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E00500: Agathangelos' History of Armenia, written in Armenian, in the second half of the 5th c., tells the story, set in the early 4th c., of *Gregory the Illuminator (converter of Armenia, S00251) retrieving the bodies of the virgins *Hripsimē (Armenian virgin and martyr of Roman origin, S00071) and *Gayanē (Armenian martyr and companion of Hripsimē, S00260).

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posted on 14.05.2015, 00:00 by naleksidze
Agathangelos, History of Armenia, 211-225

211-223:
King Trdat is punished for his impiety and for torturing and killing the holy virgins Hripsimē and Gaianē (see E00497). During a hunt he is miraculously turned into a boar. The king's sister, Xosroviduxt has a vision that there will be no cure for the king, unless Gregory the Illuminator is freed from the pit and brought from Aštišat. When the populace hear of the vision, they mock the princess, but she has the same vision five times, with threats that she and the rest of the people will suffer great afflictions unless they free Gregory. As a result, a nobleman called Awtay goes to Aštišat to recover the imprisoned Gregory. The local people do not believe Gregory to be still alive, for he had spent years in the pit. They free him from the pit and take him to Vałaršapat. Eventually the king is cured through Gregory's prayers and turned back into a man.

223:
Իսկ անդէն սկսաւ հարցանել Գրիգորիոս, թէ ո՛ւր եդեալ են մարմինք վկայիցն Աստուծոյ։ Իսկ նոքա ասեն, թէ "Զորո՞ց վկայից ասես"։Եւ նա ասէ. "Որ վասն Աստուծոյն մեռան ի ձէնջ"։ Իսկ նոցա ցուցեալ նմա զտեղիսն: Իսկ նա ընթացեալ ժողովել եւ ամփոփել զմարմինս նոցա ի սպանման տեղեացն, զի կային անդէն։ Եւ տեսին զի զաւրութեանն Աստուծոյ պահեալ էր զմարմինս նոցա. զի այն ինն տիւ էր եւ ինն գիշեր, զի արտաքոյ ընկեցեալ կային մարմինք նոցա, զի ոչ գազանի էր մատուցեալ եւ ոչ շան, քանզի անդէն շուրջ զքաղաքաւն էին, մաւտ ի քաղաքն. եւ ոչ հաւու վնասեալ եւս էր նոցա, եւ ոչ հոտեալ էին մարմինք նոցա։

'Where is this happening? Then Gregory began to ask them where the bodies of the martyrs had been placed. They said: "Of what martyrs are you speaking?" He replied: "Those who died at your hands for their God." Then they showed him the places. And he hastened to bring together their bodies from the places where they had been killed, for they were still lying there, and to enshroud them. They saw that the power of God had preserved their bodies; for it was the ninth day and ninth night that their bodies had been lying outside, and no animal or dog had approached although they were around the city near to it, nor had any bird harmed them, nor did their bodies stink.'

224:
Իսկ նոքա բերին հանդերձս սուրբս պատանաց. բայց երանելին Գրիգորիոս ոչ արժանի համարէր զպատանսն բերեալս թագաւորին, կամ զայլոց մարդկանն. այլ իւրաքանչիւր պատառոտուն հանդերձիւն պատէր զսուրբսն. "Առ անգամ մի, ասէ, մինչեւ լիջիք դուք արժանի պատել զմարմինս նոցա"։ Եւ ամփոփեաց, առ գնաց ի հնձանն, ուր վանքն իսկ լեալ էին նոցա. եւ իւր իսկ վանս անդէն կալեալ՝ աւթեվանս առնէր։ Եւ երանելին Գրիգորիոս զցայգն ամենայն առ Աստուած աղաւթս մատուցանէր նոցա փրկութեան, եւ խնդրուածս առնէր, զի դարձցին եւ ապաշխարութեան հնարս գտանել մարթասցեն։

'Then they brought clean clothes for shrouds. But the blessed Gregory did not consider the shrouds brought by the king worthy, nor those of the other people. But he wrapped each saint in their torn clothing. "For a while," he said, "until you are worthy to wrap their bodies." He enshrouded them, and took them to the vat-store where they had their lodging, and he made it his own dwelling-place. Then the blessed Gregory prayed all night to God for the [Armenians'] salvation, and begged that they might be converted and be able to find a way to repentance.'

