Church of Armenian monastery Surb-Khach (Holy Cross) (1786 - 1792) – is the monument of history and architecture of federal level. It is the oldest building, which has survived within contemporary city limits to our days.
The church and surrounding park are located at the right high bank of the Severnoye reservoir (it is the name for a cascade of ponds) at the bottom of the Temernik river clough, and from under the hill, on which the church is put, runs a water spring. Wooden church was built in 1783 in a turn of the Temernik by Armenian refugees from the Crimea in the memory of the Crimean same-name monastery. Archbishop Joseph Argutinski-Dolgorukov was the founder of the monastery. The stone church of the monastery was erected in 1786 – 1792 in classicism style. Its authorship is attributed to Ivan Starov, Russian architect. There is Anijsky khachkar (cross-shaped stone) dating back to VI c. at the grounds of the monastery, which was brought by Armenians from the Crimea.
In 1862 the church was greatly rebuilt and the four-tier bell-tower with the high tetrahedral roof was put next to it. There was a seminary in the monastery and the first printing works in the South of Russia. Academician Oganes Khalpakhchiyan in his history of Nakhichevan notes: “It was the most prominent cultural-and-educational center of Armenian colony in the Don area, place of pilgrimage of Armenians in the South of Russia, particularly during Vardavar feast.” Arutiun Alamdarian, educator, poet, prominent Armenian public person; Mikael Nalbandian, poet, publicist, philosopher-materialist, comrade-in-arms of Alexander Herzen and Nikolai Chernyshevsky; Rafael Patkanian, Armenian literature classic, poet-patriot – are buried at monastery walls.
After socialist revolution, in early 1920s, the monastery was closed. An orphanage was placed in its grounds. Divine services continued in the church until 1931, when the church was closed and passed to the local sovkhoz farm to be used as a grain storage. In 1935 the bell tower and a part of church roof were destroyed by the bolt of lightning. A bit at a time the monastery buildings, except for the church itself, were demolished. In the middle of 1960s the church was so deteriorated, that it was intended to destroy it. And they would definitely do it, if it were not for Martiros Sarian, People’s Artist of Armenian SSR (Soviet Socialist Republic) – a native of this land. In 1968 – 1972 the church was restored and Museum of Russian-Armenian friendship was opened in it, which worked until 2007. In March 2007 by resolution of the Administration of Rostov Region the building was handed over to the
Armenian Apostolic Church.
On September 8, 2008, Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians consecrated the Surb-Khach temple.
Surb-Khach of today is a modest complex, which includes the church, long stone stairs leading to the river, spring-well and a chapel, located at high hill. A splendid view to Severny (Northern) residential area opens up from the church.