« Jordanis, historian of the Goths Josephus, catholicos of Armenia Joshua (1) Stylites, a Syrian monk »

Josephus, catholicos of Armenia

Josephus (2), catholicos of Armenia (Le Quien, Or. Christ. i. 1079). St. Martin (Mém. sur l᾿Arm. i. 437) places him between Mesrob and Melidé, giving his dates as 441–452, but these figures do not represent his place in the series accurately. The Persian king contemporary with him was Isdigerd II., and the governor of Armenia was an Armenian Christian Vasag, prince of the Siounians (442–452). Joseph was one of the band of Armenian scholars trained under Mesrob and Isaac the Great and afterwards in the schools of Athens and Constantinople. [MESROBES.] He returned to Armenia probably c. 434. His patriarchate occurred at a most critical period, when Isdigerd II. was endeavouring to supplant the Christianity of Armenia by Zoroastrianism. For a full contemporary account of this see Elisha Vartabed's Hist. of Vartan, trans. from the Armenian by Neumann and Langlois. Isdigerd issued a proclamation to the Armenians—one of the utmost valuable ancient Zoroastrian documents we possess. A reply was issued in 450 by a synod of 17 bishops held at Ardashad. The name of Joseph, bp. of Ararat, heads the subscriptions (Neum. 13, 14, 87), the province of Ararat being one of 15 into which Armenia was divided. This seems Joseph's first appearance in these events. The reply is given in full by Elisha; for the spirit of it see ISDIGERD II. Exasperated by that bold manifesto, the king ordered the leading Armenian princes to appear before him, and they, depositing a confession of their faith with Joseph, obeyed (ib. 21). In the royal capital on the feast of Easter, 450, they were summoned into the king's presence, and peremptorily ordered to adore the sun on its rising the next day. Finding Isdigerd inexorable, they feigned compliance, and Isdigerd, accepting the act as a formal submission of their country, sent them home accompanied by a band of magi, who, supported by a large military force, were to instruct the Armenians in the Zoroastrian religion and laws. On the appearance of this armed mission the bishops went among their flocks exhorting them to resist. The people were resolved, and a Holy League was formed. On behalf of his distressed country Joseph appealed to the emperor Theodosius II., but shortly afterwards (July 28, 450) Theodosius died, and Marcian his successor would not help (ib. 36, 37). The Armenian Christians nevertheless assembled in arms, 60,000 in number, among them Joseph, Leontius the priest, many other priests and a multitude of deacons. On June 2, 451, at the Dekhmud, a tributary of the Araxes (St. Martin, i. 41), led by their prince Vartan they were disastrously defeated (Neum. 51). A fortress where the priests had taken refuge fell. Joseph and Leontius, when about to be put to death, asked to be sent to the king, hoping to make terms for their people. They were sent, but would not waver in their steadfastness (ib. 63, 66). Thus much Elisha relates of Joseph in his 7th chap., his last as Neumann believes. In an 8th chap. added by Langlois in 1867, and in another Armenian writer, Lazarus of Barb (c. 48 in Langlois, ii. 315), it is stated that in the 6th year of Isdigerd (i.e. 455) and on the 25th of the month Hroditz, the patriarch Joseph, Sahag, bp. of Reschdouni, the priests Arsenius, Leontius, Mousché, and the deacon Kadchadch were executed in the province of Abar, near Révan, a village of the Moks. Lazarus (l.c.) records his dying words. On the position of Abar see Langlois (t. ii. p. 186, note 1), and Neumann (p. 77, note 18). [LEONTIUS (74).]


« Jordanis, historian of the Goths Josephus, catholicos of Armenia Joshua (1) Stylites, a Syrian monk »
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