Kirakos Ganjakets'i's

History of the Armenians


[The archbishop said]: "When you have done these [121] things, you need not concern yourself with taxes and presents for the Emperor and the Pope for the crown they gave you. But if you do not accept these changes, I have an order to take from you countless treasures of gold, silver, and precious stones."

Lewon called the kat'oghikos and bishops and asked what reply he should give to the messenger of the Romans. They did not approve of accepting [the terms]. Then Lewon said to them: "Do not worry about it. I will mollify them this time by deception."

And Lewon replied to the bishop of Rome, saying: "We shall promptly do all that the autocrat Emperor and the great Pope have ordered." [Lewon] required an oath of those twelve bishops, and convinced them to swear to it. Among the bishops who swore the oath were the bishop of Tarsus, Nerses Lambronets'i, whom we mentioned above, Yovsep' from the area around Antioch, the head of the monks called Jesuits (Yesuits), Yovhannes, who became kat'oghikos, and Anania who was [g157] anti-kat'oghikos in Sewast/Sebastia, and others with them.

A great multitude of people assembled then: commanders and troops of all peoples, the patriarch of the Greeks who sat in Tarsus, and the Syrian kat'oghikos who sat in the monastery [122] of the blessed Barsuma by the borders of Melitene, as well as the kat'oghikos of the Armenians with all the bishops. They enthroned Lewon as king, and the surrounding peoples brought gifts to the restored king.

When the emperor of the Greeks heard that the Franks had given Lewon a crown, he too sent gifts and a beautiful crown adorned with gold and precious stones, and [a message] saying: "Don't put the crown of the Romans on your head, instead put on our crown because you are closer to us than to Rome." But King Lewon was a wise man and he did not decline either of the two kings' offers, either, Roman or Constantinopolitan. Instead, he replied as he pleased and gladly accepted both, giving great tribute to the bearers of the crowns. Thus Lewon was crowned by both kings [g158].

[Lewon] had a good nature, merciful to the poor and needy, a lover of the churches and the servants of God. He established monasteries in all parts of his lordship and increased their provisions so that [the clerics] lack for nothing bodily, and occupy themselves only with worship and prayers. One of the monasteries he established is the famous monastery called Akner, which to the present conducts [123] itself according to the provisions he established. Every day of the week [the brothers at Akner] keep fasts, breaking them only on Saturday and Sunday, with fish or milk products.

Thus did the pious Lewon strengthen his kingdom with improvements. In all matters he was most excellent except in one—he was a gallant. He left his first wife (to whom he had been married as prince), and took in marriage the daughter of the king of the island of Cyprus, a woman of Frankish nationality, so that this king be his support and aid.

It happened that Lewon sailed to Cyprus to see his [g159] father-in-law. When his enemies heard about this, they (who had been unable to do anything to him while he was on dry land) prepared many ships to destroy him on the seas.

When King Lewon heard about this, he turned back to Cyprus, since it was enroute. He took his warships and came to the ambuscade which many ships had readied for him. Since he was a wise man, he recognized which of the ships was the principal one, and rammed it with a fast-moving vessel, so that all aboard drowned. The remaining ships fled. Dread of Lewon came upon everyone both near and far.

[124] Once, during Eastertime, the sultan who ruled the area around Aleppo assembled troops against Lewon, and sent this message to King Lewon: "If you do not submit and become tributary to me in service, then with the multitude of my troops I will put to the sword all the inhabitants of your land, both mother and child. And I will turn the holiday which you Christians are celebrating, revering the fact that it is the resurrection of your Christ, into a day of mourning. I will see to it that the food you prepared for your holidays you will eat on horseback" [g160].

