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The Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia

The Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Holy Church in Georgia forms part of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church, the center of which is in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. The Diocese is controlled according to the canons of the Bible and the Armenian Church, by the orders of the Catholicos of All Armenians. The Head of the Diocese is appointed by the order of the Catholicos of All Armenians.

The Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia covers the whole territory of Georgia. The Cathedral of Surb Gevorg in Tbilisi is the seat of the Primate of the Diocese. As of 2013 there are 16 clerics and 50 operating churches at the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Holy Church in Georgia.

The Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church in Georgia unites and heads the churches operating on the territory of Georgia, guides the Armenian Christian community, and is under the authority of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. The Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia includes the communities, operating and not operating churches, located in Tbilisi, Javakheti, Adjaria and Kvemo Kartli regions.

In July of 2011 Georgian parliament adopted a law, according to which the operating in Georgia religious communities could be granted the status. In accordance with the law, on March 12, 2012 the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia was registered as a legal entity of public law at Civil Registry Agency of Ministry of Justice of Georgia.

Nowadays the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia imposes requirements on Georgian authorities about the restitution of 442 Armenian churches.  Some of them are ruined or their territory is used for the construction of other objects or they are simply changed into Georgian Orthodox Churches. The Diocese requests the restitution of Surb Norashen Astvatsatsin Church , Surb Nshan Church , Saint Gevorg of Mughni Church, Yerevantsots Saint Minas Church, Shamkhoretsots Karmir Avetaran in Tbilisi, Surb Nshan Church in Akhaltsikhe that have been confiscated during the Soviet Period. Georgian authorities have not yet responded to this request but the reconstruction of Surb Norashen Astvatsatsin Church continues.

Period of Formation of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia

According to historical sources the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia as a separate ecclesiastical unit has existed since the 5th century. This fact is proved by the 10th century Armenian historian Ukhtanes of Sebastia, who is known for his “History in Three Parts”, in the chapter  “History of the Severance of the Georgians and Armenians” he tells that already in the 5th century there was the residence of Armenian Bishop in Tsurtavi. It is remarkable that, even though Tsurtavi belonged to the Georgian Church, the Diocese there was Armenian, where from the 5th century by the order of Saint Shushanik church ceremonies were conducted in Armenian.

At the same time, it should be mentioned, that according to the 12th century Armenian historian Matthew of Edessa the greatest Georgian king David the Builder (1089-1125) gives for those times the highest status to the representation of Armenian Church in Georgia, the administrative center of which was in Tbilisi. It is assumed that the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia was founded in the 12th century. Since the 13th century the Cathedral of Surb Gevorg in Tpkhis (Tbilisi) has been the seat of the Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia.

Chronological table of the Primates of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia

The Primates ofthe Armenian Diocese in Georgia that are known to usup to1770s’

Until 1770s’ many prominent clergymen of the Armenian Church developed their activities in Georgia, who as the Head of the Diocese performed important work in the spiritual and cultural life of the Diocese, but currently many of them are unknown to us. Only abrupt information has reached us about some of the Primates.

 

ARCHBISHOP BARSEG. In 1179 he took part in the NationalEcclesiasticalAssembly in Rumkale. He was authoritative person and was mentioned as the seventh in the number of delegates. (M. Chamchian “History of Armenia”, v. 3, Vienna 1786, p.132) Archbishop Barseg is also known as Basilios: “Archbishop Basilios of Georgian capitalTpkhis.”

 

BISHOP HOVHANNES, is mentioned as the Head of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia in 1284, during the rule of which, in the same year, in the Cathedral of Saint George, built by a wealthy prince named Umek of Karin, Vardapet Hovhannes Erznkatsi, also known as Pluz, read for the audience cosmographical treatise "On Motion of the Heavenly Bodies and the Immobility of the Earth ", which had a great response. (M. Chamchian “History of Armenia”, v. 3, Vienna 1786, p. 272 ) Vachtang ,the younger son of Umek, who was a smart young boy, many times pleaded Hovhannes Erznkatsi to write down the treatise, converting it to prose, and give it to him. Bishop Hovhannes also ordered Erznkatsi to write down his sermon. Such wise he presented the book "About Wisdom, which tells about the sky, heavenly bodies and how they move, about the seasons and other natural phenomena." (M. Chamchian "History of Armenia" v.3, Vienna, 1786, pp. 272-73 )

 

BISHOP MARKOS VRASTANTSI is mentioned as the Head of the Diocese in 1443.( M. Ormanyan “Azgapatum”(National History), article 1466)

BISHOP SARKIS VRASTANTSI was the Head of the Diocese in 1496-1515, who in future was consecrated as the Catholicos Sarkis IV Vrastantsi in 1520-1536 (M.Ormanyan “Azgapatum”(National History), article 1535).

 

BISHOP MINAS PARVEZYAN is mentioned as the Head of the Diocese in 1722-1723 (M. Ormanyan “Azgapatum” (National History), article 1931, also Arakel Grigori Babakhanian( commonly known as Leo) v.5, Yerevan 1936, pp. 459-460). He wrote a letter to Russian Tsar Peter I and asked formilitary intervention for the salvation ofArmenia, but his request was unsuccessful.

In 1740 VARDAPET ANANIA is mentioned as the Head of the Armenian Diocese in Tbilisi. (“Archive of Armenian History” Book 1, Yerevan, ed.Academy of Sciences, 1984, p. 130)

 

In 1765 VARDAPET ZAKARIA was the Head Armenian Diocese in Tpkhis (M. Ormanyan “Azgapatum” (National History), article 2092). He is also mentioned in 1767 (“Archive of Armenian History” Book 8, part 2, 1767-1776, Art.PriestGyutAgayants, 1908,Tbilisi, page 42, 52)

In 1769 BISHOP MARTIROS ANKOT was mentioned as the Head of the Armenian Diocese in Tpkhis, who by the order of the Catholicos Simeon was appointed to serve on a special position in Akhaltsikhe. (M. Ormanyan “Azgapatum”(National History), article 2097)

 

In 1772 VARDAPET RETEOS is mentioned as the Messenger of the Assembly and the Head of the Armenian Diocese in Tbilisi (“Archive of Armenian History”, Book 8, part 2, 1767-1776, Art.PriestGyutAgayants, 1908, Tbilisi, page 245).

In 1773 BISHOP HOVHANNES received the rank of Senior Archimandrite by the Catholicos Simeon. (“Ararat”, 1876, p. 174)

In 1774 VARDAPET HOVHANNES is mentioned as the Head of the Armenian Diocese in Tbilisi (“Archive of Armenian History”, Book 8, part 2, 1767-1776, art.PriestGyutAgayants, 1908, Tbilisi, page 266).

 

1773-1781 (years of leadership) VARDAPET HOVHANNES KANAKERTSI. In January 1781 the Catholicos Gukas moved Vardapet Hovhannes from Tbilisi to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin “for the mistreatment of the people” and appointed him to serve as a “grain collector” (“Archive of Armenian History”, Book 1, Yerevan, 1984, page 196, 200).

1781-1784 (years of leadership) VARDAPET KARAPET HNDZATSI (MELIKIAN) was a “wise connoisseur of theology” and a “brilliant” Vardapet. He was also a poet and a singer. After 1784 he was consecrated as a Bishop, and later as an Archbishop. In December 1784 by the order of the Catholicos Gukas I he moved to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin to serve in a new position. He was born in Hndzin village of Karin, deceased in 1790 (Biographical Dictionary of Garnik Stepanyan, ed.Yerevan).

 

1784-1795 (years of leadership). ARCHBISHOP MARTIROS ANKOT. He was a clerical “endowed with common sense”. During his service for a short period of time VARDAPET PETROS was appointed as the Primate of the Diocese in Georgia, who in 1792 due to illness returned to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, and again Martiros Ankot was appointed to serve as the Primate of the Diocese.

During the invasion of Agha Muhammad Khan robbers plundered the wealth of Holy Etchmiadzin, which on 21 cartload was transported for security in Tbilisi, six of them were accompanied by Archbishop Martiros. For all disasters that had occurred the Catholicos Ghukas accused Ankot and his anger never reduced. Catholicos especially worried about the crown, chasuble and parts of ceremonial robes covering shoulders of Catholicos Kazar.

Archbishop Martiros could not recover from such a grief and deceased in 1795 (Ormanyan “Azgapatum” (National History), article 2201).

 

1795-1798 (years of leadership) BISHOP AVETIK (“Catholicosate of All Armenians and Armenians in Caucasus” Yeritsyan, v. 1, Tbilisi, p. 9). Date of the leadership of Bishop Avetik is given with a relative chronology.

1798-1802 (years of leadership) ARCHBISHOP SARGIS. In Argutyan’s letter dated 12 November 1800 Archbishop Sargis is mentioned as the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Tbilisi (“Catholicosate of All Armenians and Armenians in Caucasus” Yeritsyan, v. 1, Tbilisi, page 9). In 1792 after the murder of the Catholicos Hovhannes Agvantsi – the brother of Archbishop Sarkis, in Gandzak he was anointed the new Catholicos. In 1798 due to political reasons he was hiding in Tbilisi, and at the request of the Georgian King George, he was appointed by the Catholicos Ghukas to serve as the Head of Haghpat Monastery. In 1802 he moved to Gandzasar and received the titleand the sealof the Catholicos. In 1815 the Catholicos Ephrem and Archbishop Nerses Ashtaraketsi, with the consent of the Russian state, eliminate Catholicosate of Gandzasar, turning it into the residence of metropolitan or archbishopric. Metropolitan Sargis died after a serious illness in 1828. As the Metropolitan he was replaced by his brother's son ARCHBISHOP BAGDASAR.

 

1802-1810 (years of leadership) ARCHBISHOP HOVHANNES AKNETSI GEGHARDAKIR.In 1798, during the plague spread in Tbilisi, the Georgian king George asks the Armenian Catholicos Ghukas to send in Tbilisi "St. Gegard "(spear with which the Roman soldier pierced the right side of Christ, as He hung on the cross). King George believed that "St. Gegard " by its heavenly power could destroy the epidemic. On 3 November 1798 the Catholicos Ghukas sends "St.Gegard" with Archbishop Hovhannes in Tbilisi. Thus, Archbishop Hovannes received the name Gegardakir. (Ormanyan “Azgapatum” (National History), article 2203). He deceased in 1810.

 

1810-1814 (years of leadership). ARCHBISHOP ASTVATSATUR. In 1810 by the order of the Catholicos Eprem he was appointed to serve as the Primate of the Diocese. On 22 November 1813 in the Armenian Harantsvanq Church in Tbilisi he solemnly read the epistle of Alexander I of Russia in Russian and Armenian. Then he solemnly conducted Divine Liturgy.

In 1814 Archbishop Astvatsatur was called back by the Catholicos Eprem to the Mother See of Holy Etchimiadzin, and he was replaced by 44 years old ARCHBISHOP NERSES ASHTARAKETSI. (Ormanyan “Azgapatum” (National History), article 2333, 2341 and “Catholicosate of All Armenians and Armenians in Caucasus” Yeritsyan, v. 1, Tbilisi, page 67-73).

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1814-1828 (years of leadership) ARCHBISHOP NERSES ASHTARAKETSI. Prominent cultural and clerical figure, pioneer of the national liberation movement. Baptismal name was Toros. Was the son of a priest Ter-Harutyun Shahazizyan. His mother, Susambar, was Armenian from Byurakan village. He was born on 13 February 1770 in Ashtarak. In 1791 was ordained to the diaconate. In 1794 he received the rank of Archimandrite (Vardapet). In 1808 was consecrated as a Bishop and Archbishop. On 7 March 1814 was appointed as the Primate of Armenian Diocese in Georgia. On 7 February 1822 on the St. Ghevondyan Priest Day conducted basement consecration of Tbilisi Nersisyan School in the presence of Governor Ermolov (S. Malkhasian, Brief History of the Nersisyan Theological School, Tiflis, 1900, p.17). The construction of the Nersisyan School was finished in 1824, and on 1 December in the same year it was opened by the Priest Harutyun Alamdaryan.

