Armenian Writers (7th century)

Armenian Writers (7th 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.


Grigor K'ert'ogh, 550?-620?

Very little is known about this man, his name being recorded for the first time in 589 when Catholicos Movses Eghivardets'i sent Grigor together with Vrt'ane's K'ert'ogh to Constantinople as an Armenian representative to a Church council convened by Emperor Maurice. Grigor vardapet may have belonged to the Siwnik' school, judging from the appellation k'ert'ogh ("poet/grammarian/philologist") and from his hunaban language.


One letter of Grigor's has been preserved, written in 607 in a difficult style addressed to Kat'oghikos Abraham Aghbat'anets'i. In it he urges the use by the Orthodox Armenian Church of altars once erected and used by heretics. He cites from the Old and New Testaments and from the Church Fathers. Published in the Book of Letters, p. 155ff.

Catholicos Abraham Aghbat'anets'i, 550?-d. 615

Abraham was born in Aghbat'ank' village in Rshtunik'. We know nothing about his early life. He appears for the first time in 607 as bishop of the Rshtunik', and the same year is elected Catholicos. Abraham was Catholicos during the period 607-615. Uxtane's has great praise for Abraham, calling him "modest and wise, pious, good, faithful, and zealously orthodox" (II. p. 62). During his tenure, he became one of the most noted patriarchs. The circumstances or exact date of his death are not known. Abraham's style is clear and regular:


1. Letter to Bishop Movses of Ts'urtaw. In the Book of Letters, p. 163; Uxtanes II. pp. 70-71.

2. I. Letter to Kiwrion, Catholicos of Georgia, In BL, pp. 164-165; Uxtanes II. pp. 74-75.

3. II. A second Letter to Kiwrion. In BL, pp. 176-177; Uxtanes II. pp. 79-81.

4. III. A third Letter to Kiwrion. In BL, pp. 180-184; Uxtanes II. pp 83-87.

5. Circulating Letter. In BL, pp. 189-195; Uxtanes II. pp. 132-136.

6. Confession of the Faith and Anathema of the Heretics. In Ts'uts'ak Dzer'. Erusaghemi, vol. II., 1953, pp. 32-33.

7. Abraham also may have written a letter Yaghags azgakanats' amusnut'ean. See Mxit'ar Gosh, Datastanagirk', Bastameants' pp. 219-222, part I. Kanon 108, addressed to "Your Holiness".

Catholicos Komitas, 560?-628

Komitas was born in Aghts'k' village, Aragatsotn, and received his education in the patriarchal school at Dvin during the tenure of Kat'oghikos Movse's Eghivardets'i (574-604). He appears to have been the caretaker of St. Hr'ip'sime's shrine. Subsequently, he was ordained bishop of Taron and of the Mamikoneans, most likely by Catholicos Abraham (607-615). Following the latter's death, Komitas went to Persia as Catholicos with Bishop Matt'e'os Amatuni where King Xosrov confirmed his nomination (615). In Iran he participated in an important Church meeting. During his 13 year term, Komitas worked tirelessly: the church of St. Gregory in Dvin was completed, Ejmiatsin was renovated, the chapel of Hr'ip'sime' was built (618-619), at which place Komitas was buried. The book Knik' Hawatoy [Seal of Faith] claims to have been compiled in Komitas' day. He is known as a poet and theologian, and his writings are free of hunaban tendencies.


1. 615. Letter to Persia, in the journal Ararat, 1896 pp. 531-536. An important complementary variant appears in the Book of Letters, entitled Vasn hawatoy, pp. 212-218. It was written at the request of the Persian bishops.

2. c. 618. Letter to Modestoslocum tenens of Jerusalem, in Sebeos' History.

3. c. 619. The sharakans entitled Srbots' Hr'ip'simeants'Andzink' Nuirealk', in 36 acrostic stanzas.

It is possible that the first edition of the Book of Letters was made by Komitas.

Yovhan Mayravanet'si, 575?-640?

Yovhan probably was educated at Dprevank', the school of the Dvin kat'oghikosate. For many long years he was the caretaker of Dvin's St. Grigor church, during the terms of Komitas (615-628), K'ristap'or (628-630), and Ezr (630-641). In the absence of these kat'oghikoi, Yovhan served as locum tenens. Mayravanets'i was a zealous champion of the independence and orthodoxy of the Armenian Church. He denounced the agreement on doctrine reached between Ezr and Emperor Heraclius, for which he was removed from the Catholicosate by Ezr. Yovhan then went to Mayroy Vank' (638), a place insultingly styled Mayragom by Ezr, and was persecuted from that place also. He went to Gardman where he died a hermit, having earned the apellation "confessor."


