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E01334: The Epic Histories, traditionally attributed to P'awstos, written in Armenian in the second half of the 5th c., recounts the miraculous ordination of the Armenian katholikos *Nersēs (patriarch of Greater Armenia, ob. 373, S00254) and of *Basil (bishop of Caesarea, ob. 379, S00780) followed by the vision of Basil before the defence of Orthodoxy against the Arians.

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posted on 03.05.2016, 00:00 by naleksidze
The Epic Histories, Book 4, chapter 7

Յաղագս Աստուծոյ սքանչելեացն` որ եղեն ի Ներսէս եւ կամ ի Բարսիլիոս. եւ վասն նախանձուն Եւսեբի եպիսկոպոսի առ Բարսիլիոս:

Իսկ եպիսկոպոսն Կեսարու Եւսեբիոս յորժամ ետես զզարմանալիսն զնախ իջանել զաղաւնոյն` որ եկն ի յերկնից, եւ հանգչել նախ յերիցապետն Կեսարու սուրբն Բարսիլիոս, ի դժկամակ միտս լինէր ընդ նմա. եւ տեսանէր զնա իբրեւ զիւր հակառակորդ եւ զթշնամի: Քանզի հռչակ հարեալ էր ընդ երկիր ամենայն. ասէին եւ պատմէին` թէ յորժամ ձեռնադրէին զսուրբ կաթողիկոսն Ներսէս, էջ հանգեաւ ի նմանութիւն աղաւնոյ ի վերայ` նախ յերիցապետն ի սուրբ Բարսիլիոս. եւ ապա յարուցեալ նստաւ ի քահանայապետն Ներսէս: Եւ այս հռչակ հարկանէր զնոցանէ. մանաւանդ յաշխարհն Գամրաց: Մեծապէս թուէին մարդկանն սքանչելիքն ամենայն. եւ ամենայն մարդ պատուէին զսուրբն Բարսիլիոս: Մանաւանդ վասն սրբութեան վարուցն նորա, եւ կարգացն ճշմարտութեան, եւ բազում խոնարհութեան նորա, եւ վասն աստուածախօս ջերմեռանդն աղօթիցն նորա, եւ վասն վարուց կարգաց պարկեշտութեանն. եւ կամ վասն աղքատսիրութեանն եւ վասն տառապելասէր վարուցն, եւ պատուիրանակատար մշտակիր հանապազորդութեան նորա, կամ վասն բազում գիտութեանն, զի աղբիւր էր անպակաս իմաստութեամբն. եւ վասն ուսուցիչ վարդապետութեան նորա, զի փիլիսոփայական արուեստիւն խնոյր առականէր հանապազ զամենայն զուր բացեալ զբերանս հերետիկոսացն, եւ զհաւատս ճշմարիտ ամենասուրբ Երրորդութեանն ամենեցուն հաստատէր: Վասն այսր ամենայնի նայէին ընդ նա իբրեւ ընդ առաքեալ Քրիստոսի, իբրեւ զհրեշտակ երկնաւոր. եւ ամենայն ոք վկայէր` թէ արժանի իսկ էր Հոգւոյն Աստուծոյ:
Իսկ նա զանձն կարի ի խոնարհութեան ունէր, եւ անարժան համարէր, թէպէտ եւ ամենայն ոք վասն գիտութեան արուեստին կարօտէր առ նա գալ. մանաւանդ արտաքինքն իսկ ճարտարապետք փիլիսոփայիցն առ նա ընթանային վասն իւրեանց արուեստին: Այլ նա զբազումս դարձուցանէր ի պէսպէս յիւրաքանչիւր կարծեացն խոտորութենէ ի ճշմարտութեանն հաւատս, երկրպագուս Քրիստոսի անթիւս մարդկան կացուցանէր: Եւ ամենայն երկիր սկսան ի նա նայել, որպէս թէ անդուստ յերկնից ի վերուստ իջեալ իցէ. այնչափ` որպէս զի թէ կամիցի ոք պատմել, ոչ կարասցէ: Այլ յորժամ խոժոռադէմ երեսօք տեսանէր զիւր եպիսկոպոսն ընդ ինքեան, սուրբն Բարսիլիոս տեղի տայր նմա, թողոյր զքաղաքն, եւ գնայր նա անտի, ելեալ բնակէր մի ի շինացն` ուր եւ նմա պատշաճ իցէ կալ անդ:


'Concerning God's miracles manifested over Nersēs and Barsilios (Basil of Caesarea) and the jealousy of bishop Ewsebi (Eusebius) toward Barsilios.