Having sent this, the sultan, taking along the multitude of his soldiers went and pitched camp on his borders, awaiting the return of the messenger. As soon as the wise King Lewon heard the message and found out about the massing of foreign troops, he ordered the envoy to be led to another area, as though the king were there. Meanwhile Lewon hastened to muster his forces and come upon them from another direction. At an unexpected moment he fell upon them and dealt them many a hard blow and the sultan fled, escaping by a hairbreadth. King Lewon then took the booty from the camp of the foreigners, their tents and [125] all the captives. He came and pitched camp in his own country by the shore of a river, ordering his men to set up the altars of the foreigners and each to erect his banners by the door of his altar; and then he ordered [the sultan's] envoys summoned.

As soon as they came and saw the tents and altars of their own troops and the banners of each division, they wondered greatly, for they did not know what had happened. When they learned what had happened, they threw themselves at the king's feet, imploring him for their lives [g161]. The king was compassionate toward them, granted them their lives and sent them to their lord. As for the tax which the sultan had demanded of King Lewon, Lewon levied on him that same tax and more, and made the foreigners serve him. His accession was in 646 of the Armenian Era [1197].


4. Concerning the princes in eastern Armenia, Zak'are and his brother Iwane.


During the reign of Lewon, king of the Armenians, in the East there were two brothers, sons of the pious prince Sargis, son of Vahram, son of Zak'aria, who had separated from the Kurds of the Babirakan xel. The name of the first [126] son was Zak'are and the second was Iwane—brave men, rich in authority, honored by the queen of Georgia named T'amar who was the daughter of Georg the brave, son of Demetre. Zak'are was general of the Georgian and Armenian forces that were under the [g162] Georgian king. Iwane held the at'abekut'iwn. They displayed bravery in many battles, since they took for themselves from the Iranians and Tachiks much of Armenia which they had held, namely, the districts around the Sea of Geghark'unik', Tashir, Ayrarat, the city of Bjni, and Dwin, Anberd, the city of Ani, Kars, Vayots' Dzor, the land of Siwnik' and the fortresses, cities and districts surrounding it. They also made tributary the sultan of the city of Karin. They looted many districts of Iran and Atrpatakan, and extended their borders in every direction. The other prince named Zak'are did likewise, as did his brother Sargis and the other Sargis, father of Shalue and Iwane, relatives of the great princes; and with their aid they too took from the Iranians many districts and secure fortresses: Gardman, K'arherdz, Ergevank', Tawush, Katsaret', Terunakan and Gag and they placed in difficult straits the city of Shamk'or, which his son later took. This son was named Vahram, father of Aghbugha, grandfather of Vahram, Zak'are and Iwane.

[127] Thus they were aided in their conquests from On High [g163], so much so that their reputation for bravery spread throughout many districts and many peoples were tributary to them, both by reason of friendship and out of fear. They restored many monasteries which for a long time—since the invasions of the Ishmaelites—had been in ruins. They restored the churches once again and the clerical orders shone forth. They also built new churches and monasteries, which from antiquity had not been monasteries, among which the famous monastery called Getik in the district of Kayean, which was constructed by the blessed vardapet Mxit'ar called Gosh. They built a wondrous church with a heavenly dome; and they consecrated the church and anointed it in the name of the blessed Mother of God, a temple of the Lord's glory, and an abode of the rational flock of Christ.

As soon as their authority was so furthered, they attacked the sultan called Shahi Armen.

They wanted to take the charming city of Bznunik', Xlat', [from the Shah Armen]. Assembling their soldiers, they besieged it and were close to taking it. Prince Iwane, brother of the general, rode to examine the city's wall, to divert himself. Wandering aimlessly, his horse's leg [128] stumbled into a hidden pit and threw him to the ground [g164]. Seeing this the men of the city pounced upon him and, binding him, took him inside. And there was great merriment in the city. They immediately informed the sultan about his capture, at which the sultan rejoiced exceedingly, and ordered Iwane brought before him.

