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Chronological table of the Primates of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia PDF Print E-mail

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.

 

 

20

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.