Armenian Writers (11th century)

Armenian Writers (11th century)

Armenian Writers (5th-13th Centuries) displays lists of the major Armenian authors, heads of the Church, and corresponding secular rulers of the Armenians. This material is based on a course entitled History of Armenian Literature taught by Professor Krikor H. Maksoudian at Columbia University in Autumn-Spring of 1972-1973, and compiled by his student, Robert Bedrosian, from class notes, handouts, and other sources.


Vardapet Yovhanne's Taronets'i (Kozer'n), 970?-1050?

Yovhanne's was born in Taron and studied with the bishop of Arsharunik'. He was a master of the Old and New Testaments, and had the reputation of being a holy ascetic. Supposedly, in 1037, he prophesied that in 60 years time the Franks would come and free Jerusalem (Matthew of Edessa, pp. 78-86). Neither his birth nor death dates are known, but he was buried in the Erevan cemetary, a place thereafter known as Kozer'n Hill.


1. Vasn vardavar'i tonin, ending defective. Written in a very clear language.

2. Meknut'iwn tumari, written at the request of Bishop Anania Vagharshakertts'i. Two sections published by H. Kurdian in Hande's Amso'reay 1967, pp. 7-11.

3. Patmut'iwn Bagratuneats', written at the request of Petros Getadardz. Erevan ms. #1175, has a few beginning pages only.

4. Gir hawatoy. Mentions the historian Aristake's Lastivertts'i.

Petros Getadardz, 975?-1058

It is supposed that Petros received his early education at the Catholicosal school of Argina and then in Trebizond, in a Greek school. Petros suddenly comes to prominence in 1019 when the aged Catholicos Sargis Sewants'i (d. 1022) ordained him and then retired from office. Petros held the Catholicosate for 40 stormy years (1019-1058), and played an important role in political affairs. His pro-Byzantine sentiments earned him the scorn of contemporary and modern writers. However, he has not been accused of Chalcedonianism.

During his life, Petros was thrown from pillar to post:

1017-1023, Ani
1023-1026, Sebastia
1026-1033, Ani
1033-1037, Dzoroyvank', Vaspurakan
1037-1039, in Bjni, stripped of office and under arrest
1039-1046, Ani
1046, Artsn
1047-1051, Constantinople, under arrest
1052-1058, Sebastia, where he died and was buried at St. Nshan Vank' (1058).

Petros received his nickname Getadardz ("He who turned the [flow of the] river") after his miraculous performance in Trebizond in 1023 when he blessed the waters for Emperor Basil II. While Petros was under arrest in Bjni, he became acquainted with the Pahlawuni prince, Grigor Magistros. Magistros initially disliked Petros, then later became friendly with him and an intimate correspondant. Before leaving for Constantinople, Petros ordained his nephew (sister's son) Xach'ik as co-Catholicos. As a writer, Petros has not left many works, most of them being lost.


1. A colophon dated 1046 upon receipt of a collection of Chrysostom's homilies. In Yovsep'ean, Yish. Dzer'. pp. 225-230, written in a hunaban style.

2. Sharakank': A. Harts'k' nnjets'elots' (AJ-DK, 72 in all); B. Mankunk' (Sargis, Ge'org, Minas), not especially ingenious.

3. Letters to G. Magistros, lost.

A short study of Petros Getadardz was made by K. Kostaneants' (Vagharshapat, 1897).

Grigor Magistros, 990?-1059

Grigor was the son of Prince Vasak Pahlawuni (d. 1021). He received a broad education which included the Greek and Arabic languages, theology, and non-scriptural literature. He also found time to teach. Among his students were the bishops Basil and Eghishe', as well as his own son, the future Catholicos Grigor Vkayase'r. Altogether, Grigor had four sons and four daughters. After the fall of Ani, when Gagik II left his homeland, Grigor also departed, going to Mesopotamia where he received the principality and title of Magistros from Emperor Constantine Monomachus (1048). Later he became duke or bdeshx of Vaspurakan, Berkri, Archesh, Manazkert, and Taron. Grigor was an avid reader, translator, and writer, but was not an especially talented poet. His writing style is hunaban and difficult. We owe to him the introduction of meter based on Arabic writing.


1. 1038-1058. Letters, more than 80, in a very difficult style, but containing historical, mythological, and other kinds of information. The first publication of the letters was by K. Kostaneants' (Alexandropol, 1910).

2. 1045. Ar' Manuch'e', a 1000-line history of the Bible, written in Constantinople in four days to refute a noted Islamic propagandist. This work influenced N. Shnorhali and Yovhanne's Tlkurants'i (Venice, 1868).

