« Armagh, Bishopric of Armenia Arminius, Jacobus, and Arminianism »



I. History.

The Old Armenian Kingdom—to 800 B.C. (§ 1).

Indo-Germanic Immigration—the Armenians (§ 2).

The Persian Period, 2242 (§ 3).

The Califs and the Inroads of the Turks—to 1381 (§ 4).

II. Literature.

Begins in the Fourth Century (§ 1).

The Armenian Alphabet. Translations (§ 2).

Original Armenian Literature. Moses of Chorene (§ 3).

The Eighth and Succeeding Centuries (§ 4).

III. The Armenian Church.

Legends (§ 1).

Gregory the Illuminator (§ 2).

History to 600 (§ 3).

To 1166 (§ 4).

Negotiations for Union with Rome and the Greek Church (§ 5).

From 1600 (§ 8).

The Armenian Uniates (§ 7).

The Evangelical Armenians (§ 8).

Armenians in America (§ 9).

Armenia is a country situated in western Asia between the Black and Caspian Seas and the Taurus and Caucasus Mountains. In its widest extent it lay between 37 and 49° east longitude, 37° 30´ and 41° 45´ north latitude. The Euphrates divided it into Great and Little Armenia, respectively east and west of the river. It is a lofty mountain-land with extensive plains, including the head waters of the Cynic (Kur) and Araxes (Aras), which flow northward to the Caspian ice, as well as of the Euphrates and Tigris. The mountains are well wooded and enclose deep and fruitful valleys. The winters are severe with mush snow, the summers dry and hot. The native geographers regarded their land as the middle of the world.

I. History:

1. The Old Armenian Kingdom—to 600 B.C.

The older history of Armenia is learned from Assyrian accounts and native cuneiform inscriptions. The Assyrians called the country Urartu (see Assyria), corresponding to the Biblical land or kingdom of Ararat (II Kings xix. 37; Isa. xxxvii. 38; Jer. li. 27). The native name for the people is Chaldini from Chaldis, their chief god. The oldest inhabitants are distinguished from the later by their language, which is allied to the Ural-Altaic family. Originally living east of Lake Van, the Urarteans pressed to the south and east and founded a kingdom as rivals of the Assyria. 289 Their capital was the well-fortified garden-city Van-Tuspa. The temple of the national god Chaldis became the center of the theocratically organized kingdom. By means of the Menuas canal (at present the Shamiram Su), King Menuas supplied his city with water. Under his son, Argistis I., against whom Shalmaneser III. (783-773 B.C.) had to fight six times, the kingdom reached its height, but Tiglath-Pileser soon made an end to its glory and in 735 B.C. the capital Tuspa was destroyed. The weakened kingdom, nevertheless, continued in constant enmity with the Assyrians. Thither the sons and murderers of Sennacherib fled in 681 B.C. In the course of time better relations were brought about between the two kingdoms, and till 640 B.C. ambassadors of the king of Urartu went to Nineveh. The prophet Jeremiah is the last who mentions the kingdom, and after this it disappears from history (cf. C. F. Lehmann, Das vorarmenische Reich von Van, in the Deutsche Rundschau, 1894-95, pp. 353-369; also articles by Lehmann and W. Belck in Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, xxiv., 1892, 122-152, Zeitschrift für Assyriologie, vii., 1892, 255-267, Verhandlungen der Berliner Gesellschaft für Anthropologie, xxv., 1893, (61)-(82), and following years).

2. Indo-Germanic Immigration. The Armenians.

The advance of Indo-Germanic tribes in the sixth century B.C. added greatly to the population of Armenia. The Persians and Greeks called this new element Armenians, whereas the people call themselves Hayk, (plural of Hay) and their country Hayastan, claiming a mythical Hayk as their ancestor. The newly immigrated Indo-Germanic tribes absorbed the aborigines. The Armenians were at first under Median, afterward under Persian sway. They took part in the general revolt under Darius I. (after 521 B.C.), but, five times defeated, they remained quiet under the Achæmenidæ. In the time of Xenophon, Armenia was divided into an eastern and western satrapy. It reached the zenith of its power under Tigranes I. (about 90-55 B.C.), a descendant of Artaxias. He extended the bounds of his kingdom, and took the title of King of Kings, but in 66 B.C. Armenia was reduced to its old limits. From that time on the kingdom leaned either toward the Parthians or Romans, till it became a Roman province under Trajan (114-117).

3. The Persian Period, 226-642.

The overthrow of the Parthian Arsacidæ and the establishment of the rule of the Sassanidæ in Persia in 226 was of great importance for Armenia. As relatives of the dethroned legitimate heirs, the Armenian princes were the sworn enemies of the Persian kings. In 238 the Armenian King Chosrov was murdered at the instigation of the Persians. During the following disturbances the latter succeeded in occupying the country temporarily and forcing upon it the hated Mazdaism, till in 261, by the victory of Odenathus of Palmyra, the country received its freedom. The king’s son Trdat (Tiridates), who had fled to Roman territory, restored the kingdom and maintained it in the closest connection with Rome and in continual struggle with the Persians. The conversion of the king and people to Christianity necessitated a policy friendly to Rome, which came to an end by the unhappy issue of Julian’s campaign and the disgraceful peace of Jovian, 363. The Persians occupied Armenia and King Arsaces (Arshak) was made a prisoner. Valens, perceiving the great mistake, made Arshak’s son Pap king (367-374). But the nobility and priests had the upper hand. From 378 to 385 the kingdom was governed by the clerically inclined Manuel the Mamikonian. In 387 Theodosius the Great divided the kingdom with the Persians; the Romans received a piece of the West with Garin (Theodosiopolis), but four-fifths of Armenia came to Persia. Till 428 nominal Armenian kings ruled under Persian supremacy; then marzbans (“frontier-governors”) were appointed, some of whom were Armenians. On the whole, the Persians showed great consideration for the country. Many revolts favoring the Byzantines were unsuccessful, but after the Emperor Maurice reinstalled Chosrov Parvez in 591, the latter peacefully ceded almost all Armenia to the empire. With the rise of the Mohammedan power it fell under Arab rule.

