History of Aghtamar Patriarchate of (921-2019)
Aghtamar Patriarchate Chronology
921 / Upon the insistence of King Gagik, who wanted to see Aghtamar as an autonomous bishopric, Catholic Kevork appointed his nephew Yeghishe as the archbishop of Aghtamar.
927 / After King Ashot Yerkat's (iron) attempts for Bagratouni and his rival AshotShapouhian to save the city of Dvin from the oppression of the Arab Emirate,the Patriarch's seat was transferred from Dvin to Aghtamar for safety reasons.
928 / II. After the death of Ashot Bagratouni, Gagik assumed the right to appoint the Patriarch.
943 / The seat of the Patriarch was transferred to the town of Argina near Ani.
966 /Bishop Stephen, who aimed to become the Patriarch of the whole northernArmenia, was exiled to Aghtamar.
1112 / After a long time without any sources or news, Patriarch Basil fled Ani andsought protection in Aghtamar, where he had the highest religious authority. He appointed fifteen-year-old Gregory as his successor.
1113 / Basil died and Bishop David who had the support of the five other priests, revolted against his decisions and declared himself Patriarch.
1114 / Ageneral priest and feudal assembly of at least 2,500 people excommunicated David, but failed to enforce their decisions, and David continued with his duty.
1165 /Stephen, who was convenient for assignment, was appointed as the Patriarch.
1200-1225 /The powerful feudal principalities of Sefedinian became the rulers of the Aghtamar region.
1227 /Patriarch II. Stephen Narekatsi died as described by a "Kackar" in the Resurrection Monastery near the village of Devaboynu on the shores of Lake Van.
1272 / The first son of King Sefedin III, Stephen Sefedinian was appointed as the Patriarch.
1276 / In the Vapurakan region, Patriarch Stephen and Queen Zabel’s son Leo was mentionedin a manuscript by the author Romanos.
1291 / Aninscription in the Church of the Resurrection in a village in the Metsop region mentioned the founder of the church Father Abraham, Patriarch Stephen and King Arghoun-Han.
1293 /Patriarch Stephen was also mentioned in a manuscript in Varag Monastery.
1293-1307 /During these years, Anavarza Gregory, in correspondence with the Cilician King Hetoum, tried to cancel the excommunication decision of the Patriarch of Aghtamar, issued by Patriarch Gregory. During this period, the Patriarch of Aghtamar was Zacearía.
1296 /Patriarch Zacearía was remembered for his friendly relationship with theSiounik capital Stephen Orbelian.
1297 /Patriarch Zacearía was mentioned in a Bible text copied in Aghtamar.
1303 /Historian David of Aghtamar wrote the history of the fall of the Artzruni Dynasty. Patriarch Zacearía and Stephen Orbelian were also mentioned.
1336 /Until 1336 in the Church of the Holy Cross in Patriarch Zacearía, there were two “gavits¹”, onefacing west and the other facing east. Zacearia can also be shown as the beginning of the construction ofS. George church and the other structures of the monastery in the island of Lim.
1336 /Probably in this year, Zacearía's nephew Stephen was appointed Patriarch.
1340 /Nerses Palients attacked Armenians and Aghtamar Patriarch in his writings; aboveall, he criticized the assignment of his successor although he was still alive, and criticized that he was required to be associated with the Artzruni Dynasty.
1345 /During a synod² held in the city of Cilicia, Patriarch Mkhitar «Archbishop»spoke disrespectfully about the Patriarch of Aghtamar. Even David, the historianfrom Tabriz called him an "anti-Patriarch."
1346 /Patriarch Zacearía died: his grave with the inscription is still on the island.At a time when the country was in great difficulty, his nephew David acceded tothe throne.
1369 /Zacearia, who would later be known as a "martyr", became the Patriarch.
1393 /Patriarch Zacearía becomes a martyr: the martyrdom was the subject of the poemof Gregory of Khlat, where he was portrayed as his successor's brother David: there is still a “kaçkar” in the island in memory of his parents.