3. Minor verses, six in number, published in part in each of the two preceeding collections.

4. The sharakan, "Zors e"st patkeri k'um steghtser..."

5. Meknut'iwn k'erakani, drawn from the most ancient Armenian interpreters of Dionysius: Movse's K'ert'ogh, Dawit the Philosopher, "Ananun [Anonymous]," and Step'annos Siwnets'i, with important additions and explanations by Grigor himself. See Adontz, pp. 221-249.

Grigor's translations are done using the hunaban method and are not especially accurate. They include a few works of Plato, such as Timaeus (c. 1050), EuthyphroDefense of SocratesLaws and Minos. Unknown are some works done in 1051: Plato's Phaedo and Euclid's Geometry.

Grigor Magistros was buried in 1059 at Okomi Vank', which is Hasank'ale's St. Astuatsatsin.

Anania Sanahnets'i (Haghbatats'i), 1000?-1070?

Anania received his education with Deokoros, the noted teacher of Sanahin (Kostaneants', Letter KA, pp. 136-42). Anania was a skilled theologian and exegesist.


1. Meknut'iwn ZhD (14th) tght'ots'n Poghosi. Written in 1055 at the request of Petros Getadardz (1019-1058).

2. Druat i st. mkrdich'n Yovhanne's.

3. I xorhurd Yovhanu margare'i.

4. I xorhurd katarman s. ar'ak'eloyn Petrosi.

5. Meknut'iwn Mate'i, written at the request of the director of Sanahin, Diokoros Vardapet (1037-1063).

6. Ban hakachar'ut'ean e"ndde'm erkabnakats', at the request of Petros Getadardz.

Aristake's Lastiverts'i, 1000?-1073?

It is believed that Lastiver village was near Artsn in the Karin district. While we know nothing about Aristake's' life, it is clear that he was well-versed in the Bible, which he constantly quotes in his History. This work embraces the period from 1001 to 1072 and is written in a clear and vivid style. Unlike other historians, Aristake's wrote because he himself chose to, and not with any patronage from a lordly family. His religious worldview leads him to attribute everything to God's design, and makes him blame the Armenians for the massacres committed against them by the Saljuqs and Byzantines.


In addition to the History, several homilies are attributed to Aristake's Vardapet:

1. Vasn ut'oreay nawakateats'n or zkni astuatsayaytnut'eann katari.

2. I xorhurd otnaluayin.

3. I nor kirake'n.

4. There is also a work attributed to him: E"nt'erts'uatsots' meknut'iwn.

An English translation of Aristakes Lastiverts'i's History, made from Classical Armenian by Robert Bedrosian (New York, 1985), is available for reading online and downloading. This translation was published by Sophene in 2021 with the Classical Armenian text on the facing page.

Ge'org Lor'ets'i, 1020?-1086?

Ge'org Vardapet was born in Lor'i, and therefore, perhaps, was educated at either Haghbat or Sanahin. It is not known when he moved to Cilicia, but he was there, associated with Kat'oghikos Grigor Vkayase'r, at the beginning of the latter's reign (1065/1066). During Grigor's absence (1069-1072), Lor'ets'i acted as his substitute. But Vkayase'r became annoyed at Ge'org and removed him from office, thereupon the latter went to Tarsus where he lived a long while (1072-1085) often referred to as kat'oghikos of Aplgharip's administration: Tarsus, Adana, Baberon, and Lambron. Among Ge'org's pupils was Kirakos Drazark (1076-1113), spiritual son and associate of Vkayase'r (d. 1105). In the Book of Letters is a long section (pp. 335-357) attributed to Ge'org: Tear'n Georgeay hayots' veradidoghi ew hogeshnorh p'ilisop'ayi, patasxani t'ght'oyn Yovhanne'si asorwots' patriargi. It is a reply to the Syrian patriarch of Antioch, John Barshusha (1064-1073) who attacks Armenian Church customs.

Grigor Vkayase'r, 1025?- d. 1105

Grigor was the son of Prince Grigor Magistros Pahlawuni, and was named Vahram. His father educated him, and he was married in his youth, but separated to follow his spiritual calling. Following the death of Catholicos Xach'ik, the princes practically forced him to succeed (1065/1066).

Soon Grigor decided to visit the holy places, and reluctantly ordained Ge'org Lor'ets'i in 1069. He went to Black Mountain. Soon, in 1072, he was obliged to expel Lor'ets'i. To satisfy Philaretus, he ordained as Catholicos Sargis, the nephew (sister's son) of Petros Getadardz. He himself then went to Ani where he ordained his own nephew, Barsegh, as bishop (1073).