According to the 10th century historian Step'annos Asoghik, Mayravanets'i was the author of three works: Xrat varuts'Hawatarmat, and Noyemak.

1. Xrat varuts', a collection of letters and sermons, 23 in number, ascribed in some manuscripts to Mayravanets'i, and in others, to Yovhan Mandakuni. The publication of this work (Venice, 1836) bears the name Mandakuni. The author of the introduction claims that originally the work contained 44 letters, thus 21 seem to be lost.

2. Hawatarmat, the Amartanak ascribed to Kat'oghikos Komitas may have been edited by Mayravanets'i. The Martanak/Amartanak may have been the first edition of the Seal of Faith.

3. Noyemak. This title may be a corruption of Hawatoy namak, and may be associated with Mayravanets'i's Ban Hawatoy, four passages of which appear in the Seal of Faith.

a. Ban hawatoy, in Seal of Faith.
b. Vasn tnorenut'ean P'rkch'in, also known as I tnorenut'iwn K'ristosi, in Seal of Faith.
c. Vasn ch'archaranats' ew anerkiwgh matnut'ean K'ristosi, in Seal of Faith.
d. Verlutsut'iwn kat'oghike' ekeghets'woy ew or i nma yorineal kargats', in the journal Sion, 1967, p. 70.

Yovhan Mamikonean, 580?-642?

Nothing is known about this man. Possibly he was educated at St. Karapet's monastery in Taron, and possibly he was the bishop of Taron and of the Mamikoneans c. 633-642.


Supposedly, at the request of Catholicos Nerse's III (641-661), Mamikonean prepared a History of Taron, comprising two independent parts:

1. Translation into Armenian of the History of Taron, written by the Syrian bishop Zenob Gghak (Glak), the first abbot of St. Karapet monastery (299-318). This work purports to describe the struggle against paganism in Taron at the beginning of the 4th century. Classical Armenian text published as Yovhannu Mamikoneni episkoposi Patmut'iwn Taronoy (Venice, 1823, repr. 1889).

2. The History of Taron, compiled by John himself. He summarizes the abbots of Glak from Zenob to Barsegh (618?-625?), then describes the Armeno-Persian wars in Taron (c. 590-639). This is not serious history but a collection of popular tales (Venice, 1889).

According to the colophon at the end of this work, Bishop Yovhan found and translated the History of Taron from the Syriac of Marmar'a the cleric—the period from Trdat to Xosrov Parvez (590-628). That 28 chapter (patch'e'n) work is not found in the present manuscript, but is replaced by a list of abbots.

An English translation of John Mamikonean's History of Taron, made from Classical Armenian by Robert Bedrosian (New York, 1985), is available for reading online and downloading at

Dawit' Nerginats'i Anyaght', 590?-660?

Dawit' was born in Nergin village, Taron. He studied philosophy in Alexandria, with the neo-Platonist Dawit' the Philosopher (550?-620?), a student of Olympiodoros (500?-575?). Dawit' was an important translator, but his language is extremely hunaban. His grave is said to be at Ar'ak'elots' Vank', Taron. He is called anyaght' ("invincible") for his philosophical and rhetorical skills.


1. Sahmank' imastasirut'ean, possibly by his teacher, Dawit' the Philosopher (Venice, 1833).

2. Verlutsut'iwn neratsut'ean Porp'iwri (Venice, 1833).

3. Meknut'iwn i verlutsakann Aristote'li (Venice, 1833).

4. Works of Aristotle (384-321 B.C.): Storogut'iwnk' (Venice, 1833).

5. Yaghags meknut'ean-Periarme'nias (Venice, 1833).

6. Patmut'iwn yaghags ashxarhi (Venice, 1833).

7. Yaghags ar'ak'inut'eants' (Venice, 1833).

8. Translation of Porp'iwri (c. 233-304): Neratsut'iwn storogut'eants' Aristote'li (Venice, 1833).

9. Translation of Iamblichus (c. 283-333): Meknut'iwn storogut'eants' Aristote'li. Critical edition Ananun mekn. Ar. (Erevan, 1961).

10. Meknut'iwn Periarme'nias (Venice, 1833).

11. Translation of Olympiadoros: Meknut'iwn storogut'eants' Aristote'li, H. Manandean (Petersburg, 1911).

Additional works:

1. Meknut'iwn k'erakani D. T'rakats'woy... G. Jahukean, in Banber Matenadaran #3(Erevan, 1956) pp. 244-254, Adontz, pp. 79-124.