In 1828 by the order of Paskevich Ashtaraketsi was appointed to serve in Besarabia as the Head of the Armenian Diocese in Besarabia. This was a kind of compulsory free exile. In 1828-1929 Nerses Ashtaraketsi organized the immigration of Armenians from Persia and Turkey. About 90.000 Armenians from Karno province were located in Akhalkalaki and Akhaltsikhe regions. In 1843 he was consecrated as the Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Nerses V.

He lived periodically in Tbilisi and Etchmiadzin. In memory of Ashtaraketsi remained: the building of the Nersisyan School in Tbilisi, Lake Nersisyan and Nersisyan forest in Etchmiadzin.

On 13 February 1857, 87 year old Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Nerses V deceased at his desk, in Tbilisi residence of Armenian Diocese. In future his body was moved to Holy Echmiadzin.

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1828-1830 (years of leadership) VARDAPET HARUTSYUN ASTRAKHANTSI ALAMDARYAN. Baptismal name Gevorg. Clerical, social and political figure, poet and teacher. Was born on 14 January 1795. Father’s name was Manuk. In 1813 he was invited by Lazarians in Moscow to work for them as a scribe. In 1815 Lazarian Seminary was founded, there Alamdaryan worked as a supervisor and teacher. From 1824 to 1830 he served as a supervisor in Tbilisi Nersisyan School. In school history these years are known as “Alamdaryn’s century”. During the years of his leadership Archbishop Simeon Bjhnuni (Lame) was the Principal member of spiritual affairs and churchadministration.

Vardapet Harutyun Alamdaryan was accused for sharing the same ideas with Nerses Ashtaraketsi. By dictation of I. Paskevich in 1830 Holy Etchmiadzin Synod exiled him to Haghpat. In a year, in 1831 he was appointed to serve as the abbot in monastery of Surb Khach (Holy Cross) in Nor Nakhijevan, where on 25 May 1834 he was brutally killed by robbers, and the monastery was burgled.Alamdarian was considered one of the outstandingintellectuals of his time.

 

 

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1830-1831 (years of leadership). ARCHBISHOP HOVHANNES KARBETSI. Was born in 1762 in Hovhannavank small village, which was the part of Karbi village. He studied in school of Mughni Monastery and in Holy Etchmiadzin Seminary. He was ordained as a celibate priest during the rule of the Catholicos Ghukas. In 1807 he was consecrated as a Bishop by the Catholicos Daniel and was appointed to serve as the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia. During the period of his leadership in every possible way he tried to depreciate the influence of Nerses Ashtaraketsi and thus humiliate the significance of hisactivities.

 

In 1831 Karbetsi was consecrated as the Catholicos of All Armenians John VIII (Hovhannes VIII). He accepted the principle of determining the historical numbering of the Armenian Catholicoses. In 1836 he adopted “Polojenia” the charter of rules of national and cultural rights for Armenians living in Russia. Karbetsi deceased on 26 March 1842 in Holy Etchmiadzin, where he was buried nearthe northernwall of the bell tower in Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin. In memory of Karbetsi remained: the Holy Synod building in Etchmiadzin (Encyclopedia"SovietArmenia" and Ormanyan “Azgapatum”(National History), article 2334).

 

1832-1836 (years of leadership)ARCHBISHOPSTEPANOS ARGUTYAN.

In 1832there were two candidates for the leadership in the Armenian Diocese in Georgia- Stepanos Argutyan and Archbishop Zakharia Gulaspian. Argutyan was elected as the Head of the Diocese in Georgia, and Gulaspian as the Vicar of the Diocese in Yerevan. Gulaspian was not satisfied withhis position and, as a supporter ofHovhannesVIII Karbetsi, he also headed Haghpat Monastery. Then he went in Tbilisi, and with the protection of powerful Prince Grigor Behrutyan he wanted to separate Ghazakh and Borchalu from Tiflis Armenian Diocese and connect them to Haghpat, but Argutyan opposed him and Gulaspian’s wish was not fulfilled.

Archbishop Stepanos Argutyan in four years of his leadership underwent heavypsychologicalpressure from Gulaspian, Prince Grigor Behrutyan and also from the Catholicos HovhannesVIII. The latter was the rival of Ashtaraketsi and with the help of the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia Archbishop Argutyanhe desired to inflict harm to Ashtaraketsi. He wanted to change the name of Nersisyan school which was founded by Nerses Ashtaraketsi and to call it EchmiadzinCollege in Tpkhis”. He also intended to sell out the schoolbuilding, in order todelete the name of Nerses. Supporters of Ashtaraketsiinsisted on hispublic speaking,but the great clergyman reassured them saying: "If you perceive the good from the Lord,
why not tolerate the evil from people? "
:Soon,in 1835 ArchbishopZaqaria Gulaspian deceased, and in 1836 Argutyan moved to Yerevan, and thus this issue was closed. (OrmanyanAzgapatum”(NationalHistory), article 2507)

Argutyan was consencrated as a Bishop on 28 May 1832, and in 1835 he was granted the title of Archbishop. By his order in Tbilisi a three-storeyed residence of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia was built. Archbishop Stepanos gave to Sanahin Monastery a monstrance with the relicsof the Catholicos Saint Grigor Aghvantsi.( Vardapet Sargis Jalalyan “Travelling” v.1, Tpkhis, 1842, page 52).

 

41837-1856 (years of leadership) ARCHBISHOP KARAPET BAGRATUNI. Clerical and social figure. Baptismal name Hovhannes. Came froma noble family. Was originally knownunder the surname Eghikyan. Father’s name was Grigor, and mother’s name was Aregnazan. Archbishop Karapet was born on 18 May 1779 in Karin (Erzurum). He studied in Kemaliye, and later in Constantinople. In 1801 he received the rank of Vardapet (Archimandrite). On 21 August 1808 he was appointed to serve as the Primate of the Diocese in Karin. On 2 November 1811 he was consecrated as a Bishop by the Catholicos Eprem I, afterwards he was granted the title of Archbishop. Archbishop Karapet was an adroit writer and a witty person. He was tireless and plodding at work, active and quick-witted clergyman. In 1829-1830 he organized immigration of 50 000 Armenians from Karin and nearby villages to Akhalkalaki, Akhaltsikhe, Tsalka, Lori-Pambuk and Shoragial regions. By the leadership of Karapet Bagratuni the most important historical spiritual items were moved in time from all churches in Erzerum and neighborhood to a new location in Ahaltsikhe, including books, ancient hand writings, church items, etc., between which was the famous Tsughrut Gospel. In September 1837 Archbishop Karapet met the Russian Tsar Nikolay I in Tbilisi, afterwards they had an appointment and for devotedand hardworkin his community Archbishop deserved the praise of His Imperial Majesty. Russian Tsar also gave privileges to Armenian emigrants, saying that they would not pay state taxes for one year. For numerous merits he was awarded the Order of St. Anna, 1st class. Archbishop Karapet Bagratuni during approximately 20 years of his service as the Primate of the Diocese ordered to build almost 60 churches, as well as many Armenian schools, among which are worthmentioning Karapetyan Parochial school in Akhaltsikhe and Male High School named after Mesrop Mashtots in Akhalkalaki. Archbishop Bagratuni deceased in 1856 and was buried in the graveyard of Surb Prkich Church in Akhaltsikhe. In 1953 his relics were moved tothe localcemetery. In the place of his tomb a chapel was built in 1985, which was sanctified on 1 September by the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia Bishop Ter-Gevorg Seraidarian( “Etchmiadzin” Magazine, 1985, 11-12, page 85) Currently tomb of Archbishop Karapet became a place of pilgrimage.

 

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1857-1861 (years of leadership). ARCHBISHOP SARGIS JALALYANTS. Prominentchurch leader, philologist, paleontologist, writer. Descended from Hasan-Jalalyans in Khachen. Was born in 1819. Traveled in Eastern Armenia and wrote a number of materials of historical value with magnificentdescriptionsin the book “Journey through Great Armenia” (part 1-2, 1842 and 1856). In 1861 Archbishop Sargis Jalalyants completes the construction of Tbilisi residence of the Armenian Diocese.

The evidence of this is one protocol, which is available in the book of P.M. Muradian "Armenian inscriptions in Georgia" (Yerevan, 1988, page 57, in Russian). The content of the inscription is as follows: “In addition to nuncupative will of my spiritual father and great patriot His Holiness Catholicos of All Armenians Nerses, your humble servant Bishop Sargis Hasan-Jalalyan finished in 1861 the construction of the residence of the Diocese in Tiflis. I beseech thee to remember me.”

Archbishop Sargis Jalalyants in 1880 bequeathed the Armenian spiritual, cultural and educational institutions the amount of 25 thousand rubles to be used in 2005, which125 yearslater could reach 12million. Archbishop Sargis Jalalyants deceased 60 years of age, in 1879.

 

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1864-1878 (years of leadership). ARCHBISHOP MAKAR TEGUTTSI TER-PETROSYAN. Was born in 1813 in Teghut village of Mush province. He was a son of a priest Ter-Petros Hazroyan. From 1828 to 1834 he studied in Theological School of Holy Etchmiadzin. In 1842 he received the rank of Vardapet (Archimandrit), and one year later was appointed to serve as a supervisor and lecturer in Theological school of Holy Etchmiadzin. He traveled to Armenian regions in Persia, Turkey and Russia, where hecollected numerousArmenian manuscripts that enriched Matenadaran ( the Institute of Ancient Manuscripts) of Holy Etchmiadzin. In 1848 he was elected a member of the Holy Synod, and in 1849 he was appointed as the Director of Matenadarn of Holy Etchmiadzin. On 12 April 1852 he was granted the rank of Senior Archimandrite (Dzayraguyn Vardapet) and on 15 August of the same year he was consecrated as a Bishop, and then in 1859 he was granted the title of Archbishop. In 1862 he was appointed to administer the Diocese in Tpkhis, and on 15 March 1864 - as the Head of the Diocese. From 20 February 1876 he served as the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Nor Nakhichevan and Bessarabia. Here he served until 1885. In the same year by the National Ecclesiastical Assembly he was elected the Catholicos of All Armenians.

Catholicos Makar for six years of his service, with his experience and intelligence led productive work, but he always used to say: “A person is appointed to serve only when he is already powerless.”

In 1888 Catholicos Makar started repair works at the Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin. The last time the Mother Cathedral had been repaired by the order of the Catholicos Movses III Tatevatsi (1629- 1632). Nextbigstep of the Catholicos Makar was establishment of Printing House at Mother See.

It was Catholicos Makar who for the first time sent twodeaconsto study in Germany: the first one - Karapet Ter-Mkrtchyan to deepen his knowledge in theology, and the second one - Soghomon Soghomonian ( Vardapet Komitas) in music.

Makar Teguttsi efforts made it possible to get permission from the royal court to re-open Armenian schools in Armenia and to restore the rights of the Catholicos.

Catholicos Makar deceased in 1891 and was buried near the bell tower at the Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin (M. Ormanyan “Azgapatum”(National History), v.3, article 2917, 2945, 2951, 2952. G. Stepanyan “Biographical DictionaryArmenianSoviet Encyclopedia, volume 7).

