P'awstos Buzandac'i's

History of the Armenians

Book Five


How the great sparapet Manuel enthroned the lad Arshak, and how Manuel then died.

After all this, general sparapet Manuel went to the district of Karin taking along the Arsacid tikin, the two youths, Arshak and Vagharshak, and all the Armenian banak with the grandee nobility of naxarars, and all the tanuters. Sparapet Manuel married his own daughter, Vardanduxt, to the youth Arshak Arshakuni, making him his son-in-law. He also held a wedding for [Arshak's] brother Vagharshak, marrying him to the daughter of the Bagratid aspet from the Sper district. [The Bagratids] were coronants of the kings of the azg [281] of the Arsacid kingdom, from the beginning. The entire country of Armenia celebrated the wedding in delighted exuberance. After this, once again all the people of the country of Armenia gathered and enthroned the youth Arshak as king of the country of Armenia and Vagharshak as his second. At this, the entire country of Armenia rejoiced yet more [g258].

After this Manuel, the sparapet general of Armenia, became sick with a fatal illness. He called his son Artashir and gave him his terut'iwn, sparapetut'iwn and generalship and ordered him to be an obedient and loyal subject of king Arshak: "Try and labor and give your life in warfare for the land of Armenia just as [your] brave ancestors were ready to die for the land. To God that righteousness is great and acceptable, and He will not abandon you when it is so. Leave a name for bravery on earth and you will be granted righteousness in Heaven. In no way fear death; rather, place faith in Him Who made and confirmed everything. Stand clear of duplicity, abomination and evil, and worship the Lord God with sanctity and loyalty. Die courageously for the pious land, for that itself represents death for God, for His Churches, His covenant and for the natural Arsacid lords of the land."

After this [Manuel] wrote a hrovartak to the Byzantine emperor entrusting the land of Armenia and king Arshak to him. Manuel lay sick [282] on his bed, surrounded by king Arshak and Vardanduxt (the king's wife) all the awags and naxarars of Armenia, men and women, generally all the prominent people. In the presence of all of them Manuel exposed all his limbs to them, revealing that there was not an area—even the size of a dram—which had not been wounded in battle. There were more than fifty scars, including on his male member, which he displayed to all of them. He began to weep, saying: "From my childhood onward I was always nourished on battle and bore all of my wounds with great bravery. Why was I unable to die in battle, but rather am dying the way an animal dies? For it would have been better if I [g259] had died fighting for the land so that neither the churches nor the covenant of God be trampled underfoot. However I did not manage to die for the Arsacids, the native lords of the land, for our women and children, for the pious people, for the brotherhood of comrades and intimate friends. Though I deported myself boldly, a bad death comes to me in my bed."

[Manuel] said this and much more in the same vein in the presence of king Arshak and everyone. He beseeched king Arshak further, saying: "I lived through God and devout Christianity. Let no one hopelessly lament and mourn excessively for me, contrary to the rule, as a pagan. For those who have faith in resurrection, a second life, and the coming of Christ should not weep. Thus far I have lived with the [283] expectation of piety. Do not stray from God's commandments. Be more concerned with righteousness and mercy, for the great patriarch Nerses was always urging us to do this. Every hour of his life he himself behaved so, and taught others the same. He had mercy on the poor, the indigent, captives, the devastated, foreigners and exiles, saying: 'There is nothing greater and more honorable before God than dispensing alms or giving gifts.' He regarded it a bitter sin to lament or mourn excessively for the dead. During his day he had stopped this [practise] in the country of Armenia, and no one dared to do it. But after his death, stupid people dared to do it. Now let no one mourn me excessively, otherwise he will be condemnable. After my death I lack the authority to punish those who do as I do not want. Let those who love me remember me. In warfare—where I did not die—do not fear death. For without God there is nothing."

[Manuel] said this and other similar things. With his own [g260] hands he distributed an incalculable amount of treasure to the poor and the needy. He gave many parts of his belongings to the Church and the martyria, and much treasure to the chief priests. Then he died. Now when the great sparapet Manuel died, no one heeded the order he had given about not mourning excessively. On the contrary, everyone in the country of Armenia, azats and shinakans alike mourned excessively [284] with great weeping and lamentation. For everyone regarded the well-formed constructive Manuel as a father because of his goodness, humanity, mildness, tranquility and concerned benevolence. With their mouths open, everyone wailed and sighed longingly for their brave general, their savior, their victorious, renowned, productive [sparapet], who had gone and been separated from them [g261]. [285]

Sixth Book



How the land of Armenia was divided in two, with half the Armenian people being ruled by Arshak at the order of the Byzantine emperor, and half the people being ruled by Xosrov at the order of the Iranian king. And how, after the land of Armenia was divided into two parts, they set a boundary between them; how other lands and districts were separated and their territories diminished on all sides by the two [foreign powers].

