Alfabet Armenia, Visi Dari Tuhan

Alfabet Armenia, Visi Dari Tuhan



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Alfabet Armenia adalah skrip yang dikembangkan untuk penulisan bahasa Armenia. Sistem penulisan abjad ini dikembangkan pada abad ke-5 M dan masih digunakan sampai sekarang.

Alfabet Armenia tidak hanya memungkinkan bahasa Armenia untuk ditulis, tetapi juga memainkan peran penting dalam pelestarian identitas nasional orang-orang Armenia. Orang-orang Armenia terus mementingkan alfabet mereka, dan ini terlihat di Monumen Alfabet Armenia, yang didirikan di Byurakan pada tahun 2005.

Berbeda dengan alfabet Latin, yang kebanyakan orang kenal, alfabet Armenia berisi 39 huruf. Ketika alfabet pertama kali dibuat, itu berisi 36 huruf, 7 di antaranya adalah vokal dan 29 konsonan lainnya.

Tiga huruf lagi ditambahkan kemudian, sehingga alfabet Armenia memiliki 39 huruf. Ketiga huruf ini ditambahkan untuk memudahkan penulisan terjemahan. Dapat ditambahkan bahwa setiap huruf asli memiliki nilai numerik, yang berarti bahwa alfabet dapat digunakan untuk perhitungan matematis dan juga untuk pencatatan tanggal kalender.

Meskipun bahasa Armenia tertulis kurang lebih tidak berubah sejak pembuatan alfabetnya, bahasa Armenia lisan telah terpecah menjadi dua dialek yang berbeda pada tahun 19 th abad, yaitu Armenia Timur dan Barat. Yang pertama dikenal juga sebagai 'Armenia Rusia', dan didasarkan pada dialek Yerevan dan Tbilisi, masing-masing ibu kota Armenia dan Georgia, sedangkan yang terakhir dikenal juga sebagai 'Armenia Turki' dan didasarkan pada dialek komunitas Armenia di Istanbul.

Bahasa Armenia itu sendiri mendahului alfabetnya. Bahasa Armenia adalah bahasa Indo-Eropa, rumpun bahasa yang mencakup sebagian besar bahasa di Eropa, Dataran Tinggi Iran, dan India utara. Telah berspekulasi bahwa orang-orang Armenia mungkin telah tiba di daerah sekitar Danau Van, Sevan, dan Urmia pada awal paruh kedua abad ke-2. dan milenium SM. Pada pertengahan milenium berikutnya, orang-orang Armenia telah menggantikan orang-orang Urartia lokal.

Bukti untuk ini dapat ditemukan pada Prasasti Behistun, yang ditugaskan oleh penguasa Achaemenid Darius I, yang juga dikenal sebagai Darius Agung. Pada prasasti tersebut terdapat nama 'Armina' dan 'Armaniya', referensi paling awal yang diketahui tentang Armenia.

Armenia disebutkan pada Prasasti Behistun. ( पाटलिपुत्र)

Penciptaan Alfabet Armenia

Pada abad-abad berikutnya, Armenia disebutkan oleh berbagai penulis kuno. Namun, tampaknya orang-orang Armenia tidak membuat catatan mereka sendiri. Sampai hari ini, tidak ada dokumen (baik itu prasasti batu, manuskrip, atau legenda pada koin) dengan surat-surat Armenia yang berasal dari sebelum abad ke-5 telah ditemukan. Di sisi lain, keberadaan naskah Armenia pra abad ke-5 M dibuktikan dalam karya-karya beberapa penulis kuno.

Sebagai contoh, Philo dari Alexandria, seorang filsuf Yahudi Helenistik yang hidup antara 1 NS abad SM dan 1 NS abad M, menulis bahwa Tentang Hewan diterjemahkan ke dalam bahasa Armenia. Tentang Hewan adalah karya Metrodorus dari Scepsis, seorang filsuf dan sejarawan Yunani yang hidup antara 2 dan dan 1 NS abad sebelum masehi.

Metrodorus juga merupakan teman dekat dan sejarawan istana raja Armenia, Tigranes Agung , jadi dia pasti akrab dengan alfabet Armenia. Sebagai contoh lain, Hippolytus dari Roma, 3 rd teolog abad M, menulis bahwa orang-orang Armenia adalah salah satu negara yang memiliki alfabet mereka sendiri yang berbeda.

Bagaimanapun, alfabet Armenia secara populer dianggap hanya ditemukan pada abad ke-5 Masehi. Menurut tradisi, alfabet diciptakan pada tahun 405 M oleh Saint Mesrop Mashtots, seorang biarawan, teolog, dan ahli bahasa Armenia. Mesrop lahir sekitar tahun 360 M dalam keluarga bangsawan.

Saint Mesrop Mashtots menciptakan alfabet Armenia. (Taron Saharyan~commonswiki / )

Menurut Koryun, salah satu murid dan penulis biografi Mesrop, orang suci itu adalah seorang poliglot, fasih dalam beberapa bahasa, termasuk Yunani, Persia, dan Georgia. Dia tercatat telah mempelajari bahasa Klasik di bawah Saint Nerses I, seorang patriark Armenia. Setelah studinya, Mesrop menjadi seorang biarawan, sekitar tahun 395 M, dan kemudian ditahbiskan sebagai imam.

Mesrop mendirikan beberapa biara dan menyebarkan agama Kristen ke daerah-daerah terpencil di negara itu, di mana orang-orangnya masih mempraktikkan Mazdaisme, agama yang mendominasi Armenia sebelum kedatangan agama Kristen. Kebetulan, Armenia dianggap sebagai negara pertama yang menganut agama Kristen sebagai agama negaranya, yakni pada tahun 301 M, pada masa pemerintahan Tiridates III.

Meskipun Armenia sudah menjadi negara Kristen pada saat kelahiran Mesrop, kemungkinan besar sebagian besar penduduknya hanya Kristen nominal. Karena mereka tidak dapat membaca Alkitab, banyak orang Armenia memiliki pemahaman yang terbatas tentang agama mereka. Selain itu, tidak ada Alkitab yang ditulis dalam bahasa Armenia, karena tidak ada sistem penulisan untuk bahasa tersebut.

Namun, pengetahuan tentang Kekristenan dapat ditularkan secara lisan ke masyarakat umum oleh orang-orang seperti Mesrop, jadi masalahnya bukannya tanpa solusi. Namun, pada tahun 387 M, Armenia kehilangan kemerdekaannya, dan terbagi antara Kekaisaran Bizantium dan Sassania, dua negara adidaya di wilayah tersebut pada waktu itu. Dikhawatirkan bahwa orang-orang Armenia akan kehilangan identitas nasional mereka, sebagai akibat dari asimilasi ke dalam masyarakat Bizantium atau Sassania. Oleh karena itu, sesuatu harus dilakukan untuk melestarikan identitas nasional orang-orang Armenia.

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Naskah Armenia, 5 th - 6 th abad. Alfabet Armenia diciptakan untuk melestarikan budaya Armenia. (Bogomolov.PL / )

Mesrop-lah yang menemukan solusi, yaitu penemuan alfabet Armenia. Orang suci itu didukung dalam upaya ini oleh Vramshapuh, yang menunjuk Mesrop sebagai kanselirnya.

Vramshapuh memerintah Armenia dari 389 M hingga 414 M sebagai raja klien Sassania. Meskipun Mesrop secara tradisional dikreditkan dengan 'penemuan' alfabet Armenia, mungkin lebih tepat untuk mengatakan bahwa dia 'menciptakan kembali' itu, karena, menurut sumber-sumber kuno, Mesrop memodifikasi skrip Armenia yang jauh lebih tua yang telah hilang, daripada menciptakan satu set huruf yang sama sekali baru.

Apakah Alfabet Armenia Diciptakan Dari Naskah yang Hilang?

Salah satu versi cerita disediakan oleh Koryun. Kisah dimulai dengan Vramshapuh menerima berita bahwa seorang uskup Suriah bernama Daniel membuat penemuan tak terduga dari naskah Armenia yang terlupakan. Raja menceritakan kisah itu kepada kanselirnya, Mesrop, dan Sahak Partev (dikenal juga sebagai Isaac dari Armenia), patriark Armenia pada saat itu.