 

71876-1880 (years of leadership). ARCHBISHOP GABRIEL AYVAZYAN. Armenian clerical leader. He was an editor, philologist, historian, writer, translator, and teacher. Was born on 10 May 1812 in Feodosiya. His father Gevorg Aivazi or Haivazi (Constantine Haivazovski), an emigrant from Moldova,   was a merchant and a brother of famous marine painter Hovhannes (Ivan) Aivazovsky. From 1826 to 1830 he studied inLazarianSeminary(Venice). In 1830 he became a member of Mkhitarians Brotherhood, and in 1834 he received the rank of Vardapet (Archimandrit). In the monastery he served as the Chief Secretary of the brotherhood. In Mkhitaryans School he was a lecturer of theology, philosophy, as well as eastern and European languages. He was a mentor of Alishan. From 1843 to1848 he was the first editor of “Bazmavep” Magazine. In 1848 he was appointed the director of Muradians College in Paris and ledthis position until1855. In the same year he was a lecturer of History of Armenia and Armenian Language in the same college. In 1855, after a quarrel with Mhitarians Brotherhood renounced Catholicism. With Khoren Galfayan and Sargis Teodoryan he founded Haykazian Armenian College in Paris. He started publishing “Maseats aghavni” Magazine in Armenian and French languages and was the editor of it. In 1858 by the order of te Catholicos Gevorg IV he was appointed to serve in Feodosiya, where he established Khalibyan College and receivedthe stewardship in this educational institution. He continues publishing of “Maseats aghavni” in Feodosiya in Russian and Armenian languages until 1865. Khalibyan College was closed in 1871. In 1867 Archbishop Gabriel was consecrated as a Bishop, and in 1871 he received the rank of Archbishop by the Pontifical Encyclical of His Holiness Catholicos Gevorg IV. In 1875 -1876 he was appointed to serve as an administrator at the Gevorkian Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, from 1876 to 1888 he served as the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia. Archbishop Gabriel deceased in Tbilisi in 1880 and was buried in monasterygraveyard. In 1977 his remains with great commencement and spiritual ceremonies were moved to graveyard ofthe Cathedral of Saint George, and are buried there with the remains of Bishop Khoren Stepanyan, Abgar Hovhannisyan and Petros Simonyan.

 

81880-1881 (years of leadership). CATHOLICOS GEVORG IV KOSTANDNUPOLSETSI KERESTEJYAN. After the death of Gabriel Ayavazyan the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians “ didn’t want to leave the beloved people of Tiflis without consolation and before the election of the decent one, leaving himselfthe positionof the leader, ordered Consistory of Tbilisi to continue his affairs concerning the chairmanship of the gifted Vardapet Mambre Sanaryan and, in order not to leave the people inconsolable, deigned for his part to appoint by His Eminence Bishop Grigor Agapiryan to preach and comfort people in the necessary days, conduct Liturgy during the five major Christian Holidays...” (“Ararat” Magazine , 1880, page 365-366) The Catholicos Gevorg IV was born on 7 July 1813. He studied in a religious school in Constantinople. In 1835 he received the rank of Vardapet (Archimandrit), in 1848 he was consecrated as a Bishop.In 1844 he was appointed to serve as the Head of The Diocese in Brusai. On 17 October 1858 he was elected the Patriarch of Constantinople. On 21 April 1860 he spoke against the National Constitution and renounced his throne of Patriarch, from October 1861 he again headed theDiocese in Brusai. In 1866 he was elected the Catholicos of All Armenians. In 1868 he established “Ararat” Magazine - the official publication of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, andbuilt H.Etchmiadzin Museum. He established the Printing House and Holy Etchmiadzin Matenadaran. The Catholicos Gevorg IV also founded the Gevorkian Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. In 1979 he built the church on Mesrop Mashtots tomb in Oshakan. He settled theArmenianspiritual music. The distinguished Catholicos Gevorg IV deceased on 6 December 1882 in H. Etchmiadzin.

 

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1881-1889 (years of leadership). BISHOP ARISTAKES SEDRAKYAN (MELIK-ARAKELYAN)Armenian clerical leader, philologist, historian and writer. He was born on 23 August 1845 in Khalfalu village of Yerevan province. Father’s name was Sedrak. In 1869-1882 he served as the prior in monastery of Surb Karapet (Yernjak) and in monastery of Surb Gayane (Etchmiadzin). From 1874 to 1876 he served as a lecturer in the Gevorkian Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, and from 1891 to 1893 - was administering the same Seminary. He served as the Head of the Diocese in Tatev, Artsakh, Georgia, Imereti, and Astrakhan. He researched and described numerous diary records, samples of Armenian folklore relating to the Armenian history and culture. In 1894 he published “Biography of Bishop Hovhannes Shakhatunynts”. He has the works relating to history and theology of the Armenian Church. Are worth mentioning such works as the first part of the vast work "Pictography of the ArmenianChurch", published in 1904 in St. Petersburg (the second part was not published), as well as "Marital problems" (1891), “Tasks for priests”(1900). Also hastranslations and otherunpublishedwork. Bishop Aristakes Sedrakyan deceased on 10 November 1906 in Vagharshapat (Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia, v. 10).

 

1889-1892 (years of leadership). BISHOP MAMBRE SANASARYAN. Was born in 1844. He studiedin the Theological Seminary of Holy Etchmiadzin. In 1864 he was ordainedto the diaconate; in 1865 he received the rank of Archimandrite. In 1868 he was appointed to serve as the Vicar of the Armenian Diocese in Gori (Georgia). In 1871 he started to serve as the prior in monastery of Surb Khach (Holy Cross) in Nor Nakhijevan. In 1875 he was appointed to serve as an investigating officer on spiritual matters in Novo Bayazet area. From 1877 was appointed to serve as the Vicar in the Diocese of Hin- Nakhijevan, later – was a member of the Armenian Church's Tbilisi Consistory and the prior in monastery of Surb Sargis (place of pilgrimage). In 1883 he was appointed to serve as the Vicar of the Diocese in Akhaltsikhe, and in 1884 – was elected a member of Holy Synod at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. In 1886 he was consecrated as a Bishop by the Catholicos Makar I, and in 1889 he was appointed to serve as the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia. He died after a long illness at the age of 48, in a country house in Kojori (Georgia), on 1 august 1892. Bishhop Mambre Sanasaryan was granted the right to wear Phelonian, the Pectoral Cross, Panagia of Bishop, and was awarded the Order of St. Anna, 2nd class (“Ararat” Magazine, 1892, page 768).

 

101894-1904 (years of leadership) ARCHBISHOP GEVORG SURENYANTS TPKHISETSI (Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia, v. 3, page 19). Was born on 28 August 1847 in Tbilisi. In 1872 he received the rank of Vardapet (Archimandrite). In 1874 he was invited to serve as a lecturer in the Gevorkian Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. In 1875 was appointed to serve as the Head of the Diocese of Karabakh and administered schools. In 1878 he was appointed to serve as the Head of the Diocese in Aleksandropol (he built Surb Astvatsatsin Church in Aleksandropol). In 1882 he was consecrated as a Bishop. In 1886 he moved to Astrakhan to serve as the Head of the Diocese. Then, for ten years, from 1894 to 1904 he led the position of the Head of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia. In 1907 he was elected the Locum Tenens of the Catholicos, and in 1912 – the Catholicos of All Armenians. During the years of his service Armenia was in a difficult era of turbulent political ups and downs. For that reason he signed His pontifical Kontakions (official letters) as a “mournful catholicos”. According to his Kondakion № 349, on 1 January 1924 the Armenian Church officially accepted the new calendar. As an exception, only the Armenian Churches, which were situated in Orthodox countries, were given the right to follow the old calendar. Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Gevorg V, of Blessed Memory, deceased on 8 May 1930 in H. Etchmiadzin and was buried near the bell tower of the Mother Cathedral of Holy Echmiadzin.

 

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1900-1901 (years of leadership) VARDAPET GAREGIN HOVSEPYANTS (Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia, v. 6). Armenian cultural figure, teacher, armenologist, academic member of the Armenian Research Institute (1921), Doctor of Philosophy (Leipzig, 1897), Full Member in Caucasian department of Moscow Royal Archaeological Society (1902), and also of Petersburg Royal Archaeological Society (1902)

Was born on 17 December 1867 in Magavuz village of Mardakert region in Karabakh. In 1890 he graduated the Gevorkian Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Higher education received at universities of Berlin, Leipzig, Halle (1892-1896). From 1897 he was a lecturer at the Gevorkian Theological Seminary, later in 1905, 1906, 1915-1917 – administrator. In 1897 he was ordained as a celibate priest, in the same year he received the rank of Archimandrite (Vardapet). From 1900 to 1901 he was Deputy Head of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia during the leadership of Archbishop Gevorg Surenyants. He served as the prior in monastery of Surb Gayane (Etchmiadzin). In 1907-1908 and in 1915-1917- was the editor of “Ararat” Magazine. In 1917 he was consecrated as a Bishop. In 1918 he participated in theBattle of Sardarabad.

He taught Art History and Archeology at the Yerevan University. Together with Al. Tamanyan participated in the creation of the Special Committee of Protection of Armenian Antiquities and Monuments. In 1925 was granted the title of Archbishop. From 1927 to 1933 was the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Crimea and Nor Nakhijevan, form 1938 to 1943 – in the USA. In 1943 he was elected the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia.He deceased on 21 June 1925 in Antelias (Lebanon). In memory of Archbishop Hovsepyants remained numerous valuable scientific works that relate to archeology, Armenian culture and art. Has numerous unpublished works.

 

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1904-1910 (years of leadership) ARCHBISHOP GAREGIN SATUNYAN (“Ararat” 1910, pages 1008-1009). Was born in 1852, in Ashtarak. Baptismal name Harutsyun. In 1867 he entered the Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. After the graduation in 1872 he started to serve as a Clerk and became a member of Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin. In 1873 he was ordained to the diaconate, and in 1876 – as a celibate priest. In 1878 he received the rank of Archimandrite (Vardapet). In 1901 he was consecrated as a Bishop, and in 1907 was granted the title of Archbishop.

He occupied the following positions: 1882- the Vicar of the Diocese in Gori (Georgia), 1883- the Vicar of the Diocese in Nukha, 1884- assistant administrator of the Diocese in Nukha. In 1887- was moved to Nor Nakhijevan and appointed as the Chairman of the Spiritual Board, and on 2 September 1889 – Chairman of theDiocesan administration. On 28 February 1890 – was appointed to serve as the Vicar of the Diocese in Aleksandropol. In 1892 he returned to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. In 1894 - the Vicar of the Diocese in Gandzak, and from 1895 to 1897 - administrator of the Diocese in Karabakh. In 1901 – the prior of Sanahin Monastery. On 10 August 1904 by the order of the Catholicos Mkrtich I Khrimyan he was appointed to serve as the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Imereti and Georgia. In this position he completed his tireless life activities and deceased at the age of 58, on 3 November 1910, in Tbilisi.

       In 1881 he was granted to wear the Pectoral cross of Archimandrite, in 1883 – Phelonian, in 1901- Panagia of Bishop, in 1907 - was awarded the Order of St. Stanislav, 1st class.

       Archbishop Garegin Satunyan was a clergyman-builder. He built the residence of the Diocese in Aleksandropol and renovated Sanahin Monastery. He also showed good administrative skills, while serving as the Head of the Diocese in Imereti and Georgia in the difficult years (1904-1907).

1911-1913(years of leadership) BISHOP EPHREM SUKIASYAN. Was born in 1855 in Ashtarak village. Graduated the Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in 1873. In 1876 was ordained to the diaconate, in the same year was appointed to serve as the Religion teacher in the Theological Seminary. In 1880 was elected a member of Typographic Conventions of Holy Etchmiadzin. In 1882 – was a teacher of Armenian language in the Gevorkian Theological Seminary, in 1886 - the Religion and Armenian language teacher in School for Noble Maidens in Vagharshapat. In 1887 he was ordained as a celibate priest and appointed to serve as the prior in the monastery of Surb Khach (Holy Cross) in Nor Nakhijevan, where he administered school and built different structures. In 1889 he received the rank of Archimandrite (Vardapet). In 1893 was appointed a member of the delegation, which went to Jerusalem to accompany to H. Echmiadzin the newly elected Catholicos Khrimian Hayrik.

In 1897 he was appointed a member of Monastic Council of Holy Etchmiadzin. In the same year by the order of Catholicos Khrimian Hayrik he was appointed a member of the Consistory of Kishinev. In 1900 was moved to Shemakha as a member of Consitory. In 1904 he was appointed the Chairman of the Armenian Church's Tbilisi Consistory and at the same time administered Tiflis estates which belonged to Holy Etchmiadzin. In 1910 was consecrated as a Bishop by Catholicos Mateos. On 17 September 1911 he was appointed to serve as the Head of the Armenian Diocese in Tiflis. In 1913 he was elected a member of Holy Synod. In 1914-1915 served as the Chairman in the local Resettlement Commission of Holy Etchmiadzin. Bishop Ephrem was also engaged in literary pursuits. He has a number of articles in Armenian newspapers under the pen names "Set" and "Sagrat." He deceased on 4 August 1915 at the age of 60.