When general Zak'aria heard about this he sent threatening words to the citizens, saying: "Release my brother from your city, or I shall destroy it, I will take your soil to Georgia, and destroy your population." Frightened by him, they did not have Iwane sent to the sultans in Damascus and Egypt, named Kuz and Melik' K'eml and Ashrap' (from the line of Saladin, who took Jerusalem).

Making peace among themselves, [the residents of Xlat'] requested the daughter of Iwane in marriage. And it came to pass as they requested. They took hostages and released Iwane. When he went to his home, he sent his daughter to them. She became the wife of Kuz and after him, of Ashrap'.

The coming of this woman into the house of the sultans brought about much good, for the lot of the Christians under their domination improved, especially in Taron since the monasteries which were there and had been under taxation, had [129] the rate of their taxes lowered, and half of them had [g165] the whole tax discontinued. [The Muslims] ordered those under their domination not to despoil or trouble travellers going to Jerusalem for pilgrimage. The Georgians especially expanded [their influence], for Iwane was misled to the doctrine of Chalcedon (through which the Georgians were lost); for he loved the glory of man more than the glory of God. He became charmed by the queen named T'amar, daughter of Georg, while Zak'are remained true to the orthodox confession of the Armenians. Therefore they honored the Georgians even more, for they were not taxed in all their cities, and in Jerusalem as well.[Iwane' s daughter] was named T'amt'a.

Thus was friendship and unity achieved between the Georgian kingdom and the sultans' lordship.


5. The meeting which Zak'aria called to discuss certain matters.


After these events, once [the Zak'arids] had secured the land under their sway from any invasion, after the monasteries had multiplied and the worship of the Church shone forth brightly, Zak'are thought to do something else. For he saw [130] that among the Georgian soldiers under his king, each [general] had priests with him, and they performed mass everywhere, while he had no portable church (for such was not the custom of the Armenians for a long time, from after the removal of the grandee princes of Armenia [g166], because of the tyranny of the Iranians and Ishmaelites). The Georgians censured the Armenians for not having a portable church for not taking communion [on the march], and for not celebrating each of the feasts of the martyrs of God on the day of its occurrence. Therefore, Zak'are was deeply unhappy.

Zak'are asked the great vardapet Mxit'ar called Gosh (builder of the monastery of Getik, who was his father-confessor): "Was there ever among any of our kings or princes, a church suitable for the road—a place for worship and the mass?" He also asked other vardapets, and they told him that there had been a tent and table which circulated in the royal army of the mighty King Trdat, and that the blessed Vardaneans had received baptism and communion in the army. [They cited] the information which the blessed martyrs Hiperik'os and P'ilot'eos wrote to Yakobos the priest: "Take with you the chalice of the mass, and the horn of anointment, and come to us." And they informed him of other similar instances [g167]. Then the great general said to them: "Give me the command [131] to take along priests and a tent for mass in my travels." The great vardapet said to him: "We cannot do that without an order from the kat'oghikos of the Armenians, and from King Lewon."

So he wrote a letter and sent ambassadors to the kat'oghikos of the Armenians, Yovhannes, who during that time was in rebellion against King Lewon in Hrhomkla for various reasons. He also wrote to King Lewon and acquainted him with his request. Lewon had seated lord Dawit' as kat'oghikos in place of Yovhannes who was in rebellion against Cilicia in the monastery called Ark'akaghin.

Then Lewon assembled the vardapets and bishops under his sway and inquired about Zak'are's request. They agreed with it, so that [Zak'are] would not pass from orthodox faith as had his brother, and they wrote the following letter to the East:

"The sparapet and shahnshah of the eastern regions, Zak'aria, has inquired about the question of the deformation and corruption of the laws of the Christians which occurred because of slavery to foreigners. Vardapets, bishops, [132] fathers and elders [of the Church] held a meeting, examined [g168] his request and found it in accord with Scripture. [Zak'are] then sent to the Christ-crowned king of the Armenians, Lewon, in Cilicia in the west. And he, convening a meeting in the capital of Sis, with kat'oghikos Dawit' and the vardapets, bishops and monks, found [Zak'are's] request in accord with the apostolic conventions, not contrary to them.