After the death of Manuel, Armenia's general, no one was able to establish the reign of Arshak over the land. Rather, many of the Armenian naxarars went in a body to the king of Iran to whom they betrayed the land of Armenia. They requested from him an Arsacid king. With great delight [the Iranian king] consented [to find a candidate] from the same Arsacid tohm as the Armenian kingdom, and through him he would get hold of the land of Armenia. He found a youth named Xosrov, from that same tohm, put the crown on his head, and married him to his sister Zruanduxt. [The Iranian king] also sent all the forces at his disposal along with king Xosrov [265] and gave him the nuncio Zik as a tutor. They arrived in the land of Armenia. When king Arshak saw them, he gave way and departed, going to the Byzantine border. [The Byzantines] supported Arshak [as] king of Armenia, while the Iranian king supported Xosrov.

Then the troops of the Byzantine emperor came to help. King Arshak was in the vicinity of Ekegheac' district, while the Iranian troops and king Xosrov were in Ayrarat district. Emissaries and [286] messengers of the two kings, Byzantine and Iranian, were going back and forth to each other. Then the two kings decided upon peace. They thought it would be a good thing first to divide the land of Armenia into two parts, between themselves, saying: "It would be good to try to obstruct and destroy this mighty and wealthy kingdom which is in our midst. First we divide it into two, under two Arsacid kings whom we installed. Later through them we shall try to destroy and impoverish [the Armenians] and put them into service so that they will be unable to raise their heads between us."

They confirmed this plan, and divided the land into two. The Iranian sector went to king Xosrov, while the Byzantine sector went to king Arshak. But there were many districts which had been shorn away here and there and only a small part of the lands remained to the two kings. Nonetheless, between the few remaining districts ruled by the two Arsacid kings, Arshak and Xosrov, they established borders peaceably, while each of them was obedient to his own monarch. Xosrov's sector was larger than Arshak's. But many districts had been cut away from both of them and the greatness of the Armenian kingdom waned then and subsequently [g266]. [287]


Concerning the bishops who were noteworthy in that period in the portion of the country of the Armenians ruled by Xosrov; first, about the behavior of Zawen.

Zawen was a descendant of the celebrated bishop Aghbianos from Manazkert village. He was a man with a wicked, severe and jealous nature. The innovation of his time was that he taught all the priests to dress as the soldiers did. They had forsaken the religion of the Apostolic churches and began to behave as they pleased. For the priests did not wear a long robe descending to the heels, as is proper for clerics, rather, they started wearing a tunic that went only to the knees. They decorated their clothing with various ribbons, and strutted about in a way that was unbecoming. The priests were indiscriminately wearing the skins of animals, which was not becoming. Zawen himself wore ornate clothing adorned with ribbons and embroidery, a sable, an ermine, and wolf-skin. He even sat on the bema wearing fox-skin. Zawen passed all the days of his life in gluttony and licentiousness. He held the position for three years.


Regarding Shahak of Korchek' who became head of the bishops after Zawen.

Then after Zawen's death Shahak Korchek' became head of the bishops for two years. He was a Christian man, but in no way altered [288] Zawen's arrangements. He led for two years and died [g267].


Regarding Aspurak of Manazkert, who became head of the bishops after Shahak.

After the death of bishop Shahak, a certain Aspurak, a descendant of bishop Aghbianos, became head of the bishops. He was Christ-minded, pious and rightous, and led Xosrov's court. But he followed the arrangements of Zawen concerning religious clothing.


Concerning the bishops P'awstos and Zort'.

In this period [there lived] bishop P'awstos who, in the time of the archbishop Nerses, had been a manager in his house. Similarly the advisor Zort' was with them, for there were in the patriarch's house, under his disposition twelve bishops, his coadjutors, colleagues and advisors, to say nothing of all the bishops from the other districts who were under him. These two were of those twelve bishops. They were in charge of the believing poor. In [Nerses'] day they were trusted by him in everything and were still alive during the years of the two divided kings Xosrov and Arshak. [289]


Concerning Arhostom, brother of bishop P'awstos.

