P'awstos Buzandac'i's

History of the Armenians

Book Three

Chapter 8. (Continued from Previous Page)

[21] Then Xosrov, king of Armenia, and Vrt'anes, the chief-priest, fell and rolled on the ground beseechingc God with many entreaties and unrestrained tears [to help them]. Then [Xosrov] hurried to assemble troops, some 30,000 and came before them, [g30] together with general Vach'e and with all his senior grandee naxarars. The two sides encountered each other by the shore of the Sea of Bznunik' [Lake Van] in Arhest awan at the royal fish-reservoir located on a small river. They observed the incalculable multitude of Iranian troops which were as numerous as the stars in the sky or the sand by the seashore, and they had come with countless elephants and troops. But [the Armenians] went and attacked their army, placing their hopes in God. They struck, killed, and destroyed and did not leave a single one of them living. They seized much loot, many elephants and the entire strength of their force. The sparapet Vach'e and brave Vahan Amatuni arrested Databe, brought him before the great king Xosrov, and killed him by lapidation as a man who would betray his land, brigade, and the troops of his lord. [Databe's] azg, wife and children were located there in the stronghold of the prince of Erhshtunik', which was called the island of Aght'amar. Sparapet Vach'e got into a boat, crossed over to the island, and left neither male nor female alive. Thus was [22] the azgatohm of that naxarardom eliminated, and their tun was seized for the crown.

However after this the Iranians did not stop warring with king Xosrov. He made a law that the grandee nobility, the naxarars, holders of lands and lords of lands, who were ten-thousanders and thousanders would have to stay near the king and circulate around with him, and that none of them should go with the royal troops. For he feared their irresolution [thinking] that they might work the same act as Databe and revolt from him. But he had confidence in the aged Vach'e, the natural sparapet and general of Greater Armenia and in brave Vahan Amatuni. [Xosrov] assembled the troops of all the tuns of the nobility together with the royal troops and entrusted the entire corps to them. And they constantly warred bravely on the borders of Iran not permitting [the Iranians] to boldly invade and ruin the country of Armenia, or [even] to glimpse it. And the king remained in peace and the land was in cultivation and peace for all the days of their lives [g31]. [23]


How the bdesh Bakur rebelled against the king of Armenia, how he was killed by the Armenian troops, and how Vaghinak Siwni became bdesh in his stead.

In that period there rebelled from the king of Armenia one of his servants, the great prince of Aghjnik' who was called the bdeashx, [an individual] who occupied one of the four senior gahs ("thrones," "stations," "cushions") in the royal chamber. He extended his hand [in alliance] to the king of Iran and betrayed the royal tun which he himself had supported. The king of Iran sent troops to support him and [Aghjnik'] was separated from the authority of Armenia. He warred with the king of Armenia with the power of the kingdom of Iran. The war became more intense. Then the king of Armenia sent the following of his honest servants with many troops [against the enemy]:

the prince of Korduk', Jonn,
the prince of Greater Cop'k', Mar,
the prince of Shahei Cop'k', Nerseh,
the prince of Siwnik', Vaghinak,
the prince of Hashtenk', Dat,
and the prince of Basen, Manak.

They went and conquered the Iranian troops, putting them all to the sword, and killing the bdeashx with his brothers and sons. [24] But they brought to the king the head of Bakur the bdeashx and one of his newborn daughters. Since there were no other survivors of that azg, the king gave the girl in marriage to his favorite Vaghinak Siwnik', and also gave him the tun of Aghjnik' making him bdeashx and inheritor of [Bakur's] tun. The heir increased and the bdeashx Vaghinak remained in service to the king constantly with the land and all its might. However, a certain small son of Bakur the bdeashx fled and landed by Vach'e, the general of Armenia, where he was concealed and spared in his tun. Subsequently [the child] returned and seized his own tun. His name was Xesha [g32].


Concerning Yakob (James) of Mcbin (Nisibis).

