Dedicated to St. Hovhannes (St. John), this seventh-century church is an impressive sight in the midst of the village of Mastara, towering above its surroundings. Several inscriptions carved on its walls indicate that it was erected by the Monk grigoras in the the seventh century since, fortunately, one inscription mentions Bishop Theodore of the notable Armenian feudal family named Gnuni who ruled at that time. In addition, the architectural details of Mastara, as it is known, resemble seventh-century construction. At the same time, an interesting inscription on the south wall written in Greek, and the large foundation walls similar to those of earlier Armenian churches are clues that this church probably replaced a larger church built here in the fifth century.
Its unusual design is echoed in other seventh-century churches which are referred to as belonging to the "Mastara type." Three hundred years later, the tenth-century church of the Holy Apostles at Kars, now in Turkey, was erected by King Smbat using the same design.