Bishop P'awstos had a brother, a marvellous, religious cenobite of the mountain retreats [g268]. Both of them were of Roman [Greek] nationality. All the days of his life this man wandered about with great piety. He dwelled in the Arayratean district and acted in accordance with the Holy Spirit. Until the day of his repose, he wandered the wildernesses as a vegetarian in the mountains, wearing skins. Then he died. They brought his body from the wilderness and buried it at the bun village of the patriarch Nerses, at a place called Amok'. Every year they commemorated [his death].


About Artit', bishop of Basen.

In that period, among the prominent bishops, was Artit', bishop of Basen, who was a venerable and useful old man. He behaved with sanctity and righteousness, as though worthy of the Holy Spirit. He travelled around with great power for many years accomplishing very great miracles. [Artit'] had been a student of the great Daniel who lived in the years of king Tiran. He was still alive during the years of Xosrov and Arshak, the two kings of Armenia.


Regarding bishop Yohan and his deportment, greed, stupidity, senseless words and deeds; and how, in return for wealth, he took on himself [responsibility] for the sins they had committed.

There was also a bishop Yohan, son of the former patriarch P'arhen—if, indeed, it is proper to style him a bishop. He was a [290] hypocritical man who passed himself off as a faster and wearer of sack-cloth, never wearing shoes, though wrapping [his feet] in grass in summertime and with woven material in wintertime. His greed had no limits but he could [g269] not replace piety for God with greed. He did unworthy and unbelievable things.

One day he happened to be travelling a certain road seated on a pack animal. He encountered an unknown lay youth mounted on a horse, sword at his waist, knife in his belt, and bow and quiver on his back. He had washed, annointed, arranged and put an ornament in his hair, and thrown a cape over his shoulders. He was riding along the road, perhaps returning from some brigandage. As for the horse he was astride, it was large, colored and swift, so much so that when bishop Yohan saw the horse he was astonished and he wanted it. When the horseman approached the place where Yohan was waiting, [Yohan] grabbed hold of the horse's bridle, saying: "Get off the horse at once, for I have something to tell you." The man replied: "Since you do not know me, and I do not know you, what could you have to say to me?" The man happened to be drunk, and greatly resisted dismounting. But Yohan forcibly made him dismount. He took him away from the road, ordered the man to kneel, and said: "I am ordaining you a priest." The man replied: "I am a brigand, murderer, malefactor [291] and libertine, have been from my childhood onward, and am still engaged in such things. I am unworthy of such [an office]." The man greatly argued and resisted, but [Yohan] was even more persistent. Finally Yohan forced the man to the ground, placed his hand on him (making him a priest), ordered him to rise, to undo the ties on his cloak, and put on a priest's frock. Then [Yohan] said: "Go to your village and be the priest of the village whence you come." But he did not even know which village the man was from. Yohan seized hold of the horse and said: "This [horse] will be my gift, for making you a priest." But the man resisted handing over the horse. Finally [Yohan] forcibly got hold of the horse and sent the man off. All of this happened because of a horse [g270].

The man who had unwillingly donned the cleric's frock went to his tun and entered the midst of his family. He said to his wife and family: "Arise and pray." They replied: "Are you crazy, has a dew possessed you?" But he said: "Arise and pray, for I am a priest." They were astonished, sometimes reddening, sometimes laughing. After refusing many times, they finally agreed to pray with him. But the woman said to her husband: "When you were a child you were not baptized." The man replied to her: "I was in a state of [292] shock and did not recall that, and I forgot to tell him. He made me a priest and took my horse, saddle and bridle and left." The man's family said to him: "Get up, go back to the bishop and tell him 'I am not baptized. Why did you make me a priest?'" He arose and went to the bishop with that question. But Yohan said to him: "Bring a pitcher of water." Taking the water he poured it on the man's head, saying: "I have baptized you. Go." Thus he quickly got rid of him.


More about this same Yohan.

Once Yohan was passing by some vineyard during pruning time. A man in the vineyard cried out to him: "Lord bishop, bless us and the vineyard." Yohan replied: "May thorns and thistles grow." The man said: "May thorns and thistles grow on your body for unjustly cursing us." A sign from God took place. For as soon as the bishop reached his dwelling place, torments were visited on him. [Protuberances] resembling thorns appeared on all the limbs of his body. He was in great, wicked torment and crisis for many days. Finally he summoned the vineyard-worker and begged him to pray over him, to save him from the pains. The vineyard-worker said: "Who am I to be [293] able to bless or curse anyone, to say nothing of a bishop" [g271]? But [Yohan] pressured the vineyard-worker until he got up and prayed, saying: "Lord God, you know that I am a sinful and unworthy man and I do not understand the confusion I am involved in. Save me from evil, for they say: 'You cursed the bishop and this happened because of you.' It would be good if I died, for I do not understand what they say about me." When he had said this, the bishop was healed. The thorns, which resembled grass thorns, began to fall off his entire body. He was immediately cured of the disease.