Patung Vramshapuh dan Mesrop Mashtots di dekat Monumen Alfabet Armenia. (Yerevantsi / CC BY-SA 4.0

Kedua pria itu menyadari pentingnya penemuan itu dan mendesak raja untuk menemukan cara untuk membawa naskah itu kembali ke Armenia. Oleh karena itu, Vramshapuh mengirim seorang pria bernama Vahrij dengan pesan kepada Habel, seorang pendeta dan teman dekat Daniel. Ketika Habel menerima pesan raja, dia segera pergi ke Daniel, memperoleh naskah dari temannya, dan mengirimkannya kepada raja.

Koryun mengklaim bahwa naskah tersebut mencapai Vramshapuh pada tahun kelima pemerintahannya. Setelah melihat naskahnya, Mesrop dan Sahak meminta beberapa anak kecil kepada raja untuk bereksperimen dengan alfabet. Melihat percobaan kedua orang itu berhasil, raja memerintahkan agar alfabet diajarkan di seluruh kerajaan.

Namun, setelah dua tahun menggunakan alfabet, Mesrop dan Sahak menyadari bahwa huruf-huruf itu tidak cukup untuk menulis bahasa Armenia. Karena itu, kedua pria itu memutuskan bahwa surat-surat itu perlu diperbarui dan dimodifikasi.

Namun, sekeras yang mereka coba, Mesrop dan Sahak tidak dapat menyelesaikan tugas ini. Akhirnya, melalui campur tangan ilahi solusi ditemukan. Menurut Koryun, suatu hari, Mesrop menerima penglihatan dari Tuhan, yang menginstruksikan dan membantu orang suci itu dalam memodifikasi huruf-huruf kuno, sehingga menciptakan 36 huruf alfabet Armenia.

Pengaruh pada Alfabet Armenia

Dalam kisah Koryun, alfabet Armenia diciptakan kembali dari skrip yang lebih tua, yang menunjukkan bahwa Mesrop tidak mencabut huruf-huruf itu begitu saja. Para ahli telah berspekulasi tentang apa naskah kuno ini. Satu saran adalah bahwa alfabet Armenia didasarkan pada aksara Pahlavi, yang digunakan untuk penulisan bahasa Persia Tengah.

Beberapa sumber percaya naskah Pahlavi, yang ditampilkan di sini, mengilhami alfabet Armenia. (PawełMM)

Aksara ini berasal dari bahasa Aram dan digunakan untuk menulis teks agama Zoroaster baru, serta untuk menerjemahkan kitab suci Avestan yang ada. Oleh karena itu, tulisan ini akan digunakan di Armenia dalam konteks keagamaan sebelum kedatangan agama Kristen. Alfabet Armenia juga menunjukkan pengaruh Yunani, yang tidak sepenuhnya mengejutkan mengingat itu adalah salah satu alfabet yang digunakan untuk menulis kitab suci Kristen.

Pengaruh bahasa Yunani juga terlihat pada kemiripan huruf-huruf Armenia tertentu dengan huruf Yunani (tidak hanya secara visual, tetapi juga dalam urutan huruf/bunyi), adanya huruf untuk vokal, dan arah penulisan, yaitu dari kiri ke kanan. . Selain itu, seorang Yunani bernama Rufanos diyakini telah membantu Mesrop dan Sahak ketika mereka menciptakan alfabet Armenia.

Menurut tradisi, kalimat pertama yang ditulis oleh Mesrop setelah penemuan alfabet Armenia adalah “Untuk mengetahui kebijaksanaan dan instruksi; untuk memahami kata-kata pengertian”. Kata-kata ini berasal dari Kitab Amsal Perjanjian Lama. Memang, hal pertama yang dilakukan Mesrop dengan alfabet baru adalah menerjemahkan Alkitab ke dalam bahasa Armenia.

Jadi, Alkitab Armenia pertama yang populer, yang disebut 'Alkitab Mesropian', diproduksi pada tahun 410 M. Salinan asli Alkitab terjemahan Mesrop tampaknya tidak bertahan. 'Contoh abjad Armenia tertua yang masih ada' adalah subyek perdebatan, meskipun ada beberapa pesaing untuk gelar ini.

Salah satunya, misalnya, adalah prasasti Armenia pada 'Mosaik Burung Armenia'. Mosaik ini ditemukan pada tahun 1894 di dekat Gerbang Damaskus dan Musrara Quarter, di Yerusalem. Dari gaya dan ikonografinya, mosaik tersebut berasal dari tahun 5 th / 6 th abad Masehi. Prasasti Armenia pada mosaik berbunyi sebagai berikut:

"Untuk mengenang dan menebus semua orang Armenia, yang namanya hanya diketahui oleh Tuhan".

Karya seperti Armenian Bird Mosaic diciptakan setelah pengembangan alfabet Armenia. (Visi / )

Mosaik lain dengan prasasti Armenia yang berasal dari periode yang sama juga ditemukan di Yerusalem. Pesaing lain adalah apa yang disebut 'Salib Narses', salib perak dengan garnet merah tunggal diatur dalam kerawang emas di tengahnya.

Seperti 'Mosaik Burung Armenia', 'Salib Narses' telah diberi tanggal 5 th / 6 th abad Masehi. Prasasti Armenia, yang ditemukan di sepanjang batas salib, diterjemahkan sebagai berikut:

“Saya Nerseh Koms p'ar˙ berdosa dan tidak layak membuat salib penebusan suci ini untuk [gereja] Saint Step'anos di desa P'ar˙akert untuk pengampunan dosa-dosa saya dan untuk istirahat + jiwa-jiwa ayah dan nenek moyang kita dan untuk kemakmuran dan kedamaian rumah-rumah orang Armenia dan desa-desa kita dan keluarga Xorxor˙unik'.”

Kembali ke kisah Mesrop, orang suci itu tidak berhenti pada penerjemahan Alkitab. Hal berikutnya yang dia lakukan adalah mengirim para sarjana ke Konstantinopel, Aleksandria, dan Roma untuk mencari manuskrip alkitabiah dan sastra. Seperti yang diharapkan, ini diterjemahkan ke dalam bahasa Armenia.

Mesrop dikreditkan dengan penulisan kumpulan komentar alkitabiah, terjemahan karya patristik, dan pembangunan doa liturgi dan himne pada skala delapan nada. Dengan kata lain, Mesrop-lah yang meletakkan dasar bagi liturgi nasional Armenia, yang pada gilirannya berfungsi untuk melestarikan identitas nasional orang-orang Armenia.

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Mesrop menerjemahkan karya-karya Alkitab ke dalam bahasa Armenia menggunakan alfabet Armenia yang baru dibuat. (Fæ / CC BY-SA 4.0 )

Tak perlu dikatakan, Mesrop adalah sosok yang sangat dihormati di Armenia. Dia meninggal pada tahun 440 M dan jenazahnya dibawa ke desa Oshakan, di Provinsi Aragatsotn, tidak jauh dari kota Ashtarak. Tiga tahun setelah Mesrop dimakamkan di Oshakan, sebuah gereja dibangun di atas makam orang suci itu. Tepat, itu bernama Gereja Mashtots Saint Mesrop.

Gereja itu rusak dan direnovasi beberapa kali sepanjang sejarahnya, dan struktur saat ini berasal dari tahun 1870-an. Gereja adalah situs ziarah yang terkenal, berkat reputasi orang suci itu.

Penemuan alfabet Armenia oleh Mesrop masih merupakan sumber kebanggaan besar bagi orang-orang Armenia bahkan hingga hari ini. Hal ini terlihat jelas dalam pembuatan Monumen Alfabet Armenia. Monumen ini pada dasarnya adalah sekelompok 39 ukiran batu raksasa, satu untuk masing-masing dari 39 huruf alfabet Armenia.

Monumen ini dibuat oleh J. Torosyan, seorang arsitek, pada tahun 2005, pada kesempatan 1600 alfabet Armenia th hari ulang tahun. Monumen ini terletak di Byurakan, sebuah desa di lereng Gunung Aragats. Karena terletak tidak jauh dari Oshakan, itu merupakan penghormatan tidak hanya untuk alfabet Armenia, tetapi juga untuk Mesrop Mashtots, orang yang menciptakannya.


Sejarah Gereja Armenia

Asal usul Gereja Armenia berasal dari zaman Apostolik. Menurut tradisi kuno yang didukung dengan baik oleh bukti sejarah, Kekristenan telah diberitakan di Armenia pada awal paruh kedua abad pertama oleh dua murid Yesus Kristus, yaitu St. Thaddeus (Yohanes 14:22-24) dan St. Bartolomeus (Yohanes 1:43-51). Selama tiga abad pertama Kekristenan di Armenia adalah agama tersembunyi di bawah penganiayaan berat.