In that time the great bishop of Mcbin, a marvellous old man who loved to work deeds of truth (despite the fact that he was of Iranian nationality) who was named Yakob [James of Nisibis], a man chosen by God, left his city and came to the mountains of Armenia. He came to Sararad mountain which was in the borders of the Ayraratean lordship, in the district of Korduk'. He was a man full of Christ's graces and miracles were achieved by his hands. [25] He came with the desire of seeing the saving ark built by Noah and with great fervor he beseeched God [to grant this], for after the flood it had rested on this mountain. Everything that he requested the Lord granted him. Now while he was ascending over the difficult, waterless and rocky parts of the Sararatean mountain, [Yakob] and those who were with him became weary and thirsty. So Yakob kneeled on the ground and prayed to the Lord, and from the spot where he had placed his head a fountain gushed forth, and he and those with him drank. To this day that fountain is called the fountain of Yakob. Then he continued along on the same difficult mission praying to the Lord that he see what he desired without delay.

When he reached a difficult place near the summit, he became very tired and slept. And an angel of God came and spoke to him, saying: "Yakob, Yakob." And he replied: "I am here, Lord." The angel said: "The lord has accepted your entreaties and fulfilled your request. That which is beneath your head is part of the wood from the ark. I brought it for you from there. Do not climb any higher, for this is how the Lord wants it." With great joy [Yakob] arose and with great thanksgiving he worshipped the Lord. He saw the board which appeared to have been split from a large piece of wood by an axe. Taking the favored gift, [Yakob] and those with him turned back and went on their way [Translator's note: we omit the passage which follows, to the words "shnorhk'n matakararein" which was taken from Koriwn].

[26] When the man of God arrived bringing the wood from the saving ark of Noah (an eternal symbol of the punishment which was visited upon all species, a symbol of their fathers' deeds) the entire city and the districts surrounding it came out before [Yakob] with immeasurable incalculable joy and delight. They regarded him as an Apostle of Christ, a heavenly angel, and surrounded him, embracing and kissing his meritorious and beneficial footprints, considering him their shepherd and as a man who had spoken with God. They joyously accepted the gifts he brought as though they were favors for themselves, and to this very day that miraculous symbol is preserved by them—wood from the ark of Noah the patriarch.

After this the marvellous bishop Yakob received news from the country of Armenia. He went to the great prince, the lord [g34] of the land, the great servant of the king of Armenia, to Manachirh Erheshtuni, whose land he entered. For he had heard that [Manachirh] was a wicked and unfeeling and crookedly unjust man who, from the wrath of the bitterness of his soul, had killed countless people. [Yakob] had come to teach and advise him so that, out of fear of the Lord, his nature would become mild [27] and he would put to one side his animalic and bestial frenzy.

But when the impious Manachirh saw that man of God, bishop Yakob, he scorned, ridiculed and derided him. And because of [Manachirh's] savage behavior, to spite [Yakob], he had 800 men (whom he had in bondage for no offense) brought before him, and ordered that they be hurled into the sea from a promontory. Having destroyed so many souls without offense, he then ordered that [Yakob] be ridiculed and chased out of his land. And he said: "Do you see how much I have exalted you for your good words? I relieved them from their bonds, and they are still swimming in the sea." Now [Yakob] departed with great sorrow and in accordance with his Lord's commandment he shook the dust from his feet upon them. [Yakob] and those with him reached the mountain of iron mines and lead mines which divided [the district of] Erheshtunik'. This was a lofty mountain named Enjak'isar from [whose summit] all the districts were visible. When they reached the base of the mountain, having gone without any food for many days, [Yakob] became extremely thirsty. He prayed to the Lord, kneeled, and laid his head upon the ground. And a fountain gushed forth from which he and those with him drank. [28] This was similar to what happened earlier on Sararat mountain, and so it was also that at the foot of Enjak'isar mountain on the shores of the Sea of Erheshtunik', this fountain has been called Yakob's fountain to the present day.

God's chief-priest Yakob ascended to the top of Enjak'isar mountain and cursed that [g35] land so that disturbances would never be absent there, since they had not listened to the Lord's words of peace. Then the blessed evangelical bishop returned to his place. Two days after his departure Manachirh's wife and seven sons died in that district. Then [Manachirh] also departed the world suffering from wicked torments. And in accordance with the word which had been spoken there was no peace in that land from that time onward.

