"It was such a beautiful experience," the reality star tells PEOPLE

By peoplestaff225
Updated April 22, 2015 08:15 AM

Leave it to little North West to have one of Christianity’s holiest sacraments in a 12th-century Armenian Apostolic Church in Jerusalem.

“It was such a beautiful experience for my family to have North baptized in Jerusalem,” mom Kim Kardashian West tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue. “Kanye and I are so thankful.”

Six months ago, when Kardashian West, 34, started planning a family trip to Armenia, her ancestral homeland, an idea came to her: use the same journey abroad to visit the holy land of Jerusalem and have North, 22 months, baptized.

On April 14, the reality star and husband Kanye West, 37, flew to Jerusalem for the religious ceremony. Joining the couple was Kardashian West’s sister Khloé, who served as North’s godmother because of the “very special bond” they share, says a close family source.

Brian Prahl/Splash News Online

Kardashian West chose the historic St. James Cathedral in the Armenian Quarter of the city, for the hour-long Christian ceremony, which was performed by Armenian priests in both Armenian and English. The couple felt “having their daughter baptized there was such an incredible energy,” says the source. “They were so happy and at peace in Jerusalem.”

North, however, decided to save her own energy and sweetly fell asleep in her mother’s arms during some of the service, during which she had holy water poured over her head and was given a cross by the church.

For more of the family’s trip overseas, including North’s baptism, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

— Jennifer Garcia