P'awstos Buzandac'i's

History of the Armenians

Book Five

Chapter 24. (Continued from Previous Page)

[Nerses] said this and other similar things. He arose and went to his lodging place, leaving the court tachar and following him were all the grandee naxarars of Armenia, the sparapet of Armenia, Mushegh, and Hayr mardpet, indeed, all the people who were there followed [Nerses] to his lodging place. When they entered his residence [he] opened up his tunic and revealed a blue swelling over his heart, the size of a small loaf. The grandee naxarars offered him theriacs and antidotes to save him. But he did not want it, and rejected it, saying: "For me it was a great thing that I be allowed to die for expounding the commandments of Christ. You yourselves know that what what I said [241] to you I said publicly, so it is fitting to be killed by you publicly, for that is what I had been longing for. In goodness I received [g221] my portion along with the chosen, and am pleased with my inheritance. I bless the Lord Who let me attain this portion of the inheritance, and I am extremely happy that soon I will be freed from this impious and profane world." [Nerses] said many things to them and told them to be careful, beseeching all of them to watch out for themselves and to keep the Lord's commandments.

After this for about two hours, globules of blood started to ooze from his mouth. Then he arose to pray. He kneeled and asked forgiveness for his murderers. After this he recalled everyone in his prayers, those near and far, the dishonored and the honored and even those whom he had never known. Upon completion of the prayers he lifted his hands and eyes to Heaven, and said: "Lord Jesus Christ, accept my soul." Having said this, his soul was released. The body of Nerses, the blessed man of God, was taken by the Church clerics, bishop P'awstos, the head of the clerics, Trdac, sparapet Mushegh, Hayr mardpet and all the azatagund banak of the court. They took him from the village of Xax, where the deed had been committed, to his own village in T'il awan. They buried the saint with psalms, [242] blessings, lit candles, great worship and much commemoration. However, before the saint's body was covered, king Pap himself went, took the body and buried it in the martyrs' resting place. Although king Pap was guilty, he pretended that he was not, as though he had not committed that deed [g222].


Concerning the vision which appeared to the saintly men Shaghitay and Epip'an while they lived in the mountains.

There were two hermit clerics who at that time were living in the mountains. One was named Shaghitay, a Syrian by nationality, who lived up on Arhewc mountain. The other was named Epip'an, a Greek by nationality, who, dwelled on the great mountain, in the place of the gods, called the Throne of Anahit. Both of them had been students of the beloved Daniel, whom we recalled above. At the hour that saint Nerses died, while each [of the hermits] was in the mountains, each one saw with open eyes during the daytime, Nerses, the man of God, as though being taken to the clouds. For the angels of God were taking him upward, and the hosts were coming before him. When the hermits saw this vision, they were astonished. Shaghitay, however, who was on [243] Arhewc mountain, since he was a sagacious man, realized that the holy Nerses had died and that it was his spirit which had appeared to him. Epip'an, on the other hand, thought that [Nerses] had been taken corporally. Each descended from the mountain and hurried to the district of Ekegheac', where they investigated and saw that the blessed patriarch Nerses was in fact dead. They went to T'il village and saw the place where he was buried. It was here that these two believing men encountered each other, and narrated before the people what they had seen. Those were men of angelic faith, nourished and living in the wilderness. They were able to work very great miracles and their deeds were known and familiar to everyone [g223].


About the blessed Shaghitay

[Translator's note: This chapter contains an account of the healings and other miracles performed by Saghita after Nerses' death. He operated in the district of Korduk'. He prayed to God that when he died the people would not find his body (which they wanted to preserve). This wish was granted when, one day as he was walking on the water of a river, he sank] [g224.]


About the blessed Epip'an.

[This chapter contains an account of Epip'an's wonders. After Nerses' death, he went to the wilderness of Greater Cop'k', to [244] a place called Mambre and lived in a cave above the Mamushegh river. He converted many pagans and filled the Cop'k' country with monasteries. Then he went to the Aghjnik' country which he also filled with monasteries. He built martyria in an awan of the city of Tigranakert [g225].

He tests one of his pupils concerning a beautiful woman. Epip'an departs for Byzantium [g226].


When Epip'an departed, he left in Cop'k' many hermit clerics with a chief over them. Many of them were vegetarians who never drank wine [g227] [g228].

A certain hermit did not want to drink the wine of communion. He was punished by God and for penance was to live in a well. He decided to remain there for his entire life.[Translator's note: The above chapters are summaries of the text [g224-229] which are not translated here] [g229].