1913-1916 (years of leadership) ARCHBISHOP MESROP TER-MOVSISYAN (MAGISTROS) (“Etchmiadzin” Magazine, 1989, 8, page 17). Was born on 7 May 1865 in Shikaokh village of Tatev region. Baptismal name Parsadan. Father’s name was Vardan. In 1882 graduated from the Diocesan school in Shushi, and in 1885 from Tbilisi Nersisyan school. In 1887 he entered the Department of Classical Philology at Dorpat University and graduated with honors in 1891. From Dorpat he moved to Vienna and for a period of time collaborated with the magazine “Handes Amsorya” periodically published by the local Mkhitarian fathers. In 1892 he moved to Paris and was invited from there as a teacher of Armenology to the Gevorkian Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. On 24 April 1893 he was ordained as a celibate priest, and on 21 June was appointed a member of the delegation, which went to Jerusalem to accompany to H. Echmiadzin the newly elected Catholicos Khrimian Hayrik. In a month he received the rank of Archimandrite (Vardapet). In 1895 was appointed to administer the Diocesan schools in Yerevan and in a year – administered the Diocesan schools in Shushi. In 1898 was elected a member of Consistory of Shushi. In 1902 receiveda master's degree in St. Petersburg. His final thesis was entitled "History of the Armenian translation of the Bible." In 1905 in Armenia, as a result of his efforts and conducted negotiations, Armenian schools were re-opened and Church estates were returned to the legal owner. In September 1908 he was appointed a member of Holy Synod. In 1909 he accompanied the newly elected Catholicos Mateos II Izmirlyan from Constantinople to Holy Etchmiadzin, and in October received the rank of Senior Archimandrite (Dzayraguyn Vardapet). In the same 1909 he was consecrated as a Bishop. It was a result of his efforts that in 1908-1911 the Matenadaran of Holy Etchmiazdin was built, and in 1912 all manuscripts of the Mother See were transferred to this building. From 1911 to 1913 he occupied the post of director at Matenadaran of Holy Etchmiadzin. From 18 January 1913 till the half of 1916 he served as the Head of the Armenian Diocese in Imereti and Georgia, and from 1916 till the end of 1917 – the Head of the Diocese in Astrakhan. From autumn 1922 till autumn 1931 was the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Persia - India. He deceased on 3 June 1939 in Yerevan. Left more than 130 scientific papers. In 1989 his remains were transferred from Yerevan and reburied in the monastery cemetery of St. Gayane Monastery in Echmiadzin.

1916-1920 (years of leadership) BISHOP MKHITAR TER-MKRTCHYAN (Holy Echmiadzin official “Calendar”, 1923. “Ararat” Magazine, 1909, page 812). Was born in 1864 in Tsughrut village (Georgia). Studied in the Gevorkian Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin. He also graduated Tbilisi Nersisyan school. Some time later he served as a teacher in parochial schools. In 1893 he accepted Holy Orders, was ordained as a celibate priest, he conducted different spiritual jobs in good faith and with great devotion. For a long period of time he served as the Vicar of the Diocese in Nor Nakhijevan and later in Aleksandropol. By the order of Catholicos Mkrtich Khrimian he was elected a member of Holy Synod. In 1908 by the order of the Locum Tenens of the Catholicos Archbishop Gevorg he was appointed to administer the Armenian Diocese in Astrakhan. One year later, on 25 October 1909 he was consecrated as a Bishop and appointed to serve as the Head of the same Diocese. In 1916 he moved to Georgia and for four years, till 1920, skillfully and competently served as the Head of the Diocese. During his leadership Bishop Mkhitar opened and patronized a number of Armenian Diocesan and parochial schools. Among his literary heritage worth mentioning is his book titled "At the Dawn of Christianity”, translated from Russian, printed in Holy Echmiadzin in 1903.

 

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1921-1927, 1936-1938 (years of leadership) ARCHBISHOP GEVORG CHOREKCHYAN (“Life and activities of the Catholicos Gevorg V”, the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin, 1955.) National and public figure, clerical leader. He was born on 2 December 1869 in Nor-Nakhijevan. Baptismal name Gevorg. His father Khachatur Abraham’s son Chorekchyan worked as a locksmith, mother’s name was Katarine. Little Gevorg primary education received in a local parochial school of Surb Astvatsatsin Church, later studied in the local seminary. In 1879 he entered the Gevorkian Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin, where he successfully enrolled in the full course of study and graduated in 1889, in the same year he was ordained to the diaconate. By the order of the Catholicos Makar Deacon Gevorg and Deacon Karapet (Ter-Mkrtchyan) were sent to Germany to study philosophy and theology atLeipzig University. Within one year of preparation Deacon Gevorg entered Leipzig Conservatory. After the graduation from the university and conservatory in 1894 the former students of the Gevorkian Theological Seminary returned to Holy Echmiadzin. Deacon Gevorg was a lecturer of Music and History of Armenian Church, at the same time supervised the Choir department of the Seminary. One year later he was dismissed from work, because he showed empathy for expelled students, who opposed the established order at the Seminary. Deacon Gevorg moved to Nor Nakhijevan to serve at Surb Khach Monastery, where he remainedfor more than 18years, and as a musician and mentor, he greatly helped the local community in church affairs, responded to people’s needs, paid attention to orphans, refugees, cooperated with intellectuals and Armenian social organizations. AleksandrMyasnikyan , the composer Romanos Melikyan and many others were his students. Honoring the request of Nor Nakhijevan Armenian community on 20 June 1913 Deacon Gevorg was ordained as a celibate priest by Catholicos Gevorg V, and three days later he received the rank of Archimandrite (Vardapet) and was appointed to serve as the Vicar of the Diocese of Nor Nakhijevan in Surb Khach Monastery. According to the will of Catholicos in 1916 Vardapet Gevorg was moved to serve permanently at the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin and was elected as a member of Holy Synod. In 1917 hereceived the rank of Senior Archimandrite (Dzayraguyn Vardapet). In April of the same year he was consecrated as a Bishop. Then Bishop Gevorg occupied many responsible positions, he was the Chairman of Economic Council at the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin, the Chairman of Monastery Administration, in 1921 served as a Sacristan in Mother Cathedral of Holy Echmiadzin, in autumn of the same year - the Vicar of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia, and in 1922 he was appointed to serve as the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia. In 1925 he was granted the title of Archbishop. In 1927 Archbishop Chorekchyan returned to the Mother See and was elected a member of the Supreme Spiritual Council. In 1936 by the order of Catholicos Khoren I he was appointed to serve as the PatriarchalVicar and was again sent to Tbilisi as the Head of the Diocese to establish order, where in previous years due to the movement “Independent Clergy” situation had deteriorated considerably. (“Life and activities of the Catholicos Gevorg V”, the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin, 1955, page 47) On 5 April 1938 the Catholicos Khoren I deceased in mysteriouscircumstances and Archbishop Gevorg was appointed to serve as the Vicar General of the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.

On 10 April 1941 he was invited by the National Ecclesiastical Assembly to the Elections of the Catholicos of All Armenians. But considering the fact, that due to the war the number of delegates was insignificant, the elections were postponed to a more auspicious time, and Archbishop Gevorg was unanimously elected by the whole nation the Vicar of the Catholicos of All Armenians.

After the World War II, on June 16 1945 the National Ecclesiastical Assembly gathered at the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin and elected Archbishop Gevorg Chorekchyan as the Catholicos of All Armenians. The enthronement ceremony was held on 24 June.

Great and wise Patriarch governed for nine years and deceased on 9 May 1945. He was buried near the bell tower of the Mother Cathedral of Holy Echmiadzin. As literary heritage the Catholicos Gevorg V Chorekchyan left many sermons, encyclicals and spiritual songs.

 

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1929-1933 (years of leadership) BISHOP ARTAK SMBATYANTS (“Etchmiadzin” Magazine, 1973, June, page 26). Was born on 19 March 1976 in Tovuz (former Tavush) village. Father’s name Ephrem Ter-Hovakim Harutyunyants (as well as Smbatyants), and mother’s name was Javahir Herapetyan. Little Ghazar primary education received at his birthplace. In 1877 he entered Tbilisi Nersisyan school and graduated in 1894. Later from 1894 to 1897 he studied and graduated the Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin. In 1895 by the Kontakion of Khrimyan Hayrik he was ordained the permission to wear the stole and became a member of Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin. In 1896 he was ordained to the diaconate. In order to receive the professional higher education he moved to Dorpat, and from 1899 to 1902 attended lectures there at the local university as a free listener. In 1902 he was ordained as a celibate priest. In 1903 he received the rank of Archimandrite (Vardapet). In 1920 he received the rank of Senior Archimandrite (Dzayraguyn Vardapet), and in 1922 was consecrated as a Bishop.

Bishop Artak at the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin served as treasurer, Monastic Council member, host at the Mother See, lecturer at the Gevorkian Theological Seminary, a member of Academic Council, and a member of Council responsible for the reconstruction works at the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin. He occupied many responsible positions in the Printing House at the Mother See. From 1914 to1920 he served as the Vicar of the Diocese in Shirak, and from 1920 - as the Head of the Diocese. From 1922 to 1927 he served as the Primate of Syunik Diocese. From 1927 to 1929 Bishop Artak again was appointed to serve as the Head of the Diocese in Shirak. On 13 December 1929 Tbilisi Deputy Assembly unanimously elected him the Head of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia. He occupied this responsible position until 1933. In 1935 he was appointed to serve as the representative of the Catholicos of all Armenians in Araratian Patriarchal Diocese, and occupied this position until 1937, till the end of his life. Bishop Artak Smbatyants was also engaged in literary pursuits. He has a number of published books, numerous articles, and also unpublished works.

 

 

1945-1946 (years of leadership) BISHOP NERSES ABRAHAMYAN (“Etchmiadzin” Magazine, 1948, I-II, pp. 29-30) Was born on 22 August 1879 in Karasubazar (Crimea), in a family of worker, who was immigrant from Romania. Primary education received in local parochial school, after that he also graduated Tbilisi Nersisyn school. After the graduation he returned to his birthplace and served there as a teacher until 1903. In 1905 the Head of the Armenian Diocese Archbishop Aristakes invited him to Astrakhan to serve as a teacher. He was ordained to the diaconate and later as a priest by Archbishop Aristakes. For decades he served as a priest in Trans – Caspian cities such as Charjou, Termez, Kerki, Kokand, Port-Aleksandrovka and many others, everywhere receiving love and sympathy of the congregation. During World War I Priest Nerses Abrahamyan served as a spiritual shepherd to troops in the front line. During these years he collected donations for the families of the Armenian soldiers, who were killed during World War II, as well as for the Armenian refugees from Turkey. By specialencyclical of the Catholicos Gevorg V in recognition of his service he was granted the Pectoral Cross and obtained the title of Senior Priest. In 1918 Senior Priest Nerses served in Krasnodar and provided great assistance to the Armenian families that had took refuge in Kuban. In 1919 with assistance of Senior Priest Bekgulyants he composed and published in Russian language the Armenian illustrated calendar with rich information about Holy Echmiadzin, Armenian Churches, historical monuments, places populated with Armenians, and mass massacre of the Armenian people, conducted by the Turks. In 1920, 1921, 1922, in Krasnodar, Father Nerses published calendars in Armenian language. After he returned to Armenia he was ordained as a celibate priest and became a member of Monastic Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin. On 7 May 1945 he received the rank of Archimandrite (Vardapet) and on 1 July of the same year he was consecrated as a Bishop. In 1945 by the National Ecclesiastical Assembly Bishop Nerses was elected a member of the Supreme Spiritual Council. In the National Ecclesiastical Assembly at the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin Bishop Nerses took part as the Head of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia (“Etchmiadzin” Magazine, 1945, June-July, pp. 15 and 63.)

