Ghazar P'arpec'i's

History of the Armenians

When Vahan Mamikonean and his brave brother, Vasak, heard the mention of death, they were so encouraged and strengthened and filled with the grace of the holy Spirit, that they were persuaded. Vahan Mamikonean began speaking: "You know that my brother, Vard, is at court. I know that when the Iranians learn of our plan, they will tie him up and cause him grief. But I prefer death than to live like this in apostasy. I accept your word that you can do it. May the Omniscient see my [re]conversion and realize that my turn has been made with my entire heart. May He give me a good sign and return my beloved brother Vard to me, healthy. May He allow me to see him with my own eyes and rejoice. And then let Him work His pleasure regarding me, whatever seems [fitting] in His eyes."

Having said this all of them rose together, Christians and apostates, and after praying they requested a holy Gospel. Then the holy priest, At'ik, came forward. He was from the prominent village called Bjni, and had been with them in the army, an eloquent speaker and one able to keep a secret. Bringing [232] forth a blessed Gospel, all of them hailed it. Placing their hands upon it, each of them said: "Whoever confesses the faith which the Savior of all and lord Jesus Christ taught and wrote in this [Gospel], and whoever confesses the Son of man, may [Christ] take him before His Father and have him inherit heavenly goodness. And whoever erroneously apostasizes this faith and treacherously breaks his oath [made] on the Gospel, and whoever denies the Son of man, may [Christ] remove him to the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth." Thus, having vowed that night, having confirmed their faith in Christ, they bade each other farewell, and each went to his lodging to rest.

67. A certain one of the Armenian naxarars, named Varaz-shapuh, from the Amatunik' tohm, separated from the plan of unity (just as Judas was rejected from the host of blessed Apostles) and that very night went and told the marzpan and everyone else about the plan of unity, the oath on the Gospel, and the words of all the Armenian naxarars. When this was heard by the marzpan, Atrvshnasp, the other Iranians, and the company of Armenian apostates, they were dismayed and terrified, and did not sleep the remainder of the night, out of fear. [233] When morning arrived, they left the place where they had been and went and encamped close to the wall of the fortress called Ani. They remained there that day, advisors of the deception and the marzpan with doubts accurately learning about the disaster from others, and that [the rebellion] was to take place the next day. That night the marzpan, the hazarapet, and others allied with them each mounted their horses and fled. When the Armenian naxarars found out about this, they went after [g120] the fugitives. But because the marzpan and the hazarapet were travelling with informed guides, they did not flee by direct roads but by different ones, and so managed to escape to the fortress of Artashat. The Armenian naxarars were unable to catch up with them. However they seized the equippage of all the Iranians on the road, and they arrested Gadisoy Maxaz, whom they took along with them. Having arrived at Duin, they went and besieged the fortress of Artashat. But the marzpan and the hazarapet left the fortress secretly at night and fled to the Atrpatakan region. There was a sepuh from Urc named Varaznerseh, the son of Koght'ek, prince of Urc, who had sworn the oath along with the Armenian naxarars, but then broke the holy vow. He went and laid waste the shahastan of Brhnavezh, took all the goods of the shahastan and fortified himself in the fortress called Sagray fortress, which was a secure fortress in their principality.

[234] Now some of the impious Armenian naxarars who were advising Armenia's marzpan, Atrvshnasp, said: "The king of Iberia/Georgia is rebelling and wants to bring out the Huns, but as yet, he has not done so. Furthermore, the emperor is sending a brigade to the Armenians, but it has not arrived yet. They themselves are not yet as well organized as they should be. If you quickly go against them now, you will easily and lightly accomplish a very great deed, and having received a good name, both you and we shall receive from the king of kings honors and many gifts. However, should you lazily delay, we fear that perhaps they themselves might become stronger and/or receive help from elsewhere. [In that case] we do not know how the matter will end. Perhaps we will be exhausted and regret it."

This statement pleased the marzpan and all of the people with him. Taking a brigade from Atrpatakan, and from the marzpan of Koprik', and the Katshac' brigade which was in those areas, he quickly reached the banks of the Arax River, [the borders of] the land of Armenia. They wanted to cross over to the village called Naxchawan, on the border of Siwnik'.

