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E00121: Movsēs Xorenac'i's History of Armenia, written in Armenian and traditionally considered a 5th c. text, but most probably of the early 8th c., recounts the final days and death of *Gregory the Illuminator (converter of Armenia, S00251), the recovery of his relics, and their burial in the village of T'ordan.

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posted on 31.10.2014, 00:00 by naleksidze
Movsēs Xorenac'i, History of Armenia, Book 2, Chapter 91:

The chapter recounts the last days and death of Gregory the Illuminator and of his son and successor Aristakēs.

փոխանորդ իւր թողլով զորդի իւր զԱրիստակէս, ինքն կալով ի գաւառին Դարանաղեաց, ի լերինն Մանեայ այրս:
Այլ ասասցուք, թէ է՛ր աղագաւ կոչի Մանեայ այրք: Քանզի էր կին ոմն անուն Մանի, յընկերաց սրբոց Հռիփսիմեանց, որպէս զՆունէ Վրաց վարդապետուհի. որ ոչ շութափեաց հետեւել նոցա ի գալն առ մեզ, գիտելով զամենայն տեղիս՝ Աստուծոյ, բնակեցաւ ի լերինս յայսոսիկ, յայրս ինչ քարանց. վասն որոյ կոչեցաւ անուն լերինն Մանեայ այրք. յոր այրի յետոյ բնակեցաւ եւ սուրբն Գրիգոր:

[Gregory] left his own son Aristakēs as his successor and remained himself in the province of Daranalik' in the mountain "Caves of Manē." But let us explain why it is called "Caves of Manē." There was a certain woman, Manē by name, among the companions of Saint Hripsimē, like Nunē, the teacher of the Georgians, who made no haste to follow them when they came among us; but knowing that all places are God's, she dwelt in these mountains in some caves in the rock. For this reason the mountain was named "Caves of Manē," and in that cave later dwelt Saint Gregory.

Gregory revealed himself to people from time to time, however when his son Aristakēs returned from Nicaea, henceforward Gregory appeared to no one. After Gregory, his son Aristakēs ruled for seven years, until he was killed by Archilaeus, the governor of Fourth Armenia, who was reprimanded by the patriarch on numerous occasions. Aristakēs was succeeded by his elder brother Vrt'anēs. Meanwhile

Բայց սրբոյն Գրիգորի ի Մանեայ այրն կեցեալ աներեւութաբար ամս բազումս՝ փոխի մահուամբ ի կարգս հրեշտակաց: Եւ հովուաց գտեալ զնա վախճանեալ՝ ի նմին տեղւոջ թաղեցին, ոչ գիտելով թէ ո՛վ ոք նա իցէ: Վայելէր իսկ նոցա, որք Փրկչին մերոյ ծննդեանն եղեն խորհրդածուք, լինել եւ աշակերտին յուղարկմանն սպասաւորք: Եւ ծածկեալ ամս բազումս աստուածային իմն գոգցես տեսչութեամբ, իբրեւ զՄովսէսն զայն ի հնումն, զի մի՛ ի պաշտօն ի դեռահաւատ բարբարոսացս առցի ազգաց: Իսկ յորժամ սերտեալ հիմնեցան հաւատք կողմանցս այսոցիկ՝ զկնի յետ բազում ժամանակաց յայտնեցաւ ճգնաւորի ումեմն Գառնիկ անուն կոչեցելոյ, եւ բերել եդաւ ի գեօղն Թորդան նշխարք սրբոյն Գրիգորի:

Saint Gregory lived in seclusion in the Cave of Manē for many years and on his death was transposed to the ranks of angels. Shepherds found him dead and buried him in the same place without knowing who he was. It was indeed fitting that they who were the ministers of our Savior's birth should also be the servants of his disciple's burial. [Saint Gregory's relics] were hidden for many years by divine providence you might say, like Moses of old, lest they become the object of a cult to the half-converted barbarian nations. But when the faith had become firmly established in these regions, after a long time Saint Gregory's relics were revealed to a certain ascetic called Garnik, who took them and buried them in the village of T'ordan.