2. Char' i tsnund p'rkch'in s. Barsghi. Translation done in Damascus by order of Curopalate Hamazasp Mamikonean (656-659), a lover of learning according to Sebe'os. Published in Hande's Amso'reay, 1968, pp. 419-438.

3. Harts'munk' s. Barsghi. Translated for Hamazasp Mamikonean. Karinean Ts'uts'ak, #907.

4. Nerboghean s. xach'n astuatse"nkal (Venice, 1833).

5. Govest nerboghakan i surb kat'oghike' ekeghets'i. In Bazmave'p, 1956 pp. 92-94.

Sebe'os, 600?-662?

A Sebe'os, bishop of the Bagratuni, participated in two councils convened by Catholicos Nerses III Shinogh (645, 648). This is the extent of our knowledge about Sebe'os—assuming that this bishop is the author of our History.


Historians refer to this work as the History of Heraclius, however only 10 chapters (32-42) relate to that ruler, in a 50-chapter book. The first six chapters of the book are referred to as the Anonymous of Sebeos (Ananun) or the Primary History of Armenia and are not believed to be the work of Sebeos. 

Sebeos' History was first printed by T'ade'os Mihrdateants' (Const., 1851) who divided the work into three chapters or dprut'iwnk', changing the original ordering of the sections and the original divisions. He also wrote the summaries at the beginning of each chapter. The second printing took place in 1879 in Petersburg by K'erovbe' Patkanean, and includes notes. The third printing, the so-called "critical edition" was made by Malxasyan (Erevan, 1939). The title of chapter 3 (B dprut'iwn) claims it was derived from Movse's Xorenats'i and Asoghik, but there seems to be another source involved as well. The Che'n origin of the Mamikoneans is given prominence here. A. dprut'iwn which has many similarities with MX was probably drawn from a source common with it: Mar Abas. It is noteworthy, however, that while the first six chapters, the Anonymous of Sebe'os or Ananun, derives the Bagratids from Hayk', MX contemptuously denies this and claims their Jewish origin (I. 22). Sebe'os is our main source for the period from 500 to 660. His style is simple and clear and non-hunaban.

An English translation of Sebeos' History, made from Classical Armenian by Robert Bedrosian (New York, 1985), is available for reading online and downloading in different formats.

Anastas Akorets'i, 600?-667

Anastas was born in Akor'i village, Maseats'otn. Nothing is known about his early life. Most likely he is the cleric Anastas who visited the Holy Land and compiled a list of Armenian monasteries by order of prince Hamazasp (Mamikonean?). This journey took place in the first years of the Arab invasions 636-650, and included Egypt, Sinai, and Palestine where Anastas recorded 70 monasteries. Upon his return he was called to be Catholicos Nerses III's substitute or senekapet (651-661). Upon Nerse's' death, Anastas became Catholicos, from 661-667, during which time he built a monastery in Akori which lasted until the earthquake of 1840. Anastas also instructed Anania Shirakatsi to create a calendrical system for the feasts of the Armenian Church. However, Anastas' early death prevented this from being put in use.


Anastasay vardapeti vasn vanore'its' hayots' or i s. k'aghak'n Yerusaghe'm [Anastas Vardapet's On the Armenian Monasteries in the Holy City of Jerusalem] (Venice, 1896) is the Classical Armenian text with a French translation.

T'e'odoros K'rt'enawor, 600?-675?

T'e'odoros vardapet was the brother's son of Catholicos Komitas (d. 628) and the sister's son of Catholicos Ezr (d. 641). First he studied with Komitas, then with M'at'usagha (d. 651) in the Siwnik' Bishops' Palace (Vardapetaran). The appellation "K'rt'enawor" probably derives from wearing a haircloth (kurdz). He became abbot of St. Astuatsatsin monastery at the base of Mt. Aragats. As a participant with Ezr in the Byzantine ecclesiastical meeting in Karin (638) he encouraged communion with the Greeks, thereby betraying the confidence of his teacher, Mat'usagha.

T'e'odoros was the teacher of two future Catholicoi: Sahak Dzorop'orets'i (Catholicos 677-703 and Yovhan Odznets'i (Catholicos 717-728), the latter eliminating Chalcedonianism from the Church. Three of T'e'odoros' homilies have survived. See the publication Tear'n Yovhannu imastasiri Awdznets'woy matenagrutiwink' [Writings of the Philosopher Lord Yovhanne's of Odzun] (Venice, 1834), pp. 147-182.


1. Char' e"nddem Mayragomats'oyn, c. 630s.

2. Nerboghean i S. Xach'n astuatse"nkal,

3. Govest i S. Astuatsatsin

T'e'odoros' style is very artificial and he delights in creating complex structures and compound words.