[235] 68. Sahak, lord of the Bagratunik', was informed of this. At that time the Armenians and Vahan, the general of Armenia, had appointed him the marzpan of Armenia. Aspet Sahak received the office of marzpan while Vahan received the office of the lordship of the Mamikoneans and the sparapetut'iwn of Armenia, first, clearly from orders from On High, and secondly from the Armenian people. They heard about the arrival of the Iranian brigade. Seeing that their troops were still very disorganized and unprepared, they thought for a moment about going to secure places in the district of Tayk'. But remembering the all-conquering aid of God, to Whom they turned, they said: "Victory is not determined by numbers or the lack of them, but rather by [God's] hand. This is especially true of our work, since we look to His aid completely. Now we must think of nothing else, but to quickly go against them [g121] and to look to the Savior of all for the strength of victory." Inspired by God, marzpan Sahak, the sparapet of Armenia, Vahan Mamikonean, and some of the other naxarars decided to remain there at the ostan, to encourage with hope those who went out first, and to frighten and break the hearts of the side of the impious. The following men then organized for war [236]:

Babgen Siwni, who was then named prince of the Siwnik' lordship,
Vasak, the most goodly brave sepuh of the Mamikoneans, brother of sparapet Vahan,
Garjoyl Maghxaz,
and the two sons of the venerable Arshawir Kamsarakan: Nerseh, lord of Shirak, and his brother Hrahat,
two men from the Gnunik' tohm: Atom, prince of the Gnunik', and his brother Arhastom,

and a brigade with them numbering 400 men in all.

Entering a church, they worshipped the lord God, the creator and strengthener of all. They requested that He send them as aid the asceticism of the blessed champion Gregory, all the holy saints and the modern Christ-loving champions of Armenia, as well as the power of the holy Cross. The Savior Christ, moved by the love of mankind, considered their worthy request and sent them the aid they asked for, and He accompanied them in peace. Worshipping there were the naxarars and all the military troops with them, as well as the blessed kat'oghikos Yohan [who possessed] angelic faith and who provided them with his soul's true and just blessing, as food, and who accompanied them to the military action.

[237] Then [the troops] bade farewell to aspet Sahak, the marzpan , to Vahan Mamikonean, the general of Armenia, and to their other comrades who were remaining there at the ostan with them. They went quickly, with joyous enthusiasm. They planned and said: "Who knows, maybe we can reach the ford where the Iranian brigades want to cross, and wait in some unexposed place. When we know that half of the brigade has crossed the river, we can fall on them and perhaps do some damage. Similarly, we can fall on the rest of them and easily defeat them."

When they reached the village named Varazkert, they learned that the Iranian brigades had all crossed the river, and that there were 7,000 troops. The brave sepuh of the Mamikoneans, Vasak, (who was the advance-guard that day) went on ahead to the village named Krhuakk', saying: "Let me try to ascertain what if any information there is about the Iranian brigade." Going to Krhuakk' to lodge, suddenly, at daybreak the Iranian marzpan, Atrvshnasp, arrived at the same village and heard that Vasak Mamikonean was there. When Vasak, the brave sepuh of the Mamikoneans, learned that Atrvshnasp and [238] the Iranians were there, he thought of means of salvation [g122] through bravery by which he then would be able to save his brigade. He ordered [his men] to leave the shen and to go through unknown places and streets in groups of two, three, or more, separate from each other. [He told them] to hurry to the village of Varazkert where the naxarars and the Armenian cavalrymen were, and to inform them. Then he, Vasak, the brave sepuh of the Mamikoneans, by means of messengers, spoke deceptive and nonsensical words to Atrvshnasp, saying: "I have a message for the Armenians who are with you, which, when you and those with you hear it, you will certainly regard such news as pleasant and beneficial both for the lord of the Aryans and for the land of Armenia." When Atrvshnasp heard this, although he secretly rejoiced inside, thinking that [the rebels] had certainly been vanquished, nonetheless he sent back a very severe reply, saying: "What message could a rebellious land send me?"