4. The Califs and the Inroads of the Turks—to 1381.

The first century of the califs was an epoch of national and literary development, and Ashot I., Bagratuni, belonging to an ancient Armenian dynasty, succeeded in 855 in becoming the prince of princes and in obtaining in 885 the royal crown from the calif. The new kingdom comprised not only Armenia, but also Albania and Iberia (Georgia). In 913 it became free, but was divided into petty kingdoms, of which that of the Artsrunians of Vaspurakan was the most important. Afraid of the aggressive Seljuks, Senekherim, the last Artsrunian, ceded his kingdom in 1021, and Gagik the Bagratunian in 1041, to the Byzantines, but they, too, could not withstand the great danger. The systematic cruel devastation of the country by the hordes of the Seljuks gave the deathblow to the political life and civilization of the Armenians at home. During these campaigns many Armenians withdrew to the Taurus and Cilicia. In 1080 a certain Rupen, probably a Bagratide, founded a small kingdom and a new dynasty (Rupenides). His brave successors conquered all Cilicia. With Byzantium they were not on friendly terms, but their relation to the states of the crusaders was close. Levon II. was crowned king in 1198. The Rupenides were followed in 1342 by the Lusinians of Cyprus. In connection with the Mongols and the West, the kingdom tried to withstand the assault of the Egyptian Mamelukes. But in 1375 King Levon VI. had to give up his last fortress. He died at Paris in 1381. From that time on the Armenians have never had an independent kingdom.

II. Literature:

1. Begins in the Fourth Century.

An Armenian literature commences with the introduction of the Armenian writing. Until the fourth century they wrote Syriac, Greek, or Persian. Armenian works said to belong to this early time, are partly translations, 290 partly later forgeries. The orations of Gregory the Illuminator (Venice, 1838; ed. Ter Mikelian, Vagharshabad, 1896; German, by J. F. Schmid, Regensburg, 1872) belong to a much later time. To his contemporary, Zenop Glak, a Syrian bishop and afterward abbot of the monastery Surp Garabed in Taron, a history of the conversion of his province is ascribed, said to have been originally written in Syriac. It is extant in an Armenian translation, “History of Taron,” and is continued by Bishop John the Mamikonian, said to have lived in the seventh century. Both works are historically worthless, legendary writings of the eighth and ninth centuries. Under the name of Agathangelos, secretary of the Armenian king Trdat, a history of the conversion of the king and the introduction of Christianity is extant in Armenian and in Greek translation. It consists of independent writings relating to St. Gregory, united after 456 (cf. A. von Gutschmid, Keine Schriften, iii., Leipsic,1892, 394 sqq., 420). Of great value is the historical work of Faustus of Byzantium, containing the history of Armenia from 317 to 390 and written in Greek. Fragments are extant in Procopius (De bello Persico, i. 5), and the entire work—four books—in an Armenian translation.

2. The Armenian Alphabet. Translations.

The founders of the Armenian national literature are the catholicos Sahag (d. 439) and his friend and helper, Mesrob (d. 440), the inventor of the Armenian alphabet. Till their time there existed no Armenian translation of the Holy Scriptures, and the Bible lessons and prayers were read either in Syriac or Greek. Mesrob’s plan for a special alphabet for the Armenians was favored by Sahag and by King Vramshapuh (395-416). With the help of the Greek hermit and calligrapher Rufinus, the alphabet, mostly following the Greek, was produced (cf. H. Hübschmann, Ueber Aussprache und Umschreibung des Altarmenischen, in ZDMG, xxx., 1876, 53 sqq.; V. Gardthausen, Ueber dem griechischen Ursprung der armenischen Schrift, ibid. 74 sqq.). For the Iberians and Albanians, two neighboring nations but dependent upon Armenian culture, Mesrob also invented alphabets. The Armenian alphabet was first applied to the translation of the Bible. But as all Greek books had been destroyed, and the study of Greek was interdicted in the schools, the translation was made from the Syriac version, and not from the original text. Men were sent, however, to Constantinople to study the Greek language and examine authentic copies of the Scriptures; and the result of these exertions was a truly admirable translation, produced after 432 (see Bible Versions, A, VI.). The liturgical books for the church service, the church history of Eusebius, and, the life of St. Anthony by Athanasius, were also translated into Armenian. Of translations, the Greek text of which has perished, the following may be mentioned: Certain treatises of Philo; the chronicle of Eusebius; the apology of Aristides; homilies of Severianus of Gabala; the commentaries of Ephraem Syrus on the Bible; and certain writings of Basil the Great, Chrysostom, Cyril of Jerusalem, Athanasius, and others. All these works belong to the golden period. To the later school of translators are attributed translations of Plato’s works, Aristotle’s categories, and Porphyry’s commentary on them, Ignatius’ shorter epistles, writings of Hippolytus, Epiphanius, Gregorius Thaumaturgus, Euthalius, and others.

3. Original Armenian Lieterature. Moses of Chorene.

The original literature of the Armenians is almost exclusively historical and theological. To Mesrob’s pupil, Eznik of Kulb, is due a work against heretics, and Mesrob’s biographer, Koriun, wrote an authentic record of the beginnings of Armenian literature. More famous is Moses of Chorene (Moses Chorenensis), author of a history of Armenia to the death of Mesrob (440), the only native source for the pre-Christian period of the country. It probably originated in the seventh or early eighth century and was first published at Amsterdam, 1695, and with a Latin translation by W: and G. Whiston, London, 1736; the best edition is that of the Mekhitarists (Venice, 1843) in the complete edition of Moses’s works; French transl., in Langlois, ii. 45 sqq., German by M. Lauer (Regensburg, 1869). To Moses is also ascribed a rhetoric and geography, edited with the history by the Whistons; a better recension is offered by A. Soukry, in his French and Armenian edition (Venice, 1881; cf. von Gutschmid, ut sup., 282 sqq., 322 sqq.; A. Carrière, Moïse de Khoren et les généologies patriarcales, Paris, 1891, and Nouvelles sources de Moïse de Khoren, Vienna,1893).

