wonderful nature of Lori, as well as St. Hovhannes Monastery, where you are given a unique opportunity to feel and experience the famous S. Parajanov’s film “The Color of Pomegranate”. The settlement achieved its recognition in honor of Catholicos Hovhannes Odznetsi (717-728)- the prominent theologian, lawyer, thinker, reformer, who was canonized as St. Hovhannes Imastaser (Wise). In the northwestern edge of the village, he built the hermitage: St. Hovhannes Monastery (also known as Srbanes or Hovhan Odznetsi Monastery).
The entire complex is composed of two small churches: single-nave vaulted halls bound by a common longitudinal wall, a belfry, and monastic buildings. It is surrounded by an uneven low-rise enclosure. On the territory of the monastery, you can also admire the beauty of a tetrahedral monument, khachkars (cross-stones), and ruins of dwelling and utility structures. A small vaulted hall was added to the western façade of the church in the 13th century and already in the 17th century, the belfry was erected south of the churches. The lower tier of the belfry is cube-shaped crowned with a rotunda supported by six columns.
From the frontstage of the Northern Church, the complex is silently controlled by the tomb of Catholicos St. Hovhannes Odznetsi. A medieval graveyard to the west of the monastery is surrounded by eye-catching khachkars, and to the south is the Kalantaryans’ ancestral tomb, one of Ardvi’s oldest noble families. In the 19th century, the Monastery was reconstructed by Stepanos Tarinyan, and in 1902 — by Melikset Kalantaryan.
The Srbanes Monastery is a unique sanctuary and place of pilgrimage, where the divine harmony is so strong that it draws people in with its magnetic power.