Regarding Yusik, who was of the clan of bishop Aghbianos, and was appointed by king Pap as he willed and without [permission] from the great chief bishop of Caesarea; and how as a result of that, the authority of the Armenian patriarchs to ordain bishops was ended.

After the death of the partriarch Nerses, king Pap appointed bishop Yusik, who was a son [or descendant] of Aghbianos, bishop of [245] Manazkert. [Pap] ordered that he occupy the position of patriarch and rule in place of [the man] he had killed. And he did. But the archbishop of Caesarea heard that they had slain the great patriarch Nerses and in his place had established Yusik. This had been done without his command, for they had been accustomed to take the patriarch to Caesarea for ordination.

Surprised at this turn of events, the patriarch of Caesarea becamed enraged. A synodical council of bishops took place in the state of Caesarea without the patriarch. They wrote a letter expressing great anger. They also wrote a letter to king Pap dissolving the authority of the kat'oghikosate [and saying that] whoever was the patriarch of Armenia could bless bread at court but should not dare to ordain bishops for Armenia as had initially been the custom. Subsequently the Armenians lost the authority to ordain bishops. Instead, those who would be bishops for all the different districts and regions of Armenia—bishops for [areas within] the boundaries of Armenia—would have to go to the city of Caesarea and become bishops there. For after this the authority was removed from the country of Armenia and [the Armenians] did not dare to ordain bishops. [246] However [the one] who was the senior of the bishops, only sat above [the others] and blessed bread for the kings [g230]. But [Yusik] did not dare to reprimand anyone; for he was timid and compliant. He held the dignity only through the wishes of the king and for all the days of his life he remained in silence and complacency.


How they mourned the patriarch Nerses, and how they longed for him.

After Pap had killed the blessed patriarch Nerses, everyone became extremely sad. Everyone in the country of Armenia agreed and said: "The glory of Armenia has departed, for the just [man] of God has gone from this world." The princes and naxarars spoke: "We know now that our country is lost. The blood of a just man, unjustly condemned, was shed especially since he was killed for God." Mushegh, the sparapet of Armenia spoke: "The blood of God's saint was unjustly shed. Henceforth I cannot go against the enemies or aim a spear at anyone. I know that God has forsaken and abandoned us, and we will be unable to raise our heads. I know that there will be no victory over enemies for the country of Armenia. The prayers of the man who died and [those] of his azg caused the victories." All the azats, and shinakans from every nook and cranny of all the borders of the country of Armenia were mourning, the azats, shinakans [and] generally all the inhabitants of the tun of T'orgom, [speakers] of the Armenian language[g231]. [247]


How king Pap, following the death of the patriarch Nerses, destroyed out of jealousy all the canonical rules which he had established.

Now Pap, the king of Armenia, although he had killed the patriarch of the land of Armenia, Nerses, nonetheless was not satiated by his death. Rather he tried to corrupt and obstruct the correct arrangements which Nerses had introduced into the Church. He began to act with jealousy regarding the canons established by him previously. He began to clearly order that the [homes] for widows and orphans which Nerses had built in the different districts of the land be destroyed, and that the walled residences for virgins which Nerses had built in the different districts and awans, built to protect securely from kidnapping, be destroyed. During his lifetime the venerable Nerses had built these residences in all the districts for virgins who were believers so that they could be gathered there for fasting and praying, to be fed from the land and from each family. King Pap ordered that these [institutions] be destroyed and that the believing virgins be subjected to abominable intercourse.

In all the awans and regions Nerses had also built hospitals, setting up stipends and provisions and he had left reliable overseers [248] for the sick and poor, people who feared God and were awaiting the eternal judgements and the coming of Christ. The king chased the overseers from their superintendency and totally destroyed the places. Those who had been appointed overseers for the indigent and [g232] poor [Pap] persecuted completely. And he commanded every land under his sway: "Let the poor go out begging, let no one take food to them there [in the poor houses]. If they do not go forth beseeching and begging, they will hardly find anything." As for the arrangments for the ptghi and tasanordi [tithes] which had been stipulated from [the time of] the ancestors as customary for giving to the Church, [Pap issued] this order throughout the land: "Let no one give them."