When the brave sepuh of the Mamikoneans, Vasak, knew that his cavalrymen had escaped unharmed, and that there was no doubt of it, he replied to those who had come from Atrvshnasp, saying: "To now we have done nothing bad nor harmed royal affairs. But command me to state the message, hear it, and decide what is fitting and necessary to do about it." Having [239] released the messengers, and having himself mounted his horse, [Vasak] said to the other Iranians who were there: "I was ridiculing you when I spoke with the messengers. No one sent me to you with a message. Rather, I came to observe you, and to see your qualities. But you are bad and useless men. You have come pursuing a bad matter. You will meet with evil and be lost." When the brave man had spoken in this fashion, he departed fearlessly and without concern. When the brave had returned to the Armenian brigade, he told them that the brigade was numerous but that many of the men were useless leaders of asses.

Hearing such words from the brave Mamikonean sepuh the men of the Armenian troops consulted among themselves and decided that they had to move from the plain to the mountains. They were united in this thought: "If, with God's aid we are strengthened and beat them, it is fine and good. But should something untoward happen, the security of the mountains will be our protection and aid us." Then they went and encamped in the village named Akorhi [located on mount] Masis.

[240] 69. When they heard that the Iranian brigade was coming against them in war the next day, in accordance with their daily custom, they hastened to conduct the evening service. In the morning, after completing their prayers, those who were there organized themselves to resist them in war. The 400 men were divided into four fronts. At that time Babgen Siwnik' and the brave sepuh of the Mamikoneans, Vasak, were set up as military commanders of the center. Garjoyl Maghxaz was designated commander of the left-wing [g123], the two Gnunik's, Atom, prince of the Gnunik', and his brother, Arhastom, [were designated commanders] of the right-wing; between the two parts the brave and select prince of Shirak, Nerseh Kamsarakan, and his brother, Hrahat, stood ready, they said, to quickly go to the aid of whichever side was weakening, and to provide force to all sides. All were certain that these men were good, just, and oath-keeping people.

With the 400 men so arranged, they glorified God and cried out together, saying: "Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of Your name. Let the pagans never say, 'where is their God [Psalm 78, 9-10]?'" They then came forth and massed on a visible promontory of that part of the mountain between the summit and the middle. When the Iranian troops saw so few Armenians, [241] they could not imagine anything except that [the Armenians] had gone crazy and had willingly come forth asking for death. From a distance, the brave select men of the Iranian troops attacked the Armenian troops; many of the ill-horsed Iranians fell back, and the well-horsed advanced to the site of the battle. It was then that Garjoyl Maxaz took his hundred men, broke the oath [he had sworn] on the Gospel, and joined the Iranian brigade. There thus remained three hundred Armenians in the companies, in accordance with God's command (for the selection of three hundred for Gideon). With help from On High, [the Armenians] applied themselves against the Iranian troops and advancing, they caused the most select men to fall to the ground dead, then and there. Another multitude of the Iranian brigade was scattered and dispersed in the valleys and rocky places. It was there that the marzpan, Atrvshnasp, other Armenian apostate awags and naxarars, and many other Iranians were killed by the wing of brave Vasak, sepuh of the Mamikoneans, and Babgen Siwnik'. Many brave men were killed by Atom and Arhastom's group, though through the justice of his enemy the lord of Siwnik', Gdihon managed to save himself for an even more wicked hour, and to barely escape from Atom and Arhastom. But it was Hrahat, son of the [242] venerable Arshawir Kamsarakan, who killed with his spear the very first man to advance from the Iranian brigade.

While they were thus involved, encouraged by the right hand of the Almighty, Garjoyl Maxaz took the Katsac' brigade, together with other rebellious Armenian folk, as well as the brigade which was with him, and, changing direction through the depths of concealed valleys, he came up behind the oath-keeping Armenian troops. Thinking that [the Armenians] would be too occupied killing the enemies of God, [Garjoyl] [g124] wanted to come up from behind, fall upon those whom Christ was strengthening, vanquish them through duplicity, and inherit a great name. But then, suddenly, someone heard the sound of an Armenian being killed by the Katsac', and went to the Kamsarakans to protest. They were angry at the man and wanted to kill him, saying: "That brigade belongs to us, and you deceitfully would cause great damage." But then through the spying of his brother, Hrahat, Nerseh ascertained that indeed the brigade belonged to the enemy. Then the two brothers, with but few men, attacked that limitless multitude. Resembling his father, Nerseh Kamsarakan reached the Katsac' military commander, a mighty and martial man, struck him with his spear and killed him there. Then herding the entire [243] brigade before them, they made more men fall to the ground dead here than had died in the battle. That day was one of noteworthy joy for the believers in Christ, and of shame and destruction for all who had apostasized Christ. Truly the word of the prophet was fulfilled and confirmed, that "Whomever God aids can expel a thousand, and move two myriads [II Deuteronomy 32, 30]."