Therefore they sealed and sent [to eastern Armenia] the following eight canons:

First: the mass should be performed with blessed clerks and deacons, as the law is.

Second: the feast of the Annunciation to the Mother of God should be celebrated on April sixth, on whatever day it falls. The feast of the Assumption should be held on the fifteenth of August, on whatever day it occurs, and the feast of the Holy Cross on the fourteenth of September, on whatever day it occurs. Similarly, other feasts of the martyrs should be celebrated on the actual days they occurred on according to the traditional commentary [g169].

Third: the fasts of the blessed Revelation of Christ and of Easter should be kept until evening, and not broken with anything except fish and olives.

[133] Fourth: the icons of the Savior and all the saints should be accepted, and not despised as though they were pagan images.

Fifth: mass should also be performed for the living.

Sixth: Clerics must not eat meat.

Seventh: One should be ordained as a clerk and, only after many days [i.e., after the passage of some time] as a deacon, and as a priest, in full maturity.

Eighth: Cenobites should reside in the monasteries. No one [in the monasteries] should receive things separately [i.e., as private property].

These and similar canons they wrote during the meeting in the West, and sent them to Zak'aria in the East.

Now kat'oghikos Yovhannes, who was in Hromkla, in order to gain the favor of the princes of the East sent a domed tent in the shape of a church, as well as people to set it up and decorate it, a marble altar and other vessels of the service, and a bishop named Minas, and deacons and clerks and priest with beautiful voices to say mass. Those who [g170] arrived visited the amir spasalar in the city of Lorhe and [134] presented him with the commands of the kat'oghikos and his letters and presents. Similarly, ambassadors and envoys from King Lewon and kat'oghikos Dawit' came.

Zak'aria, rejoicing at all this, ordered a meeting to be convened in the city of Lorhe. Included were their relative Grigores, the bishop of Haghbat and the bishop of Ani, the bishop of Bjni, Dwin, Kars and others who happened to be there. Also included were the vardapets and directors of the monasteries, with priests and the lay multitude. [Zak'are] wanted to raise the tent and have mass said.

In that period there flourished [among the Armenians] venerable vardapets such as Mxit'ar, called Gosh, the builder of the monastery of Getik, a learned, modest man, renowned for his doctrinal knowledge; Ignatios, Vardan, Dawit' K'obayrets'i of Haghbat, Hovhannes, prior of Sanahin (who was prior) following the death of vardapet Grigor, who was called Tuteordi. He was the tutor (dastiarak) of those [Zak'arid] princes. [Other prominent vardapets were] Grigor called Mononik, in Kech'arhuk'; T'urk'ik in T'eghenik', who organized the monastery [with the rule] that all things be held in common and that [g171] no one receive anything separately; Eghia of Hawuts' T'arh, the one who finely arranged the service of his monastery [135] so that everyone sang in unison, whether high or low notes, and so that one did not drown out the other when singing. There were Grigor Dunats'i and Sargis the ascetic from Sewan. These were venerable men, but there were also many others, such as Grigores, bishop of Haghbat, Vert'anes of Bjni and Dwin, Sargis the occupant of the [episcopal] throne of Ani, Hovhannes of Kars and many others from this area and that, with venerable priests of the monasteries, cities and villages.

Now when the people heard and learned about the orders of the kat'oghikos and King Lewon, some accepted them, but others did not. Being thus disunited, they separated from each other. One group secretly departed at night and forcibly prevented the others from entering until mass had been said. Being disunited, they continued blaming each other.

Prince Zak'are sent to the monasteries under his domination, and had them forcibly celebrate the feats of the Assumption of the Mother of God and the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, not on Sunday as the monks were accustomed to do [g172], but on whichever days they actually fell on. There was much disunity and fighting in the Church; instead of joy there was sorrow; instead of love for one another, hatred to the point [136] that they even dared to brandish swords against each other.