One of the most eminent of Armenian historians is Eghishe (Elisæus) Vartabed, author of a history of the religious war of the Armenians against the Persians under Yezdigerd II., 439-451 (Eng. transl., by C. F. Neumann, London, 1830). His junior contemporary, Lazar of Parpi, wrote a history of Armenia from 388 to 405. John Mandakuni, catholicos 480-487, wrote homilies and prayers. To the seventh century belongs Bishop Sebeos’a history of Heraclius. Toward the end of the century the church history of Socrates was translated into Armenian, and an orthodox Armenian wrote in Greek an important but partial sketch of Armenian church history from Gregory the Illuminator to his own time.

4. The Eighth and Succeeding Centuries.

To the eighth century belong John of Odzun, surnamed the Philosopher, and Stephen, archbishop of Siunik, who translated the writings of Dionysius Areopagita, Cyril of Alexandria, Nemesius, Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa, and others; also the epistle of the patriarch Germanus to the Armenians. In the same century Armenian translations were made of the writings of Georgius Pisida, Hesychius of Jerusalem, Theodore of Ancyra, Evagrius, Antipater of Bostra, Johannes Climacus, and Titus of Crete. Toward the end of the century Levond (Leontius), “the great Vartabed,” wrote a history of the Arabian inroads into Armenia and the wars with the Empire, 661-788


To the tenth century belong two historical works, one by the catholicos John, an Armenian history from the beginning to the year 925; the other by Thomas Artsruni, giving the history of the Artsrunians to 936. In the same century lived Chosrov the Great, who wrote an exposition of the Armenian breviary; Mesrob the Priest, the biographer of Nerses the Great and author of a history of the Georgians and Armenians; and Gregory of Narek, a celebrated writer of hymns, prayers, homilies, etc. Historians include Uchtanes, Bishop (of Urha, i.e., Edessa ?), and Moses of Kalankaituk. To the eleventh century belong Stephen Asolik of Taron, author of a history to the year 1004; Aristakes of Lazdiverd, who in his history from 989 to 1071 describes the catastrophe of Armenia caused by the Seljuks; and Gregorios Magistros (1058), whose letters are important for contemporary history.

Another flourishing period is the twelfth century under the reign of the dynasty of the Rupenides. To this time belong Nerses Klayetsi or Shnorhali, catholicos 1166-73, who wrote poems and prayers, the latter translated into thirty-six languages; Ignatius, author of a commentary on Luke; Sarkis Shnorhali, who wrote on the catholic epistles; Matthew of Edessa, whose history, comprising the period from 952 to 1132, and continued by Gregory the Priest to 1162, contains many interesting notices concerning the crusades; Samuel of Ani, author of a chronicle to the year 1179, continued later to 1664; Nerses of Lambron, Archbishop of Tarsus, whose dogmatic works and spiritual addresses are published with the dogmatic letters of Gregory Tla, catholicos 1173-80; Michael the Great, patriarch of the Syrians 1166-99, who wrote a chronicle to the year 1198; and Mekhitar Gosh (d. 1213), author of 190 fables.

The thirteenth century was also rich in authors. Vartan the Great wrote a chronicle to the year 1268, and an exposition of Biblical passages. Giragos of Gandsak wrote a history consisting of two parts: one comprising the older Armenian history to 1165; the other contemporaneous, treating of the Mongols, Iberians, and the author’s country, Albania, to 1265. His contemporary, the monk Maghakia wrote a history of the Mongolian inroads to 1272. Stephen Orbelian; archbishop of Siunik 1287-1304, wrote a history of Siunik. Sempad, brother of King Hetum I. (1224-69), composed a chronicle to 1274, continued to 1331. Mekhitar of Ayrivank wrote a chronography to 1289. To the period of decay belong Thomas of Metsop, of the fifteenth century, author of a history of Timur and his successors. To the seventeenth century belongs Arakel of Tabriz, author of a history from 1602 to 1661. With the eighteenth century commences the literary activity of the Mekhitarists and an entirely new era, animated by Western science.

III. The Armenian Church:

1. Legends.

Armenia has the glory of being the first land which made Christianity the religion of the country. Later legend places the first preaching of Christian doctrine there in the apostolic time and claims for the land the graves of the four apostles, Bartholomew, Thaddæus (Lebbæus), Simon, and Judas. The most prominent and important are Bartholomew and Thaddæus, and they are often mentioned alone. Sometimes two Thaddæi are distinguished—the apostle, and one of the seventy. These are the apostles whose activity the older legend has placed in the East, and these legends, mostly of Greek or Syriac origin, were worked over and enlarged by the Armenians in a relatively late time; the product can be seen in the historical work of Moses of Chorene. The Bartholomew legend is evidently the oldest; Greek testimonies of the fifth century know of his death by martyrdom in Urbanopolis (Albanopolis, Xerbanopolis; etc.), an otherwise unknown city of Great Armenia. But the importance of Bartholomew does not come up to that of Thaddeeus. The legend of Abgar, King of Edema (see Abgar), of his correspondence with Jesus and the sending of Thaddæus to Edessa, enjoyed at an early period great popularity in Armenia. The Armenian form of the legend is extant in a translation of the Docrina Adddæi (“Labubna of Edessa, Abgar’s letter, or History of the Conversion of the Edessenes,” Armen., Venice and Jerusalem, 1868, French by Alishan, Venice, 1868, by Emin in Langlois, ii. 313 sqq.).