Pada awal abad keempat, 301 M, agama Kristen secara resmi diterima oleh orang-orang Armenia sebagai agama negara. Perlu juga diingat bahwa gagasan Kristen sebagai agama negara merupakan inovasi pada waktu itu.

St Gregorius Illuminator, Santo pelindung Gereja Armenia, dan Raja Thiridates III, penguasa waktu itu, memainkan peran penting dalam Kristenisasi resmi Armenia. Ini adalah fakta sejarah yang diakui dengan baik bahwa orang-orang Armenia adalah negara pertama yang secara resmi menganut agama Kristen. Pertobatan ini diikuti pada abad keempat dan kelima oleh proses pelembagaan dan Armenisasi Kekristenan di Armenia.

Peristiwa abad kelima sangat penting bagi pembentukan budaya dan identitas Kristen Armenia yang khas. Yang terpenting adalah penemuan alfabet Armenia oleh biarawan Mesrob Mashdots dan rekan-rekannya. Terjemahan kitab suci, komentar, liturgi, teologi, dan sejarah dibuat. Selain itu, abad kelima menyaksikan pembungaan pertama sastra Armenia asli. Contohnya adalah karya doktrinal Yeznik Koghbatsi, Sanggahan Sekte. Pertempuran Avarayr pada tahun 451 melawan Persia, meskipun kekalahan bagi orang-orang Armenia di bawah Vartan Mamigonian, telah dikenang sebagai hal yang kritis untuk memenangkan hak orang-orang Armenia untuk mempraktikkan kepercayaan Kristen mereka.

Penemuan alfabet Armenia membawa Zaman Keemasan sastra Armenia. Siswa dikirim ke pusat-pusat pembelajaran klasik dan Kristen di Edessa, Kaisarea, Konstantinopel, Antiokhia, Alexandria, dan Athena, untuk mempersiapkan diri mereka menerjemahkan Alkitab, liturgi, tulisan penting para bapa gereja Yunani dan Suriah, dan literatur klasik. 8211Yunani dan Latin–ke dalam bahasa Armenia. Alkitab, diterjemahkan dari Septuaginta, selesai dalam beberapa tahun dan sebagian besar Patristik diterjemahkan dalam waktu tiga puluh tahun tetapi seluruh proses, termasuk penerjemahan buku-buku sekuler, berlangsung sekitar dua ratus tahun.

“Penerjemah Suci” sangat dihormati di gereja Armenia. Banyak dari karya-karya yang diterjemahkan telah hilang dalam bahasa Yunani atau Syria, tetapi telah disimpan dalam bahasa Armenia.

Karya-karya asli juga disusun selama Zaman Keemasan, termasuk karya-karya tentang sejarah, filsafat, hagiografi, homili, himne, dan apologetika. Karya-karya selanjutnya tentang sains ditulis. Sementara banyak yang telah hilang karena kerusakan akibat perang dan waktu, banyak yang disimpan hari ini di perpustakaan besar Matenadaran (di mana, misalnya, ada hampir tiga ratus manuskrip karya Aristoteles) di Yerevan dan di Armenia. biara di Yerusalem, Venesia, dan Wina. Dengan demikian, gereja Armenia memberi orang-orang Armenia budaya nasional yang kuat tepat pada saat negara Armenia kehilangan kemerdekaan politiknya.

Sebuah Catholicosate yang Bermigrasi

St Gregorius Illuminator menjadi penyelenggara hirarki Gereja Armenia. Sejak saat itu, para kepala Gereja Armenia disebut Catholicos dan masih memegang gelar yang sama. St. Gregorius memilih sebagai situs Catholicosate yang kemudian menjadi ibu kota Vagharshapat, di Armenia. Dia membangun kediaman kepausan di sebelah gereja yang disebut “Bunda Suci Allah” (yang belakangan ini akan mengambil nama St. Etchmiadzin, yang berarti tempat di mana Putra Tunggal telah turun), menurut penglihatan itu. di mana dia melihat Putra Tunggal Allah turun dari surga dengan palu emas di tangannya untuk menemukan lokasi katedral baru yang akan dibangun pada tahun 302. Pergolakan terus-menerus, yang menjadi ciri panggung politik Armenia, membuat kekuatan politik pindah ke tempat yang lebih aman. Pusat Gereja juga pindah ke lokasi yang berbeda bersama dengan otoritas politik.

Jadi, pada tahun 485, Catholicosate dipindahkan ke ibukota baru Dvin. Pada abad ke-10 pindah dari Dvin ke Dzoravank dan kemudian ke Aghtamar (927), ke Arghina (947) dan ke Ani (992). Setelah jatuhnya Ani dan Kerajaan Bagradit Armenia pada tahun 1045, banyak orang Armenia bermigrasi ke Kilikia. Catholicosate, bersama dengan orang-orang, menetap di sana. Ini pertama kali didirikan di Thavblour (1062), kemudian di Dzamendav (1072), di Dzovk (1116), di Hromkla (1149), dan akhirnya di Sis (1293), ibu kota Kerajaan Kilikia, di mana ia bertahan selama tujuh abad. . Setelah jatuhnya Kerajaan Armenia di Kilikia, pada tahun 1375, Gereja juga mengambil alih peran kepemimpinan nasional, dan Catholicos diakui sebagai Ethnarch (Kepala Bangsa). Tanggung jawab nasional ini sangat memperluas cakupan misi Gereja.

Dua Catholicosates di dalam Gereja Armenia

Keberadaan dua Catholicosate dalam Gereja Armenia, yaitu Catholicosate of Etchmiadzin (the Catholicosate of All Armenians), Etchmiadzin-Armenia, dan Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia, Antelias-Lebanon, adalah karena keadaan sejarah. Pada abad ke-10, ketika Armenia dihancurkan oleh Seljuk, banyak orang Armenia meninggalkan tanah air mereka dan datang untuk menetap di Kilikia di mana mereka mengatur kembali kehidupan politik, gerejawi dan budaya mereka. Catholicosate juga berlindung di Kilikia.

Pada tahun 1375, Kerajaan Kilikia di Armenia dihancurkan. Kilikia menjadi medan pertempuran bagi Seljuk, Mamluk, dan penjajah lainnya yang bermusuhan. Sementara itu, Armenia mengalami waktu yang relatif damai. Situasi yang memburuk di Kilikia di satu sisi dan kebangkitan budaya dan gerejawi yang berkembang di Armenia di sisi lain, membuat para uskup Armenia memilih seorang Katolikos di Etchmiadzin. Yang terakhir adalah kursi asli Catholicosate, tetapi tidak lagi berfungsi sebagai Catholicosal See setelah tahun 485. Jadi, pada tahun 1441, seorang Catholicos baru dipilih di Etchmiadzin dalam pribadi Kirakos Virapetsi. Pada saat yang sama Krikor Moussapegiants (1439-1446) adalah Catholicos dari Kilikia. Oleh karena itu, sejak 1441, ada dua Katolikosat di Gereja Armenia dengan hak dan hak istimewa yang sama, dan dengan yurisdiksi masing-masing. Keutamaan kehormatan Catholicosate of Etchmiadzin selalu diakui oleh Catholicosate of Cilicia.

Sepanjang sebagian besar sejarahnya, Gereja Ortodoks Armenia telah menjadi instrumen kelangsungan hidup bangsa Armenia. Memang, Gerejalah yang telah melestarikan kesadaran nasional Armenia selama berabad-abad di mana tidak ada negara Armenia.

Gereja Armenia memainkan peran penting dalam suksesi kerajaan Muslim di mana umatnya berada. Karena beberapa di antaranya terbagi menurut afiliasi agama, para pemimpin Armenia, pada kenyataannya, juga bertanggung jawab secara politik atas komunitas mereka. Gereja Armenia sangat dipengaruhi oleh dua fenomena di abad kedua puluh: genosida di Turki, di mana 1,5 juta orang meninggal, dan Sovietisasi Armenia timur, yang mengantarkan tujuh dekade ateisme resmi. Genosida pada dasarnya menghancurkan gereja di Turki, di mana hanya sisa yang tersisa. Ini juga sangat mempengaruhi cara Gereja Armenia mendekati gagasan penderitaan di dunia ini.