Zak'are then sent bishop Minas (who had come from the kat'oghikos) to Haghbat with his deacons, so that they [effect] the same [changes] there. When Minas came close to the monastery, bishop Grigores of Haghbat sent men who came and harshly beat him and his deacons with bastinados. Inflicting severe wounds on the clerics, the men left them there, half-dead. The mules which had borne his bundles were driven over a cliff and killed. The [injured] bishop was taken to Zak'are in a litter. Seeing Minas, Zak'are became furious at Grigores and ordered that he be seized, and even threatening him with death. [Grigores] fled to the land of Kayean, to Getik monastery and to the great vardapet Mxit'ar to seek protection, for he knew that [Mxit'ar] had great influence with Zak'are. Although [Grigores] had slipped out of his hands that time, he subsequently was seized at Kech'arhuk' and put [g173] in prison; and Yovhannes was made bishop of Haghbat in his stead. This is the man who previously had left his throne and had gone to Xach'en. Yovhannes was a virtuous man who did many memorable deeds at Haghbat, among which was the building of a renowned vestibule there, a structure which inspires the viewer with awe.

Thus there was confusion in the churches of the East, since [137] for a long time they did not have the custom of doing as he requested: not holding the feasts on the day each one occurred, so that they would not break fasts. Nor did they conduct mass with deacons and clerks; rather, the priests attended each other. I think that they had adopted this custom because of the tyranny of the Tachiks [Arabs] who did not allow the Christians to practise their religion freely. Therefore the priests did not dare to open the doors of the church at the hour of the supreme mystery, so that none of the foreigners would commit any crime or do anything else they desired .

Again Zak'are ordered an assembly convened in the district of Shirak, in the capital city of Ani. The above-mentioned bishops and vardapets and many others gathered. Zak'are wrote to vardapet Mxit'ar so that he come to the meeting. But Mxit'ar excused himself because of illness and inability and wrote a reply as follows: "I am in agreement with whatever [the other attendees] do and wish; and I beseech you [g174] not to implore me further, because I cannot come."

Now Zak'are convened the meeting and requested a pledge from them to do as he requested. They replied: "It is impossible for us to do this without the great vardapet." For they called Mxit'ar this out of respect. Then Zak'are [138] showed them the letter and said: "Here he is, for this is his writing. The letter is Mxit'ar and Mxit'ar is the letter." But he did not show them the letter or what Mxit'ar had written to him. The assembly requested his pardon until they themselves sent to Mxit'ar to invite him to the meeting.

They sent to vardapet Mxit'ar and beseeched him to attend the meeting so that they could make a unanimous reply to the general. They wrote: "Do not excuse yourselves on account of physical weakness, for if you die on the way to us we shall rank your memory with the first holy vardapets of the Church." As soon as Mxit'ar read the council's letter, he immediately arose and went to his hosts.

It was wintertime, close to the celebration of the birth and Revelation of Jesus Christ. Once the general knew that [Mxit'ar] was coming, he sent a prince outside the city walls so that as soon as Mxit'ar came, he would be brought directly to him and not to the meeting. Prior to the arrival of [g175] Mxit'ar, some bishops under Zak'are's domination agreed with the request so that they would not be dethroned. But others did not accept it.

As soon as the vardapet arrived, the prince [who had been sent to guide Mxit'ar] took the bridle of his horse and [139] conducted him to the general. When the assembly learned that they were not allowing Mxit'ar to come to them, they sent vardapet Nerses, a virtuous and sensible man who subsequently became the director of Kech'arhuk' after the death of vardapet Grigoris called Mononik, to go and say to him to come to the meeting first so that they might consult together over what had to be done—since they were under observation and the general was close to sending them into exile.

