There was once a Muslim military commander and ruler named Tamerlane, who along with his fierce army, conquered half of the world. He then set his eyes upon the land of Armenia. He entered the country with the might of his troops, taking hold of roads and trails in the mountains. Upon reaching Garni Gorge he gave the order to set up camp and then sent out his patrols and spies.
When morning arrived one of his men informed him that they were close to a Christian temple that was carved from solid rock. In this holy temple was the spear of the Roman legionary, Longinus—the very spear that had pierced Jesus’ side after he had died on the cross, to ensure he was in fact dead.
“The spear was brought here by the Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew, the founders of the Armenian Church,” the spy informed. “It’s a relic of the Christians; they believe that the spear can perform miracles.”
Tamerlane dismissed the spy’s belief, and assembled a squad of soldiers and went to Geghard Temple. As the group headed toward the temple, Tamerlane saw clouds over his head and then thunder and lightening began to make the ground shake. As the soldiers broke through the gates of the temple it started to pour rain. Once the soldiers saw the spear standing in front of the alter they immediately stopped in their tracks. Other soldiers behind them tried to reach past the frozen troops to grab the spear, but suddenly they too became unable to move. More soldiers were affected; some went blind when they looked at the spear; some fell to the ground, unable to move. They had all been struck by some kind of power. Tamerlane walked in and saw what had happened and he was shaken by a tremendous fear. The ruler of Asia, emir of the East and supreme leader of an extensive kingdom, suddenly forgot who he was and what his mission was and fell to his knees, removed his helmet and began to say a prayer.
The next day Tamerlane ordered there to be many precious gifts sent to Geghard Temple and for nothing to be touched. He then assembled his soldiers and instructed them to pack up camp and leave the gorge.