During the days of patriarch Nerses no one dared to remove from himself or abandon his wedded wife throughout the entire country of Armenia, [a wife] he had taken with the blessing of the nuptial veil or crown. Nor in Nerses' day did anyone dare to take another's [wife]. If someone died unexpectedly, no one dared to weep for the deceased without hope, beyond the established canon of the Church, nor to lament excessively nor to make noises over the deceased. They would merely bury the deceased with tears, fitting psalms, blessings, lamps and lit candles. But after [Nerses'] death, everyone boldly took the king's command and left their wedded wives, [to the point] that [249] one man changed women ten times. And simultaneously they all turned to impiety. After Nerses' death, when [the people] mourned the dead, they wept, they danced mourning [dances to the accompaniment] of horns, p'andirs and vins, slashing their arms, tearing their faces, men and women committing monstrous abominations as they faced each other in the dance, striking their palms. Thus did they bury the dead.

Now during Nerses' day, the poor were never seen begging throughout all the borders of Armenia. Rather, they all remained in their places of repose, that is, in the leprosaria, and everyone took them everything they needed. Thus were they satiated, not needful of anyone. But after the death of the chief-priest, if anyone did anything to give ease to the poor, he would bear great punishment from the king [g233].

During Nerses', day the orders of worship of the Church were especially radiant and [there was] a multitude of blessed canonical clerics and commemoration of the blessed martyrs were always glowingly being conducted everywhere in Armenia in huge assemblies, and the patiw of the father-bishops grew in accordance with their worth in all [250] the districts of Armenia while the orders of monastics flourished both in the shen and the non-shen places. But after his death, all this was corrupted, polluted, and obstructed.

During the days of the chief-priest Nerses, by his order [people] had built in all the shens and villages of all parts of the districts of Armenia, dwellings for foreigners, hospitals, otaranoc'k', and everyone in the country of Armenia gave ptghi and alms, remembering the poor, the exploited, those in tribulation, foreigners, the exploited, rebels, exiles, guests and transients. For them the blessed Nerses set up superintendents and provisions everywhere. But after his death king Pap destroyed all this and dishonored the patiw of the Church. Furthermore many correctional arrangements and canons which the patriarch Nerses instituted were overturned and forgotten. After [Nerses'] departure from the world, many districts of Armenia and many people returned to the ancient worship of the gods, and they erected idols in many places of Armenia because of the boldness of king Pap. For there was no one to reprimand them, no one before whom they felt embarassment. Whatever they wanted to do they did [251] brazenly. After erecting many images, they worshipped them.

Moreover, king Pap confiscated for the court the Church land which king Trdat of Armenia had given in service to the worship of the Church in the entire country of Armenia, during the time of the great chief-priest Gregory. Of seven lands, [Pap] confiscated five, leaving only two [for the Church]. In accordance with the size of the land, he left two [clerics] in [g234] service, a priest and a deacon, while placing in service to himself the brothers and sons of priests and deacons. He thought by behaving in this fashion, to express the hostility he had for [Nerses], he would move despite [his policies]. But he never thought about his personal ruination. In that period all the orders of Church worship declined throughout the entire country of Armenia.


How king Pap turned from the emperor of the Byzantines and was slain by Byzantine military commanders.

Then king Pap changed his mind and turned his heart away from the Byzantine emperor, wanting to have unity and friendship with the Iranian king. He began to support the king of Iran and to send messengers [252] regarding alliance. He also sent messengers to the Byzantine emperor saying: "Caesarea and ten [other] cities belong to us, so give them up. The city of Edessa was built by our ancestors. If you don't want any disturbance, give them up. Otherwise, we will wage great warfare." But Mushegh and all the Armenian princes frequently advised the king not to destroy the covenant with the Byzantine empire. However, [Pap] did not heed them and expressed the enmity which he had with the Byzantine emperor.

Now the Byzantine princes and their troops were still in the country of Armenia. These princes were named Terent and Ade. The Byzantine emperor secretly sent an emissary to the princes of his troops who were in the country of Armenia and ordered them to kill the king of Armenia, Pap. When the princes received this command from the Byzantine emperor, they waited for an opportune moment to [g235] kill king Pap. This moment occurred when Terent and Ade, the generals of the Byzantine troops, knew that king Pap was alone, that all the grandees and the Armenian troops were not there. [At that time] king Pap was encamped at a place called Xu in a plain of Bagrewand district, while the Byzantine troops were nearby. So the Byzantine generals prepared a grand banquet and invited the great king of Armenia, Pap, to dinner. This was done grandly, in accordance with his worth, as [253] was the rule in calling a king to a banquet. They organized and prepared.