[Nerses] went and met [Mxit'ar] just as he was about to enter the general's dwelling. From outside [Nerses] shouted to him and delivered the assembly's message. But the prince forcibly took him inside. General Zak'are came before Mxit'ar and greeted him, saying: "Since you are here, [the other clerics] are of no concern to me."

The assembly's members were jealous when they heard this. Protesting, they said: "In everything that the general [Zak'are] does, Mxit'ar is his advisor. We are like beasts in his eyes." And they slandered him greatly [g176].

Now when [Mxit'ar] learned what had gone on at the meeting, he reproached the general with the fact that it was not proper to do such things forcibly. And he sent to the [140] assembly, saying: "Concern yourselves with the nation, so that the people do not mix with the Georgians by any custom and I shall worry about the general, so that he not be Georgian [in religion] like his brother who serves the Georgians. Because this is the way matters stand, why do you reproach me—especially since he has a rescript from the kat'oghikos and from King Lewon to do this. We, whether we like it or not, cannot prevent him from doing what he wants. Each of you now return to your dwelling and we shall beseech the general not to remove you from your churches and places. And we shall continue to worship in the same manner that we have up till now."

Now unbeknownst to the vardapet, amirspasalar Zak'are secretly gave the order to have them exiled. When the vardapet heard about it, he saved many of them from exile so that they returned to their dwellings. After a few days, Iwane, the general's brother, gave the order that the others could also return to their places.

Throughout his lifetime, Zak'are did as he pleased; but all the churches observed the traditional customs [g177].

All the activities, words and works of this assembly were written about by the sagacious and brilliant vardapet [141] Vanakan, in his history. Vanakan was an eyewitness to the events which transpired and he heard these things with his own ears, being at the time a student of the great vardapet [Mxit'ar]. This and many other things are found in his writings, which may be studied by those who will.


6. The coming of the kat'oghikos of Aghbania/Aghuania/Caucasian Albania to the great princes, because of harassment from foreigners.


Of the many sorrows and troubles which the entire world bore in general from the southern peoples, the sons of Ishmael, the lands of Armenia and Aghbania/Aghuania suffered even more, for [the native] kings and princes were exterminated. The Aghbanian kat'oghikoi moved hither and thither because there was no stable see. It happened that they came and stopped in a cave by the boundary of a fortress called Ch'arek', and ministered to their flock from there. One of their kat'oghikoi [g178] named Bezhgen left his order, took a wife, and fathered children. He was rejected and they ordained lord Step'annos in his place.

[Step'annos] had a suffragan bishop named Sarkawag. One day it happened that the latter went to the city of Gandzak [142] to collect revenues from the priests and Christians living there. As Sarkawag was entering, the emir of the city (whose name was Gurji Badradin) saw him and asked: "Whose man are you?" And as soon as he answered: "The kat'oghikos'," the emir said to him: "I have heard that the Christians have a great celebration when they bless the waters. Now your holiday is near. Call your kat'oghikos with his deacons as is your custom, and bless the waters of our city, that we too make merry with you."

The suffragan bishop went and related the emir's commard to the kat'oghikos. And the kat'oghikos rejoiced exceedingly because none of the kat'oghikoi or prominent clerics had dared to openly enter the city or circulate around in it because it was held by the Iranians who thirsted after Christian blood. [This was because the Iranians] had born much affliction from the inhabitants of Xach'en who spent their lives in brigandage and had killed many Iranians, robbing the Christians under their sway. Similarly the Georgian king and his troops were also hostile to the Iranians, and for this reasons, they were enemies of all Christians [g179].

Now the kat'oghikos assembled the bishops and vardapets of his diocese and went with them to answer the emir's call. When the emir saw him, he rejoiced exceedingly and ordered [143] that they go with great wealth and solemnity, with hooded crosses and bell-ringers, worshipping loudly, to bless the waters. The emir himself mounted on a steed and went with many of his troops to see it, for diversion. The whole city with its pagan population was stirred by the event, and they too went to view it. As soon as the holy oil was sprinkled on the water, the Iranians said: "Aha, the emir would make all of us Christians, for what more do Christians do than baptize and anoint? We all drink from that water, and we bathe in it. Hereafter we shall become faithless apostates because of this. Now come, let's devise something."