In 1945-1946 academic year he served as a lecturer in the newly opened Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. In 1946 he was appointed to serve as the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Azerbaijan and Turkestan. He moved to Baku, but was always spiritually connected to the Theological Seminary. A great part of books from his library he presented to the Theological Seminary. Due to illness Bishop Nerses Abrahamyan returned from Baku to Holy Echmiadzin. He deceased on 5 February 1948.

 

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1944-1948 (the Vicar of the Diocese) SENIOR PRIEST TER SAHAK SAHAKYAN. Served as the Vicar of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia from 1944-1948. (Datesare taken fromhistorical data). Was born in 1870. Deceased in Tbilisi on 17 February 1948, at the age of 78 (“Etchmiadzin” Magazine, 1948, January-February, page 26).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1948-1950 (years of leadership) ARCHBISHOP KARAPET TUMANYAN (“Etchmiadzin” Magazine, January-February, page 67-68) Was born in 1886 on Crimeapeninsula, in Old Crimea. Primary education received in a local parochial school, later moved to Tbilisi and studied in Nersisyan school, he successfully enrolled in a full course of study and graduated in 1904. He was ordained as a priest in 1913 and for 13 years incessantly served at the Armenian Church in Evpatoria. In 1926 he moved to Simferopol, and served there as a Senior Priest in the local Armenian Church. In 1945 he was ordained as a celibate priest in the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin and by the National Ecclesiastical Assembly was elected a member of the Supreme Spiritual Council.

On 7 May of the same year he received the rank of Archimandrite (Vardapet), and on 1 July was consecrated as a Bishop by the Catholicos Gevorg V, and was appointed to serve as the Head of Nor Nakhijevan Diocese. In 1948 he was appointed to serve as the Head of Armenian Diocese in Tbilisi. Through the mediation of Diocese Councils in Nor Nakhijevan and Tbilisi, Bishop Karapet was granted the title of Archbishop by Pontifical Encyclical. Archbishop Karapet Tumanyan served as the Head of the Diocese in Tbilisi until the day of his death. On 22 January 1950 he suddenly died from stroke. He was buried in the graveyard near thenorthern wall of the Cathedral of Saint George in Tbilisi.

 

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1953-1955 (years of leadership) ARCHBISHOP VAHAN KOSTANYAN (“Etchmiadzin” Magazine, 1955, 10 , page 15. 1960, 3, page 23). Was born on 3 February 1881 in Vagharshapat. Primary education received in a local parochial school, and later entered the Gevorkian Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, from which graduted in 1907. From 1905 to 1920 he served as a Secretary of Holy Synod in Etchmiadzin. Later in different institutions he occupied many responsible positions.

In 1944 he was ordained as a celibate priest, later he received the rank of Archimandrite (Vardapet) and became a member of Monastic Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin. On 25 October 1944 by the encyclical of the Supreme Patriarch he was appointed as the Head of the Armenian Diocese in Persia and India. On 1 July 1945 he was consecrated as a Bishop, and on 18 June 1949 – as an Archbishop. Continued his service in Iran until 22 October 1949. Afterwards he occupied many responsible positions at the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin. For a long time he was a member of the Supreme Spiritual Council , and from 1945 to 1955 presiding member of the Supreme Spiritual Council. He used to serve as a Sacristan in the Mother Cathedral of Holy Echmiadzin, and from 1953 to 1955 he served as the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia. In the last period of his life, because of the illness, he retired and spent last years at the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin. After a long and serious illness Archbishop Vahan deceased on 27 March 1960, at the age of 79. He was buried in fraternal cemetery of Saint Gayane Monastery.

 

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1955-1956 (years of leadership) BISHOP VARDAN TER-SAHAKYAN (“Etchmiadzin” Magazine1995, 10-11,pp. 95,96 . 1968, 2, page 63). Was born on 15 January 1878 in Gyulyatagh village of Jrabert district in Nagorno-Karabagh, in the family of Priest Husik Ter-Sahakyan. Primary education received in Kusapat village school of Jrabert district, where studied for five years. From 1896 to 1901 he studied in Diocesan School of Shushi.

In the same year he was appointed to serve as a teacher in Janyatagh village school of Jrabert district, where he worked until 1904. In 1904 by favorable prerogative of Khrimyan Hayrik he was ordained as a priest in his native village.

In the same year he was invited to Grozny in the North Caucasus, where he served for 25 years as a priest and teacher. In Grozny he was a teacher at Female and Real gymnasiums, he organized the local Charitable Society and Charitable Committee, guided and presided them. He established a rich library at parochial school in Grozny, where 250 students studied. In 1929 he moved to Baku to serve as a curate, he was simultaneously engaged in teaching. In 1945 he was appointed to serve as a Senior Priest in Armenian St. Gregory Illuminator Church in Baku. In 1951 Priest Vardan lost his wife and by the instruction of the Catholicos of All Armenians Gevorg VI he became a member of Monastic Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin. In 1952 a cowl was bestowed upon him and he was appointed to serve as a Hegumen in St. George Church in Tbilisi. In the years of his service as a Hegumen (1952-1954) St. George Church was named “Abbey Church of Saint George in Tbilisi” (“Etchmiadzin” Magazine, 1953,7-8, page 11). On 1 December 1954 he was appointed to serve as the Primate of united Diocese of Nor Nakhijevan and North Caucausus. On 6 October 1955 Senior Archimandrite Vardan Ter-Sahakyan was the first consecrated as a Bishop by the Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Vazgen I. Supreme Patriarch consecrated 7 bishops that day. After being ordained as a Bishop, His Eminence Vardan was elected a member of the Supreme Spiritual Council and was appointed to serve as the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia, where he served until 1956. In 1962 Bishop Vardan retired and till the rest of his life lived periodically in Echmiadzin and in Baku, where resided his relatives. Bishop Vardan deceased at the age of 90, in Baku, on 20 January 1968, on All Souls' Days after the Holy Christmas( according to the old calendar). He had published many articles in “Etchmiadzin” Magazine.

 

1956-1957 (The Vicar of the Diocese) BISHOP VAHAN GALAMDARYAN (“Etchmiadzin” Magazine, 1964, 12, page 14-15). Was born on 13 August 1928 in Galaturan village of Kesab region. Baptismal name Andranik. Primary education received in Mesropian National School of Galaturan. In 1943 he moved to Lebanon and entered the Armenian Theological Seminary of Armenian Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia with the aim to become a clergyman. In 1945 he immigrated to Fatherland Armenia and to continue his studies entered the Gevorkian Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, and graduated in 1950. On 18 June 1949 he was ordained to the diaconate. In 1950 he graduated from the Theological Seminary. By advice of the Catholicos Gevorg VI, of Blessed Memory, he was sent to Moscow to reinforce his knowledgein the theological field, where studied for two years in RussianTheological Academy. On 12 September 1954 he was ordained as a celibate priest and received a new name Hiermonk Vahan. From 1956-1957 he served as the Vicar of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia. On 6 October 1956 in the Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin he received the rank of Archimandrite (Vardapet) by His Holiness Vazgen I. On 4 November 1957 he was appointed to serve as the Vicar of Araratian Patriarchal Diocese. In 1960’ he studied in Yerevan State University and successfully graduated from it. On 30 May 1964 Vardapet Vahan was granted the rank of Senior Archimandrite (Dzayraguyn Vardapet) by the Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Vazgen I after completing and defending a doctoral thesis entitled “History of Holy Etchmiadzin School from IV to XX Century.” Through the mediation of Supreme Spiritual Council and Council of Araratian Patriarchal Diocese, on 29 November of the same year he was consecrated as a Bishop by His Holiness Vazgen I.Bishop Vahan served as the Vicar of Araratian Patriarchal Diocese until the autumn of 1972. After that he moved to India and due to illness returned to Yerevan for the treatment. From 1975 to 1977 he served as the prior and administrator in Geghard monastery. The last years of his life he received a pension from the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Bishop Vahan deceased in Yerevan in 1986. Bishop Vahan collaborated with “Etchmiadzin” Magazine and wrote many articles on History and Philology. At the same time he was a member of the “Etchmiadzin” Magazine Editorial Board. He is the author of many articles on History and Philology that were publishedboth in localandin the foreign periodical press, where for some time he wrote under the pen name Gandzasar.

 

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1957-1972 (years of leadership) ARCHBISHOP KOMITAS TER- STEPANYAN (“Etchmiadzin” Magazine, 1955, 1, page 19; 1957 , 11, pp. 60-61. 1980, 12, pp. 34-35). Was born in 1925 in Damascus, Syria. Baptismal name Stepan. Father’s name Shmavon. Primary education received in Aleksandret Sanjak city (former Aleksandret) in Nuparian National School. Afterwards in 1938 he moved to Lebanon and continued his studies in Abgar National College of Beirut until 1940. From 1940 to 1945 he studied in the Theological seminary of the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem. In 1945 he was ordained to the diaconate by Patriarch Kyurekh. In 1947 he emigrated from Beirut to Armenia and for one year attended Yerevan Music College. In August 1948 by the order of the Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Gevorg VI he became a member of Monastic Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin . On 18 March 1951 he was ordained as a celibate priest by Archbishop Ter-Vahan Kostanian and for his beautiful voice he received a name Komitas.

 In front of the young and gifted ecclesiastic a wide range of career opportunities was open. At first he was appointed to serve as the prior of Geghard monastery, later from 1952 to1954 he served as a Spiritual Shepherd in Baku and Tbilisi Armenian Churches. On 11 December 1954 he received the rank of Archimandrite (Vardapet). From 1954 to1955 he served as a lecturer of the subjects "Book of Hours" and Church singing in the Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. At the same time he was a Sacristan at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. In 1956 he was appointed to serve as the Head of Shirak Diocese and in 1957 - the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia. On 24 November of the same year he was consecrated as a Bishop by the Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Vazgen I, in the Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin. In autumn of 1972 by the order of the Supreme Patriarch, Bishop Komitas moved from Tbilisi to Yerevan and was appointed to serve as the Vicar of Araratian Patriarchal Diocese. Soon he was granted the title of Archbishop and was elected a member of the Supreme Spiritual Council. After a serious illness Archbishop Komitas deceased on 3 December 1980, at the age of 55.

By the initiative of Archbishop Komitas in the Cathedral of Saint George in Tbilisi the front of the altar was covered withmarble, as well as floormosaic of the church was renewed. In 1957 from the porch of the Vank Church to the porch of Surb Gevorg Church he transferred the remains of four Armenian generals: Mikhail Tarielovich Loris-Melikian(1824-1888), lieutenant general Arshak Ter-Gukasyants (1819-1881), Imperial Russian Army general Hovaness Lazaryants (1820-1879) and mayor-general Beybut Shelkovnikyants ( 1837-1878). In 1976 Archbishop Komitas conducted the sanctification of repaired Surb Sargis Church in Yerevan.

 

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ARCHBISHOP GEVORG SERAIDARYAN (baptismal name Karpis (Karapet)was born on 29 August 1938in Bucharest, Romania.Father’s name Stepan Seraidaryan, mother’s name Makruhi Halachian. Secondary education he received in Armenian school in Bucharest. In 1948 he immigrated with his family to Armenia, where he studied in Leninakan secondary school and at the same time served as a Clerk in the local Surb Astvatsatsin Church. In 1952 he continued his studies in Yerevan. In 1956 he entered the Gevorkian Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, successfully graduated from the seminary in 1962, and defended his final theses entitled "History of Aparan Cross and Grigor Narekatsi ".

 On 23 September 1962 he was ordained to the diaconate and led a number of high positions at the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin. On 12 April 1964 was ordained as a celibate priest, and in 1965 he received the rank of Vardapet(Archimandrite). From 1966 to 1967 he served as the Vicar of the Diocese in Russia and Nor Nakhichevan, afterwards he returned to the Mother See and received a position of the Head of the Museum at the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin. Later he served as under-sacristan, and afterwards received the responsibilities of crosier-bearer of the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.

 From 1970 to 1972 Bishop Gevorg taught God's law and History in the Gevorkian Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin. In 1972 by the Holy decree of the Supreme Patriarch he was appointed to serve as the Vicar of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia. In 1973 Archimandrite Gevorg successfully defended his Doctoral thesis entitled “A Treatise on the Calendar” and deserved the appreciation of the committee. For his industriousness a rank of Senior Archimandrite was granted to him by the Supreme Patriarch, and in the same year on 30 October he was consecrated as a Bishop and was appointed to serve as the Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Georgia.