King Pap went to the dinner, entered [the dining area], and sat down to eat and drink. When the king entered the tent of the Byzantine general Terent [he noticed] the legion of shield-bearing foot soldiers positioned around the inside walls of the tent with shields in hand, and battle-axes at their waist. Similarly, outside stood men ready, heavily armed under their clothing. King Pap thought that this had been done to honor him in some way. While he was eating, the troops with the battle-axes stood behind and on all sides of him. When they were drinking wine, they offered the first festive cup to king Pap. The drummers, flutists, harpists and horns all began to play, all making their own different tasteful sounds. There sat king Pap, holding the festive cup of wine in his hands, looking at the diverse crowd of gusans. As he leaned on his left elbow, he held in his left hand a golden drinking goblet, while his right hand was fingering the handle of his sabre which was attached to his right thigh. His cup was to his mouth to drink, and his eyes were fixed straight ahead on the diverse crowd of gusans. With an eye gesture, the order was given to the shield-bearing Byzantine troops. Suddenly two of the legionnaires who stood behind [Pap] [g236] bearing shields with gold bosses, raised their battle-axes and struck [254] king Pap. One cut his neck while the other battle-axe sliced off the right hand which was on the handle of his sabre. The hand fell off. King Pap fell on his face then and there. The wine from the goblet, the blood from his neck and [Pap's] body fell together onto the table as king Pap perished immediately. In the confusion arising in the tachar, Gnel, lord of the Anjewac'ik' district, arose from his couch, drew his sword, and struck and killed one of the legionnaires who had killed the king. Then the Byzantine general Terent drew his own sword and cut off Gnel's head above the eyes. And no one could say anything about it. Not a thing.


What the Armenian princes conferred about, and how they kept silent.

There gathered together all the grandee princes of Armenia, sparapet Mushegh, and Hayr mardpet. All of the princes asked: "What shall we do, how shall we act? Should we seek to avenge our king or not?" Then they confirmed in discussion that: "We cannot enter the service of the pagan Iranians and make an enemy of the Byzantine emperor, nor can we make enemies of both of them. But we cannot survive without the aid of one of them." They reached the conclusion that what had happened was past. "Let us serve the Byzantine emperor and remain obedient to the authority of the Byzantine empire, and do [255] as it says." In no way did they plan to seek vengeance or to do anything else. Rather, they passed over it in silence [g237].


The enthronement of Varazdat over the country of Armenia after Pap.

After the death of king Pap of Armenia, the Byzantine emperor made a certain Varazdat the king. He was from the same Arsacid tohm. He came with much pomp, entered the country of Armenia, and ruled as king. He was a youth, full of bravery, with powerful hands, a brave heart, but light-minded, with a child's capricious cunning. However when all the azgs of Armenia's grandees saw him, they gathered around him and were delighted that he would reign over them.

Mushegh, the sparapet of Armenia, was leading Armenia, protecting all the borders as was his custom, and he offered good advice to the young king Varazdat. He was constantly concerned about the kingdom of the land of Armenia, how it might be kept/made to flourish. He was always giving good advice so that the kingdom could remain secure. He also consulted with the Byzantine princes, and through them with the emperor that they should build "cities" in the country of Armenia. [He suggested] that secure, walled military bases [be constructed] one in every district with a city, and two where there were two [cities] throughout the entire country of Armenia, as far as Ganjak on the [256] Iranian side, which was the border of Armenia. [He proposed] that all the Armenian azats should be provided with imperial stipends as well as the troops of the country of Armenia. Thus there would be full attention directed at their enemy, the Iranian troops. The Byzantine emperor was overjoyed to do this, for in this manner the land would be totally secure and not move away from him, and the king of Iran would be unable to make the land of Armenia his own [g238].


How the Armenian king Varazdat heeded the words of malicious and senseless men and killed Mushegh, the general of Armenia.

When the great naxarars of Armenia saw that king Varazdat was a gullible youth, unable to differentiate good from bad, they began to manipulate the king in accordance with their wishes. With their words they led him around, any way they wanted. Varazdat was more attentive to what youths his own age said, than to what wise old people (who could have given beneficial advice) offered him.