2. Gregory the Illuminator.

There can be no doubt that Christianity was introduced in Armenia very early. Before Gregory the Illuminator, the true apostle of Armenia, Merujan, the bishop of the Armenians, wrote a letter on repentance (Eusebius, Hist. eccl., VI. xlvi. 2) to Dionysius of Alexandria (248-265). A new epoch begins with Gregory. According to unreliable tradition, Anak, a scion of the noble house of Suren Pahlav, the murderer of King Chosrov (d. 238), was his father. Like many other Armenian princes he sought refuge on Roman territory during the Persian occupation. At Cæsarea he received a Christian and Greek education, which was of the utmost importance for the entire ecclesiastical development of Armenia. When the Armenian kingdom was retaken and reorganised, Gregory was one of the most zealous helpers of the king. But with the restoration of the kingdom was also connected the restitution of the national religion, which had been supplanted by Persian fire-worship. As a Christian, Gregory refused to offer chaplets upon the altar of the great goddess Anahid on the national festival arranged by the king, and professed to be a Christian. The enraged king subjected him to cruel torture; legend speaks of his confinement in a pit for thirteen years. At last the king was converted by a miracle (Sozomen, ii. 8), and then the Christianizing of the country was undertaken by both. At the head of the army, Trdat and Gregory marched to the ancient capital Artaxata; the temple of Anahid and the oracle of Tiur with its school of priests were destroyed after a stout resistance, and all the temple property was given to the Christian churches. In the same manner they acted in West Armenia. At the request of the king, Gregory, accompanied by a retinue of Armenian feudal princes, went to Cæsarea, and was consecrated primate of Armenia by Leontius. From Cappadocia Gregory brought the relics of John the Baptist (Surp Garabed) and 292 Athenogenes (Atanagines), who were now made the national saints. Gregory then went south and at Ashtishat in the country of Taron destroyed the most celebrated sanctuary of the country, the temple of Vahagn, Anahid, and Astghik, and in its place the splendid Christ-Church, “the first and great church, the mother of all Armenian churches,” was erected. From Taron Gregory went to the province of Ararat, where stood the famous sanctuary of the god Vanatur of Bagavan. This, too, was turned into a church of St. John and St. Athenogenes, and the people who had gathered there from the northeast were baptized.

3. History to 600.

Three things may be noticed in this newly constituted Armenian Church. First, its national character. Gregory preached in the native tongue; the sons of the former idolatrous priests were educated in a Christian school, which formed the seminary for future bishops; pupils of this school gradually occupied the twelve episcopal sees, established by Gregory. The second feature is the compulsory conversion, and the third the Judaic character of the church. The patriarchate has its parallel rather in the Jewish high-priesthood than in specific Christian distinctions; like the episcopate, it became hereditary in some families. The superior clergy, as a rule, were married. Gregory was followed by his younger son, Aristakes, who in 325 attended the Council of Nicæa; then by his elder son Vrtanes, who made his elder son Gregory catholicos of the Iberians and Albanians. Nerses, great-grandson of Vrtanes, ordained catholicos at the urgent wish of king and people, in 365 convened a synod at Ashtishat, which regulated marriages between relatives, limited the excessive mourning over the dead, and founded the first monasteries, the first asylums for widows, orphans, and the sick, and the first caravansaries for travelers. King Arshag, displeased with the order of things; appointed an anticatholicos, but when Arshag was made prisoner by the Persians, Nerses acted as regent for the minor king Pap (367-374). As soon as the latter became of age he abolished many things introduced by Nerses, and poisoned him before 374. Basil of Cæsarea anathematized the Armenian kingdom and refused to consecrate a new catholicos. But King Pap found pliant clerics who were willing to receive ordination from native bishops. After Nerses’s death Armenia was definitely freed from all spiritual connection with Cæsarea and made ecclesiastically independent. About 390 Sahag the Great, the Parthian, Nerses’ son, was made catholicos. His government forms the most important turning-point of the Armenian Church. Like his father he promoted monasticism; he opposed the deposition of the last king Ardashes and the turning of Armenia into a Persian satrapy (428). But the nobility had its way and the Persian government, by making use of this opposition, deposed the influential Sahag and appointed two Syrians in succession as catholicoi. Through the efforts of Sahag and Mesrob, the Syrian language was now superseded by the Armenian. The continued connection with Greece preserved the Armenian Church from being crippled and isolated. At the request of the nobility, Sahag was again made catholicos, before he died (Sept. 15, 439). He was the last in the male line of the family of Gregory the Illuminator. The family estate went to his daughter’s sons, the Mamikonians, whereas the dignity of catholicos, after Greco-Oriental custom, was now given to monks. Sahag’s successor, Joseph, held a synod at Sahapivan to remove certain abuses. The Council of Chalcedon (451), which later Armenians condemned, had no effect upon the contemporaries, because King Yezdigerd II. (438--457) endeavored to make Mazdaism the ruling religion in Armenia. The princes yielded at first, but soon the people revolted, and the magi and their temples had to suffer. Vartau the Mamikonian stood at the head, but the Armenians were defeated in 451 and many of the nobles and clerics were deported to Persia, where they suffered martyrdom after many years of imprisonment. One of these martyrs was Joseph the catholicos (454). The persecution ceased in 484, and during the time of peace which now followed, the Armenians were wholly influenced by the ruling Greek-Oriental theology, and Zeno’s Henotikon (482) became their rule of faith. The synod at Vagharshabad, which was convened in 491 by the catholicos Babken and which was attended not only by the Armenian bishops but also by the Albanian and Iberian, solemnly condemned the Council of Chalcedon. This synod is epoch-making in the Armenian Church. From now on the Armenians, as well as the Syrians and Egyptians accept only the strict Monophysitie doctrine as orthodox (cf. A. Ter Mikelian, Die armenische Kirche in ihren Beziehungen zur byzantinischen, Leipsic, 1892). With the Persian government the clergy had thus far lived in peace. But an effort to erect a temple of fire in the capital Duin in 571 led to a massacre of the magi and Persians. The Armenians for the time being attached themselves to the Romans. Many priests and the catholicos fled to Constantinople, where the latter died. Armenia remained under Persian sway.