Gereja berkembang pesat di Diaspora Armenia, dan memperoleh kembali kekuatannya di Armenia yang baru merdeka (1990’).


Penciptaan Alfabet Armenia

Mesrop Mashtots lahir pada tahun 362 M, di desa Hatsekats, Armenia.

Sahak Partev, penganut Katolik Armenia, menugaskan Mashtot untuk membuat alfabet Armenia baru.

Sampai saat itu, sebagian besar versi tertulis bahasa Armenia menggunakan bahasa Yunani.

Mesrop Mashtots – Pencipta Alfabet Armenia

Alfabet dimulai dengan huruf A sebagai Astvats (artinya Tuhan). dan diakhiri dengan Q sebagai Qristos (artinya Kristus). Namun, kemudian, tiga surat lagi muncul.

  1. (ya). Ini sebenarnya adalah konjungsi yang berarti ‘dan”. Hal ini digunakan hanya dalam sangat kecil. Oleh karena itu ketika menggunakan huruf kapital, harus ditulis seperti dua huruf- . Di awal diucapkan “yev”, di tengah kata “ev”.
  2. . Orang Armenia Timur menggunakannya di awal kata ketika harus diucapkan sebagai “o”, bukan “Ո”(vo). Orang Armenia Barat biasanya menggunakannya di tengah kata.
  3. Yang terakhir adalah (F).

Awalnya ada 36 huruf dalam alfabet Armenia. Tiga huruf ditambahkan pada cc ke-10-12, dengan total 39 huruf.

Asli 36 huruf alfabet berada di 4 baris dari 9 huruf.

Namun, sebelum Armenia mengadopsi sistem angka Arab, setiap huruf mewakili angka.

Baris pertama huruf untuk angka 1-9, baris kedua untuk 10-90-an, baris ketiga 100-900, dan baris keempat 1000-9,000.

Oleh karena itu, huruf-huruf dalam bahasa Armenia kuno mewakili tahun 1996.

Anda akan menemukan sistem nomor ini tertulis pada monumen-monumen tua di Armenia, serta pada beberapa monumen modern (misalnya Matenadaran).

Selain itu, kalimat pertama dalam bahasa Armenia yang menggunakan alfabet adalah:

“Mengetahui kebijaksanaan dan instruksi memahami kata-kata pengertian.” (Mesrop Mashtot)

Alfabet Armenia Sebelum St. Mesrob: Misteri Naskah Uskup Daniel

Pada tahun 301 M, Kerajaan Armenia menjadi negara pertama di dunia yang mengadopsi agama Kristen sebagai agama resmi.

Namun, pada tahun 387 M, Armenia memasuki masa sulit dalam sejarahnya. Armenia kehilangan kemerdekaannya, karena Persia dan Bizantium bersekongkol untuk membagi negara. Kekristenan mulai menurun di bagian Armenia yang dipengaruhi Persia. Di banyak provinsi, orang menghidupkan kembali tradisi pagan.

Saat itu, Mesrob Mashtots menjabat sebagai sekretaris dan juru bahasa di istana kerajaan di ibu kota Vagharshapat. Dia menerima pendidikan dasarnya di sekolah Yunani di rumahnya di Taron. Dia juga fasih berbahasa Yunani, Persia, dan Syria.

Penulis biografi St. Mesrob, Koryun, menggambarkan St. Mesrob sebagai pejuang yang gagah berani dan administrator yang berbakat. Dia mendapatkan rasa hormat di pengadilan baik untuk pengetahuan yang baik tentang seni bela diri dan keterampilan pribadinya.

Dua kekhawatiran menyebabkan inisiatif Mashtots untuk membuat alfabet terpisah untuk orang Armenia.

Pertama, orang Armenia tidak bisa membaca Kitab Suci dalam bahasa Yunani atau Syria. Mereka juga tidak bisa memahami khotbah dalam bahasa-bahasa itu. Ini adalah faktor yang mempercepat erosi iman Kristen di pedesaan.

Faktor kedua adalah ancaman baru asimilasi budaya karena peran yang lebih kuat dari pendeta Suriah dan penguasa feodal pro-Persia di Armenia. Itu adalah kerajaan yang kemerdekaannya tampak terkikis.

St. Mesrob memahami cakupan penuh dari masalah ini ketika, pada sekitar tahun 395 M, dia untuk sementara meninggalkan istana kerajaan dalam misi penginjilan ke provinsi Syunik di Armenia (provinsi paling timur Armenia saat ini) dan distrik tetangga Goghtan (sekarang Nakhichevan , Republik Azerbaijan).

Sekembalinya ke ibu kota Vagharshapat, Mesrob Mashtots bertemu dengan Katholikos Sahak Partev (338 M – 439 M), kepala Gereja Armenia, yang menawarkan dukungan penuh kepada St. Mesrob.

Sahak Partev berasal dari keluarga St. Gregorius Sang Pencerah, pendiri Biara Amaras. Dia adalah rekan penulis Alfabet Armenia. Sama halnya dengan St. Mesrop, Gereja Armenia mengkanonisasi Sahak Partev dan orang-orang Armenia sering menyebutnya sebagai Sahak Agung.

Dukungan resmi Gereja Armenia atas proposal Mashtots pada sinodenya bertepatan dengan kembalinya Raja Vramshapuh ke ibu kota dari perjalanannya ke Mesopotamia. Di sana raja Armenia mencoba menengahi kontroversi yang berkaitan dengan pengasingan St. John Chrysostom oleh Aelia Eudoxia (meninggal tahun 404 M). permaisuri Kaisar Bizantium Arcadius.

Penulis abad pertengahan melaporkan bahwa ketika berada di Mesopotamia, Raja Vramshapuh mengetahui tentang keberadaan naskah kuno Armenia tertentu, yang dimiliki oleh Uskup Daniel dari Edessa. Raja mengetahui keputusan sinode itu. Kemudian, dia mengirim orang kepercayaannya Vahrich Khaduni ke Mesopotamia untuk membawa contoh surat Daniel ke istana untuk diperiksa oleh St. Mashtots dan St. Sahak.

Asal usul naskah Daniel tetap menjadi bahan perdebatan akademis yang intens karena tidak ada sampel yang selamat.

Diketahui — dari Koryun dan Movses Khorenatsi, dan juga penulis lain — bahwa naskahnya telah diadaptasi untuk bahasa Armenia. Susunan hurufnya juga sesuai dengan urutan abjad Yunani. Pola yang digunakan St. Mesrob untuk ketiga huruf yang dia buat.

Hipotesis paling umum tentang sumber tulisan Daniel menunjukkan bahwa itu mewakili sistem penulisan Armenia sebelumnya. Kaligrafi Semit adalah dasarnya. Namun, itu ditinggalkan di zaman kuno karena kelemahan utamanya - ketidakmampuan untuk mencerminkan struktur fonetik bahasa Armenia dengan benar. Atau, sebaliknya, dilupakan karena kegagalan negara untuk mendukung penyebaran dan pemasyarakatannya.

Murid St. Mesrob, Koryun, merinci bahwa ketika naskah Danielian tiba di Armenia, gurunya mulai menggunakan huruf-huruf itu tanpa penundaan.

Namun, ketidaksempurnaan yang melekat pada sistem penulisan Daniel membuat pengajaran dan upaya penerjemahan St. Mesrob menjadi tidak produktif.

Setelah dua tahun berjuang dengan naskah Uskup Daniel, St. Mesrob meninggalkan Armenia dalam perjalanannya sendiri ke Mesopotamia. Dia kemudian mulai mencari bimbingan dari ahli retorika Yunani dan Suriah di kota-kota Edessa dan Samosata.

Dan itu di Samosata, pada tahun 406 M, di mana, setelah banyak diskusi dan konsultasi dengan para pemikir terkemuka pada masanya, St. Mesrob datang dengan versi terakhir dari Alfabet Armenia. Sejarawan abad pertengahan tidak pernah gagal untuk menggambarkan peristiwa ini sebagai ekspresi kehendak ilahi.

Monumen Alfabet Armenia

Monumen Alfabet Armenia

Monumen Alfabet Armenia didedikasikan untuk pembuatan alfabet oleh Mesrop Mashtots. Dibangun pada tahun 2005 di lereng timur gunung Aragats, di desa Artashavan.

Ini terdiri dari 39 patung batu berukir huruf-huruf Armenia. Menurut rencana arsitek terkenal Jim Torosyan, monumen itu didirikan untuk memperingati 1600 tahun penciptaan alfabet Armenia. Itu juga dirancang olehnya.