1409 /Gregory of Tathev, a member of the Aghtamar Monastery community, later became afamous political figure and a famous man of letters and was not limited to this when he had to speak badly and excommunicate the Aghtamar Kattolikos.
1410 /Following in the footsteps of Gregory of Tathev, Patriarch James approved the excommunication of Aghtamar and excommunicated the Patriarch of Cilicia at the same time. However, Gregory of Tathev was unable to part the bishop of Kadchberouni from Aghtamar.
1431 /Kurdish Peri-bek conquered the island and the Aghtamar region. Patriarch David took refuge in the village of Ourants in the Mokk region for two years and returned to Aghtamar after the peace agreement.
1434 /David assigned his successor Zaccaria.
1441 / Patriarch of all Armenia Kirakos annulled the excommunication of the Patriarch of Aghtamar.
1459 / Patriarch Zaccaria, who was weakened by the oppression and the pillages of Ghlidj-Aslan, sought help from the Persian king Dchanshah, who managed to free the region and restore law and order.
1460-1461 / A great synod re-established Edchmiatzin as a seat of the Patriarch who was chosen as the Kirakos of Virap, fighting against the wishes of Makrak Gregory. After replacing Kirakos himself, by virtue of the great gifts he received from King Dchahanshah, Patriarch Zaccaria earned the right to become the Patriarch of both Edchmiatzin, where he exiled Gregory, and Aghtamar.
1460-1500 / According to information from a very reliable source, we know that the Patriarch of Aghtamar briefly held Edchmiatzin's jurisdiction.
1461 / That year there was a conflict between King Dchanshah and the Sultan of Khlat (Ahlat) Dchahangir. Dchanshah conquered Khlat and prepared to march against Baghesh (Bitlis), Sason and Taron, but Zaccaria feared a catastrophe, assigned himself as a mediator, and persuaded Dchanshah to return to his own land.
In December, Dchahanshah marched against Shiraz and Kerman to suppress severallocal rebellions. His son Hasen-AI] plotted against Zaccaria to take him hostage to use Edchmiatzin's treasures as ransom: Zaccaria learned about the plot and fled to Van with the treasures and sought for shelter in the vicinityof Mahmat-Bek. Dchahanshah's brother-in-law accompanied him to Aghtamar.
1462 / Zaccaria left the treasures at Aghtamar Monastery and then returned to Edchmiatzin with his nephew Stephen, who would later be assigned as the archbishop of the city.
1464 / Patriarch Zaccaria was poisoned in Edchmiatzin and succeeded by Stephen in Aghtamar and Aristakes in Edchmiatzin.
1466 / Patriarch Stephen's cousin Smbat became the King of the Vapurakan with the help of Dchahanshah; but his reign never had a political significance.
1467 / Stephen managed to conquer the Edchmiatzin Patriarch for a short time, but later reaffirmed its independence. In this year, King Dchahanshah died; his son Hasan Bek adopted a very negative political stance against Aghtamar: the small Vapurakan reign was actually abolished.
1473 / From this date onwards a new era of wars, disasters and political struggles began. Persian, Mesopotamian, Azerbaijani and Armenian king Ouzoun-Hasan Agh-Ghoyanllou was overwhelmed by the Ottomans near the city of Derchan.
1489 / Patriarch Stephen died and Zaccaria, son of the King of Smbat succeeded him.
1490-1495 / Throughout this period, the nephew of King Uzun Hasan, who would later rule as Shah Ismail, was a guest in Aghtamar together with Sheikh Haydar, who miraculously rescued the king's nephew from the massacre.
1491 / Emir Sofi of Tabriz failed in his attempt to conquer Aghtamar.
1496 / This was probably the date that Patriarch Stephen died and succeeded by Atom.
1499 / The Kurds in the region, taking advantage of the lake to be covered with ice, invaded Aghtamar Monastery and its vicinity, and expelled and massacred numerous Turks and Armenians.