When the enemy of justice, Satan, saw that the affair had ended so gloriously [for the Christians], he sank into deep depression. He thought: "Everything has turned out incredibly contrary to my wishes. Though I proved incapable and was conquered, let me, at least for a moment, sadden the hearts of the braves who still do not know about the disasters and loss I have suffered." He took two men who were his satellites—one named Varhgosh from the Gnt'unik' tohm, the other named Vasak from the Saharhunik' tohm—and quickly sent them the next day at dawn to bring this bad news to the ears of the blessed patriarch Yohann, and the two senior princes of Armenia, the marzpan Sahak and Vahan Mamikonean: "The two sides clashed violently in battle, the Iranian side grew strong, defeated the Armenian brigade and put them to flight. [244] The soldiers who fell and died by the enemy's sword were: the brave Vasak Mamikonean, the goodly Babgen Siwni, the two renowned men, Nerseh, lord of Shirak, together with his beloved brother, Hrahat, the Gnunik' men Atom and Arhastom, and indeed all the Armenian troops were killed on the side of the mountain where Akorhi is located. We are the only survivors who have come to bring you the bad tidings of Job." This was said by two men who had not even participated in the battle.

Before this news had spread to Duin (so that the wicked dew would not be further gladdened by disrupting the city), a messenger bearing glad tidings quickly arrived. His name [g125] was Arhastom, of the Gnunik' tohm. Crying out in a loud voice he said: "The power of the holy Cross has triumphed, and always will triumph." He gave his account and related the miracles of God which happened to God's beloved ones through the intercession of the saints, as well as the wicked destruction and shame which the phalanx of apostates inherited. Hearing this good news, the patriarch of Armenia, Yohan, and the senior princes, the marzpan, Sahak, and the sparapet of Armenia, Vahan, as well as all the naxarars of Armenia and the rhamiks went together to the House of God (Whose strength is mighty) and they thanked Him, worshipping the sole true God and the irresistible order of His will. The venerable Yohan, kat'oghikos of Armenia had [a passage read] from the [245] twenty-ninth psalm: "The Lord heard and pitied me, and the Lord aided me. He turned my mourning into gladness. He took my sackcloth from me and girded me with gladness. As the psalms say, You are my glory, and I shall regret no more. Lord my God, I will confess You forever" [Psalm 29, 11-13]. Completing the mass, they had an Easter of joy. First they saw to the wants of the poor, and after that they themselves rejoiced with delight.

Then the troops came from battle and again related the victory of God's power which had favored them with the name of great triumph, while giving the enemy a status of dissolution and disgrace. Glorifying Christ, they kissed each other with a greeting of joy, and entered the winter season in untroubled peace and rest. They were concerned about preparations for war in the springtime.

70. They sent an emissary to Vaxt'ang, king of Iberia/Georgia, so that in accordance with his promise, he would provide them with Huns [as auxiliaries]. Wasting time with words, he delayed acting on this. But then, from somewhere, he assembled 300 [246] Huns and sent them to Armenia. Barely one winter month had passed when he quickly recalled them to himself, on a pretext. And the land of Armenia remained protected by the strength of Christ's aid, in whom [the Armenians] took refuge in and depended upon; but there were no people to aid them.