225:
Եւ ի վաղիւ անդր թագաւորն եւ նախարարքն եւ մեծամեծ աւագանին խառնաղանճ ամբոխիւն բազմութեամբ եկեալ ի ծունր իջեալ առաջի սրբոյն Գրիգորի եւ առաջի սուրբ ոսկերաց վկայիցն Աստուծոյ՝ խնդրէին եւ ասէին. "Թո՛ղ մեզ զամենայն յանցումն չարեացն, զոր մեք ընդ քեզ արարաք. եւ խնդրեա՛ դու վասն մեր յԱստուծոյ քումմէ, զի մի' կորիցուք"։

'In the morning the king and princes and the great magnates with the mass of the common people came in a crowd and knelt before saint Gregory and before the bones of God's martyrs, and begged: "Forgive us all the evil crimes that we have committed against you. And ask your God on our behalf that we perish not."'

Text: Thomson 1980, 113-118. Translation: Thomson 2010, 275-291. Summary: Nikoloz Aleksidze.

History

Evidence ID

E00500

Saint Name

Gregory the Illuminator, Converter of Armenia : S00251 Hripsime, Armenian virgin and martyr of Roman origin : S00071 Gaiane, Armenian martyr and companion of Hripsime : S00260

Saint Name in Source

Գրիգոր Հռիփսիմէ Գայանէ

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Armenian

Evidence not before

450

Evidence not after

470

Activity not before

300

Activity not after

325

Place of Evidence - Region

Armenia

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

Hadamakert Հադամակերտ Hadamakert Başkale

Major author/Major anonymous work

Agathangelos

Cult activities - Places

Place of martyrdom of a saint

Cult Activities - Miracles

Bodily incorruptibility

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Monarchs and their family Soldiers Officials

Cult Activities - Relics

Discovering, finding, invention and gathering of relics Bodily relic - unspecified

Source

The History of Armenia, attributed to a certain Agathangelos, is the main account of Armenia's conversion to Christianity by Gregory the Illuminator in the fourth century. The History covers the period between the demise of the Arsacid royal line in Iran soon after 224 to the death of Gregory sometime after the Council of Nicaea in 325. The author claims to have been commissioned by King Trdat, Armenia's first Christian king, to chronicle the events. This gloss has caused multiple discussions: the current scholarly consensus is that the surviving text of Agathangelos is likely to be of the period circa 450-470. It cannot predate the development of the Armenian script in the first third of the 5th century and must predate the Epic Histories of the late 5th, because these quote from Agathangelos. In R. Thomson's words: 'The author of the History ascribed to Agathangelos attempted to create a picture of Gregory as the founder of the Armenian Church based on traditions mostly oral but also [possibly] written. His effort was neither the first word, nor the last in that process, but the History of Agathangelos did eventually become the enshrined version of the events. As such it joined those other classics of Armenian literature which defined the past as a source of inspiration and a model for emulation in the future'. (Thomson 2010, 8). Despite this, the image of Gregory in the Armenian tradition has been constantly evolving and was repeatedly adapted to immediate rhetorical and political aims. The story of Gregory and his heroic suffering became popular in both the Christian East and West and appears in numerous versions in other languages, including Syriac, Arabic, Georgian, Greek and Latin. Despite this, for the purpose of the present database, only the Armenian version will be utilised, unless specified otherwise. This is justified by the fact that other versions seem to be much later than the original 5th century text.

Discussion

The events described in these paragraphs are effectively the first steps towards the Christianization of Armenia and of the foundation of Aštišat as a holy site. Agathangelos presents Gregory as establishing the commemoration of Armenia's own martyrs, and, by implication, creating a distinctive and autonomous Armenian church.

Bibliography

Edition: Thomson, R.W., (ed.) Agathangelos, Patmowtiwn hayots' (History of the Armenians) a Facsimile Reproduction of the 1909 Tiflis Edition (Delmar NY, Caravan Books, 1980). Translation: Thomson, R.W., The Lives of Saint Gregory: The Armenian, Greek, Arabic, and Syriac Versions of the History Attributed to Agathangelos (Ann Arbor: Caravan Books, 2010).

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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