 As a Spiritual leader of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia Archbishop Gevorg Seraidaryan conducted a numberof important worksinsidethe Diocese, all operating churches were repaired. In the period of his leadership in Javakheti region churches were opened. In 1974 the altar floor of the Cathedral of Surb Gevorg was covered with marble. In 1977-1978 under the six layers of oil paint and plaster on the walls of Surb Gevorg Church in Tbilisi were detected and repaired 16 big ornaments that had been painted by the 18th century famous artist Hovnatan Hovnatanian. These ornaments had already been repaired by his son and talented student Mkrtum Hovnatanian after the ravage of Tbilisi in 1795. In 1977 from the graveyard of Vank Cathedral the remains of: Archbishop Gabriel Aivazyan(1812-1880), brother of marine painter H. Aivazovski, Bishop Khoren Stepanyan(1840-1900), editors Abgar Hovhannisyan (1849-1904) and Petros Simonyan(1830-1911) - were transferred and buried in graveyard ofthe Cathedral of Saint George.

On 15 September 1977 by the order of the Supreme Patriarch, before the appointment of a new abbot, Archbishop Gevorg was also appointed to serve as a prior of Geghard monastery.

In 1995 he was elevated to the rank of Archbishop. He had served as a member of the Supreme Spiritual Council.

In 1998 he was granted the Order of honor for his significant contribution to strengthening the centuries-old Georgian-Armenian friendship.

In 1979-1980 the Chancery office of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia was rebuilt and expanded. In 1988 Surb Khach Chapel in Daghet village was sanctified. In 1989 Surb Astvatsatsin Church in Shahumian region was also sanctified and later the reconstruction works were held there, the Church was decorated with two domes. In 1990 Armenian Surb Prkich Church in Batumi was given back to the Armenian Apostolic Church and repaired after that. In 1991 the baptistery in Metsara village (Gudauda) was opened and sanctified. In the same year Archbishop Gevorg Seraidarian was elected a member of Management Board of the Armenian Benevolent Society in Georgia. In 1992 he sanctified Armenian Surb Harutyun Vestry in Sukhumi. In the end of 1992 the reinforcement of the walls and foundation of Surb Echmiadzin Church in Tbilisi, damaged after the earthquake, was completed.

Starting with 1971 Archbishop Gevorg continuously composed and published officialcalendars of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in Armenian language, and from 1978 also in Russian. He published many articles in Armenian and Russian newspapers and magazines, he translated his work “A Treatise on the Calendar”, which ranks first among the translations of the works on Armenian calendar in Russian. He himself was the author of several books about the Armenian Calendar and Religious Instruction. In 1996 was Archbishop Gevorg established Sunday school of the Diocese named after Surb Eghia. Archbishop Gevorg Seraidaryan deceased on 11 September 2002, he was buried in graveyard of the Cathedral of Saint George in Tbilisi.

As a Spiritual leader of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia during 30 tireless years of his leadership Archbishop Ter-Gevorg Seraidaryan made a huge contribution to the spiritual life of the Diocese.

 

 

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BISHOP VAZGEN MIRZAKHANYAN

From 2002 till today (years of leadership)

Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan (baptismal name Edward) was born on 21 July 1965 in the village of Artimed (formerly Atarbekyan) of the district of Echmiadzin.

He studied in the secondary school of the village starting in 1971, and graduated in 1982.

In 1982 he entered Gevorkian Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin.

From 1984 to 1986 he served in the Soviet Army.

On 7 May 1989 he was ordained to the diaconate by Archbishop Housik Santourian.

In 1990 he defended his final theses entitled “The Life and Literary Heritage of Archimandrite Grigor Skearatsi.”

On 28 July 1991 was ordained as a celibate priest by Archbishop Nerses Pozapalian in the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin. Upon his ordination he was asked to serve as a lecturer in the Gevorkian Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin while also working at the newly opened Centre of Christian Education and Preaching.

From 1993 to 1995 he served as the Executive Director of the Sunday School affiliated with the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin.

In 1995 by the order of the Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Karekin I, of Blessed Memory, he was appointed to serve as the director of the Centre of Christian Education and Preaching and successfully implemented the tasks entrusted to him. During his time of service, he published 26 books of spiritual content, textbooks on religion, and teacher’s manuals. In addition the “Christian Armenia” biweekly newspaper was established, as well as the radio broadcast of daily religious programs.

In 1996 he successfully defended his Doctoral thesis entitled “The Quotation Sources of the Books “Hartsmants”(“Book of Questions”) and “Voskeporik” by St. Gregory of Tatev.”

On 20 June 1996 he received the rank of Archimandrite (Vardapet) by His Holiness Karekin I.

In 1997- 99 with the support of the leader of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Artsakh His Eminence Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan he organized the retraining of teachers of Religion in the public schools of Artsakh and Kashatagh.

In 1999 he established the office of the “Ecumenical Information Center” in the Yerevan, sponsored by the WWC Armenian Round Table.

On 1 December 1999 by the order of the Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Karekin II he was appointed as the Vicar of the Diocese of Aragatsotn. During his two years in the Diocese, the Churches of Mughnu, Saghmaosavank, Byuragan, and Aparan were reopened, and the Mesrop Mashtots Diocesan Headquarters in Oshakan was re-organized and repaired.

From 2001 by regional authorities appointment and with the support of the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin in the secondary schools of Aragatsotn the subject of History of the Armenian Church was officially introduced. The “Aragatsotn” biweekly newspaper was published.

On 4 September 2002 by the order of the Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Karekin II he was appointed to serve as the Leader of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia.

Father Vazgen was consecrated as a Bishop on 23 July 2003, by the Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Karekin II.

From 2003 to 2012 with the blessingand support of the Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Karekin II were repairedand sanctified St. Echmiadzin Church in Tbilisi, Surb Khach Church in Akhalkalaki, Surb Harutiun (Holy Resurrection) Church of Abul village in Javakhk, Surb Gevorg Church in Arakova village, Surb Harutyun Church in Balkho village, Surb Minas Church in Bejhano, Surb Astvatsatsin Church in Baralet village, Surb Harutyun Church in Bughashen village, Surb Mateos Church in Burnashet village, Surb Sargis Church in Diliska village, Surb Khach Church in Khando village, Surb Astvatsatsin Church in Big Samsar village, Surb Harutyun Church in Small Samsar village, Surb Hovhannes Karapet Church in Kartsakh village.

Surb Karapet Church in Gandza village of Ninotsminda region, Surb Sargis Church in Khojabek village, Surb Metn Nerses in Satkha village, Surb Stepanos Church in Small Aragyal village. Church of St.Gregory the Illuminator in Akhaltsikhe, Church ofthe Holy Archangels in Tsira village of the Akhaltsikhe district, Surb Khach Church in Small Pamach village. Surb Gevorg Church in Khach village and Surb Gevorg Church in Ghush village of the Tsalka district. Surb Khach Church of DamalaVillage in AspindzaRegion. Surb Karapet Church of Tabatskuri in Borjomi region and Surb Gevorg Church in Molit village.

Surb Prkich Church of Shamshulda village in Tetri Tsqaro region. Chapel of the Holy Evangelists in Village Tsiteli Of Marneuli Region. Near the Cathedralof Saint George in Tbilisi the residence of the Diocese was built and in the churchyard of St. Echmiadzin Church in Tbilisi the “Hayartun” Cultural Center was build, reviving cultural an educational life and making the youth more active. The reconstruction works at the Cathedralof Saint George in Tbilisi and improvement of the area near the church have begun. Magazine “Norashen” was founded and valuable books of authors from “Vernatun” Unionof Armenian WritersofGeorgia were published.

Armenian Communities in Georgia

Excerpt from the book of G.S. Abrahamyan “Brief Sketch from the History of the Armenian Communities”

It is difficult to answer definitely, when Armenian population started the resettlement to Georgia and when the first Armenian communities were founded in Georgia. Philologist A. Sarukhan finds that the Armenian communities had existed in Georgia even during the reign of the Artashesyan dynasty, i.e. in the 2nd -1st centuries BC (A. Sarukhan, “Georgia and Armenians”, Vienna, 1939, p. 17). Kartvelologist prof. Khakhanov finds, that the beginning of the Armenian migration should be considered the 5th century. (“Journal Asiatique”, 1898, p. 337-344).

We know nothing about the existence of the Armenian communities in Georgia during the reign of the Artashesyan dynasty. Where the philologist Sarukhan found this information - we do not know. We also have no evidence that the settlement of Armenians in Georgia began in the 5th century, as prof. Khakhanov mentions.

Our information about the foundation of the first small Armenian community in Georgia dates back to the end of the 6th century and the beginning of the 7th century. The 10th century Armenian historian Ukhtanes of Sebastia tells about the severance of Georgian and Armenian Churches in the beginning of the 7th century, and, recalling documents, testifies that a small Armenian community existed in Tsurtavi.

Generally before the 7th century, i.e. before the emergence of harmful and scholastic quarrels between the Armenian-Georgian clericals around theological issues, there was a close relationship between Armenian and Georgian communities, and as the Catholicos of Georgia Kyurion correctly noted in one of his letters: "There was unanimity between Armenians and Georgians" (Ukhtanes “History of Armenians”, ch. B, page 89).

One of the oldest Armenian communities in Georgia was in Tbilisi. Some experts, kartvelologists, mention that in Tbilisi, particularly in Tapkhat (which was one of the districts in Tbilisi) the oldest St.Gevorg Church was built in 80’s (according to the Old Armenian Calendar). In the following centuries the church was destroyed, and in 1251 famous Armenian merchant Umek sponsored the construction of the new Cathedral. Existence itself of the Armenian Church in Tbilisi in the 7th century proves the existence of the Armenian community united around it.

According to ancient sources, the first mass migration of the Armenian population to Georgia occurred in 703. Historian Ghevond, describing the tyranny of Arab invaders in Armenia and oppression of the Armenian people, erupted rebellion in 703, battle in Drashpet village of Vanand region, where the troops of the Caliphate defeated the Armenian-Byzantine forces, tells that after the battle, Prince Smbat Bagratuni of Tayk with the consent of the Byzantine Royal Court (then Georgia was ruled by the Byzantine Empire), moved with his family and followers to Poti. According to the data, these refugees did not stay long there and returned to Armenia.

The next major migration of Armenians to Georgia took place in 774, Historian Ghevond also reports about this fact. He says that in the specified year the Armenian patriots headed by Artavazd Mamikonian, rebelled against the Caliphate in Kumayri village of Shirak, they killed Arab tax collector, and not being able to fight against the organized and numerous Arab forces escaped, finding refuge in Georgia. Georgians hosted the Armenian refugees with rare courtesy, and even gave to Artavazd Mamikonian the right to rule. Later, in 775, when the Arab punitive troops, which were sent to Armenia, again defeated the Armenian patriots in Archesh, part of the Armenian forces again moved to Georgia, by the way, among warriors-immigrants was Ashot Bagratuni - provident and intelligent person, who succeeded to establish Klarjeti - an independent principality in Tao with the capital Artanush. Ashot Bagratuni began the Georgian royal Bagrationi dynasty, which had ruled from the beginning of the 9th until the 19th century.

Arab historian Tabari tells noteworthy information about the joint struggle of Armenians and Georgians against punitive troops of the Caliphate in Tbilisi. As is known, in 851-853, big uprising flared in Armenia and Georgia against the Caliphate. The rebels destroyed all Arab garrisons in Transcaucasia and expelled them from the country. To quell the uprising a large Arab army under the command of a bloodthirsty warlord Bugha was sent in Transcaucasia. Bugha, drowning in blood the scattered forces of the Armenians, in 853 wends his way to Georgia and encircles Tbilisi. According to historian Tabari we see, that among the defenders of Tbilisi were Khutins. "This city (Tbilisi) - he wrote - built King Anushirvan, and Isaac strengthened the city, he dug a huge trench around it, and inside the city put Khutins guard troops and other soldiers. Bugha promised to grant pardon to the residents of the city under the condition that they would lay down arms and go wherever they want. ” (Arab Chroniclers about Armenia. Collected and translated B. Halatyants, Vienna, 1919, p. 100). How to explain the presence of brave Khutins in Tbilisi in 853? Candidate of Philology Sciences V. Nalbandian tried to make two possible explanations, either Khutins after the suppression of the uprising in Taron, avoiding prosecution came to Tbilisi, or Tbilisi governor Sahak, knowing the courage of Khutins , invited them in order to make the city more secure (V.S. Nalbandian, Tbilisi in Armenian Chronicles, Yerevan, 1958, p. 63).