Vahan Mamikonean, the general of Armenia, sent [a message] to the prominent and noteworthy azg of Arcrunik', to the azgs of the district of Anjewac'ik' and Mokk', and to the azatorear of Reshtunik' informing them of how God had helped those who placed their hopes on Him. [He continued]: "Each of you knows the belief and preaching of our correct and true faith quite well, and need not learn it from anyone. You have also seen how the error of the mages, burning like a furnace has ignited and scorched the souls of all but a few. Behold the hour of Christ's just mshak has arrived, who takes the hay-rake to sweep his threshing-floor. Cleaning the grain, he [g126] puts it in the heavenly grainaries, and throws the stalks into the eternal, unquenchable fire, for burning. Now whoever wishes to be the grain, will give himself to God's service and live. Whoever draws back, as the straw, will be tinder for the eternal, unpassable Gehenna, will burn, and not be extinguished. I will not forcibly drag anyone to do something for his own benefit, but rather with exhortation I will remind [247] everyone about the salvation or destruction he may encounter on the day of [Christ's] visit. For whoever confesses the truth will be saved from Gehenna, but whoever slips and strays from the direct road will be irretrievably lost. Now let whoever is concerned about his own salvation and longs to inherit immortal life come and seek vengence on the enemies of the Church, which has been the object of the apostates' scorn and hostility for years. Whoever thinks about physical dread and is desirous of serving the nonsense of deviation will live in gloom and be unworthy to look at Christ, the sun of justice. For this, my soulful protest, may Christ, the just remunerator, recompense me."

When the naxarars of the four districts heard this message, half of them (who were desirous of [sitting] on the right hand [of God]) stormed out to join the flock [of Christ's] sheep. Others, who were in communication with the wrong side, among the ranks of the goats, went unswervingly to the outer darkness. A certain sepuh of the Anjewac'ik' naxarars, whose name was Yohan, as well as an Eruanduni named Nerseh, allied with other men dedicated to the truth to accomplish good, went off to join the brigade of Vahan Mamikonean, the general of Armenia. [248] Having assembled and having set out on the journey, they approached the town [k'aghak'ageoghn] called Arhest during great Easter Week, the time of the forty-day fasting period. Suddenly, at daybreak, without warning, they were attacked by the prince of Anjewac'ik', named Sewuk, and the prince of Mokk', named Yohan, with many cavalrymen. When they realized what was happening, although half of them were armed and the other half were unprepared, nonetheless, encouraged with aid from On High, they fearlessly struck out at them. First Nerseh Eruanduni attacked Yohan, prince of Mokk' piercing him with his spear, and assisted by Yohan, the Anjewac'ik' sepuh, sent [Yohan Mokk'] to the ground. This man [Yohan Mokk'] had once said boastfully regarding Yohan, the Anjewac'ik' sepuh: "He is like a cow, and needs only to have a collar put on his neck. He is incapable of doing anything for anyone, beneficial or harmful." Yohan's relative Sewuk, the prince of Anjewac'ik', heard this and replied: "I will bring the collar; you fasten it around his neck." As a result of his impious words, he [g127] fell from his horse and was wickedly mauled by the horns of a cow and trampeled. When the multitude of the troops saw this, they turned in flight. They were pursued. Some of them were killed, while others were sent fleeing dispersed here and there. They clearly recognized and glorified the power of [249] God which caused so few, unorganized troops to scatter such a multitude. News of this extraordinary event was related all over the land of Armenia.

After this, Yohan, the Anjewac'ik' sepuh, and Nerseh Eruanduni and the men with them arrived [at their destination]. God had worked signs and powers through them. When the blessed kat'oghikos Yovhan saw them, they offered to the lord God a feast of joy and acceptable services. For God had granted them the victory and raised the splendor of the one holy Church. Saluting them, they rejoiced in Christ.

71. When the bitterly cold days of winter had passed and the mild days of spring had arrived, they heard that many troops were coming from Iran. The following numerous military commanders reached the borders of Her and Zarawand district:

Suren palhaw,
Atrnerseh, the p'ushtipanan saghar,
Atrvshnaspn-i-Tapean, and
Gdihon, lord of Siwnik '.

[250] The commander and senior [official] of the army was the p'ushtipanan saghar, even though another [man] of them was higher by gah.

Vahan Mamikonean, the general of Armenia, made haste. Taking with him the blesscd patriarch of Armenia, lord Yohan (having faith in the man's prayers, and hoping that God would grant everything according to his wishes), and assembling the Armenian troops, he hurried to take them to those places. He said: "Perhaps the multitude of Iranians has not yet crossed into the middle part of the land of Armenia." [Vahan] took along the naxarars, azats and all the rhamiks who willingly went to battle. The Armenian troops left Duin, and passing through the lodging places each day, they reached the district of Artaz. Approaching the Iranian brigade, they encamped in a village named Nersehapat.