4. To 1166.

A new epoch in the Armenian Church begins under Emperor Heraclius. After he had restored the cross to Jerusalem in 829, he opened negotiations with the Monophysites of Syria, which seemed to favor a union. The Armenian catholicos Ezr also shared in them, and partook with the emperor in the celebration of the eucharist. The union lasted during the lifetime of Heraclius. The rise of Islam changed the country’s policy toward Rome. The national hatred between Armenians and Greeks became moat violent. The Greek soldiers stationed in Armenia complained that they were treated like infidels. Nerses III., Ezr’s successor, had been educated in Greece and secretly favored the Chalcedonian Council (i.e., the Monothelite doctrine), but the synod at Duin, which met at the wish of the emperor under the presidency of Nerses, condemned again in the most solemn manner the Council of Chalcedon. But when in 652 the emperor Constantine appeared at Duin, the decisions of Chalcedon were solemnly proclaimed on Sunday in the293 main church; the catholicos and the bishops received the sacrament from a Greek priest. Justinian II. (689-690) succeeded in making a new union with the catholicos Sahag III. (677-703) and his bishop, whom he had called to Constantinople; but having returned to their homes, they repudiated it. Under the patriarchate of Elia (703-713), Nerses Bakur, catholicos of the Albanians, and Queen Sparam tried to introduce the Chalcedonian belief into their country. But the Armenian catholicos protested against them to the calif Abd al-Malik and with the help of Arabian soldiers the two leaders were taken to Damascus bound in chains and the Albanian orthodoxy was saved. During the ninth and tenth centuries under the rule of the Bagratunians the Church became again influential. Many monasteries were built, and many theologians and famous ascetics are mentioned. Even Monophysitic coreligionists from Colchis and the Roman empire entered the Armenian monasteries. But this growth of religious life also developed hatred of the Greeks. In vain was the correspondence between the patriarch Photius and the catholicos Zakaria (853-876). The very friendly letters of Nicolaus Mysticus and of the catholicos John the Historian (897-925), touched merely upon the oppressed condition of the Armenian empire, avoiding all theological questions. Anania (943-965), however, following the counsel of “the deep thinkers” advised to rebaptize the Greeks. His mild successor, Vahanik, being suspected of heresy, was deposed. An effort of the zealous metropolitan of Sebastia to discuss again the question of the two natures, was frustrated by the catholicos Khachik (971-990) in a long letter still extant (Stephanus Asolik, iii. 21) and the orthodox Armenian doctrine was defended by quotation from the Fathers. Khachik’s successor, Sargis (992-1019) resided at Ani, the famous residence of the Bagratuniang, where Queen Katramide, wife of Gagik (989-1020) had built a splendid cathedral. A hard time began for the Armenian Church when in the ninth century the realm was annexed by the Byzantine empire. A large orthodox hierarchy was established in the new provinces. At the head stood a metropolitan with the title of Keltzene, Kortzene, and Taron, besides twenty-one bishops. Of course, they were shepherds without sheep. The Greeks continued their efforts to force upon the Armenians the Chalcedonian faith. The opposition was much strengthened by the ill-treatment of the higher clergy. Khachik II. (1058-65) was kept a prisoner at Constantinople for three years. The revenues of the catholicos decreased to such a degree that the incumbent often was in want. But with Vahram, the son of Krikor, catholicos 1065-1105, the patriarchate became again hereditary, as in the beginning. Krikor’s seven successors till 1202 were his relatives on either the father’s or mother’s side. They were called Pahlavuni, because they traced back their supposed pedigree to Gregory the Illuminator and the Suren Pahlav. There is no doubt that this family rendered great services to the Armenian Church in different times. Jealousy and self-interests were sometimes the cause of anticatholicoi, whose number at times was four. But the people only considered those as lawful who belonged to Gregory’s house. In 1147 Gregory III. Pahlavuni (1113-66) bought of the widow of Count Jocelin of Edessa the fortress Hromkla, which remained the residence of the Armenian catholicoi till 1293.

5. Negotiations for Union with Roman and the Greek Church.

The close relation between the Armenian kingdom of Cilicia and the Latin states of Syria and Palestine, soon brought the Armenian Church into closer contact with Rome. At first the Armenians welcomed the crusaders as enemies of the Greeks. But they soon changed their minds when they had to suffer (as, e.g., in Edessa) under their rule. Negotiations for a union were soon resumed. From political motives the kings especially, sometimes also the catholicoi, favored these ineffectual negotiations. Levon II., “because he ascribed his greatness to the apostles Peter and Paul in Rome,” wished to obtain a royal crown from Pope Celestine III. and Emperor Henry VI. Conrad of Wittelsbach, Archbishop of Mainz, brought the crown in 1198 with three papal injunctions: (1) To celebrate the principal festivals on the same days as the Roman Church; (2) Continual devotion by day and night; (3) To fast on Christmas-eve and Easter-eve. The king pacified the nobles and the clergy with the words “Be not disturbed, I will play the hypocrite.” During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries a small fraction of the Armenian nation had become definitely united with Rome. The Vartabed John of Cherni learned the Latin language from the Dominican Bartholomew and in connection with him founded a special branch of the Dominicans, the Unitores. He introduced the Latin language into the service of the Church, declared the Armenian sacraments invalid, rebaptized the laymen, and reordained the ministers who followed him. One of his adherents, Nerses Balienz, bishop of Urmia, who with others had been expelled from the Church and driven from Armenia, in order to revenge himself went to Avignon and calumniated the Armenian Church before the pope, charging it with one hundred and seventeen errors. They were communicated to the catholicos, refuted at a synod in Sis in 1342, and the pope was satisfied by this thorough refutation. The fanatical action of the Unitores generally effected the very opposite result. With the Greeks, too, negotiations concerning union took place. Emperor Manuel Comnenus after 1165 corresponded with Nerses IV. Shnorhali (catholicos 1166-73). This correspondence was continued by Nerses’ successor Gregory IV. (1173-80); but the Synod of Hromkla (1179) rejected all proposals of the Greeks. The death of Manuel (1180) and of the catholicos Gregory, who was disposed toward a union, made an end to all union endeavors. Another effort made in 1196 by the “ecumenical” council at Tarsus in the interest of King Levon II. was also fruitless. During the Persian persecutions the Armenians migrated to the West. Rich mercantile colonies existed, especially in Poland. The escaped catholicos Melkiseth died at Lemberg in 1625, after having 294 founded a bishopric there for which he had consecrated Nikolaios. At the instance of the Jesuits the latter joined the union.