Selain huruf-huruf, ada juga patung-patung lain di Taman. “Tumanyan dengan pahlawannya”, “Gregory the Illuminator”, “Penciptaan huruf, 405”, “Khachatur Abovyan” dan “Mkhitar Gosh”.

Jika Anda sedikit menanjak dari monumen, Anda akan melihat salib setinggi 33 meter yang melambangkan usia Yesus Kristus pada saat dia disalibkan. Ini terdiri dari 1711 salib logam besar dan kecil yang melambangkan usia Armenia Kristen.

BAHASA ARMENIA

Bahasa Armenia memiliki tiga fase.

Semuanya adalah hasil evolusi alami bahasa.r:

Pertama

Bahasa Armenia Klasik atau “Grabar”. Orang-orang Armenia menggunakannya dari abad ke-5 hingga ke-19.

Ini adalah “bahasa buku” (bahasa ilmiah di Abad Pertengahan) dengan pinjaman dari bahasa Iran. Gereja Armenia masih menggunakannya.

Periode ini sangat kaya dengan karya-karya keagamaan. contoh yang bagus adalah terjemahan Alkitab. Disebut “Ratu Terjemahan” karena keindahan dan kesempurnaan bahasanya. Juga, karena kesetiaannya pada teks.

Kedua

Armenia Tengah. Digunakan dari abad ke-11 hingga ke-15.

Itu adalah “bahasa negara” atau “vulgar” bahasa rakyat jelata. Secara bertahap menggantikan bentuk tertulis. Bahasa Armenia Tengah juga menjadi bahasa sastra pada abad ke-19.

Ketiga

Bahasa Armenia modern atau “Ashkharabar” dimulai pada abad ke-19. Ini memiliki dua cabang:

Dituturkan di Armenia, berdasarkan dialek Yerevan.
Disampaikan oleh diaspora setelah genosida tahun 1915, berdasarkan dialek Konstantinopel. Sekarang orang Armenia barat menggunakannya.

Bahasa Armenia membentuk cabang independen dari rumpun bahasa Indo-Eropa. Bahasa Armenia paling mirip dengan bahasa Yunani. Namun, ia memiliki banyak kata pinjaman dari bahasa Indo-Iran seperti Pushto dan Persia. Faktanya, selama periode awal klasifikasinya, orang menganggap bahasa Armenia sebagai bahasa Iran karena banyaknya kata pinjaman bahasa Iran.

Sistem suara bahasa Armenia tidak khas bahasa Indo-Eropa. Memiliki ejektif terdengar. Ejektif adalah suara yang dapat dibuat dengan menggunakan pita suara (bukan paru-paru) untuk mendorong udara keluar. Armenia memiliki tujuh kasus nominal. Bahasa membedakan dua angka, tunggal, dan jamak.

Selain itu, bahasa Armenia tidak memiliki jenis kelamin tata bahasa. Posisi artikel tak tentu bervariasi antara Armenia Timur dan Barat. Dalam ragam Timur, ia mendahului kata benda, di Barat, ia mengikuti kata benda.

Setiap batang kata kerja memiliki dua bentuk, yang disebut basa. Satu untuk simple past tense dan past participle. The other for all other tenses, moods, and participles. Word order in Armenian is subject-verb-object.

In Armenian, though, the subject of the sentence usually comes in front of the verb or action. For example, “I like food” would be “I food like”.

There is also the double negative in the language.

So, “Nobody came” would be “Nobody didn’t come”.

Today about six million people speak Armenian, although the total population of the Republic of Armenia is only 3 million (94 % are ethnic Armenian). Thus, nearly half of Armenian speakers today live outside their historic homeland, mostly in Iran (370,000), Syria (299,000), Lebanon (235,000), Egypt (100,000), and the United States (175,000).

The creation of the Armenian alphabet was a very important event for Armenians. It was the key that allowed Armenians to preserve their culture and identitas. Therefore, they had an exceptional longevity while others disappeared.


The Armenian name of the Lord

The earliest attestation of the sign has been found on petroglyphs in Metsamor, Armenia (see pictures below) and has been dated to 3.000 BCE. The sign itself was known for it’s use by Mithraic priests in pre-Christian Armenia. Later, during the creation of the Armenian Alphabet (405 A.D.), Mesrob Mashtots incorporated it into the Armenian alphabet and gave it a sacred place as the 7th letter of the alphabet. As such it was adopted by the Armenian Church and to date can be admired on top of the altars of Armenian Churches. Its significance to the Church is well explained by the following article.

Sign on a marble Khatchkar (Cross Stone) in the Holy Etchmiadzin.

If you walk into any given Armenian Orthodox Church, you may notice something over the altar, or at least most of them. You may either see the single letter ‘Eh’ (Է) directly at the top, such as the picture to the left demonstrates, or you may see the words ‘Asdvadz Ser Eh’ (in Armenian letters) with the English translation ‘God Is Love’ following it. In the case of the latter, the letter ‘Eh’ (Է) is still directly above the altar.

What is so special about the letter ‘Eh’ (Է) that it deserves such a prominent place over the church altar? First, let’s look at its meaning. In the phrase ‘God is Love’, the word for is is ‘eh’, thus, ‘Asdvadz Ser Eh’ (transliteration: ‘God Love Is’). So, the letter/word ‘Eh’ (Է) literally means ‘is’ or ‘he is’, which , to those familiar with the Old Testament, may sound like a reference to God Himself.

In Exodus chapter 3, the prophet Moses encountered God in the burning bush. As God was instructing Moses to deliver His people from Egypt, Moses asked, “If I come to the

Altar of the Armenian Church of the Forty Martyrs, Aleppo

Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’

God told Moses that His name is ‘I am’, or technically ‘Is’, or ‘He Who Is’. Thus, God is a being who just IS, and it is only the eternal God who can call Himself by this name. In Armenian, it is the letter/word ‘Eh’ (Է) that serves as the name for ‘I am’ or ‘he is’, and just as Moses realized the ‘Eh’ (Է) to be dwelling in the burning bush, so too does the Armenian Church realize that God (Eh) dwells at the church altar.

Furthermore, ‘Eh’ (Է), when pronounced, makes the sound of a breath, and so the idea of God being the breath of life is attached to this letter. Also, the letter ‘Eh’ (Է) happens to be the 7th letter of the Armenian alphabet. Symbolically, 7 is known as the number of perfection, or completion. Throughout the Bible, the number 7 is attributed to several acts of God, and to God Himself, so the letter ‘Eh’ (Է) takes on even further significance.Thus, for the Armenian Church, the letter ‘Eh’ (Է) and its meaning is considered to be Holy. It is not only symbolic, but ‘Eh’ (Է) is the name of God.

Another interesting fact in the Armenian alphabet, only the letter Է (Ē) can be added as a prefix or a suffix and form a new word. There is no other letter that can be applied in such manner according to the rules of Armenian grammar. Therefore, Է (Ē), is not only a simple letter or a character, but is also a Word in and of itself.

Etymology according to Wikipedia: Old Armenian է (ē), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁es- (“to be”).

Armenian letter Է (Ē) found in Metsamor (3,000 BCE) Sketch of the Armenian letter Է (Ē) found in Metsamor (3,000 BCE)

Isi

Mesrop Mashtots was born in a noble family ("from the house of an azat" according to Anania Shirakatsi) in the settlement of Hatsekats in Taron [8] (identified as the village of Hac'ik in the Mush plain), [9] and died in Vagharshapat. He was the son of a man named Vardan. [10] Koryun, his pupil and biographer, tells us that Mashtots (in his work he does not mention the name Mesrop) received a good education, and was versed in the Greek and Persian languages. [8] On account of his piety and learning Mesrop was appointed secretary to King Khosrov IV. His duty was to write in Greek and Persian characters the decrees and edicts of the sovereign.

Leaving the court for the service of God, he took holy orders, and withdrew to a monastery with a few chosen companions. There, says Koryun, he practiced great austerities, enduring hunger and thirst, cold and poverty. He lived on vegetables, wore a hair shirt, slept upon the ground, and often spent whole nights in prayer and the study of the Holy Scriptures. This life he continued for a few years.