The blessed kat'oghikos, Yohan, ordered the entire brigade of Armenians to fervently pray the entire night through and to ask the humane Savior to raise His great name among the multitude of assembled pagans, to give his servants glory [251] and to shame the class of apostates. Thus Vahan Mamikonean, the general of Armenia, and the marvellous aspet Sahak, the marzpan, and all the Armenian troops with ardent hearts, beseeched [g128] God for help and so completed the designated hours of night. When the light of day broke, the blessed kat'oghikos of Armenia, Yohan, blessed everyone and said in encouragement: "Those who place their hopes in God are never disappointed. For, as that select vessel of the holy Spirit, Paul, exclaimed in a loud voice: 'Hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts' [Romans 5, 5]. Grow mighty in the love and power of His arm, and you will be able to extinguish all the fiery arrows of satan, visible and invisible. Let no one be in any way frightened seeing the multitude of troops of the infidels. For, since God is with you, he will make your numbers appear greater to them, and, resembling briars tossed by a severe wind, he will disperse them over the face of the plains and hills, and totally destroy them. Now, may the right hand of the Almighty bless you, strengthen you, guide you, and make you victorious. Glory to Him, His Son, and the holy Spirit for all eternity. Amen."

When everyone had said "Amen," they prepared for war. As the Armenian brigades armed against the enemy, the venerable [252] Yohan continued praying. Then Vahan Mamikonean, the general of Armenia, began to organize his side of the front, as was proper. He entrusted the middle section to that good man, aspet Sahak, the marzpan, along with many cavalrymen. In the right wing he designated Bashgh Vahewuni, Babgen Siwni, Atom Gnuni, and P'apak Paluni, each with his cavalry, and others besides. On the left were the oath-loving Kamsarakans and their beloved brothers Vahan, Nerseh, and Hrahat. He placed himself to the right of each of the cavalry brigades. He also prepared other senior men with select cavalry and Vren Vanandac'i, He sent Pap Artakunik' (an ostanik man, the son of Baboc') to inform the seniors of each section that: "Opposite us and approaching, I see the banners of the mightiest men, about whom we have been informed earlier—Iranian men, the Katshac', and the Siwnik' brigade. Go slowly and carefully watch us. Let us be the first to attack. If, by the grace of Christ, we can put them to flight by moving our section, then they will be unable to get before our other sections and you."

When Pap took the message of Armenia's sparapet, Vahan Mamikonean, to the seniors of each section, although they wanted [253] to act according to the general's order, the brigade of Iranians quickly reached each wing of [each] section, and they did not have time. Clashing with the section on the right, where Bashgh Vahewuni was, they put it to flight. Lord Sahak, the aspet, attacked the p'ushtipanac' saghar with his spear. Both of them wounded each other with their spears, and approaching each other's horses, they seized each other by [g129] the hair and fought. When Vahan Mamikonean, the general of Armenia, saw that the Armenian troops were crying out and weakening before the enemy, he called to Vren Vanandac'i: "Advance against the enemy and do battle." But the latter, terrified, called back: "I am unable. Right now do not put your hopes on me." Vahan Mamikonean, the general of Armenia, took heart, made the sign of the Cross over himself, and, with the two Kamsarakans, attacked the enemies who were advancing against them. They allowed nothing to stand in their way, and moving their section forward, they put [the Iranians] to flight. With that wing, they entered into the midst of the other wing. Before the two brigades they herded a countless multitude of brave men to the small shoulder of the mountain where they killed them, causing a great bloodletting. Only Vin Xorhean with two other powerful comrades-in-arms [254] audaciously came back to fight them. Vahan Mamikonean, the brave general of Armenia, went and forcefully killed him. Nerseh Kamsarakan, the lord of Shirak, killed Atrvshnasp Tapean, and each of the other [Armenians] killed many brave [Iranian] men. When Barshgh's brigade and the other Armenians who had fled saw that the might of the Iranian brigade had been shattered, and that [the Iranians] were fleeing before the brigade of Armenia's general, Vahan, they took heart and were fortified. They turned back and chased after [their] pursuers, killing many and pursuing many others whom they had before them. The number of those slain from the Iranian brigade exceded the number who had escaped. And the number of those who died of wounds in various places was greater than those slain from the Iranian brigade at the site of the battle.