When the bishop of Caesarea Eusebius saw the amazing first descent of the dove that came down from heaven and rested in the first place on the archpriest of Caesarea St. Basil, he became ill-disposed in his mind toward him and saw him as his rival and an enemy. For his fame filled the entire land, and it was told and related that when the holy katholikos Nersēs was ordained, [the Holy Spirit] came down in the form of a dove and rested first on the archpriest St. Basil and then, rising up, came to rest on the high-priest Nersēs. And this fame about them spread forth particularly in the realm of Gamirk' Men greatly prized all the miracles, and everyone honored St. Basil all the more for the saintliness of his ways, the righteousness of his rules, and depth of his humility; also for the extreme, divinely inspired fervor of his prayers, for the modesty of his conduct and regulations, for his love of the poor and afflicted, and for his constant and perpetual fulfillment of the Commandments; likewise for his great knowledge-because he was a fount of inexhaustible wisdom, a faithful teacher of spiritual-learning; because he constantly closed and sealed the idly opened mouths of all heretics with his philosophical art, and confirmed to all the true faith in the all-holy Trinity. For all these reasons he was looked upon as an apostle of Christ, as an angel from heaven, and everyone bore witness that he was indeed worthy of the Holy Spirit. But he kept himself most humble and deemed himself unworthy, although everyone desired to go to him because of his knowledge, especially the masters of the heathen philosophers hastened to him for the sake of their art. And he converted many to the true faith from their various errors and made innumerable men adorers of Christ. And so the entire land began to look at him as though he had descended from the heavens above, and this to such a degree that anyone wishing to tell of it would not be able [to do so].

But when he saw the malevolent countenance of his bishop toward himself, St. Barsilios yielded to him, left the city, and going away from it dwelt in some locality where it was fitting for him to be.'

Chapter 8
The Emperor Valens was persecuting the believers. At a certain point he wished to hold a disputation between the orthodox and the Arians. Valens assembled his scholars and sent for Eusebius of Caesarea to assemble the clergy and to prepare for the disputation. Eusebius was not skilled in rhetoric and therefore he sent for Basil entreating him in letter to hasten and come to the discussions, imploring him to forget their previous dissension. While the men were still on their way to Basil, the holy man fell into a deep sleep and saw a vision:

մի էր մեծ եւ վայելուչ, քաջաբեր լի պտղով. եւ խոզք երեք անգեալ էին յայգին, եւ մտեալք ի ներքս ի յայգին` ապականէին զայգին եւ բրէին: Պատառէին բազում ունջս որթոյ, արմատաքի խլէին եւ զտաշտն գլխովին եւ զբազուկ ընջովին, եւ մեծամեծ ապականութիւնս ի ներքս գործէին: Եւ մատուցեալ էին այգէգործքն, ջանային եւ ոչ կարէին հանել զվնասակար խոզսն յայգւոյ անտի: Ապա զաղաղակ հարեալ գոչէին առ Բարսիլիոս, եւ ասէին. Եթէ ոչ դու, Բարսիլիոս, եկեսցես, ոչ ոք կարէ հանել զխոզս յայգւոյ աստի, եւ ոչ մեծ ապականութիւնս դադարեսցէ. աճապարեա եկ հասիր, զի տակաւին աւասիկ վնասս մեծամեծս առնեն: Ապա մատուցեալ Բարսիլիոս` հանէր զվնասակարս զխոզսն յայգւոյ անտի, եւ կազմէր զխախտածն:

'A large and splendid vineyard richly filled with fruit, and three hogs had penetrated and entered inside the vineyard and were ruining and rooting it up. They dug extensively around the base of the vine, tore up the roots, tore out branch and off-shoot, and wrought an the greatest damage inside. The winegrowers came and struggled [with them], but they were not able to drive the destructive hogs from the vineyard. Then they cried out to Barsilios, and said: "If you do not come, Barsilios, no one will be able to drive the swine from the vineyard, nor will the great destruction cease. Hurry, come! for they have already done the greatest damage." Then Barsilios came, drove the destructive swine out of the vineyard and restored the wreckage.'