More about Yohan.

This bishop Yohan, P'arhen's son, when he went to the king(s) of Armenia, would entertain them by being a buffoon for them. Through this clowning he exercised the greed for which he had an insatiable appetite, and he used [the buffoonery] to serve his own ends. He would go on all fours in front of the kings and imitate a camel, making a camel's bleating sound. While doing this he would exclaim: "I am a camel, a camel, and I will bear the king's sins. [294] King, load your sins upon me, and I will carry them." But the kings, instead of giving their sins, would put on Yovan's back written and sealed deeds for villages or fields. So Yohan got villages and fields for imitating a camel, and all the daye of his life he did such unworthy deeds because of his greed and avarice [g272].


Regarding bishop Kirakos.

There was a bishop of Tayk' named Kirakos, called Shahap, who was an honest pious man [acting] in accordance with God's wishes. He led his people with complete honesty and throughout his life he conducted the episcopacy in accordance with God's will.


Concerning Zort'uaz, bishop of the district of Vanand.

There was Zort'uaz, bishop of the district of Vanand, a blessed, modest man worthy of God who drank of the Holy Spirit. He worked and led his people in a Christian manner as God wanted.


About Tirik and Movses, bishops of the district of Basen.

There were two bishops of the district of Basen, Movses and Tirik. They were good men of angelic religion, blessed, believing, [295] and worthy of the [clerical] calling. Each of them led his people on the path of God all the days of his life [g273].


About the bishop of Arsharunik'.

In that period lived bishop Aharon, in the midst of the land of Armenia. He was a prominent, renowned, and very virtuous man who, throughout his life, led his people in an enlightened manner.


Concerning Aspurak, chief of the bishops.

The chief of the Armenian bishops was Aspurak, a blessed and devout person, pious toward God and mankind. But he was unable to reproach anyone, though he himself dwelled in silence, modesty, sensitivity, and propriety, beseeching God with fasts and prayers every hour. But as regards clothing, he follwed Zawen's example. He wore laced and embroidered [garments]. Nonetheless, all the days of his life he was mild, humble, benevolent, and humane.


About the blessed and virtuous Gind who in that period was head of the Armenian monks, cenobites, and solitary [religious] communities.

Gind was from the district of Taron and had been a student of the great Daniel. After [Daniel, Gind] became the head of the monastics, [296] the vardapet of cenobites and those leading solitary lives, supervisor of the monks and teacher of all those dwelling in retreats. He was the overseer of everyone who, for the love of God, had resigned from the world and were living in retreats [g274], secure caves and crannies—people possessing but one garment who went barefoot, eating roots and vegetables, who wandered about like beasts in the mountains wearing hides and goat-skins, the oppressed, downtrodden, doubtful, crazed in the wilderness [who roamed] in cold and heat, in hunger and thirst, for the love of God.

With patience did they do such things all the days of their lives. For, as was written, the land did not deserve them. Resembling a flock of birds, they dwelled in the crevices of rocks and in caves, having no belongings and never giving their bodies victuals. Their native (bun) head was saint Gind, for everyone in the country of Armenia called him vardapet. There were, however, other students of [these clerics] who resembled their vardapet. They were Vach'ak, Artoyt, Marax and Trdat, who was their comrade and had been the chief deacon under the great chief priest Nerses, though after Nerses' death he had entered the ranks of the aforementioned vardapets of the retreats. [297] The blessed Gind took the youth Mushe as his student and taught him his ways. But he had many other students of angelic faith whose deeds no one could relate.

Saint Gind was full of the Spirit of God. Those with him, resembling him, performed very great miracles and healings in the name of Lord Jesus Christ. They circulated around many pagan places and among the pagans here and there, turning many away from error, leading many people to a knowledge of Life and to the road of Truth. The blessed Gind filled all the retreats with cenobites and all the shens with monasteries. He set up many correct arrangements for human living in the land, conforming with divine religion. He chose the wilderness for his dwelling and lived where the sources of the Euphrates river flow forth. There the [g275] blessed Gind—that great man among the desert-dwellers—resided in the very same cave as the great Gregory [the Illuminator], at the place called Oskik'. The blessed Mushe was always with him. Others circulated around other districts, by order of their chief, Gind. The blessed Trdat lived in the district of Taron, where he built his retreats [g276].

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