Armenia, so long the battle-ground of Romans and Persians, lost its independence in 387, and was divided between the Byzantine Empire and Persia, about four-fifths being given to the latter. Western Armenia was governed by Byzantine generals, while an Armenian king ruled, but only as feudatory, over Persian Armenia. The Church was naturally influenced by these violent political changes, although the loss of civil independence and the partition of the land could not destroy its organization or subdue its spirit. Persecution only quickened it into greater activity, and had the effect of bringing the clergy, the nobles, and the common people closer together. The principal events of this period are the invention of the Armenian alphabet, the revision of the liturgy, the creation of an ecclesiastical and national literature, and the readjustment of hierarchical relations. Three men are prominently associated with this work: Mesrop, Patriarch Isaac, and King Vramshapuh, who succeeded his brother Khosrov IV in 389. In 394, with the help of blessing of Armenia's Catholicos, Sahak Partev, Mesrop set out on a mission of spreading the word of God to a pagan or semi-pagan people.

Mesrop, as noted, had spent some time in a monastery preparing for a missionary life. With the support of Prince Shampith, he preached the Gospel in the district of Goghtn near the river Araxes, converting many heretics and pagans. However, he experienced great difficulty in instructing the people, for the Armenians had no alphabet of their own, instead using Greek, Persian, and Syriac scripts, none of which was well suited for representing the many complex sounds of their native tongue. Again, the Holy Scriptures and the liturgy, being written in Syriac, were, to a large extent, unintelligible to the faithful. Hence the constant need of translators and interpreters to explain the Word of God to the people.

Mesrop, desirous to remedy this state of things, resolved to invent a national alphabet, in which undertaking Isaac and King Vramshapuh promised to assist him. It is hard to determine exactly what part Mesrop had in the fixing of the new alphabet. According to his Armenian biographers, he consulted Daniel, a bishop of Mesopotamia, and Rufinus, a monk of Samosata, on the matter. With their help and that of Isaac and the king, he was able to give a definite form to the alphabet, which he probably adapted from the Greek. Others, like Lenormant, think it derived from the Avestan. Mesrop's alphabet consisted of thirty-six letters two more (long O and F) were added in the twelfth century.

Medieval Armenian sources also claim that Mashtots invented the Georgian and Caucasian Albanian alphabets around the same time. Most scholars link the creation of the Georgian script to the process of Christianization of Iberia, a core Georgian kingdom of Kartli. [11] The alphabet was therefore most probably created between the conversion of Iberia under King Mirian III (326 or 337) and the Bir el Qutt inscriptions of 430, [12] contemporaneously with the Armenian alphabet. [13]

The first sentence in Armenian written down by St. Mesrop after he invented the letters is said to be the opening line of Solomon’s Book of Proverbs:

Ճանաչել զիմաստութիւն եւ զխրատ, իմանալ զբանս հանճարոյ:
Čanačʿel zimastutʿiwn ew zxrat, imanal zbans hančaroy.
«To know wisdom and instruction to perceive the words of understanding.»

The invention of the alphabet around 405 was the beginning of Armenian literature, and proved a powerful factor in the upbuilding of the national spirit. "The result of the work of Isaac and Mesrop", says St. Martin, [15] "was to separate for ever the Armenians from the other peoples of the East, to make of them a distinct nation, and to strengthen them in the Christian Faith by forbidding or rendering profane all the foreign alphabetic scripts which were employed for transcribing the books of the heathens and of the followers of Zoroaster. To Mesrop we owe the preservation of the language and literature of Armenia but for his work, the people would have been absorbed by the Persians and Syrians, and would have disappeared like so many nations of the East".

Anxious that others should profit by his discovery, and encouraged by the patriarch and the king, Mesrop founded numerous schools in different parts of the country, in which the youth were taught the new alphabet. It is historically proven, that Saint Mesrop himself taught in Amaras monastery of Artskah region of Armenia (located in contemporary Martuni region of unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic). [ kutipan diperlukan ] But his activity was not confined to Eastern Armenia. Provided with letters from Isaac he went to Constantinople and obtained from the Emperor Theodosius the Younger permission to preach and teach in his Armenian possessions. Having returned to Eastern Armenia to report on his missions to the patriarch, his first thought was to provide a religious literature for his countrymen. Having gathered around him numerous disciples, he sent some to Edessa, Constantinople, Athens, Antioch, Alexandria, and other centres of learning, to study the Greek language and bring back the masterpieces of Greek literature. The most famous of his pupils were John of Egheghiatz, Joseph of Baghin, Yeznik, Koryun, Moses of Chorene, and John Mandakuni.

The first monument of this Armenian literature is the version of the Holy Scriptures. Isaac, says Moses of Chorene, made a translation of the Bible from the Syriac text about 411. This work must have been considered imperfect, for soon afterwards John of Egheghiatz and Joseph of Baghin were sent to Edessa to translate the Scriptures. They journeyed as far as Constantinople, and brought back with them authentic copies of the Greek text. With the help of other copies obtained from Alexandria the Bible was translated again from the Greek according to the text of the Septuagint and Origen's Hexapla. This version, now in use in the Armenian Church, was completed about 434.

The decrees of the first three councils — Nicæa, Constantinople, and Ephesus — and the national liturgy (so far written in Syriac) were also translated into Armenian, the latter being revised on the liturgy of St. Basil, though retaining characteristics of its own. Many works of the Greek Fathers also passed into Armenian. The loss of the Greek originals has given some of these versions a special importance thus, the second part of Eusebius's Chronicle, of which only a few fragments exist in the Greek, has been preserved entirely in Armenian. In the midst of his literary labors Mesrop revisited the districts he had evangelized in his earlier years, and, after the death of Isaac in 440, looked after the spiritual administration of the patriarchate. He survived his friend and master by only six months. The Armenians read his name in the Canon of the Liturgy, and celebrate his memory on 19 February.

Saint Mashtots is buried at a chapel in Oshakan, a historical village 8 km (5.0 miles) southwest from the town of Ashtarak.

Saint Mesrop is listed officially in the Roman Martyrology of the Roman Catholic Church his feast day is February 17.

Virtually every town in Armenia has a street named after Mashtots. In Yerevan, Mashtots Street is one of the most important in the city center, which was previously known as Lenin Street (Lenin Prospect). There is a statue to him at the Matenadaran, one at the church he was buried at in Oshakan village, and one at the monument to the alphabet found on the skirts of Mt. Aragats north of Ohanavan Village. Stamps have been issued with his image by both the Soviet Union and by post-Soviet Armenia.

The Order of St. Mesrop Mashtots, established in 1993, is awarded for significant achievements in economic development of the Republic of Armenia or for accomplishments, such as in science, culture, education or public service, and for activities promoting those fields.

Mashtots also produced a number of liturgical compositions. Some of the works attributed to him are: «Մեղայ քեզ Տէր» (Meġay k’ez Tēr, “I have sinned against you, Lord”), «Ողորմեա ինձ Աստուած» (Voġormea inj Astuac, “Have mercy on me, God”), «Անկանիմ առաջի քո» (Ankanim aṙaǰi k’o, “I kneel before you”) and «Ողորմեա» (Voġormea, “Miserere”), all of which are hymns of repentance. [ kutipan diperlukan ]


How Armenia &ldquoInvented&rdquo Christendom

ONLY A WEEK PRIOR TO HIS ATTACK on Poland in September, 1939, Adolf Hitler reportedly delivered a secret talk to members of his General Staff, urging them to wipe out the Polish race. “After all,” he argued, “who remembers today the extermination of the Armenians?”

Hitler was referring to the genocide of nearly 1.5 million Armenian Christians at the hands of Ottoman Turks from 1915 to 1923 in what is now eastern Turkey. Turkish authorities deny the atrocities ever took place, but the story of bloodbath in Armenia is one of the well-documented tragedies of our time.

Still, it’s unfortunate that Armenia (today located directly east of Turkey and west of the Caspian Sea) is now known for this story above any other. It says nothing about the people of Armenia, or the part they have played in global Christianity. For contribute they did, in a manner that might surprise even a seasoned church historian.

Tortured for Christ

No man has more stature in the Armenian church today than Gregory the Illuminator. While not the first to bring Christianity to Armenia, Gregory is, at least in the minds of Armenians, the nation’s spiritual father and the people’s patron saint.

Born into a wealthy family around 257, Gregory nevertheless had a rough beginning—his biographer, Agathangelos, tells us Gregory’s father murdered the Armenian king and paid for it with his life. But the boy was rescued from the chaos following the murder, and his new guardians raised him as a Christian in Cappadocia (east-central Turkey). There, according to Agathangelos, Gregory “became acquainted with the Scriptures of God, and drew near to the fear of the Lord.”