Gathering a large mob, they seized the kat'oghikos and placed him in prison. They chased after the emir and threw him into prison as well. They then wrote to the atabeg who resided in Isfahan (Aspahan) saying: "This emir has removed us all from our faith, because he allowed the head [g180] of the Christians to dump pig fat into our water. Now both of them, the kat'oghikos and the emir, are in prison. Whatever you order will be done to them." The atabeg ordered that the emir be removed from his authority and sent to him. As for the kat'oghikos, after taking much treasure of gold and [144] silver from him, they let him go wherever he wanted. Delivered from danger, the kat'oghikos went to Xach'en, and thereafter no longer dared to enter the borders of Gandzak.

Once the monks in the region around the city and the priests of the districts saw that lord Step'annos did not dare come to them, and since they did not dare go to him, they took that dethroned Bezhgen and [reinstated him], giving him the authority and order of the priesthood. When lord Step'annos learned of this, he excommunicated Bezhgen along with those who had done these things, while he himself moved about, here and there, until he died, in Herg district.

When the vardapets and bishops of Aghbania/Aghuania saw that the kat'oghikosate had ceased its existence and that there was no one left of the kat'oghikosal line, neither bishop nor priest but only a young deacon, they took the latter to bishop Vrt'anes in Bjni and had him ordained priest.

They brought him to Gandzak, to the city's ruler, whose name was emir Omar; and they beseeched him to command that the lad be ordained kat'oghikos. But the emir said: "He is extremely young. Why don't you who are already mature become kat'oghikos? [g181]" And they told him: "Because this young man is of the kat'oghikosal line, the throne belongs to him."

[145] So the emir ordered that he be ordained. There were a few bishops there who ordained him. As soon as this happened, the emir had the kat'oghikos Yovhannes mounted on a mule, placed a robe of honor on him, and he ordered that the kat'oghikos be led through the streets of the city, with trumpeteers before and behind.

Lord Yovhannes occupied the throne of the Aghbanian kat'oghikosate for many years. He established his residence within the borders of Ch'arek', in a cave which we spoke about earlier. However, he was harassed by the foreigners and applied to the grandee princes Zak'are and his brother Iwane to [let him] come to Armenia. They received him with great honor. Iwane settled him in the Miap'or district, in a monastery called Xamshi. He began to build a large, wonderful church, but before it was completed, [the construction] was halted for the sultan of Khurasan, called Jalaladin, came and struck at the kingdom of Georgia and threatened to bring one after another army of foreigners to destroy the lands of Armenia, Aghbania/Aghuania, and Georgia [g182].


7. Concerning the venerable vardapets in Vaspurakan.


[146] In these days there were virtuous and radiant vardapets, like luminaries, who made the land glow. Among them were Step'annos, the son of Yusik, a wonder-worker and a blessed man whose grave (after his death) became a cure for all the sick; Gorg Karnets'i, a wise and learned man; the [cleric] called Tirats'u who attained the rank of bishop; Astuatsatur (called the son of Aghbayrik) from the city of Archesh. Those who saw this man relate much about his virtues.

He was the son of a wealthy man, and was extremely pious and a lover of the poor. When informed that his mother had died, he thanked God and went to her burial. He took gold and silver and placed it in his mother's hands and then called the poor to take the money from his mother's hands as if she herself was giving it. When his father died he took all his possessions and distributed them to the needy.

He had many stores which he rented; each month, taking the money [g183], he bought sheepskins and cloth with it. With his own hands he sewed them into clothes and gave them to the poor.