6. From 1600.

With the seventeenth century a new period begins for the Armenians. From Echmiadzin (Vagharshabad), the seat of the catholicos, clerics were sent out to establish Armenian printing offices. Such were established at Lemberg 1616, at Julfa and Leghorn 1640, at Amsterdam 1660 (transferred to Marseilles in 1672), at Constantinople 1677, and elsewhere. Till then the Armenians were little better educated than the Syrians or Copts. The merit of making them acquainted with European culture belongs to Mekhitar and his order, the Mekhitarists. In 1828 Persian Armenia came under Russian away, and again a new period commenced for the national Church.

The national Armenian Church, whose adherents are erroneously called Gregorians, considers as its head the “supreme patriarch and catholicos of all Armenians,” residing at Echmiadzin, who is elected by a national council consisting of members of all Armenian eparchies. Connected with the patriarchal see is a theological-philosophical academy. An incomplete catalogue of the library at Echmiadzin was published by Brosset (Catalogue de la bibliothèque d’Edschmiadzin publié par M. Brosset, St. Petersburg, 1840). Besides the supreme patriarchate there are two lower ones, those of Jerusalem and Constantinople.

7. The Armenian Uniates.

The Armenians who are united with the Roman See (the so called Uniates or United Armenians) have maintained themselves since the times of the crusaders and the Unitores, and gradually increased in numbers. Several catholicoi negotiated with Rome, but the clergy and people remained anti-Roman. When, however, the order of Mekhitarists was established, a catholicate in connection with Rome was founded. Abraham Attar-Muradian in 1721 founded in the Lebanon the monastery of Kerem, which accepted the rule of St. Anthony (see Antonians, 1). His successors besides their own names take also that of the prince of the apostles. For the better regulation of the affairs of the Catholic and United Armenians, Pius IX. issued, July 12, 1867, the bull Reversurus. But a great portion of the United, protected by the Turkish government, did not recognize the injunctions of the bull, and in 1870 they renounced the Roman See, calling themselves Oriental Catholics. The most prominent men among the United and most of the Venetian Mekhitarists sided with them. On May 20, 1870, Pope Pius IX. suspended many priests, and when they did not yield, he excommunicated four bishops and forty-five other priests. The result was that the separatists now formed an independent organization under the civil patriarch John Kapelian, who, however, submitted to Pope Leo XIII. in 1879. In 1880 Anton Hassun was made the first Armenian cardinal. He died at Rome in 1884. His successor as patriarch of Cilicia with residence at Constantinople was Stephen Azarian, surnamed Stephanus Petrus X., to whom the pope sent an encyclical in 1888, in which the preservation of the Armenian language and liturgy for religious purposes is guaranteed to the Armenians, and everything is confirmed which Benedict XIV. enjoined concerning their own and other Oriental liturgies (of. D. Vernier, Histoire du patriarchat Arménien catholique, Paris, 1890).

According to Missiones catholicæ cura S. Congregationis de propaganda fide descriptæ anno 1901, the present status of the Armenians united with Rome is as follows: The seat of the Armenian patriarch of Cilicia is Constantinople. The diocese comprises 16,000 Catholic Armenians; 13 congregations; 85 priests (including 16 Mekhitarists of Venice, 10 of Vienna, and 14 Antonians); 5 boys’ and 7 girls’ schools; 2 colleges besides the seminary of the patriarch and 1 lyceum; the convent of the Mekhitarists of Venice at Kadikeuy, of those of Vienna at Pancaldi, of the Antonians at Ortakeuy; one monastery of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. To the jurisdiction of the patriarch belong also l5 bishoprics. Excluded from this supervision are the dioceses of Alexandria in Egypt, Artuin in Russia, and Lemberg in Austria, whose archbishop has been named since 1819 by the emperor of Austria. The United Armenians, not including those in Hungary, in Russia outside of the eparchy of Artuin, and in Persia, number about 100,000 according to the lists of the propaganda.

(H. Gelzer.)

8. The Evangelical Armenians.

The evangelical movement among Armenians had its origin early in the nineteenth century in several attempts to revive religion is the Eastern Churches. A large number of Armenians in Turkey, inhabiting Cilicia and central and southern Asia Minor, have lost their own language, speaking Turkish, but writing it with Armenian letters. They are quite unable to understand the Armenian church books. In 1815 two Armenian ecclesiastics prepared a version of the New Testament in Turkish for these people, which was afterward printed (1819) at St. Petersburg. About the same time the Church Missionary Society of London sent a mission to Malta to advance the cause of religion in the Greek and other Oriental Church. This mission came in contact with Armenians before its abandonment in 1830. In 1823 the Basel Mission Institute sent two of its graduates, Mr. Zaremba (who was a Russian count by birth) and Mr. Pfander (afterward renowned as a missionary to Mohammedans in India and in Turkey). These men, driven from the Caucasus by the Czar Nicholas I., left a strong evangelical Armenian body, which still perseveres, at Shushi, Shemakhi, and Baku. About this time as Armenian scholar of Constantinople, acting for the British Bible Society, translated the New Testament into modern, or colloquial Armenian, the ancient and ecclesiastical language being unintelligible to the common people. This was published at Paris in 1823, and became another of the influences vaguely at work for reform.