When Gregory’s tutors told him of his father’s wickedness, Gregory approached the murdered king’s son, Tiridates, to offer his service (all the while concealing his identity). Tiridates accepted Gregory’s offer, but when Gregory refused to worship Anahit, an idol the king had raised in gratitude for military successes, Tiridates became furious: “You have come and joined us as a stranger and foreigner. How then are you able to worship that God whom I do not worship?”

Tiridates tortured Gregory, hanging him upside-down and flogging him, then fastening blocks of wood to his legs and tightening them. When these tactics failed, he tried even more gruesome measures. Still the saint refused to bow the knee. Tiridates then learned that Gregory was the son of his father’s murderer, and he ordered that the missionary be thrown into a “bottommost pit” filled with dead bodies and other filth. There Gregory sat for 13 years, surviving only on bread a widow threw down each day after receiving instruction to do so in a dream.

Converting the King

At about this time a beautiful woman named Rhipsime arrived in Armenia, fleeing an enforced marriage to the Roman emperor Diocletian. Tiridates took a liking to her too, and took her forcibly when she refused to come to him. But “strengthened by the Holy Spirit,” she fought off his advances and escaped. Furious, Tiridates ordered her execution, and that night Rhipsime burned at the stake. Her abbess Gaiane soon followed her in death, along with 35 other companions.

The king, still lusting after Rhipsime, mourned her death for six days, then prepared to go hunting. But God visited on him a horrible punishment—Agathangelos calls it demon possession—reducing him to insanity and throwing his court into chaos. Tiridates’ sister had a vision to send for Gregory, imprisoned so long ago. People laughed at the idea Gregory might still be alive, but recurrent visions finally convinced a nobleman, Awtay, to visit his pit. Astonished to find the missionary living, Awtay brought him to meet the king, who was feeding with swine outside the city.

Tiridates, along with other possessed members of his court, rushed at Gregory. But Gregory “immediately knelt in prayer, and they returned to sobriety.” Tiridates then pleaded for Gregory’s forgiveness, and the king and his whole court repented of their sin and confessed faith in Christ.

Assessing Gregory’s Legacy

Scholars disagree over how much Agathangelos’s history can be taken at face-value. After all, he wrote his book in 460 (Tiridates is believed by Armenians to have converted in 301), and much of his story has elements of hagiography that lead one to wonder whether the events ever happened. But even skeptics acknowledge that Gregory was a real person with considerable ecclesiastical influence in Armenia—the signature of his son and successor Aristakes can be found among those ratifying the Council of Nicaea in 325. And even if we can document little about the man, his pre-eminence among Armenia’s heroes of the faith is unassailable.

Mengapa? First, Gregory persuaded the king to build a string of churches across Armenia, beginning with Holy Etchmiadzin— according to some scholars the oldest cathedral site in the world and an important pilgrimage site for all Armenians. The seat of the Armenian church would pass to other cities, but Gregory “established” Christianity in Armenia via this church.

Gregory also introduced Christian liturgy to Armenia. These rites consisted of psalmody, scriptural readings, and prayers recited in Greek or Syriac. After Mesrop Mashtots invented an Armenian alphabet at the beginning of the fifth century, both the Bible and the liturgy were translated into the Armenian language.

Most importantly, Gregory set in motion the mass conversion of Armenia to Christianity. According to Agathangelos, the king ordered all pagan shrines to be torn down, and Gregory proceeded to baptize more than 190,000 people into the new faith. Whether the nation converted as quickly as Agathangelos implies is difficult to discern. Certainly by the fifth century, Armenia was well on its way to becoming a “Christian” nation.

Armenia is an ancient—if not the oldest—model for what we now call Christendom. Church historian Kenneth Scott Latourette notes that the Armenian church “was an instance of what was to be seen again and again, a group adoption of the Christian faith engineered by the accepted leaders and issuing in an ecclesiastical structure which became identified with a particular people, state, or nation.”

Certainly the Roman Empire is a prime example of this, but Armenia is at least as old, and perhaps a more impressive example given the invasions and persecution it endured at the hands of the Turks (and before them, Arabs and Persians). Indeed even Byzantium attempted to bring Armenia within its orbit, but the nation resisted, arguing that its apostolic origins were on par with Rome.

So lest you assume Rome is our first example of Christendom, think again. Long may Armenia’s church endure. CH

By Steven Gertz

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #85 in 2005]


Armenia Churches

One of Armenia’s nicknames is the “land of churches.” The country has over 4000 churches and monasteries. It is the home of the oldest cathedral in the world, Echimiazin Armenian Apostolic Church.

There’s also the Zvartnots Ruins, which UNESCO has listed as a heritage site. It was the first circular three-story church. It lasted only three centuries before an earthquake destroyed it.

Armenians later learned to build more stable rectangular-based churches. The new structures could better withstand the shaking of the earth.


What Do We Know About the Ancient Armenian Version of the Bible?

EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 140 books. Andrews adalah Kepala Penerjemah dari Versi Standar Amerika yang Diperbarui (UASV).

As a brief overview of versions, we have the Syriac versions (an Aramaic dialect) from the second century onward, the Latin versions with the Old Latin from the latter part of the second century onward. Eusebius Hieronymus, otherwise known as Jerome gave us a revision of the Old Latin version in 383 C.E. By the third century, the first translation of the Greek NT was published in Coptic. The Gothic version was produced during the fourth century. The Armenian version of the Bible dates from the fifth century and was likely made from both the Greek and Syriac texts. The Georgian version was finished at the end of the sixth century, which exhibited Greek influence, but it had an Armenian and Syriac source. The Ethiopic version was produced about the fourth or fifth century. There are various old Arabic versions. Translations of parts of the Bible into Arabic were produced about the seventh century, but the earliest evidence is that of a version made in Spain in 724. The Slavonic version was produced in the ninth century by the two brothers, Cyril and Methodius. Keep in mind, most scholars would argue that the Syriac versions and the Latin versions are generally speaking the most important when it comes to textual studies.

The Armenian Version of the Bible designated by (arm) dates from the early fifth century C.E., which includes all of the New Testament and was likely, prepared from both Greek and Syriac texts. It is often called the “queen of the versions” and many regards it as both beautiful and accurate. The New Testament is a very literal translation, which, of course, is quite helpful to textual criticism.

The Armenian Bible is due to Saint Mesrob’s early-5th-century translation. The first monument of Armenian literature is the version of the Holy Scriptures. Isaac, says Moses of Chorene, made a translation of the Bible from the Syriac text about 411. This work must have been considered imperfect, for soon afterward John of Egheghiatz and Joseph of Baghin were sent to Edessa to translate the Scriptures. They journeyed as far as Constantinople and brought back with them authentic copies of the Greek text. With the help of other copies obtained from Alexandria, the Bible was translated again from the Greek according to the text of the Septuagint and Origen’s Hexapla. This version, now in use in the Armenian Church, was completed about 434.

The first sentence in Armenian written down by St. Mesrop after he invented the letters is said to be the opening line of Solomon’s Book of Proverbs:

Ճանաչել զիմաստութիւն եւ զխրատ, իմանալ զբանս հանճարոյ:

Čanačʿel zimastutʿiwn ew zxrat, imanal zbans hančaroy.

“To know wisdom and instruction to perceive the words of understanding.”

Armenia claims the honor of being the first kingdom to accept Christianity as its official religion. The founder of Armenian Christianity was Gregory the Illuminator (ca. 257-331), an Armenian of royal lineage who had received Christian training at Caesarea in Cappadocia. Toward the end of the third century, he returned to his native land in order to undertake missionary work. Among his converts verts was Tiridates I, king of Armenia, who then sent out a herald to command all his subjects to adopt Christianity. Thus, by royal edict, Christianity was made the established religion of Armenia and was embraced by the populace through wholesale baptisms.

In his program of evangelism, Gregory was assisted by co-workers workers from various backgrounds-Armenians trained in Hellenistic culture as well as Armenians under Syrian influence. During this period, before the invention of the Armenian alphabet, hooks and documents existed only in Greek and Syriac, and their translation was left to oral interpretation. Consequently, it was through such cultural bridges that the Armenians received both Greek and Syriac Christianity, as well as the literature of both these peoples.