Dawit' Hark'ats'i, 610?-685?

Dawit' was born in Heret' or Heret village, Hark'. There is no information on his youth. As a young man he studied in Constantinople with the deacon of Patriarch Poghos (639-654), a rhetorician known as T'e'odore't Diakon. After studying philosophy and theology, Dawit' returned to Armenia. His writings show the influence of Philo, and he is a hunaban author.


1. Answers to Ashot Patrik (660?-690), published in Ararat, 1906, pp. 270-272; 1916, pp. 907-909.

2. Reply to Catholicos Anastas (661-667), in Ararat, 1906, pp. 269-270.

3. Ban hawatoy e"nddem herdzuatsoghats', in Ararat, 1906, pp. 261-268.

4. Ar' erkabnakan e"nddimadrut'iwn, in Ararat, 1916, pp. 909-911.

5. Yimastasirakan ew yimastasireli harts'uats, includes "What is Man"? In Ararat, 1902, pp. 937-973.

Anania Shirakats'i, 615?-690?

Anania was born in Anania (Ani?) village, Shirak to Yovhanne's Shirakuni. He received his primary education in Armenia, then went to Trabizond and studied with the noted Greek Tiwk'ikos, remaining there for eight years, and finally returning home. Catholicos Anastas (661-667) requested that he make a stable calendar of feasts for the Church, which he did, but because the Catholicos died, this new system was never adopted. Anania had students, some of whom left him before completing their studies, but proclaiming themselves teachers. According to a dubious story in the 12th-century Samuel of Ani, Anania was still alive in 709. He is our first known mathematician. A full bibliography is in volume 1 of Anasyan's Haykakan matenagitut'yun [Armenian Bibliography] (Erevan, 1959).


I. Homilies on Feast Days
a. Char' i yaytnut'iwnn Tear'n. Describes why the date of Christmas should be January 6th. A. Abrahamyan, Anania Sirakats'u Matenagrut'yun [Works of Anania Shirakats'i (Erevan, 1944), pp. 283-291.

b. Char' i zatikn Tear'n. Defense of the calendar made by Eas of Alexandria, refutation of Irion. In Abrahamyan (Erevan, 1944), p. 292.

II. Natural Science
a. Tiezeragitut'iwn yaghags erkni ew erkri (Erevan, 1940), pp. 2-60.

b. Yaghags ambots' ew nshanats' (Vagh., 1896). Here the author is considered to be the Greek Aratus Soli.

c. Astghabashxut'iwn, in Mnats'ordk' banits' (Pet., 1877), pp. 62-75, partial.

III. Calendar
a. Tomar amenayn azgats'. The original authentic version has not been found.

b. Tomar, in Tiezeregitut'yun (Erevan, 1940) pp. 60-93.

IV. Mathematical
a. T'uabanut'iwn, dasagirk' ch'ors gortsoghut'eants', A. Abrahamyan (Erevan, 1944), pp. 210-226.

b. Yaghags harts'man ew lutsman. Twenty-four problems with solutions, in Sion, 1886.

c. Xraxchanakank'. A group of problems. Abrahamyan, pp. 233-234.

d. Yaghags kshr'ots' ew kshr'odats. Abrahamyan, pp. 254-256.

e. Yaghags ch'ap'uts'. Abrahamyan, pp. 251-253.

V. Geographical
Ashxarhats'uyts' (Venice, 1881), Arsen Suk'ri/Sukhry, editor; Eremyan (Erevan, 1963).
VI. Chronology
Girk' kayserats'. This is a translation of the 3rd century theologian Hippolytus of Rome, and includes Persian king lists. It ends with the death of G. Mamikonean in 685. B. Sargisean (Venice, 1904); Abrahamyan, pp. 357-399. Hratch' Bart'ikyan considers the translator of this work to be Philo of Thrace.
VII. Miscellaneous
a. Yaghags ork'anut'ean t'uots' tants' hin ew nor ktakaranats'. In Hande's Amso'reay, 1908, pp. 21-22.

b. Anuank' akants' ew gunaworut'iwnk' nots'in. Abrahamyan, pp. 260-261.

c. Autobiography in Mnats'ordk' banits' pp. 1-4. Tashean's Ts'uts'ak, pp. 174-175 seems older and longer; Abrahamyan, pp. 206-209.

Sahak Dzorop'orets'i, 635-d. 703

Sahak was born in Ark'unashe'n village, Dzorop'or district, in Gugark'. He studied with T'e'odoros K'rt'enawor and was kat'oghikos in the troubled times from 677 to 703, a period of 27 years. Dzorop'orets'i has a hunaban language and style, but not as complex as that of his teacher, K'rt'enawor.