At the point when Basil woke up, the messenger arrived and gave him Eusebius' letter. Basil immediately went to Eusebius and told him that he should ask the emperor for the authority to bring one of his presbyters with him and he would act as one. When they arrived at the disputation, Basil stood behind Eusebius and filled with the Holy Spirit he reduced the opponents to silence, entrapping and shaming the Arians. The Emperor rebuked Eusebius for bringing in a hired clerk and repented that he had allowed him to bring Basil. Then the shamed Arians got up and said that there ought to be no need for laborious disputations and that anyone who did not subscribe to the Arian teaching ought to be thrown into prison. Therefore both Eusebius and Basil were thrown into prison, where Bishop Eusebius died. As for Basil, the people of Caesarea threatened the emperor with burning the entire city, unless Basil was released. The king was forced to succumb.

Chapter 9:

Ապա ժողովեցան ամենայն եպիսկոպոսք իշխանութեանն Կեսարու, եւ ընտրեցին զսուրբն Բարսիլիոս առնել արքեպիսկոպոս Կեսարու: Եւ իբրեւ ժողովեալք էին ի միահամուռ հասարակ միաբան ամենայն եպիսկոպոսք ի ձեռնադրել զսուրբն Բարսեղ, էջ աղաւնին յերկնից եւ հանգեաւ ի վերայ նորա, որպէս յառաջնումն յառնելն զեպիսկոպոսապետն Ներսէս: Եւ եղեն զարմանալիք մեծապէս յաչս ամենեցուն. սկսան գոհանալ զմարդասիրէն Քրիստոսէ, զի որ յանձն իւր յայտնեաց զնշանս աստուածութեանն, զայն եւ ոչ ի ծառայիցն եւ ի սրբոցն արգելոյր: Եւ եկաց Բարսեղ յաթոռ կաթողիկոսութեանն Կեսարու:

'Then all the bishops from the jurisdiction of Caesarea gathered together and chose St. Basil as archbishop of Caesarea. And when all the bishops were assembled all together to ordain St. Basil, a dove came down from heaven and came to rest over him, as it had done the first time for the chief-bishop Nersēs. Great was the amazement of everyone, and they began to give thanks to the man-loving Christ who had manifested in Himself the signs of divinity, and had not withheld them from His servants and saints. And so Basil ascended the throne of the katholikate of Caesarea.'

Text: Garsoïan 1984. Translation: Garsoïan 1989, 126-130.

History

Evidence ID

E01334

Saint Name

Basil, bishop of Caesarea, ob. 379 : S00780 Nersēs the Great, patriarch of Greater Armenia (353-373) : S00254

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Armenian

Evidence not before

460

Evidence not after

470

Activity not before

364

Activity not after

378

Place of Evidence - Region

Armenia

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

Hadamakert Հադամակերտ Hadamakert Başkale

Major author/Major anonymous work

Epic Histories (Buzandaran Patmut'iwnk')

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miraculous appointment to office Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Monarchs and their family Ecclesiastics - bishops Heretics