Yakob accomplished very great miracles. He was present at the great synod of Nicea which occurred during the years of Constantine emperor of the Romans. There 380 bishops assembled to curse the sect of Arianos the Alexandrian who was from that state of Egypt. Now all the bishops were seated before Constantine. Present from Armenia was Aristakes son of the miraculous Gregory, the first kat'oghikos of Greater Armenia. The amazing secret affairs of the king began to be revealed to Yakob through [29] miraculous signs of the Holy Spirit. He saw that the emperor Constantine was wearing a hair-cloth underneath his purple [garments] and robe, and that an angel was protecting and serving him. The astonished bishop Yakob mentioned the matter of the angel to the other multitude of bishops assembled, but they did not believe it. But he insisted and said: "Since you know about secret things, first reveal what it is that the king is wearing underneath his robe." Standing in their midst, by means of the Holy Spirit he revealed the symbol of king Constantine's humility, his pious clerical garb. And he showed everyone that beneath the purple [robe, the emperor] was wearing a hair-cloth for the love and fervent faith of Christ. After this, the emperor Constantine saw the attendant angel, thanks to Yakob and he fell at his feet and exalted him with great honor and great gifts. And he placed [Yakob's] chair above many of the others present at the synod. Subsequently, [Yakob's] bones were granted to the city of Amida. During the time of the wars between the Byzantine kings and the Iranian king, his bones along with those of other folk of Mcbin were transferred [to Amida] [g36]. [30]


The great war the Iranians and the Armenians fought with each other, the fall of the great general Vach'e in that battle, the death of king Xosrov, and the translation from this world of the patriarch Vrt'anes.

After this there was an even more intense war between the Iranians and Armenians, for [the Iranians] had massed and arrived to take the land of the country of Armenia. Then Vach'e, sparapet and general of Greater Armenia, assembled the azataxumb army of naxararakoyt troops. He arose and did battle with the Iranian troops and there was unbelievable destruction on both sides, including the destruction of many grandee nobles. In this battle Vach'e, the great sparapet of Armenia, fell and there was incredible mourning throughout the entire land, for many times the Lord had saved the Armenians through him. Archbishop Vrt'anes assembled and consoled everyone, including king Xosrov himself and all the troops who were taken with heart-rending sorrow, tearful laments, burdensome care, great sobbings and unbelievable mourning. Considering the departed and the survivors, they mourned. The great Vrt'anes comforted them, saying: "Be consoled in Christ. For those who have died died for our land, churches and God-given faith, so that our land not be enslaved or demolished, so that the churches not be polluted, that the martyrs not be dishonored, the [church] vessels not fall into [31] the hands of foul, unbelieving men, that the blessed covenant not be corrupted, that the baptized people not be taken captive or be subjected to the various obscenities of the religion of the unbelievers. Should the enemy capture our land they will implant here their impious, unbelieving, godless orders. We [g37] hope this will never happen. Our pious martyrs waged war for this and died chasing out and expelling evil from our land, so that faithlessness not enter this pious and God-loving land and that it not turn to serving the will of evil, and that many souls which are bound together with fervent, sincere love not be separated from each other. While they were still living, they labored with just labor for these things. In death, they held firmly their faithfulness and sacrificed their lives for the divine truth, churches, martyrs, the religion of the blessed covenant, orders of the faith, priestly covenant, for the countless new baptisms in Christ's name and for the army of the lord of the land. Those who did not spare their lives for all this must be exalted together with those who sacrificed themselves for Christ. So let us not mourn them but revere them worthily with the martyrs. Let us stipulate an eternal order throughout our entire land so that everyone will commemorate their good memory without fail as Christ's martyrs. We shall celebrate [32] the feast and be glad that through them God has found us agreeable and hereafter will grant us peace."

The great chief-priest Vrt'anes promulgated a law throughout the land that [the martyrs] should be remembered every year [on a specific day] and he made a canon that the people who had been slain for the salvation of the land should be remembered at the blessed altar of God during the mass after the names of the saints were recited, and that the survivors of the fallen should be cared for. For, he said, they fell in battle like Juda and Mattathias Maccabaei and their brothers. General Vach'e had a son who was a very little boy, named after his grandfather, Artawazd. They placed him on the pillow of [g38] his patrimonial gah, and in the presence of the king they placed his father's patiw on his head and put him in the sparapetut'iwn of his father. For [Artawazd] was the son of a very meritorious [individual], and of a very meritorious azg; and [furthermore] there was no other [individual] in that azg who was robust, since they had died in the great war. The affairs [33] of the generalship were assumed by Arshawir Kamsarakan, prince of Shirak and the district of Arsharunik', and Andovk, prince of Siwnik', since they were brothers-in-law of the tun of the Mamikonean tohm. The great archbishop Vrt'anes and the king ordered Arshawir and Andovk to raise the lad Artawazd so that he might occupy the position of his ancestors and of his father and accomplish deeds of bravery for Christ, the Lord of all, and for the brave men of his natural earthly Arsakuni lords, for their tun and lives; and so that throughout the entire course of his life he would look after widows and orphans and succeed to the acts of bravery of the sparapetut'iwn and the renowned generalship.

