The legend of St. Akhnabad

In about 2.5 km northeast of the village Aghavnavank, on the right bank of the river there is St. Mary Desert Church (Sb. Astvatsatsin Anapat) standing. According to the carvings on the walls, it was built on 11-12th centuries.
Legend tells that in these places, there lived a young man who was able to treat various diseases using remedies made from plants. Everyone in the village was very fond of the young man. Many people were asking him for help, would it be a simple peasant or wealthy princes. One day, the daughter of one of the local rulers, beauty Nabad, got very sick. No one was able to treat the girl, and people advised to call the boy. The young man gathered various herbs, prepared remedies, with the help of which the young girl recovered. Happy father ordered to bring one bag of gold for the young man, but the boy asks for her hand. Seeing the boy’s honesty and commitment, the prince agreed. But Nabad, who was too ambitious, rejects him, saying that poor doctor is not worthy for her, and she can be a wife for a prince or a rich merchant.
Desperate boy leaves his belongings, relatives, friends, and on an isle day by day was walking alone in the woods, sharing the pain of his soul with trees, shrubs, birds and forest animals.
But even here a lover boy couldn’t find a rest. The picture of ambitious Nabad was following him everywhere, appearing in a stream of water, in the morning dew, rain drops. Days and months go by, and the boy, forgot hunger and fatigue, was running through forests and calling his beloved Nabad. Once, when he was on top of a rock, young man looked down and saw an image of smiling face of Nabad in a running stream of water. Seemed like Nabad was calling the boy with opened arms. “Oh Nabad…” called the boy last time and without hesitation jumped down from a cliff to find the ethernal rest in the lap of Nabad.
According to the legend, the location name appeared from these words (Akh Nabad = Oh Nabad). It also says that knowing about the boy’s death, the peasants, who loved the boy too much, decided to build a church in honor of him. The church is also like a lover boy, isolated in the woods, and its present name St. Mary Desert church came from the words monastery-desert.

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