In any case, the above information of Arab historian shows that the brave sons of Armenian and Georgian people together fought against the enemy, and shed their blood to defend Tbilisi.

After the fall of the Armenian Bagratuni, and the Byzantine army captured the capital Ani, resettlement of Armenians in Georgia became massive. Some segments of the Armenian population preferred to live there, because Georgia was not under a foreign yoke yet. Armenian communities grow, particularly, in Dmanisi, Shamsholda and Tbilisi. Armenian patriots pin their hopes on Georgian Bagrationi dynasty, hoping to liberate Armenia with their help. A new political doctrine is put forward – the liberation of Armenia under the leadership of the Georgian Bagrationi ( A.Hovhannisyan, Episodes in the History of Armenian Liberation Thought, book I, Yerevan, 1957, page 141). The information, received from the 12th century Armenian historian Matthew of Edessa, shows that the Armenian scattered military units start to gather around the Georgian King David the Builder and take active part in the liberation of Transcaucasia from the Seljuks’ oppression. During the reign of the kings, who succeeded David the Builder, Armenian military units continued to exist in the Georgian army, and they side by side fought the common enemy. This fact explains the extremely friendly attitude of the Georgian Court to the Armenian immigrants. Matthew of Edessa, telling about an unusually amiable and friendly attitude of David the Builder to Armenian refugees, said that he had ordered to build a city especially for them.

"He, - writes the historian - appeared accepting and loving the people of Armenia ... he built the Armenian city in Georgia and founded many churches and monasteries there. And he named the city Gora (= Gori). And the Armenian people exulted over that "(Matthew of Edessa, page. 356).

In the 70’s of the 12th century so many Armenian refugees had gathered in Georgia, that it became necessary to establish the Armenian Diocese by selecting Tbilisi the center of the Head of the Diocese.

In the 12th century chronicles there is some preserved information about the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Tbilisi, His Eminence Bishop Barseg, who in 1179 took part in the National Ecclesiastical Assembly in Rumkale. He was an authoritative person and was mentioned as the seventh in the number of delegates from Georgian capital Tpkhis. (M. Chamchian “History of Armenia”, v. 3, p.132). In the Armenian chronicles there is also information about other Bishops of the Armenian Diocese in Tbilisi: Anania, Hovhannes et al.

During the reign of the Georgian King George III positive attitude towards Armenians, living in Georgia, was maintained. According to historian Matthew of Edessa, we know that King George III, responding to the Armenian request, in 1162 attacked Shaharmens and liberated the city of Ani from their domination. Then, writes the historian, King George III gave ransom 40,000 coins and freed captured residents of Ani. (Matthew of Edessa, page 427). In order to imagine, what kind of attitude the Georgian Royal Court showed towards the Armenians, especially to honor those, who had distinguished themselves in battle, it is sufficient to recall those fundamental rights that the Georgian Royal Court gave to Armenian Princes - brothers Zakhare and Ivane. During Queen Tamara's reign the first one held the high position of warlord-governor, and Ivane- the position of Atabeg. These two high-ranking Armenians who served the Georgian Royal Court made a great effort to liberate Eastern Armenia from the Seljuk rule. According to transferred information, historians tell that they managed to free Ani, Dvin, Vagharshapat, Kagzvan, Amberd, Kars, Garni and other regions and cities from foreign domination.

According to the chronicler of Queen Tamar- historian Basili, Zachare and Ivane were ... wise, brave, very experienced and faithful" (Basili, historian of Queen Tamar "Monuments of Rustaveli’s Epoch ", L., page 48).

One of the greatest victories of the Georgian-Armenian joint forces against the enemy, during the reign of Queen Tamara, was the victory over the Sultan of Rüm, Rukn ad-Din Süleymanshah II, in 1202 in the Battle of Basiani. The famous Armenian manuscript "Msho Charantir" ("Homilies of Mush") contains detailed information regarding the battle (G.K. Hovsepian, "Msho Charantir", Antelias, 1951, p. 712).

According to contemporary memoirist, it is clear, that the Sultan of Rüm with the giant army attacked Transcaucasia. The Georgian-Armenian army under the commanders Zakhare and Ivane opposed, surrounded and defeated the enemy, returning back with a huge trophy and captives. This victory was crucial for Transcaucasia. The enemies were finally convinced that their efforts to recapture Transcaucasia and approve their domination there were in vain.

One of the remarkable facts of the Armenian and Georgian people joint struggle against an external enemy was the incident with the Sultan of Ardabil, a brief history of which is as follows: Sultan of Ardabil in 1207 secretly attacked Ani, entered the city, destroying everything and taking the loot and captives, returned back. When Zakhare and Ivane heard about it, they immediately conducted the raid on Ardabil with Armenian-Georgian army, destroyed Sultan and returned the loot and captives.

Academician N. Marr, recalling the information of the Georgian historian, and returning to this incident, came to the following conclusion: "The above incident, told by the Georgian historian, is not the only one, which informs about solidarity in the common struggle of the Armenians and Georgians to the glory of both – the Armenian and Georgian people. During the reign of Queen Tamara, except for Zakhare and Ivane, there were many other Princes, who were known to Georgian history for their brilliant battles. In difficult days weapons protected their common interests. 150 years before the reign of Queen Tamara, Georgian troops sang songs about the military successes of Armenian general Vahram Pahlavuni and compared him to Demigod (N. Marr, Ani, L-M., 1934, p 40).

Resettlement of the Armenians to Georgia continued, after the Mongols captured Armenia and establishment there heavy taxes. The Armenian population, gathered in Georgia, once again continued to pin their hopes of freeing their motherland on Georgian Bagrationi Dynasty. It is common to see in Armenian chronicles that one or another Georgian king is mentioned not only as Georgian, but as Armenian king as well. For example, in one record, found in Avan, Georgian King Demetre (1270-1285) is mentioned as the king of "Georgia and Armenia"(K. Kafadarian, Bilingual cryptographic protocol of Avan, Yerevan, 1945, page 20). In a monumental manuscript, written in 1323 in Gladzor, Georgian King George is mentioned again as the "King of Georgia and Armenia" (Armenian St. Matenadaran, manuscript № 6289, page 283 a-b).

In one of the manuscripts of 1417 a memoirist, noting the death of the Georgian King Gregory, sadly tells that this loss was immensely sinister for the Armenian people as well. "Since he was the governor of our great nation, and now we lost him” (Armenian St. Matenadaran, manuscript № 8689, page 17-b). Tovma Metsopetsi , speaking about atrocities and ferocities committed by Shah Jahan in Georgia, at the same time notes that the representatives of Georgian nobility were unable to defend their homeland. On this occasion the historian describes the grief that Armenians endured after seeing the oppression of Georgia: “We had always set our hopes on Georgia, were proud and boasted in front of infidels, and now, after seeing their hopelessness and despair in front of infidels, we are stunned and astonished” (Tovma Metsopetsi, Historical of Timur Lenk, Paris, 1860, page 123).

Armenian community in Georgia not only gave good soldiers, but also created the well-known centers of Armenian manuscript art. Here valuable Armenian manuscripts were rewritten and painted, genuinely distinctive works were written, translations were done and noble efforts were made to save the Armenian Chronicles from extinction. For example, one faded manuscript which was once “in captivity” of Mugan Tatars is now the property of Matenadaran in Yerevan. The manuscript was brought by robbers to Tbilisi for sale. The Armenian community of the city bought the manuscript and presented it to the local Surb Karasnits Church. One of the prominent representatives of the Armenian Chronicles - Vanakan, on a clean sheet of the manuscript described in detail the story of the manuscript "capture" and "liberation", and for the authenticity of written added: "I ,Vanakan, wrote this with my own hands in Tpkhis" (G.K. Hovsepian , Memorable Notes, page 903).

The famous work of Vardan AreveltsiHistory of the Armenians” had the same fate. In 1265 the chronicler Vardan, returning from Hulagu Khan, was robbed by the bandits. The robbers seized the manuscript of "History", which was also brought to Tbilisi; the local Armenians bought it and returned the work to the author. After receiving back the manuscript, Vardan considered it necessary to write an epilogue and tell the history about the capture of the manuscript (Vardan Mets, History of the World, M., 1861, page 231).

In the 15th -17th centuries the situation of Armenian immigrants considerably degraded, it was when Georgia was divided into small political principalities and fell under Persian-Turkish bloody yoke. The Armenian population of Georgia fully shared the tragic fate of the Georgian people under the contemptible yoke of foreign oppressors.

Starting from the 15th century, raging disaster in Georgia were diverse: massacre,
robbery, captivity, unbearably heavy taxes, child-gathering , etc. Contemporary historians testify that in these centuries Eastern markets were crowded with captives from Transcaucasia, who were sold everywhere for a song.

The Armenians, as honest well-wishers, in difficult and dark days of the Georgian people, having a common destiny with them, provided compassion and sympathized with the Georgian captives, tried to free them from captivity by giving ransom. Tovma Metsopetsi tells that, when in 1416 Uzun Hasan came back via Armenia with a large number of captives from Georgia, Armenians spared no expense to liberate them. Armenian women "gave their jewelry, men - cattle." Seeing the efforts and diligence of the Armenians in release of captives, the oppressors intentionally added ransom price: "... And seeing the voluntary consent of the Armenians the price for each prisoner was raised to 10, or even 20 thousand gold and silver coins" (Tovma Metsopetsi, page 78).

A considerable number of captives, brought from Georgia, were the Armenians who lived in Georgia. In 1440, during the invasion of Shah Jahan in Georgia, 12,000 people from the local Armenian population were killed or captured. In one manuscript, written in the same year, we read: “In 1440 Shah Jahan Mirza entered Georgia, smashed everything, ruined churches, killed and captured more than 12,000 Armenians.” (G. Priest Agayan, Archive of Armenian History, v. 10, page 18). Arakel of Tabriz testifies that many Armenians were among refugees from Georgia, who together with Georgians settled in the swamps of Fahrapat near Isfahan (Arakel of Tabriz, History of Armenia, pp. 132-133).

In 1795 during the invasions of Agha Mohammad Khan in Georgia Armenians shared the tragic fate of Georgian people. In Tbilisi and its surroundings many Armenians were killed and captured. According to some testimonies, during this invasion great Armenian poet Sayat-Nova was killed (Sayat-Nova, ed. Corresponding Member, Academician M. A. Hasratian, Yerevan, 1963, page XXXVI ).

Must be noted that Armenians and Georgians, these two people with a common destiny, never accepted the Persian-Turkish yoke, and always heroically fought for their liberation. Remarkable is the fact that the liberation plans of these two nations, their aspirations and wanderings almost always chose the same path. It is known that in 1679, before setting off to Europe to ask Christian countries for assistance, Hakob Jugaetsi travels to Georgia, negotiates with Georgian liberation parties , coordinates his plans with them, and only after that departs to Constantinople, and from there - to Europe. But, as we know, these negotiations failed (Leo, History of Armenia, v III, Yerevan, 1946, page 347). In the beginning of the 18th century, when Ori was conduction negotiations with Royal Court in Moscow, the question of the liberation of Armenia developed along with the question of Georgian liberation: how Russian troops would enter Georgia and Armenia, how many warring forces locals can provide, etc. (G.A. Ezov, Relations of Peter the Great with the Armenian People, page 75 and other pages). It is known, that in 1722 King Vakhtang VI and his son Shakhnavaz, at the request of Syunik residents to organize the liberation movement in Syunik, sent David Bek with his military comrades from Mtskheta to Syunik, whose exploits are written in golden letters in the history of the Armenian people.