After this the world-building brave Xosrov, king of Greater Armenia, died. [People] assembled from all the lands and districts of Greater Armenia to mourn and weep, and they transported [Xosrov] to Ani of Daranaghik', in the district of Ekegheac', by his ancestors. Following him, the great chief priest Vrt'anes departed this world. Then the entire land of Armenia assembled and with great service, with psalms and spiritual songs, with lamps, candles, fragrant incenses, and royal wagons [ark'unakan karhok'], those who were left orphaned of their natural lord and their spiritual [34] vardapet accompanied [Vrt'anes' body] with sorrowful weeping to the village of T'ordan in Daranaghik' district. It was there, by the [tomb of the] great patriarch Gregory that they laid his holy bones to rest. After celebrating his perpetual living memory, they returned home [g39].


The reign over the land of Armenia of Tiran after his father, how Yusik occupied the patriarchal throne after his father Vrt'anes, how he was slain by king Tiran for upbraiding him.

After king Xosrov passed from this world, his son Tiran [339-350] took the authority of the kingship of the lands of Greater Armenia. With him the venerable, blessed lad Yusik succeeded to the position of the patriarchs of Armenia. In accordance with custom, king Tiran assembled [the following] grandee naxarars:

the great hazarapet from the tohm of the hazarapetut'iwn of all of Greater Armenia, Vagharsh, prince of Anjit,
prince Zareh, nahapet of Greater Cop'k',
Varaz, prince of the land of Shahuni Cop'k',
Gnit', prince of Hashtenic' district, of the Kaminakan tohm,
Vorot', prince of the district of Vanand,
Shahen, prince of the Anjewac'ik' tohm,
Atom, prince of Goght'an,
[35] Manawaz, prince of Koghb,
Gorut', prince of the land of Jori,
Manasp of the Xorxorhunik', prince of the Maghxazunean tun,
the prince of the Saharhunik' azg,
and Aba, prince of the Gnunik'.

[Tiran] ordered all of these [lords] to go with the great hazarapet Vagharsh to seat the venerable Yusik in the royal wagon, take him to their borders, to the capital city of Cappadocia, Caesarea, and to have the lad Yusik attain the Apostolic throne of the patriarchs. They reached the city of the Caesareans and had Yusik, son of Vrt'anes, ordained to the kat'oghikosate. They seated him on the throne of the Apostle Thaddeus, on the throne of his grandfather the great Gregory. Then they returned thence with great rejoicing and arrived in the Ayrayratean land, in [g40] good health. They sent in advance to the king the two princes of the [two] Cop'k's, to bring the glad tidings.

When the king himself heard about this, he and the entire multitude of the army went before [Yusik] through the plain to the other side of the river [over] Tap'er bridge. After giving [36] each other the desired greeting, they crossed the Tap'er bridge and entered the great city of Artashat, went to the church, and seated the amiable lad Yusik on the patriarchal throne. As his father Vrt'anes, he inherited the Apostolic [throne], and he, the son, became like his father in his qualities. In everything he showed himself to possess angelic conduct, and implemented everything with God-given grace. He shepherded Christ's rational flock and counseled according to the message of the Gospel. Though he was but a lad, he was robust and tall, was extremely handsome and attractive, to the point that he had no equal throughout the country. With a soul clean and radiant he did not occupy himself at all with mundane things. Rather, he was like a brave warrior of Christ, like a champion hero who, from his boyhood onward scorned and threatened the invisible enemy with victory. He never showed partiality or bias toward anyone, but rather bore the message of the Holy Spirit like a sword fixed to his waist. The grace-giving Spirit filled him with knowledge with which, like a fountain, he irrigated the ears and souls of all listeners of the country.