1500 / King Shah Ismail conquered many regions, including the Vapurakan Region. The disorder that started in 1473 came to an end that year.
1510 / In this short period, John and then Gregory became the Patriarch; Gregory remained the leader of the church for almost thirty years and left behind the fruits of his outstanding literary activity among others.
1512 / In a Bible organized by author Joseph, King Shah Ismail and Patriarch John were mentioned.
1534 / At the end of the long wars against the Persian king Shah Tahmasp, the Ottoman Turks conquered the whole of Armenia and also the Vapurakan Region.
1544 / Gregory II became the Patriarch of Aghtamar that year and reigned for nearly forty years.
1586 / From that date onwards, the Patriarch Gregory III, who was named Gregory the Little, reigned probably until 1612.
1606-1660 / There was no remarkable historical event during this period. Based on a letter from the Patriarch of Cilicia (Sis), we know that an important relationship was established between the Patriarch of Aghtamar and Edchmiatzin throughout these years. Edchmiatzin Patriarch Phillip (1632-1655) was able to widen his influence to the Patriarch of Aghtamar.
1661-2 / Taking advantage of the turmoil of the Turkish-Persian war, the Patriarch of Aghtamar Martiros turned to Fatih Sultan Mehmet Han asking for the ask for the bishopric regions of Van, Berkri, Ardjesh, Khlat, Baghesh, Moush and Hoshap to be taken away from Edchmiatzin and to be granted to Aghtamar. However, the sultan, who was also interrupted by the Patriarch of Edchmiatzin, issued a decree in favour of the latter.
1669 / Patriarch John Toutioundchi undertook restoration work at Varag Monastery, which was destroyed in the earthquake.
1670 / The date of the death of Patriarch Peter was engraved on his tomb at the Aghtamar cemetery.
1671 / Stephen, the successor of Patriarch Peter, was reminded in a Bible bearing this date.
1677 / In a Bible prepared in the church of the village of Dasht in the Mokk Region, Karapet was mentioned as the successor of Patriarch Phillip.
1681 / Although he was not officially appointed, Thomas was the Patriarch of Aghtamar.
1682 / In that year, Patriarch Thomas was recognised by the Edchmiatzin Patriarch Yeghiazar and approved as the Patriarch of Aghtamar.
1696 / Edchmiatzin Patriarch Nahapet dismissed Aghtamar Patriarch Thomas because of the personal resentment between them and assigned Bishop Avetis.
1697 / Patriarch Thomas responded with the help of Dursun Pasha and regained the bishopric of Van by appointing Sahak Artsketsi as his successor, contrary to the wishes of the Patriarch of Edchmiatzin.
1698 / Sahak Artzketsi died only four months after he was appointed.
1699 / John Ketzouk became the Patriarch until 1704.
1705 / John was followed by Patriarch Hayrapet I, but ruled only for two years.
1707 / Patriarch Hayrapet died and Gregory succeeded him until 1711.
1720 John Hayots-Dzoretsi was assigned as the Patriarch.
1725 / In a book written in Arberd Monastery, it was reminded that the Patriarch of Hizan Gregory created numerous architectural works, especially in the Akhavank Monastery.
1736 / Nicholas of Sparakert was appointed as the Patriarch. After coming to power, he gave great support to the cultural life of the monastery.
1743 / Patriarch Nicholas began to re-expand the religious influence of the monastery and the Patriarch of Aghtamar. For this reason, he sent father Alexander to Istanbul, to get a decree from the sultan for Van, Baghesh and Moush bishoprics to be reassigned to the area of authority of Aghtamar. Father Alexander, who received the decree, confiscated all the goods and taxes that had already been collected in this bishopric and all the goods and taxes to be delivered to the representative of Edchmiatzin Monastery.
1746 / Edchmiatzin Monastery's response was not delayed. Patriarch Lazzarus vigorously protested against the Istanbul court and received a new decree assigning him as the Patriarch of Edchmiatzin, with the help of the city's Armenian Patriarch James. Aghtamar Patriarch Nicholas was arrested and imprisoned.