In 1074 Grigor again went to visit holy places. First he stayed three to four years in Constantinople and went from there to Rome and Egypt. On this occasion, he ordained another nephew bishop or Catholicos of Egypt's 30,000 Armenians. After this ten-year pilgrimage, he returned to his mother in Armenia. However, he did not remain in Armenia long. In 1085 he was in Egypt again; he probably was in Melitene in 1092; and in Jerusalem (1099) when the Crusaders took the city. During 1101-1105 he once more visited the monasteries of Black Mountain. When he was close to 80, Prince Gogh Basil had him brought to him at K'esun's Karmir Vank', where Grigor died in 1105, after a peripetetic Catholicosate of 40 years. Grigor is called Vkayase'r (lover of martyrs) for his many translations of saints' lives.


1. 1076. Translation of Chrysostom's Exegesis on the Deeds of the Apostles, done in Constantinople.

2. 1092. In Melitene he translated the Lives of Eudoksia and Ramela, from Greek.

3. 1100. Translation of the Life of St. Step'annos, patriarch of Rome.

4-6. 1101. Lives of Gregory the Theologian, Ephrem the Syrian, and John Chrysostom.

7. 1102. T'ught' yaghags tsr'azatki, addressed to the Edessan Armenians.

8. 1103. Lives of Saints Lampeos and Lampeuhwoy.

9. He edited the Tonnamak/Yasmawurk' with new additions.

10. Translation of Ephrem's Otnluay yasorots'.

11. He began a Chashots' girk' with new readings, but he died before its completion, entrusting it to his associate, Kirakos Drazarkts'i.

12. He also left to Kirakos to finish Chrysostom's Exegesis on John the Baptist.

13. Xawsk' vasn patuiranats' naxaharts'n also known as E"ndde'm erkabnakats'.

Ge'org Meghrik, 1045-1115

Ge'org was born in Analiwr village, Vaspurakan in 1045, receiving his education at Sevana Vank', where he lived a long while and thereby earned the appellation Sevants'i. For his mild disposition, he was dubbed meghr or meghrik ("honey/sweet"). Ge'org went to Cilicia at the end of the 11th century, and established clerical orders at Drazark and Xorin Anapat of Sis. During the reign of Catholicos Grigor Vkayase'r, Ge'org was asked to participate in the formation of a Chashots' girk'. He died at age 70 and is buried in the Drazark Vank'.


Most of his writings are prayers, unpublished.

1. Hamar'o't patmut'iwn nshxarats' s. ar'ak'eloyn Petrosi, from Pantaleon. See Hayapatum, pp. 295-299.

2. Aghot'akan bank' yaghags zljman meghats'.

3. Aghot'k'.

4. - 6. Aghot'k'.

7. Gir oghjuni ew paghatanats', in Hande's Amso'reay 1950, pp. 142-146.

Kirakos Drazarkts'i, 1050?-1127

Kirakos studied with Ge'org Lor'ets'i, and was the associate of his spiritual father, Grigor Vkayase'r, for many years. He supposedly corrected the translations made into Armenian by others.


1. 1085? Meknut'iwn gortsots' ar'ak'elots'—Chrysostom, an improvement over the translation done earlier by the Greek Armenian Kirakos Hr'etor (1076).

2. 1117. Meknut'iwn Yovhannu awetaranin—Chrysostom.

3. Chashots' girk'. Kirakos completed this work which had been left incomplete by the death of Ge'org Vkayase'r.

Poghos Taronets'i, 1050?-d. 1123

Poghos must have received his education in Taron, at Ghazaru or Ar'ak'elots' Vank'. He subsequently became the abbot there. He was a theologian and expert on ritual. Urhayets'i (p. 446) calls him a philosopher and a refutor of heretics. Sargis Hark'ats'i and Step'annos were among his students. In his lengthy T'ught' e"ndde'm T'eop'istei, Poghos refers to his old age, and the next year, he was dead.


1. T'ught' e"ndde'm T'eop'iste hor'om p'ilisop'ayi.

2. Ibid. 1122, enlarged and written in "ashxarhabar".

3. Bats'ayaytut'iwn kargi zhamuts' aghot'its'.

4. Yaghags srboy ekeghets'woy kargats'oyts'k'.

5. Yaghags himnarkut'ean srboy ekeghets'woy.

6. Ban hawatoy e"ndde'm herdzuatsoghats'.


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