However king Tiran, the other grandee noble naxarars, and the entire land did not behave according to the wishes of God, or act wisely. Especially the king and the princes wrought indiscriminate [37] killings, shedding the blood of innocent people in vain and carrying out many other sinful things. They paid no attention to the heavenly commandments, despite the fact that [Yusik] ceaselessly advised and reminded them of God's wishes. For this reason the venerable patriarch Yusik continually reprimanded [g41] them with experienced words, with modesty, according to Christ's counsel, and to their faces he reprimanded, reproached, and blamed, telling of [God's] anger and the eternal torments of the inextinguishable fires of judgement, and he protested. Although in years he was but a lad, in wisdom he displayed the seniority of old age, and with great bravery he implemented advisory work and the work of patrimonial virtue. From his youth onward he had [his] patrimonial wisdom, the dignity of honorable old age, and reflected happy genius as a fragrant flower. For the sake of truth, he battled until death, first, to save himself, and then, he wanted to accomplish the same for the souls of others. He had such piety toward the Lord that he cared nothing for the king's affection or majesty. He was full of the knowledge of God and skill in reading Scripture. He threatened and chastised, and prevented the king and the grandees from entering Church.

With words of priestly authority [Yusik] threatened and reproached them for impiety, adultery, homosexuality, the shedding [38] of blood, dispossession, ravishment, hatred of the poor and numerous other sins such as these. He himself, out of awe of the severe commandments of the Lord, regarded as enemies those who perpetually transgressed the orders of Christ and broke the holy word of God. Throughout the entire course of his life he waged a war of reproach against everyone. On one of the annual feast days, king Tiran and others of the nobility came to enter Church. But [Yusik] cried out, saying: "You are unworthy. Why have you come? Do not come inside!" Therefore they dragged him into the church, and clubbed and crushed God's [g42] chief-priest, the blessed venerable lad Yusik. After beating him, they left him there, half-dead. Officiants of the court church took him from the royal Bnabegh fortress in the district of Greater Cop'k' to the village of T'ordan in Daranaghik' district. There, not many days later, he died and was laid to rest near Gregory and his fathers. [39]


How the country of Armenia remained without a patriarch after the death of Yusik, and how Yusik's sons were unworthy of their father's [patriarchal] throne.

Some time after the venerable Yusik was beaten to death, the country of the land of the T'orgomean language was leaderless, and was like a blind person, groping. They were given the soul of erring: eyes which do not see, ears which do not hear and hearts which do not understand and do not turn to atonement. Benighted, they reached the abyss of destruction, having cut their own road, they were ruined and fell, and there was no one to be shamed by their acts and sins of frenzy, since they remained without a leader. They boldly travelled the road of ruin, and by their own will fell into sin, by their will they became the sons of anger, and without God they travelled about the land of the crooked azg of the tun of the country of Armenia. They resembled that flock of sheep which made its own protecting and guarding dogs depart, and by its own will was betrayed to the enemy wolves, becoming their food, just like the great city of Athens.

In that tine [people] took their wicked example from the king and started to behave like him, and to do as he did. For long since, when they accepted Christianity, they [g43] took that faith by obligation, as though it were a human error, and not [40] in fervent faith. [They accepted the faith] not knowledgably with hope and faith, as is necessary. Only a few who were to some extent familiar with Greek or Syriac education partially understood that [faith]. But those who were devoid of literacy, namely the people—the motley multitude of naxarars and shinakans—even if teachers sat day and night and drenched them with learning like clouds pouring down heavy rain, none of them would have been able to understand or remember a single word, half a word, or any bit of what they had heard. For their minds were occupied with useless, vain matters, like little boys prepossessed with their childish toys, and they took no notice of useful or important things. Similarly, [the Armenians] with their weak minds were attached to undirected learning, to the old pagan customs, since they possessed rough, barbaric intellects. They loved their songs, legends, epic-tales, and were enthusiastic about learning them, and believed in them, and persevered in them. Toward each other they manifested spite and envy, hostility, grudges. They nibbled at each other, and a man would betray his comrade and his brother. Lovers tried to scandalize their loved ones, relations their relatives, families their families, members of the same azg other members, and in-laws, their inlaws.

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