The Armenian brigade returned to the camp and to the honorable kat'oghikos of Armenia, Yohan, with a good name, much glory and booty, and an enormous amount of goods, glorifying and blessing Christ, the granter of such a victory. [Yohan] went before the vietorious brigade with a joyful heart, giving them many blessings and, gladdened by the spirit of strength, he said to all of them: "I am extremely happy and unable to express the joys of my heart in words. But I am even more [255] delighted to see that God is reconciled with you. For though victory has caused me to rejoice, I am even more delighted to see that Christ is your colleage who made you triumph and shamed the opponents of justice. And may God Who now strengthened you, always strengthen you, and be with you, and never leave you, to the very end."

While [the troops] were returning from the battle with strengthened, joyful hearts (since the battle had been resolved by divine influence in accordance with the will of the blessed patriarch Yohan and all the Armenian troops) [g130] suddenly a second unexpected piece of good news arrived and spread throughout the entire Armenian camp. For Vard, the brother of Armenia's general Vahan Mamikonean, through the power of God had safely escaped from bondage and had arrived [in Armenia]. When the entire land of Armenia had filled up with such good news, everyone hurried to the great visitation which God had bestowed upon the land of Armenia. Many of them were so thrilled that when they saw this unbelievable vision they doubted its substance and thought it was not real. But, recalling the irresistible miracles of God's power, they could only glorify and worship the Omnipotent, at whose will and order all difficult and impossible things are made easy and possible. They recalled how the furnace at Babylon had been cooled; the icy wall of Egypt's Red Sea; how the Jordan [river] receded; and how [256] the walls of Jericho fell with a crash. Recalling all of this, offering acceptable prayers of praise, only further inclined the believers to the Omnipotent. [In the case of Vard, God] excercised even more powers than [in the case of] the blessed Apostle Peter. For the angel merely removed him and set him free to develop the preaching of Life. But in the case of Vard Mamikonean, not only was he personally freed, but he peacefully reached the country of Armenia together with his servants, money, and equippage, resembling an eagle in flight [flying] from the secure places of the shahastan, from lofty walls, from a multitude of guards surrounded by shields, and [safely] passed through many lodging-places.

It was then that the God-loving men and allies recalled the vow of Vahan Mamikonean which he pronounced before the holy Gospel on the day of their unity—and they realized that God had accepted his [re]conversion, witness, and faith. He said: "Indeed God has recognized the long-standing grief and misery of my heart which I lamented in my error, and He accepted the fruit of confession from my lips. The Omniscient was pleased with my plan and oath, and through His mighty lordship gave me a good sign, allowing me to see my brother, Vard, soon and to rejoice." One could then hear [257] [the following psalm] in all the churches of the land of Armenia, in the martyria of the saints, at festivals and assemblies of unity, in the mouths of priests, and generally of all the people, men and women: "Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity" [Psalm 132, 1]. As for the severe destruction of the enemy and the elevation of the blessed Church, they said, citing the psalms: "They collapsed [g131] and fell; but we rose and stood upright" [Psalm 19, 9], and, "all the horns of the wicked were cut off, but the horns of the righteous were exalted" [Psalm 74, 11]. And with thanks they gave praise, saying: "Then we thy people, the flock of thy pasture, will give thanks to thee for ever; from generation to generation we will recount thy praise" [Psalm 78, 13].

73. Now after many days had passed, wise and learned people observed a halo over the brave sepuh Vasak Mamikonean [The editors p. 132 n.6 suggest "not many days." The reading of "halo" is not certain] brother of Armenia's general, Vahan, and knew thereby that the blessed man's end was approaching. The holy Vasak had [258] asked God to allow him to see the arrival of his brother Vard in the flesh, and then to take [himj joyfully on the day his request was granted. Almighty God quickly implemented the request of His saint, in no way delayed granting the man's desire, but quickly accepted the request, sent [Vasak's] brother Vard back and showed him to [Vasak] and to everyone, He left [Vard] in health among his remaining living servants, and called His blessed witness, Vasak to him, crowning him and causing him to dwell in the mansion of His Kingdom, among the angels of Heaven.