Bat, the nahapet of the azg of the Saharhuni tohm, was the dayeak-nourisher of king Varazdat. He wanted to appropriate for himself Mushegh's position of general-sparapet. Consequently he began to slander him to his san ["foster-son"] king Varazdat, saying: "From the [time of the] first ancestors onward, the Mamikoneans have been ruining your Arsacid tohm, for they have been your adversaries from the start. They have always [257] been consuming the country of Armenia. This is especially true of Mushegh, who is a wicked and duplicitous man. Your enemies love him and those dear to you hate him. In his dealings with you, he had always acted treacherously, duplicitously, and maliciously. For is Mushegh not the one who, during the reign of Pap, during the Iranian battles, could have slain king Shapuh of Iran several times, but did not? Rather, he released the enemy. On one occasion he got hold of king Shapuh's women, but sent them back to Shapuh in palanquins with care. Was it not that very Mushegh who got hold of the king of Aghuania, Urhnayr, and did not want to kill him, but instead released the enemy? Was it not by Mushegh's order and acting on his advice that the Byzantine generals killed king Pap? For [Mushegh] aggrevated the Byzantine emperor [g239] and caused him to have a grudge against king Pap until he had him killed. It is fitting for him to die at your hands; he should not live. King, if you do not make haste, he is planning to fill up the country of Armenia with cities and make [it] a military base inhabited by Byzantine troops. After that, either the Byzantine emperor will remove the kingship of Armenia from you, or Mushegh will kill you and rule himself." [People] were constantly provoking the king with such words secretly, until [Varazdat] agreed with their wishes, to kill the sparapet general of Armenia.

[258] So they plotted how they could seize [Mushegh], for they were greatly afraid of him. They said: "If he should realize what is happening, he will conduct a great war. No one can withstand his bravery; the only possible solution is through artifice." Thus they were waiting for him. One day king Varazdat of Armenia commanded that a great dinner be readied, and they made great preparations. [Varazdat] ordered that all the senior honorable [men], the grandees, and general Mushegh be called to the dinner. Varazdat prepared select, powerful, mighty men capable of the job of falling upon Mushegh at an unsuspected moment. [Varazdat] made [the invitees] very merry, gave them a lot of wine to drink and made much happy diversion. Prior to this king Varazdat had given this signal to the one prepared to do the killing: "When you know that sparapet Mushegh is out of his mind with drink, I will arise on the pretext of relieving myself and you surround him." They passed to the drinking and had passed the limit, but king Varazdat kept himself away from the wine. When Varazdat believed that [Mushegh] was incapacitated from drunkeness, he got up on the pretext of going to the privy, and all the nobility stood up as if to honor him. Then suddenly, the twelve men to whom the order had been given, seized Mushegh, six on one side of him, and [g240] six on the other. When the king got up, [Mushegh] looked at him [inquiringly] and said: "What is this"? The king replied, saying: "Go to king Pap and ask him what it is." The king went outside and Mushegh said: "Is this my reward for my many labors of blood and sweat, and [259] for the sweat that I wiped away with the blade? Death should have come to me while I was mounted on a horse..." He had time to say this much and no more, for king Varazdat's dayeak Bat Saharhuni removed the sabre he had affixed to his thigh, and slit general Mushegh's throat, cutting off his head. [People] picked up his body and took it to his village.


About the foolish opinions held by Mushegh's family and other folk.

When they had taken the body of sparapet Mushegh to his tun, to his family, his family did not believe his death, despite the fact that they could see his head separated from his body. They said: "He has been in countless battles and never received a wound. No arrow has ever struck him, nor has anyone's weapon pierced him." Half of them expected him to resurrect, so they sewed the head back onto the torso and placed it on the roof of a tower, saying: "Because he was a brave man, the arhlezk' will descend and cause him to arise." They guarded [Mushegh] expecting his resurrection, until his body putrified. Then they brought him down from the tower, and wept over and buried him, as was the proper way [g241].


Regarding the retun of Manuel from Iranian captivity and his avenging of Mushegh, and his expulsion of king Varazdat from the country of Armenia.

King Varazdat put his dayeak Bat, nahapet of the Saharhunik' tohm, Mushegh's slanderous tale-bearing murderer, in the job of [260] the generalship-sparapetut'iwn. [Bat] was sparapet in place of him, general of all Armenia. The king made tanuter nahapet of the azg of the Mamikonean tohm a man named Vach'e, of the same tohm.

In that period two brothers of the Mamikonean tohm returned from captivity in Iran, where they had been taken by king Shapuh. One [brother] was named Manuel; the other Koms [or Kon]. At that time the Sasanian king of Iran was warring with the great Arsacid king of the Kushans, who resided in the city of Bagh [Balkh]. When the Iranian troops went to the Kushan war, those people whom the Iranian king had taken captive from Armenia were sent along. Manuel also went there with his brother Koms. When the two brigades clashed against each other, the Iranian troops were defeated by the Kushans, and as they turned in flight [the Kushans] came upon them, raining incredible blows down upon them. They did not let a single Iranian soldier survive, including the newsbearer [banber], although Manuel (son of Artashen of the Mamikonean tohm) and his brother, Koms, did in fact survive, [fleeing] on foot. After displaying much bravery in that battle, of all the Iranian troops only these two reached the Iranian king safe and sound [g242].

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