Text: Thomson 1981, 242-245; Translation: Thomson 2006, 244-246.

History

Evidence ID

E00121

Saint Name

Gregory the Illuminator, Converter of Armenia : S00251 Nino, enlightener of Georgia : S00072 Aristakēs I, Katholikos of Armenia : S00836 Hripsimē, virgin and martyr of Armenia : S00071

Saint Name in Source

Գրիգոր Նունէ Արիստակէս Հռիփսիմէ

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Armenian

Evidence not before

450

Evidence not after

800

Place of Evidence - Region

Armenia

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

Hadamakert Հադամակերտ Hadamakert Başkale

Major author/Major anonymous work

Movsēs Xorenaci (History of Armenia)

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits

Cult Activities - Relics

Discovering, finding, invention and gathering of relics Bodily relic - entire body Attempts to prevent the veneration of one's relics

Source

The author In the introductory paragraph the author identifies himself as Moses of Khoren (Xoren), although no such town is otherwise attested. He claims to be an active member of the circle of Maštoc' and Sahak of the early 5th century and to have witnessed some of the events he described. But the authorship and date has been challenged convincingly, as the author reveals knowledge of sources much later than the 5th century, and, as Robert Thomson points out, it was only after the year 900 that Movsēs's claim to have been a student of Sahak and Maštoc' was shared by other Armenian authors (Thomson 2006, 2-3). The first reference to the History of Movsēs Xorenac‘i appears in the 10th century, when he is used as a source. It is in the early 11th century that lists first appear in which Movsēs is listed as a 5th century author. Thereafter Movsēs was canonically considered as the 5th century “father of Armenian history”. Currently the most convincing suggested date for the compilation and composition of Movsēs’s history is the first half of the 8th century. Movsēs frequently cites unnamed earlier sources in support of what he writes, but there is no way of telling whether these really existed, or whether they are a rhetorical device. Xorenac'i’s agenda Movsēs overtly writes for his Bagratid patrons, who ascended to power in Armenia in the early 8th century. He seeks to connect the Bagratid family to the period before the official conversion of Armenia, and to assert their perpetual Christianity. According to Movsēs, the Bagratids were even associated with the preaching of Thaddaeus in Edessa, before the latter came to Armenia. Tobias, in whose house Thaddaeus had lodged in Edessa, was, according to Movsēs, a Jewish Bagratid prince. This claim is crucial for Movsēs, as previous historians, who mostly wrote for the rival Mamikonean clan, had closely associated this latter family with Gregory the Illuminator. The Mamikoneans had, according to this tradition, married into the family of Gregory. Therefore Movsēs’s primary agenda was to elevate his patrons’ prestige vis-à-vis the Mamikoneans by pointing out their even older Christian connections (Thomson 2006, 29-30). As part of this agenda, Movsēs promoted the cult of the early apostles Thaddaeus and Barthlomew in Armenia, and adapted the story of the Syrian King Abgar into the Armenian tradition, having made Abgar Armenian.

Discussion

This story must be Movsēs's addition or an elaboration of some oral narrative. According to the Epic Histories, which seem to be Movsēs's primary sources in this instance, Gregory was immediately buried in T'ordan with no mention of an earlier burial elsewhere and a later transfer of his relics. Movsēs claims that for a nation that was only recently converted to Christianity, it would have been dangerous to reveal the relics of Gregory the Illuminator. Gregory's relics were revealed only after Christianity was firmly established among the Armenians and no danger of pagan veneration persisted. Movsēs also tries to conjoin several narratives, both Georgian and Armenian (for instance with his reference to Nunē, the apostle to the Georgians), in order to sustain continuity and uniformity within the two traditions.

Bibliography

Edition: Thomson, R.W., Moses Khorenats'i, Patmut'iwn Hayots' (History of the Armenians), a facsimile reproduction of the 1913 Tiflis edition (New York: Caravan Books, 1981). Translation: Thomson, R.W., Moses Khorenats'i, History of the Armenians (Ann Arbor: Caravan Books, 2006).

Licence

Exports

Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Licence

Exports