The chief advance in this direction same through the American Board, of Boston, Mass., which sent missionaries to Turkey in 1819 and has steadily 295 prosecuted its purpose of enlightening the members of the Oriental Churches up to this time. Turkey being in turmoil at this time, the mission printing-press was established at Malta; explorations were made throughout Syria, Greece, Egypt, Asia Minor, and finally, in 1830-31, through a large part of Eastern Turkey besides the Caucasus and Persia. As a result, stations of the American Board were founded among the Armenians at Smyrna (1820), Constantinople (1831), Brousa, and Trebizond (1833). The printing plant for Armenian, Turkish, and Greek was removed from Malta to Smyrna in 1835 and there Bible work was pressed forward. A translation of the Bible into modern Armenian, by Elias Riggs, was published in 1852, and the translation of the Bible into Turkish written with Armenian letters by William Goodell was published in 1841—the first translation of the Old Testament into this language. These two translations placed the Bible within reach of all the Armenians of the Turkish empire. In 1904 the circulation of the Scriptures among Armenians in Turkey amounted to nearly 30,000 copies.

The purpose of the American Board in entering the field of the Armenian Church was by no means hostile to it. Not the Armenians but the assurance of the Mohammedans that they had tested Christianity and found it wanting was the real objective. The first missionaries at Constantinople laid their plans before the Armenian patriarch, and during twelve years had his friendly approval, especially for their schools. A less liberal patriarch punished with severe persecution from 1845 to 1847 Armenians who had adopted the idea of individual study of the Bible. Finally the British Government interfered in behalf of religious liberty, solemnly proclaimed by the Sultan in the Hatti Sherif of 1839. All Armenians who chose to escape the pains of the ban by declaring themselves Protestants were protected by Turkish police against the rancor of the patriarch; and in 1852-54 the “Protestant Community” as it is officially called, or the “Evangelical Community” as it is called by its members, was formally recognised, with a layman as its representative before the throne, and with all the rights of a separate religious organization. Since then evangelical Greeks, Bulgarians, Syrians, Jews, etc., have been added to this body.

The American Board’s missions among the Armenians have extended throughout Asiatic Turkey, to the Persian frontier on the east, and to the Arabic-speaking provinces of Syria and Mesopotamia on the south. The central stations number 13 and the outstations 241, with 161 missionaries (of whom 63 are unmarried women) and 956 native workers. The communicants in its congregations (1905) number 14,542, and the adherents 50,738. It should be noted, however, that separate statistics of the Armenians in these congregations are not kept. It is perhaps safe to estimate them at about seventy percent of the whole number. Educational work is extensive and effective. There are 22,152 scholars of all grades and both sexes is the 529 primary and intermediate schools, the six colleges for men and women, and the four theological seminaries, which receive candidates for the ministry of the Old Armenian Church as well as those of the Evangelical body. Robert College at Constantinople, founded by Christopher Robert of New York with Cyrus Hamlin for its first president, is not included in these statistics. It is not connected with the mission, nor is it in any sense propagandist. Yet its liberal education of Armenians has tended to strengthen the position of the Evangelical Armenian body. A publishing house at Constantinople, removed from Smyrna in 1853, and with uninterrupted productiveness since it was founded in Malta in 1822, issues school books, religious books, hymnals, commentaries, and other helps to the study of the Bible, besides a family newspaper that appears in an Armenian and a Turkish edition.

A small number of Armenians have joined the evangelical movement through the mission of the (American) Disciples of Christ. Many, whose statistics are not separately kept, have connected themselves with the American Presbyterian missions in Persia. Reckoning all these together, and adding to them the evangelical Armenians in the Russian Caucasus and is the territory taken from Turkey in the war of 1877-78, the total number of Evangelical Armenians may be estimated in these countries at about 80,000.

Henry Otis Dwight.

9. Armenians in America.

Armenian immigration to the United States practically commenced in 1895 after the massacres of that time. A few had come earlier for education, business, or manufacturing, and there were small communities in a few of the larger cities. After that the number increased rapidly. The census of 1900 makes no distinction of races from Turkey, though the later immigration reports do. It thus follows that exact figures are scarcely obtainable. The best estimates place the total (1906) at not far from 30,000, of whom from 7,500 to 10,000 may be considered as Protestants or Evangelicals, the remainder belonging to the Gregorian or Orthodox Church. The largest single community, practically a colony, is at Fresno, Cal., where at least 4,000 are located. The other centers are New York City (3,500-4,000), Boston (2,500), Worcester,. Mass. (1,200), Providence. R. I. (1,200), and Philadelphia (500). In the immediate suburbs of Boston and the manufacturing towns of Eastern Massachusetts and New Hampshire, in Hartford, and in New Jersey there are a number of communities of varying size and changing from year to year.

The Protestant Armenians have organized churches in New York City, Troy, N. Y., Worcester, Mass., Providence, R. I., and Fresno, Cal., besides a number of missions, or places where services, more or less regular, are held. The great majority are connected with the Congregational denomination, but there are Presbyterians. The Gregorians have an archbishop at Worcester, and vartabeds or priests at New York, Worcester, Providence, Boston, and Fresno. These visit other places in their vicinity to perform rites or ceremonies that may be desired. They have church buildings at Worcester and Fresno. The attendance upon 296 church services is said to be on the whole excellent in those communities where there are regular organizations. It is to be noted that there are many small communities where members identify themselves with the local churches.

In general character the Armenians in the United States show much the same characteristics as in their own country. They are industrious, frugal, peaceable. They retain a close connection with their relatives and friends in the home-land as is shown by the sums annually remitted to them. With the exception of the Fresno colony, chiefly agricultural, they are for the most part traders, manufacturers, or laborers in the large factories. They preserve to a considerable degree their distinctive nationalism and were the conditions in Turkey to change, would probably return in large numbers.

Edwin Munsell Bliss.