In 1722, when Peter the Great began his famous Persian campaign and came to Derbent, under the preliminary arrangement, Armenian and Georgian troops were supposed to meet them in Shemakha. One of the historians of that time, Yesai Hasan-Jalalian, describes that Armenian and Georgian troops were filled with delight and inspiration (G.A. Ezov, Relations of Peter the Great with the Armenian People, page 336). And so great was their disappointment to learn that Peter the Great had left Derbent and returned back (G.A. Ezov, Relations of Peter the Great with the Armenian People, page 337).

Due to unfavorable conditions King Vakhtang VI lost his throne, and Eastern Armenia suffered unspeakable oppression, first because of the Turks, and then - the Persians. Finally, in the 60s’ of the 18th century Joseph Emin, who came to Georgia, had only one dream - to create in Georgia a big and well equipped army of Armenians and Georgians, and with its help to liberate his homeland. (A.R. Hovhannisyan “Joseph Emin”, Yerevan, 1945) During the reign of Heraclius II Georgian and Armenian joint efforts of liberation continued.

One of the most outstanding representatives of the Armenian liberation movement Shahamir Shahamiryan, who had close ties with the King Heraclius II, every possible way tried to convince the Georgian King to take the honorable mission of liberation of Eastern Armenia. On 15 October 1787 Shahamiryan wrote a letter to Heraclius II, where he advised not only to liberate Armenia but, taking advantage of the ruined state of the Persian government, to overthrow it and to head the new government. Shahamiryan thought that Heraclius II had the right to act that way. According to Shahamiryan, after takeover it would be easier to reign, if only to give freedom to the people and show regular tolerance. With regard to Western Armenia, if Heraclius after coming to power revives slavery and creates law and order in the country, "They will obey the sweetness of your laws and your freedom" (Matenadaran, Armenia, Manuscript 2949, № 278 a), Western Armenians voluntarily will be under his patronage. In what places had been located Armenian communities in Georgia and approximately how many people had lived there?

Unfortunately, the historical records do not provide rich and specific information about this fact. Besides, in the middle ages, at different times, the number of the population and places of residence constantly changed.

One of the largest Armenian communities in Georgia was in Tbilisi. The 13th century traveler Marco Polo in his notesThe Travels of Marco Polo”, describing Tbilisi, reports this significant information of its population: "In this country (i.e., in Georgia A.A.) there is a wonderful city Tbilisi, surrounded by suburbs and numerous fortresses. Residents are Christians - Armenians and Georgians, Sarakins and a small Jewish population "( The Travels of Marco Polo, translation of I. Minaev, Saint Petersburg, 1873, page 30).As can be seen from these records, the Armenians are referred to as one of the main inhabitants of the city.

 

In one of the manuscripts of Matenadaran in Armenia one chronicler mentions eight local parish priests that are listed by their names, but, of course, there could have been other Armenian priests in Tbilisi as well, who were not mentioned in the manuscript. This reference provides an opportunity to calculate the number of population of the local Armenian community. If we assume that every parish priest was obliged to guide 150-200 families, then eight priests should have guided from 1400 to 1600 families; if in each family, on average, lived 5 people, than in Tbilisi must have lived from 7 to 8 thousand Armenians.

In the 18th century Joseph Pitton de Tournefort tells about 20 thousand citizens of Tbilisi, from which 12 thousand are Armenians (M. Polietkov and G. Natadze, Contemporaries abut Old Tbilisi, 1929, page 30).

Another huge part of the Armenian population was located in Gori. In the 17th century the Armenian population in Gori was so large that H. Etchmiadzin found it necessary to establish a new Diocese in Georgia, with the residence of the Head of the Diocese in Uplistsikhe. In 1660 the Catholicos Hakop in his official letter to the Armenian community of the Diocese wrote: “About Blessed condition of Surb Nshan in Uplistsikhe and to the Armenian priests of the Diocese, headmen and people, in general” (Priest G.Aganyan (“Taraz” 1919, № 1-12, page 44)). The large part of the Armenian population also lived in Poti. Already in the 15th century one of the European merchants Ambrosio Contarini in 1473-1477, during his journey near Poti, saw 9 Armenian villages close to the Georgian city (Hakobyan, Travel, Yerevan, 1932, page 244). The majority of Armenian population also lived in Shamshulda. From one historical source, used by Academician A.Hovhannisyan, it is clear that in the 15th century up to 20 thousand Armenians resided in Shamshulda. (A.Hovhannisyan, Episodes in the History of Armenian Liberation Thought, book II, Yerevan, page 327). In his official letters of 1763-1767 the Catholicos Simeon mentions Tbilisi, Gori, Kakheti, Kisegh and Telavi – as the Armenian communities (Priest G.Aganyan ("Taraz" 1919, page 164)). He compiled one statistical data listing, which shows that Armenians lived in Georgia at the following locations: Tbilisi, Gori, Surami, Krtskhula, Akhalgori, Sayrista, Ananot, Dusheti, Aynudzor, Saarsatyan, Kakheti, Telavi and Kisekh.

Speaking about administrative communities in Georgia, it should be noted that they had an enormous role in the interaction of the Armenian and Georgian cultures. Armenian chronicler or craftsmen many years living in Georgia shared with the locals all the good experience that he had brought from his motherland Armenia, and vice versa, he took from the local people everything that was close to his heart.

The 5th -7th centuries are considered the first stage of the Armenian-Georgian cultural relations, and the field of activity - Kvemo Kartli and Armenian-Georgian communities in Palestine. It should be noted that, these two nations living side by side in a foreign land, as fellow neighbors and friends, had a great interaction with each other in the cultural sphere. During this period the interaction of the Armenian-Georgian chronicles, mainly in the field of religious and canonical literature, is noticeable. The period of the Armenian-Georgian culture rapprochement is the II stage of writing chronicles, and is commonly mentioned as the Tao-Klarjeti Period, i.e. the regions Tao and Klarjeti were under Georgian domination, and taking advantage of the favorable political situation, once extinguished famous centers of manuscript art were restored, such as Ishkan, Shatbert, Mijnadzor , which played a huge role in the creation of high quality Armenian and Georgian manuscripts. In this period some chapters and excerpts from the works of Armenian historians had been translated from Armenian to Georgian: Agathangelos, the founder of the Armenian historiography Moses of Chorene, Faustus of Byzantium and others. Some chapters from the works of Epiphanius of Salamis, Grigor Nyusatsi, as well as some behavioral works in separate collection had been translated from Georgian to Armenian (L. Melikset –Bek, From the history of Armenian- Georgian Literary Relations, “Etchmiadzin”, 1957, № 7-8, page 39).

Armenian benefactor Grigor Bakuryan played a big part in the development of the 11th century Georgian chronicles. He was Armenian Prince from Tayk, governor of the city of Ani, later served at the Byzantine Court, distinguished as a good soldier and politician, received an estate in the Bulgarian city of Buchkovo, and in his estate founded a brotherhood of Georgian and Armenian priests. Here since the 11th-12th centuries the center of Georgian culture flourished, where such an outstanding representative of science, the eminent philosopher Ioane Petritsi was engaged in creative activities (N.Marr, Arkaun, Saint Petersburg, 1905, pages 19-21).

The most brilliant stage of the Armenian-Georgian cultural convergence is in particular time span of the 11th to 18th centuries, when a powerful and united state was created in Georgia, and Georgian feudal culture was at a very high level of development. At this time the center of manuscript art in Pghndzahank (today Akhtala) had the most prominent role. Many valuable historical and philosophical works were translated here from Georgian into Armenian. “Kartlis Tskhovreba” manuscript, which is a valuable historical source about the peoples of Transcaucasia, occupies the place of honor among the translations from Georgian into Armenian in the 12th -13th centuries. It contains a lot of information about the history of the Georgian people and other neighboring nations. “Kartlis Tskhovreba” consists of several Georgian historical works, where the author of the most ancient part is the 11th century chronicler Leonti Mroveli. The ancient manuscript "Kartlis Tskhovreba" is located in Matenadaran, Armenia. It was rewritten in the second part of the 13th century, published twice (in Venice in 1884, edited by A.V. Tairian, and the second time published by Professor I. Abuladze, 1953).

In the period of intensified statehood in Georgia Armenian poets and writers made a modest contribution to the Georgian literature. One of them Sargis Tmogvetsi was famous for his poem “Diralgev” (Sargis I Tmogvetsi), he also was very popular as "connoisseur, philosopher and orator." According to chronicles, he was a relative of Zakharyans, who were representatives of the Georgian Royal Court.

One of the Georgian writers of Armenian origin, who composed on the Georgian land, was Peshand Pashvi Bervadze. He is considered the first author in the Georgian literature, who showed the Georgian reality in his poems, and thus laid the foundation for realism.

                In the 18th century a man of great merit and one of the outstanding authors in Georgia was Bektabek- Head of Chancery of the Georgian King George, who rewrote a number of Georgian manuscripts. We owe him for the preservation of the best oldest manuscript of Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli, rewritten by him in 1680. From all surviving manuscripts, this manuscript is considered the best. In the field of Georgian chronicles and linguistics Parsadan Georgidzhanidze is one of the most outstanding writers of Armenian origin in the 18th century. He is the author of several historical and philological works, as well as of the big work related to the "Georgian history." He translated from Persian into Georgian the Mohammedan Law “Jami'-i 'Abbasi ”. Georgidzhanidze composed Georgian-Arabic-Persian comprehensive dictionary.

Prominent figure of the 18th century Georgian chronicles Sulkhan Saba Orbeliani in his "Dictionary", along with other sources, used glossary and vocabulary of Jeremiah placed in the appendix to the Armenian Bible, published in 1666 in Amsterdam.

The convergence of the Armenian and Georgian people gets wide significance in the first quarter of the 18th century, in particular. During the reign of Vakhtang VI and the Catholicos Anton, in Georgia conducted huge work to translate the most outstanding works of the Armenian chronicles. For this purpose a number of intelligent Armenian writers and philologists were invited, who under direct supervision of the Catholicos and Royal Court started high volume translation work. Among the Armenian translators the most famous were Zakhariah Matinyan (Madinashvili), highly experienced philosopher Pilipos Kaitmazashvili, Petor, Samvel, etc. "Storogutyun" ("Predicativity") of Aristotle, "Treasures" of Kyuregh Alexandratsi, History of the Council of Ephesus, Assyrian-Byzantine Code of Law, "Code of Law" of Mkhitar Gosh etc. were translated from Armenian into Georgian through the efforts of these translators (see I. Abuladze, New Monuments of Armenian and Georgian Literary Relations in the Past. "Banber Matenadarani", 1956, № 3, pp. 101-114).

Many textbooks, such as: "Chartasanutyun" (Rhetoric), "Kerakanutyun" (Grammar), Mkhitar Sebastatsi "Tramabanutyun" (Logics) , excerpts from the dictionary "Haykazyan", from Chamchyan "History of Genocide" , Inchichyan "Geography" etc.- were translated from Armenian into Georgian.

Nagash Ovnatan, who composed his famous song “Vrastani Gyozalner” (“Beauties of Georgia”) in Tbilisi, was related to the Royal Court of Vakhtang VI. And finally, the brilliant poet of Transcaucasia Sayat-Nova lived in Georgia, he wrote his songs in Armenian, Georgian and Azerbaijani. His brilliant works embody close, indestructible, centuries-old friendship between the three peoples of Transcaucasia.

Chamchi Melkon, who sang both in Armenian and Georgian, was a prominent Armenian poet on the Georgian land after Sayat-Nova.

There were specified only a few names, mainly associated with the Armenian community in Georgia, to show that Armenian immigrants, who found refuge in Georgia, were not inert and passive representatives of the social environment, but also provided an effective, active participation in the political, social and cultural life, and made their modest contribution in this area (observations and comments of kartvelologist Paruyr Muradyan were taken into account).

“Armenian nation is a river, waters of which irrigate not only the native land and fields, but also emit powerful waves in the general ocean of civilization "(N.Adonts, Artavan Arshakuni Historical Research, page 319).