Sahak is recalled mostly for his beautiful sharakans:

1. Kanon Ashxarhamatran Kiwrake'in.
2. Kanon Nawakateats' Srboy Xach'in.
3. Kanon Verats'man Srboy Xach'in.
4. Kanon Bsh. Awurn.
5. Kanon Gsh. Awurn.
6. Kanon Dsh. Awurn.
7. Kanon Esh. Awurn; Kanon Ur. Awurn; Kanon Sb. Awurn; Kanon Varagay Xach'in; Kanon Giwt Xach'in.

8. Sahak also has a homily: Yarmaweneats'n or in Yov. Odznets'i (Venice, 1834) pp. 185-193.

9. Fifteen canons in the Kanonagirk' bear the name Sahak Kat'oghikos, vol. 1. p. 506.

10. Sahak also has a short letter, Patasxani t'ght'oyn Honats', written around 677-685, and preserved in Movse's Dasxurants'i's History of the Aghuans, Book II. 45.

Yovhan Odznets'i, 650?-728

Yovhan imastase'r was born in Odzun village, Tashirk', into a noble family. His principal teacher was T'e'odoros K'rt'enawor (d. 675?). He succeeded Eghia Archishets'i as kat'oghikos from 717-728 and was a great reformer, convening the Council of Dvin (720) and the Council of Manazkert (726). The first council dealt with reforming canons, while the second was intended to strengthen relations between the Armenian and Syrian Orthodox Churches. Yovhan died near his birthplace and his grave, in the present village of Artu (west of Odzun), became a place of pilgrimage.


The following are considered his writings:

1. Thirty-two canons of the Council of Dvin (720), in Mat. Odznets'woy (Venice, 1834). Page 17 is missing.

2. Against the Paulicians.

3. E"ndde'm erewut'akanats'.

4. Yaghags kargats' ekeghets'woy, compared with Step'annos Siwnets'i's homonomous work in Ararat, 1915-1916. This work of Odznets'i differs from his usual hunaban compositions.

5. Hatuatsk' banits' i hawak'mants' yaghags kargats' ekeghets'woy.

6. Sharakank' awag tonits': a. The prophet David and Jacob, the Lord's brother; b. Stephen the proto-martyr; c. Apostles Peter and Paul; d. Ordwots'n orotman.

7. Kanonagirk' hayots', chapter headings. Vol. I. Vazgen Hakobyan, editor (Erevan, 1964).

The following works are attributed to him, but are doubtful or non-authentic:

8. Himnarke'k' ekeghets'woy.

9. Orhnut'iwn norashe'n ekeghets'woy.

10. Yaghags Ekeghets'woy.

11. Saks zhoghovots'n or eghen i Hays. In the Book of Letters, pp. 220-233. (p. 227 is missing). See S. Hakobyan, Tsuts'ak dzer. vol. 3 (Erevan, 1968), pp. 353-353.

12. E"ndde'm aynots'ik ork' zxorhurdn xmorov ew jrov ar'nen. In BL, pp. 234-238.

13. Xostovanut'iwn ansharzh yusoy...ew E"ndde'm dawanoghats' zmi K'ristos yerkus bnut'iwns. In Ararat, 1896, pp. 192-199. Durean believes this is not genuine.

14. Vasn marmnaworut'ean tear'n, published by N. Akinean, in Yushardzan (Vienna, 1911), pp. 340-344.

15. T'ught' ar' At'anas Patriark'n Asorwots', printed as the introduction to Xosrovik's reply, in Garegin Yovsepyan, Xosrovik T'argmanich' [The Translator Xosrovik] (Vagharshapat, 1899), pp. 97-100.

16. I gitut'iwn patuiranats'n tear'n zor surb hark'n edin.


Grigoris Arsharuni, 650?-729?

Grigoris probably was educated in Erasxadzor's Dprevank' monastery, receiving his ordination as bishop in youth (684) perhaps from Catholicos Sahak Dzorop'orets'i. Grigoris was a philosopher and associate of Yovhanne's Odznets'i. His signature is present on the document from the Council of Manazkert (726).


Grigoris' major work is Meknut'iwn E"nt'erts'uatsots' written at the request of Vahan Patrik Kamsarakan (600?-690?) and completed when the latter was quite old. Though his style is non-hunaban and regular, he likes to expand and repeat himself. The work was published in its entirety in Venice, 1964. Probably Grigoris also is the author of a short list of bishops of the Kamsarakan house (c. 713). Published in Yish. Dzer'., pp. 51-52.



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