Source

The History, traditionally attributed to a certain P‘awstos Buzandac'i (usually translated as 'Faustos of Byzantium') covers Armenian history from the later Arsacid dynasty (c. AD 330) to the partition of the Armenian kingdom between Byzantium and Iran (AD 387). The History is the earliest source covering this specific period of history, which was later treated by Movsēs Xorenac'i. As N. Garsoïan points out, despite the evident importance of the material contained in the History for the study of 4th century Armenia, it was never included into the received Armenian tradition, and medieval historians preferred to refer to Movsēs Xorenac‘i, the most authoritative source for later authors, as the sole authority for 4th century events. Łazar P'arpeci, for example, considered the information provided by P‘awstos as false and absurd, and so apparently did the rest of medieval scholarship. Date and language The authorship of the text has long been debated. The author claims to have been an eyewitness of the events he describes, but if this was indeed the case he could not have written in Armenian, as the Armenian script was only created in the 5th century. Thus, he was often considered a Greek historian, a supposition 'supported' by a misunderstanding of the word Buzand (in his name) as 'Byzantium' (see below). Other external evidence has also been cited to favour the idea that the work was originally written in Greek, and only later translated into Armenian. There has also been a theory in favour of a Syriac original, mostly advanced by Peeters and based on multiple Syriacisms in the text. The most convincing theory, however, favours an Armenian original, and is mostly based on internal linguist evidence, such as the use of scriptural quotations that derive from the Armenian version of the Bible, various colloquialisms, and the spelling of proper names. As to the date of the composition, the author’s own claim cannot be accepted as trustworthy as he is far too ignorant of 4th century events to be considered a contemporary; he presents 4th century historical events as filtered through folk memory, often projecting events of the 5th century into the previous century. Based on the Epic Histories' quotations from Koriwn (who wrote in the first half of the 5th century), and a reference to the Histories by Łazar P‘arpeci (writing at the very end of the 5th century), who places 'P‘awstos' immediately after Agathangelos, Garsoïan suggests convincingly that the date of composition was around 470, arguing that 'it is difficult to imagine a time more suitable for a work glorifying the role of the Mamikonean family in Armenian history than the generation immediately following the sparapet Vardan Mamikonean's heroic defense of Armenian Christianity in 451' (Garsoïan, Epic Histories, 11). The author The claim by some late antique and medieval sources that P‘awstos was Greek rests on a misunderstanding of the word Buzand, which was considered to mean 'Byzantium'. Medieval reception 'corrected' the form Buzand to Buzandac‘i ('from Byzantium') to support the Greek origin of the author. The actual title appended to the text is Buzandaran Patmut‘iwnk‘. A. Perikhanian has found a definitive solution to the problem, showing that the word buzand derived not from the toponym ('Byzantium') but from the Parthian bozand , 'a reciter of epic poems, a bard' , with the suffix –aran as an adjectival qualifier. The title can thus be translated as Bardic or Epic Histories. So, as N. Garsoïan has shown, the work generally titled History of Armenia and attributed to Faustos of Byzantium is in fact a compilation of tales assembled by an anonymous historian in the 5th century. In our database the text will be consistently referred to as the Epic Histories. The author’s agenda From the perspective of the author’s representation of cultic practices, Garsoïan’s conclusion (as follows) is noteworthy: 'The author may have been a native of the southwestern district of Taron because of his unreserved devotion to the Mamikonean lords of the district and to its holy site Aštišat, which he invariable presents as the original centre of Armenian Christianity, as against the focus of the contemporary 'Agathangelos Cycle' on the northern city of Vałaršapat'/Dwin, and the nearby holy site of T'ordan' (Garsoïan, Epic Histories, 16). The author is a rigourous defender of Nicene orthodoxy and is thus strongly antagonistic toward the Armenian crown, which 'sought to conform with the Arianizing policy of the successors of Constantine through much of the fourth century' (Garsoïan, Epic Histories, 15).

Discussion

These episodes are inserted into the narrative from Basil's Life.

Bibliography

Edition: Buzandaran Patmut'iwn (The Epic Histories) also known as Patmut'iwn Hayoc' (History of Armenia) Attributed to P'awstos Buzandac'i, a facsimile reproduction of the 1883 St. Petersburg edition with an introduction by Nina G. Garsoïan (New York: Caravan Books, 1984). Translation: Garsoïan, N.G., The Epic Histories Attributed to P'awstos Buzand (Buzandaran Patmut'iwnk') (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989).

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