[The Armenians] then reached Caghkeotn where they wanted to relax awhile in the baths called Varshaki. An emissary came to them from the king of Iberia/Georgia, Vaxt'ang, saying: "An enormous brigade has reached the country of Iberia. When I saw that I could not resist it, I fled to the Armenian mountains which border on Iberia, and I await you there." [The emissary] had a letter supposedly written by Vaxt'ang which said: "I have commanded a brigade of Huns to come, but they have not arrived yet. But by the time you arrive, they will be here. Then you, we, and the Huns shall destroy them. But it seems to me that when the Huns arrive we shall not have to participate. They will do the job, for I have ordered such a great multitude to come."

[259] Vahan Mamikonean, the general of Armenia, all the senior tanuters and sepuhs of Armenia, with all the troops of Armenia, quickly arose and went to the king of Iberia/Georgia without delay since they had sworn an oath with king Vaxt'ang of Iberia, on the Gospel and Cross. They temporarily encamped in the district of Kangark' where Vaxt'ang, the king of Iberia, distracted Armenia's general Vahan Mamikonean and the other senior tanuters of Armenia, saying, at times: "When Mihran heard about your arrival, out of fear he fled from the borders of Iberia to Aghbania/Aghuania." Then: "The Huns' brigades will arrive in two days." But the two days of this deceitful deadline passed, then the third, then the fourth, and [Vaxt'ang] continued with his excuses. Then the sixth and seventh days came and went. Then he had spies dispatched from the brigade of Iberians and Armenians. They descended [g132] to some parts of the plains and made it appear that the lights of many fires blazed there and that the tree trunks were armed like men (in accordance with the trick of Alexander of Macedon). Then [Vaxt'ang] reported: "The Huns' brigades will not come to us in the mountains. Rather, they say, show us here in the plains the Armenians and then we will believe everything that you have said and vowed to us. Then will we do everything you command. Otherwise, we will not believe that the Armenians [260] are really allied with you. But if we see that it is indeed the case, then leave the Iranians to us and do not worry. Now if you do not descend to the plain, and the Huns' brigades do not believe me and do not move anywhere up from the land, and if Mihran returns and ruins Iberia/Georgia, then what good will your arrival have done me?"

The Armenian brigade, since it had made an oath with the king of Iberia attempted to carry out everything he said (be it true or false) because of fear of the Gospel. Although the season was very hot, they were forced to descend into the Charmanaynu plain. Some of the Armenian princes did not consider the descent of the Armenian brigade into Iberia as a good thing. Although they said this many times, nonetheless, since they were not believed, they kept quiet.

The Armenian brigade descended into Iberia/Georgia and encamped at the aforementioned place. Three or four days had not passed when Mihran came and encamped opposite the Armenian camp, on the other side of the river known as the Kur. The Armenian camp went to a place more distant from the Iranian camp and lodged there. But that night, many people in the [261] Armenian brigade, forgetting the fear of the oath to God and trampeling under foot the terrible vow on the Gospel, secretly communicated with each of their friends in the Iranian army, saying: "Many of us are involved in this matter not because we want to be, but out of fear of Vahan, Armenia's general. But our plans and thoughts are with you. We know that we would not leave your service but that bad individuals among us to now have sought to increase the damage done to us. But if you do not ever recall these words of ours, and have mercy on us, you will rule [us]. For tomorrow, when we come to the place of battle, we will quit the brigade and cause many others to flee with us." They swore a vow with the Iranians, and confirmed these words.

The next day, when they reached the site of the battle, the king of Iberia/Georgia at that time also spoke with Vahan, Armenia's general, and with the other senior tanuters and sepuhs of Armenia, saying: "It is good that we are fighting with the Iranian troops today. For now we are sufficient for them, and they will be unable to withstand us. But if we had to postpone it by yet another day, the Huns would come and would take the name of triumph as well as the profit of the booty." And at this [late] hour he was still delaying and deceiving with [262] duplicitous words.


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