Bibliography: Descriptive and geographical works: H. Hyvernat and P. Müller-Simonis, Relation des missions scientifiques . . . notes sur la géopraphie et l’histoire ancienne de l’Arménie et les inscriptions du bassin de Van, Paris, 1892; H. F. Tozer, Turkish Armenia and Eastern Asia Minor, London, 1881; E. Noguères, Arménie. Géographie, histoire, religion. mœurs, littérature, Paris, 1897; H. F. B. Lynch, Armenian Travels and Studies, London, 1901. On the people: A. Megorovian, Étude ethnographique et juridique sur la famille et le mariage arménien, Paris, 1895; J. Creagh, Armenians, Koords and Turks, 2 vols., London, 1880; J. B. Telfer, Armenia and its People, London, 1891; G. H. Filian, Armenia and her people, New York, 1896. On the language and literature: F. J. B. Ananian, Dictionary of Modern Armenian Language. Venice. 1869; F. M. Bedrossian, Eng.-Armenian and Armenian-Eng. Dictionary, 2 vols., London, 1875-79; J. H. Petermann, Brevis linguæ Armenicæ grammatica, Berlin, 1872; K. H. Gulian, Elementary Modern Armenian Grammar. London, 1902; P. Sukias Somal, Quadro delle opere di vari autori anticamente tradotti in Armeno, Venice. 1825, and Quadro della storia letteraria di Armenia, Venice, 1829; C. F. Neumann, Versuch einer Geschichte der armenischen Litteratur, Leipsic, 1836, a German adaptation of the preceding; M. Patcanian, Catalogue de la littérature arménienne depuis le commencement du iv. siècle jusque vers le milieu du xvii., in Mélanges asiatiques, iv. l., St. Petersburg, 1860; F. Nève, L’Arménie chrétienne et sa littérature, Louvain, 1886.

For the history the sources accessible in European languages are: M. Chamchian. History of Armenia from B.C. 2247 to A.D. 1780, translated from the original Armenian by J. Avdall, with continuation to date, 2 vols.. Calcutta, 1827; J. Saint-Martin, Mémoires historiques et géographiques sur l’Arménie, 2 vols., Paris, 1818-19; M. Brosset, Les Ruines d’Ani, 2 parts, St. Petersburg, 1860-61; idem, Collection d’historiens arméniens, 2 vols., St. Petersburg. 1874-76; V. Langlois, Collection des historiens anciens et modernes de l’Arménie, 2 vols., Paris, 1867-69; E. Dulaurier, Le Royaume de la Petite-Arménie, in Recueil des historiens des croisades: documents arméniens, i., Paris, 1869; idem, Étude sur l’organisation politique, religieuse, et administrative du royaume de la Petite-Arménie, in JA, ser. v.. xvii. (1861) 377 sqq., xviii. (1861) 289 sqq. Consult N. T. Gregor, Hist. of Armenia from Earliest Ages, London, 1897 (a handy manual); Nerses Ter-Mikaelian, Das armenische Hymnarium, Leipsic. 1906 (a hist. of the development of hymnology in the Armenian Church).

For the native religion of Armenia, consult H. Gelzer, Zur armenischen Götterlehre, in the Berichte der königlichen sächsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig, phil.-hist. Classe, xlviii. (1896) 99-148; A. Carrière, Les Huit Sanctuaires de l’Arménie païenne, Paris, 1899. The works mentioned in the text have all been printed, either by the Mekhitarists, at St. Petersburg, or elsewhere; some are accessible in translation, either independently or in collective works like those of Brosset and Langlois, mentioned above. For the history of the Armenian Church, missions, and modern religious conditions consult: E. Dulaurier, Histoire, dogmes, traditions, et liturgie de l’église arménienne orientale, Paris, 1865; S. C. Malan, Life and Time of St. Gregory the Illuminator, London, 1868, a transl. from the Armenian; idem, The Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox Armenian Church of St. Gregory, ib. 1870, transl. from the Armenian; idem, Confession of Faith of the Holy Armenian Church, ib. 1872; C. H. Wheeler, Ten Years on the Euphrates. New York, 1868; R. Anderson, History of the Missions of the American Board to the Oriental Churches, 2 vols., Boston, 1870; E. F. K. Fortescue, The Armenian Church, London, 1872; F. Nève, L’Arménie chrétienne, Louvain, 1886; D. Vernier, Histoire du patriarcat arménien catholique, Lyons, 1891; F. C. Conybeare, The Armenian Church, in Religious Systems of the World, London, 1893, and The Key of Truth: a Manual of the Paulician Church of Armenia. Text and transl., London, 1898; H. Gelzer, Die Anfänge der armenischen Kirche, in the Berichte der königlich sächsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig, phil.-hist. Classe, xlvii. (1895) 109-174; W. St. C. Tisdall, Conversion of Armenia to the Christian Faith, London, 1896; Melodies of the Holy Apostolic Church of Armenia, the liturgy, etc., translated by J. B. Melik-Belgar, Calcutta, 1897; E. Lohmann, Im Kloster zu Sis, ein Beitrag zu der Geschichte den Beziehungen zwischen dem deutschen Reiche und Armenien im Mittelalter, Striegau, 1901; K. Beth, Die orientalische Christenheit der Mittelmeerländer. Reisestudien zur Statistik and Symbolik der . . . armenischen . . . Kirchen, Berlin, 1902; A. Harnack, Die Mission and Ausbreitung des Christentums in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten, Leipsic, 1902, Eng. transl., London, 1904, passim; S. Weber, Die katholische Kirche in Armenien. Freiburg, 1903 (the most complete account of Armenian church history to the beginning of the sixth century from the Roman Catholic standpoint); E. Ter-Minassiants, Die armenische Kirche in ihren Beziehungen zu den syrischen Kirchen bis zum Ende des dreizehnten Jahrhunderts, TU, new series, xi. 4. The recent disturbances in Armenia have called forth a number of works (some of them to be used with caution), such as F. D. Greene, The Armenian Crisis and the Rule of the Turk, London, 1895; G. Godet. Les Souffrances de l’Arménie, Neuchâtel, 1896 (containing a list of churches, monasteries, and villages destroyed, and names of ministers murdered); J. Lepsius, Armenien und Europa, Berlin, 1896; J. R. and H. B. Harris, Letters from Armenia, New York, 1897; A. Nazarbek, Through the Storm, Picture of Life in Armenia, New York, 1899; H. O. Dwight, Constantinople and its Problems, New York, 1901.

« Armagh, Bishopric of Armenia Arminius, Jacobus, and Arminianism »
VIEWNAME is workSection