[147] Seeing his good deeds, many of the Tachiks came to him and were baptized as Christians by him.

When the unbelievers saw that Astuatsatur was the cause of this, they wanted to kill him. But they did not dare do it because of the multitude of people. They therefore planned to ensnare him secretly. They took one of their servants, strangled him and threw his corpse at the doors of the monastery during nighttime. First thing in the morning they came and besieged the monastery to kill everyone, as though the one inside had committed the murder. When the Christians heard about this, they assembled in countless multitudes to die and to give assistance.

But the holy man of God saw the secret trap of the enemy, how they wanted to slaughter many people on his account, since Iranians ruled in the city. He said to them: "Allow us one night and tomorrow do as you will. Give us the deceased man." And they gave him the body. The vardapet then ordered that a night service be performed, and that God be beseeched to deliever them from calumny. Astuatsatur isolated himself [g184] and sighing heavily, he beseeched God for a visitation. In the morning he opened the doors of the monastery and called all inside—believers and unbelievers alike. Making the sign [148] of the Cross, he said loudly, to inform everyone: "I say to you, man, come, arise in the name of Jesus Christ Who created being out of nothingness, and say before everyone who murdered you." The deceased immediately arose and regarded the crowd. He saw his slayer and said: "That man killed me." Then that holy man of God [Astuatsatur] said to him: "Lay down your head once more and repose until the general Resurrection." Instantly, the man died again. Thus were they delivered from death, and the name of Christ was glorified.


8. The death of general Zak'are.


After many feats of bravery and triumphs accomplished by the great princes Zak'are and Iwane, they went to the city of Marand, took it, and destroyed the districts around it. Then they went on to Ardabil (Artawil) and similarly took it.

Many of the inhabitants together with their prayer-callers (who are called mughri) took refuge in their prayer houses. Zak'are ordered that grass and stalks be brought. He had [149] oil and naptha poured on this kindling until [the mosques] [g185] were blazing with flames; and he burned [the Muslims] to death saying: "Here are princes and laymen in return for the Armenian princes whom the Tachiks immolated in the churches of Naxchawan, Koran-readers (kurhayk'n) in return for the priests of Baguan who were slaughtered and whose blood was splattered on the gates of the church—a place which is darkened to this day."

And Zak'are went to his own land. On the way he became ill, for incurable sores appeared on his limbs. As soon as one would heal, another would flare up. He died after a few days of such torments. All the Christians mourned. They took his body and buried it at Sanahin, in the great church beneath the altar on the right side. Great mourning was undertaken by the king of Georgia, Georgi nicknamed Lasha (son of Soslan and T'amar, grandson of Georgi the great king) and by [Zak'are's] brother Iwane with all the Georgian troops. Zak'are left a young son named Shahnshah, whom Iwane raised along with his own son Sargis (called Awag), until he reached maturity and ruled his patrimonial principality [g186].


[Page 150]

9. King Lewon and his death.


The pious and victorious king of the Armenians, Lewon, in addition to the many deeds of bravery that he accomplished, also subjugated the neighboring peoples. The rebel kat'oghikos of the Armenians, Yovhannes (who was at Hrhomkla), came to him and they were reconciled with each other, once lord Dawit' died at Ark'akaghin.

But King Lewon took ill and died. He had summoned kat'oghikos Yovhannes and all the commanders with their troops; and, since he did not have a son, but only a daughter, he entrusted her to the kat'oghikos and all the princes so that they enthrone her in his place, obey her, and marry her to a man of corresponding dignity. He entrusted her to the kat'oghikos and to two grandee princes—his relative Kostandin and sir Atan (who was of Roman confession)—and then he died peacefully in the year 668 A.E. [1219], having ruled the kingdom for twenty-four years bravely and with a good reputation [g187].

His entire dominion mourned him greatly as did all the troops, for the philo-Christian king was very dear to everyone. After appropriate mourning, they prepared his body for burial.

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