1747 / All members of Aghtamar Monastery and many other religious authorities in the region went to Patriarch Lazzarus to ask for mercy for the imprisoned Patriarch. Lazzarus was convinced to release him, but in return he included Aghtamar Monastery and its area of influence to Edchmiatzin. Patriarch Nicholas was also obliged to give all goods from taxes, duties, donations and all goods from other income to the rival monastery.
1751 / Nicholas died and his successor declared his independence in complete violation of the agreements with Edchmiatzin.
1761 / Thomas became the Patriarch of Aghtamar; he declared that he is still independent, but after a difficult economic situation, he had to go to Edchmiatzin to the renew old agreements with Patriarch James to get economic support.
1764 / In accordance with the treaties envisaged by Edchmiatzin Monastery, Patriarch Thomas prepared a text that regulates the future relations between the two institutions.
1783 / Upon the death of Patriarch, Karapet directly adopted a negative attitude towards Edchmiatzin's seat, but managed to get Patriarch Luke's approval.
1788 / However, after the other defences of Patriarch Karapet, Luke relinquished his positive attitude and appointed Mark as the Patriarch of Aghtamar.
1792-1794 / For these two years, Theodor was the Patriarch of Aghtamar.
1796 / Patriarch Michael, who was supposed to succeed Karapet, became the symbol of many religious music.
1803 Khatchatour Vanetsi became the Patriarch: by virtue of his deeds he was later called the “miraculous and perfect”.
1804 / Patriarch Karapet died of a heart attack and was buried in the Aghtamar cemetery.
1823 / Haroutioun died and John of Shatakh succeeded him.
1843 / After the death of John, the Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul tried to prevent the assignment of the a Patriarch at any cost under the pretext that Aghtamar's chair was directly connected to the city of Istanbul. Despite the strong opposition, Khatchatour Mokatsi, a member of the monastery, declared himself Patriarch: but soon the Sultan of Istanbul, following the wishes of the patriarchs, exiled the rebellious Patriarch to Nicopoli (Sebinkarahisar).
1846 / After a period of three years, Khatchatour was able to return to Aghtamar Monastery on the condition that he would not participate in any political activity.
1854 Gabriel, who refused the position a few years ago, died. He was replaced by Abbot Vardapet Khatchatour.
1858 / Finally, an agreement was reached between Istanbul Patriarchate and Aghtamar Monastery; however, life in the monastery was still not fully peaceful, because endless power struggles (one of the most violent ones was carried out by Hakob Yedesatsi) hindered the work of Patriarch Peter Piuolpioul.
1864 / Khatchatour Shiroyan plotted against Patriarch Peter, eventually killed him and became Patriarch himself.
1868 / Khatchatour Shiroyan failed to avoid the scandalous news; he was invited to Istanbul Court and stood trial for the murder of Patriarch Peter, but he was cleared of blame. He was able to return to Aghtamar to continue his duty as the Patriarch.
1876 Khatchatour was given the Mecidiye medal by the Ottoman Sultan.
1895 / Patriarch Khatchatour died, and the bishopric of Aghtamar was indisputably connected to the Patriarchate of Istanbul.
1900 / Aghtamar became an ordinary monastery, leaded by a priest in all 193 churches and 41 monasteries, connected to the Uvaash, Shatakh, Nortouz and Mokk regions. The city of Khizan and the surrounding villages (109 churches and 17 monasteries) saw Aghtamar Monastery as their religious centre.
1917 / The Monestry stopped its activities and was evacuated due to adverse political conditions.
1951 / The demolition of the Church was prevented by the support of Yaşar Kemal and a group in his company.
2005 / Restoration works started.
2007 / It was inaugurated as a ‘Monumental Museum’ with an international ceremony.
2010 / The first religious ceremony was held, which is organised once a year with a special permission.
2019 / It is preserved as one of the rare works of the hidden monuments of Anatolia.