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E01329: The Armenian History, written in Armenian and attributed to Sebeos in the 7th c., recounts the construction of the Church of the Angels (Zuartnoc') at the site of the encounter of king Trdat and *Gregory the Illuminator (converter of Armenia, S00251), by the Armenian Katholikos Nersēs III in 650s.

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posted on 02.05.2016, 00:00 by dlambert
The Armenian History attributed to Sebeos, Chapter 45:

Յայնմ ժամանակի արկ ի միտս իւր կաթուղիկոսն Հայոց Ներսէս շինել իւր բնակութիւն մերձ առ սուրբ եկեղեցեացն որ ի Վաղարշապատ քաղաքին, ի վերայ ճանապարհին՝ յորում, ասեն, ընդ առաջ եղեւ թագաւորն Տրդատ սրբոյն Գրիգորի: Շինեաց անդ եւ եկեղեցի մի յանուն երկնաւոր Զուարթնոցն, որոց երեւեալ ի տեսլեան սրբոյն Գրիգորի բազմութիւն երկնաւոր զաւրացն: Եւ շինեաց զեկեղեցին բարձր շինուածովք եւ չքնաղ զարմանալեաւք, արժանի աստուածային պատուոյն, որում նուիրեացն: Ած ջուր եւ եբեր զգետոյն եւ արկ ի գործ զամենայն վայրսն առապար, տնկեաց այգիս եւ ծառատունկս, եւ շուրջանակի պատուարեաց զբնակութեամբն գեղեցկադիր յաւրինուածով բարձր պարսպաւ ի փառս Աստուծոյ:

'At that time Nersēs the Catholicos of Armenia decided to build his residence near to the holy churches in the city of Vałarshapat, on the road on which - they say - king Trdat had met St Gregory. There he built a church in the name of the Heavenly Angels, who had appeared as a multitude of heavenly hosts in the vision of St Gregory. He built the church as a tall edifice, incomparably wonderful, worthy of the divine honour to which he dedicated it. He brought water, directed [a channel] of the river, and put to cultivation all the rough ground. He planted vines and trees, and surrounded his residence with a high wall, beautifully constructed, to the glory of God.'

Text: Abgaryan 1979, 147; Translation: Thomson and Howard-Johnston, 112.
Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Keywords

History

Evidence ID

E01329

Saint Name

Gregory the Illuminator, Converter of Armenia : S00251

Saint Name in Source

Գրիգոր

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Armenian

Evidence not before

600

Evidence not after

661

Activity not before

660

Activity not after

668

Place of Evidence - Region

Armenia

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

Hadamakert Հադամակերտ Hadamakert Başkale

Major author/Major anonymous work

Sebēos

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult Activities - Miracles

Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Monarchs and their family

Source

The History attributed to Sebeos is one of the rare extant Christian chronicles from the 7th century. It was written near the end of the first phase of the Islamic conquest, when hopes temporarily rose among the Christians that the Islamic occupation would soon be over. Sebeos' task was to chronicle the events that, according to him, led to the disaster of the Islamic invasions. In a familiar Armenian tradition, he depicts himself as a continuator of earlier history writers, and sets out to connect his History with his immediate predecessor, Łazar P'arpec'i. Sebeos' principal interest lies in the reign of the Sasanian king Khosrow II (590-628). Sebeos' History is an important work, as he does not confine himself to a narrow account of affairs purely Armenian, but elaborates on the historical context and the influence of the mutual relations between Sasanian Iran and the East Roman empire on Armenia proper. Contrary to Movsēs Xorenac'i and other hellenophile authors, Sebeos considers Armenia an integral part of the Persian world and choses a Sasanian perspective. Therefore, Sebeos effectively chronicles the demise of the Sasanian empire, with a particular interest in the campaigns of Heraclius and the rise of Islam.

Discussion

The Church of Zuart'noc', near Yerevan, is one of the masterpieces of late antique Armenian architecture. It was built by the Armenian Chalcedonian Katholikos Nersēs III the 'Builder'. The attitude towards Nersēs is highly ambivalent both in Sebeos's writing and in later Armenian historiography. On the one hand he is hailed as the great builder and reviver of Armenian culture, on the other he is condemned as a traitor and the most famous Chalcedonian Patriarch after the Church Schism. Zuart'noc' is located very close to Vałaršapat, and, according to Sebeos, on the very same spot where king Trdat had met Gregory on the latter's return from Caesarea as the first bishop of Armenia. The name of the church ('of the Angels') derives from the multitude of angels that appeared in Gregory's vision.

Bibliography

Edition: Abgaryan G. (ed.), Պատմութիւն Սեբէոսի [The History of Sebeos] (Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1979). Translation: Thomson, R.W., and Howard-Johnston, J., The Armenian History Attributed to Sebeos (Translated Texts for Historians 31; Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1999). Studies: Maranci, C., Medieval Armenian Architecture: Constructions of Race and Nation (Leuven: Peeters, 2001).

Licence

Exports

Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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Keywords

Licence

Exports