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E00104: Łazar P'arpec'i's History of Armenia, written in Armenian in around AD 500, recounts the taking of the body of Katholikos *Sahak II (Armenian Katholios, S00076) to Aštišat, on his death in the 460s, the establishment of a church, monastery and annual feast at the site of his burial, and the healing miracles that occurred there.

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posted on 29.10.2014, 00:00 by naleksidze
Łazar P'arpec'i, History of Armenia , Book 1, chapter 18:

Patriarch Sahak II died peacefully in his sleep in the province of Bagrewand, a village called Blur.

Որոց առեալ զտենչալի նշխարս սրբոյն, բազմութեամբ քահանայից եւ ազատաց, տարան ի գաւառն Տարաւնոյ, ի բնիկ գիւղն իւր սեպհական, յանուանեալն Աշտիշատ. եւ անդ կազմեալ զհանգստարանն սրբոյն` պատեցին զպարկեշտ մարմինն արդարոյն ըստ արժանի կայանից ճշմարտին։ Ուր եւ շինեալ եկեղեցի մեծապայծառ եւ վկայարան սրբոց` զարդարեցին պատուական եւ մեծագին սպասուք. հիմնացուցեալ կանգնեցին ի տեղւոջ վանս բազմութեան պաշտաւնէից, կարգեալ դարման անպակաս պտղոց ի հանգիստ առաւելեալ եղբայրութեանն. ժողովս տարեւորականս աշխարհայորդոր բազմութեամբ հաստատեցին ի տեղւոջն, որ ըստ ժամանակի բազմամբոխ ժողովրդաւք կամաւոր յաւժարութեամբ ազատք եւ քահանայք գաւառին, այլ եւ կարի յոյժ ի հեռաւոր տեղեաց դիմեալք յաւր կարգադրութեան նորա կատարեն։ Որ եւ բազում աւգնականութիւնս առողջութեան ըստ իւրաքանչիւր ախտից շահէին ի նշխարաց սրբոյն եւ ուրախալից սրտիւ դառնային ի բնակութիւն յիւրաքանչիւր։

'Taking the saint’s precious relics, with a host of priests and nobles they brought them to the province of Taron, to his own native village called Aštišat. There they constructed the saint’s tomb and set therein the holy body of the just one, a truly worthy resting-place. There too they built a magnificent church and martyrium for the holy relics, adorning it with precious and very valuable vessels. They founded at the spot a monastery for a large number of ministers, providing liberally for the comfort of the increased brotherhood. They established at that place annual gatherings with a great crowd of people, when at the appropriate time in vast throngs the nobility and priesthood of the province, and also from many distant parts, would enthusiastically assemble to celebrate the appointed [feast-] day. They gained cures according to each one’s malady from the saint’s relics, and with joyful heart would return each to his own dwelling.'

Text: Kouymjian 1985. Translation: Thomson 1991, 73.

History

Evidence ID

E00104

Saint Name

Sahak II, Armenian Katholikos (354-439) : S00076

Saint Name in Source

Սահակ

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Armenian

Evidence not before

493

Evidence not after

500

Activity not before

428

Activity not after

428

Place of Evidence - Region

Armenia

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Hadamakert Հադամակերտ Hadamakert Başkale

Major author/Major anonymous work

Łazar P'arpec'i, History of Armenia

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Miracles

Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Crowds Aristocrats Ecclesiastics – unspecified

Source

Łazar is mentioned by name only late in the Armenian tradition: the earliest reference to him by name dates to the 11th c., when Stephanos of Taron lists previous historians and names Łazar as an historian after Ełiše (which is chronologically incorrect). Earlier writers, such as Sebeos and Movsēs Xorenaci, clearly referred to Łazar's work, without naming him, but as an historian he only became popular much later, and knowledge of his History was quite scarce before 1000. The earliest surviving manuscript is even later and dates to 1672 (though some fragments have survived from the 15th c., and one fragment predates the year 1200). The late date of the manuscript tradition is not necessarily an argument for its late composition. As R. Thomson points out “a long succession of quotations and adaptations over the centuries points to their popularity”, but “we cannot be sure to what extent … radical editing was undertaken by well-meaning scholars, or perhaps deliberate and tendentious changes were introduced” (Thomson 1991, 4-5.) With reasonable certainty, Łazar and his work can be placed at the end of the 5th c. or the first years of the 6th, apart from the famous vision of Katholikos Sahak, which is clearly a later interpolation. As with other late antique Armenian historians, Łazar had a patron; specifically he wrote for the Mamikonean clan and their leader Vahan Mamikonean. He explains explicitly that he had been urged to write his History by his patron Vahan, the marzpan of Armenia, to whom Łazar owed the restoration of his fortunes. The purpose of the book, according to the author, was also moral, to provide his readers with role models and to encourage them to emulate the virtues of the holy, spiritual or valiant men who were the heroes of the History. Łazar also clearly places himself in the literary tradition of his predecessors and perceives his own work as a continuation of Agathangelos’s and of the Epic Histories, wrongly attributed to 'Faustos of Byzantium'. Łazar starts his History at the division of Armenia in 428 (where the Epic Histories had stopped) and continues down to the day when Vahan Mamikonean became the marzpan of Armenia in 485.

Discussion

Łazar is particularly interested in promoting Aštišat as the holiest site of Armenia, since it was located within the domain of his patrons, the Mamikonean clan. According to the Epic Histories Aštišat had been the site of several pagan temples, including that of Anahit, Astłik and Vahagn. The latter occupied a particular important place in the pre-Christian Armenian pantheon. The temple of Vahagn was miraculously destroyed by Gregory the Illuminator. The Epic Histories stress the status of Ashtishat as the first Church of Armenia (Epic Histories III.iii, xiv). Aštišat also contained the major shrine of John the Baptist. Several Gregorid patriarchs were buried in Aštišat, including the last representative of the Gregorid house, Sahak I. As noted by N. Garsoïan, despite its popularity Aštišat was very rarely referred to as an inhabited place and was rather a holy site (Garsoïan 1989, 449-450).

Bibliography

Text: Ղազարայ Փարպեցւոյ Պատմութիւն Հայոց և Թուղթ առ Վահան Մամիկոնեան [Łazar P‘arpec‘i’s History of the Armenians and the Letter to Vahan Mamikonean], a photographic reproduction of the 1908 Tiflis edition, with a new introduction and critical bibliography by D. Kouymjian (New York: Caravan Books, 1985). Translation: Thomson, R., The History of Łazar P‘arpec‘i (Atlanta: Scholar’s Press, 1991). Studies: Garsoïan, N., The Epic Histories Attributed to P'awstos Biwzand (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989).

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