The earliest attempt to construct an Armenian alphabet was made by a certain Bishop Daniel. Since he was a Syrian, he probably ably took the Aramaic alphabet as a pattern. According to the historian Koriun, the alphabet was found to be unsuitable for representing the sounds of the Armenian language. The foundation of Armenian literature, including the translation of the Bible, dates from the early part of the fifth century. The chief promoters of this cultural development were the catholicos (primate) of the Armenian Church, Sahak (ca. 350-439), a descendent of Gregory the Illuminator, and Sahak’s friend and helper, Mesrop (Mesrob or Mashtotz, ca. 361-439), who had exchanged a military career for the life of a monk, missionary, and teacher.

At length and with the help of a Greek hermit and calligrapher, Rufanos of Samosata, about A.D. 406 Mesrop succeeded in producing ing an Armenian alphabet of thirty-six letters, twenty letters coming ing directly from Greek, twelve others being formed according to a Greek model, and four being taken from Syriac.

After creating the Armenian alphabet, Mesrop gathered about him a band of keen scholars. Sending some of them to Edessa, to Constantinople, and as far as Rome in search of manuscripts of the Scriptures and of ecclesiastical and secular writers, he inaugurated a program of translation that enriched and consolidated Armenian culture. The first book of the Bible that Mesrop translated was the Book of Proverbs, which was followed by the New Testament. With the help of Sahak and perhaps other translators, the rest of the Old Testament was finished about 410-14.

Among noteworthy features of the Armenian version of the Bible was the inclusion of certain books that elsewhere came to be regarded as apocryphal. The Old Testament included the History of Joseph and Asenath and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and the New Testament included the Epistle of the Corinthians to Paul and a Third Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians.

Many other uncanonical writings of the Old Testament are preserved served in Armenian manuscripts. These include The Book of Adam, The History of Moses, The Deaths of the Prophets, Concerning King Solomon, mon, A Short History of the Prophet Elias, Concerning the Prophet Jeremiah, The Vision of Enoch the Just, and The Third Book of Esdras (being chapters 3-14 of Second Esdras in the Apocrypha of the King James Version and including in chapter 7 the lost section of verses 36 to 105). – Bruce Metzger. The Bible in Translation : Ancient and English Versions (p. 40-41).

Isaac or Sahak of Armenia (354–439) was the Patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Even though Sahak had been abandoned as an orphan at an early age, he still managed to come away with an exceptional literary education in Constantinople, especially in the Eastern languages. Around the time that Sahak was elected as the Patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Armenians were suffering serious difficult times. In 387, Armenia had been divided between the Byzantine Empire and Persia. On the Byzantine side, Armenians were not allowed to use the Syriac language, which had to be replaced with the Greek language. This greatly affected their worship, as well as Hellenizing the Armenians in the Byzantine territory. On the Persian side, the Armenians were prohibited from using Greek, with Syriac being the chosen language. This could have greatly influenced the culture of the Armenians, removing their national unity. Sahak sponsored Saint Mesrop (c. 362-440), an Armenian linguist, who invented the Armenian alphabet (c. 405). After that, Mesrop began to translate the Christian Bible. This was a monumental step in strengthening the Armenian national identity.

The Armenian version has a record number of copies, at 1,244 cataloged by Rhodes (with hundreds more in the Soviet Union). It is an accurate and literal rendering of the Greek New Testament. Over one hundred of the Armenian manuscripts stop at verse 8 at the end of Mark chapter 16. “One copy of the Armenian Gospels, dated to A.D. 989, says that the last twelve verses of Mark 16 were added by “the presbyter Ariston” (who is mentioned by Papias in the early second century as one of the disciples of the Lord).” [1]

Original Greek Writings and Early Copies

Early Papyri100-175 C.E. (P 4/64/67 P 32 P 46 P 52 P 66 + P 75+ P77/103 P 87 P 90 P 98 P 109 P 118 P 137 P 104

175-250 C.E. P 8 P 9 P 12 P 15 P 16 P 17 P 18 P 19 P 24 P 28 P 37 P 50 P 51 P 53 P 70 P 78 P 80 P 86 P 88 P 89 P 91 P 92 P 114 P 119 P 120 P 129 P 131 P 132 P 134

250-300 C.E. P 3 P 6 P 7 P 10 P 21 P 54 P 62 P 81 P 93 P 94 P 102 P 112 P 117 P 122 P 123 P 127 P 130 P 139

Ancient Versions

Syriac Versions—Curetonian, Philoxenian, Harclean,
Old Latin
Palestinian, Sinaitic, Peshitta
Coptic Versions
Gothic Version
Armenian Version
Georgian Version
Ethipic Version

Early Greek Uncial MSS.—Vatican 1209 (B), Sinaitic (א), Alexandrine (A), Ephraemi Syri rescriptus (C), Bezae (D), etc.

Latin Vulgate
Sixtine and Clementine Revised Latin Texts

Greek Cursive MSS.

Fam. 1. Early in the twentieth century, family of witnesses that includes manuscripts 1, 118, 131, and 209
Fam. 13. 13, 69, 124, 230, 346, 543, 788, 826, 983, 1689, and 1709). They were copied between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries
MS. 28. Eleventh cenrury
MS. 33. Ninth century
MS. 61. 16th century
MS. 69. abad ke 15
MS. 81. 1044 C.E.
MS. 157. 1122 C.E.
THOUSANDS MORE ….

Critical Texts

[1516] Erasmus Text
[1522] Textus Receptus
[1550] Stephanus Text

[1774–1775] Griesbach Greek New Testament
[1881] Westcott and Hort Greek New Testament
[1943–1977] Bover Greek New Testament – 5th edition
[1933–1984] Merk Greek New Testament – 10th edition
[1898–2012] Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament – 28th edition
[1966–2015] United Bible Societies Greek New Testament – 5th edition

English Translations

The Wycliffite Bible (1382 1388)
Tyndale and the First Printed English New Testament (1526)
Coverdale and the First Complete Printed Bible in English (1535)
Matthew’s Bible (1537)
Taverner’s Bible (1539)
The Great Bible (1539)
Edmund Becke’s Bibles (1549 1551)
The Geneva Bible (1560)
The Bishops’ Bible (1568)
The Rheims-Douay Bible (1582-1610)
The King James Bible (1611) – Revision of Early English Translations

Between the King James Bible and the Revised Version

Edward Harwood’s New Testament (1768)
Charles Thomson’s Bible (1808)
Noah Webster’s Bible (1833)
Julia E. Smith’s Bible (1876)
The British Revised Version (1881-85)
American can Standard Version (1901)

Early Modern English Versions

The Twentieth Century New Testament (1901 1904)
Weymouth’s New Testament in Modern Speech (1903)
Moffatt’s Translation of the Bible (1913 1924-25) 25)
Smith and Goodspeed’s American Translation (1923 1927)
The Revised Standard Version (1952)
The Jerusalem Bible (1966)
The New American Bible (1970)
The New English Bible (1970)
The New International Version (1978)
Jewish Translations 142 Translations Sponsored by the Jewish Publication Society (1917 1985)
Heinz W. Cassirer’s New Testament (1989)
David H. Stern’s Complete Jewish Bible (1998)
The Lexham English Bible (2012)

Revision after Revision

The New American Standard Bible (1971 updated ed. 1995, 2020)
The New Jerusalem Bible (1985)
Revised New Testament, New American Bible (1986)
The Revised English Bible (1989)
The New Revised Standard Version (1990)
The English Standard Version (2001)
The Christian Standard Bible (2017)

[1] Paul D. Wegner, A Student’s Guide to Textual Criticism of the Bible: Its History, Methods & Results (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 281.

(Wegner 2006, p. 271) Location of the Origins of the Versions

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The Church of Armenia

Formerly Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople (Istanbul)

History of Armenian Bible

Armenia was in large measure Christianized by Gregory Lousavorich ("the Illuminator": consecrated 302 AD died 332), but, as Armenian had not been reduced to writing, the Scriptures used to be read in some places in Greek, in others in Syriac, and translated orally to the people. A knowledge of these tongues and the training of teachers were kept up by the schools which Gregory and King Tiridates had established at the capital Vagharshapat and elsewhere. As far as there was any Christianity in Armenia before Gregory's time, it had been almost exclusively under Syrian influence, from Edessa and Samosata. Gregory introduced Greek influence and culture, though maintaining bonds of union with Syria also.

When King Sapor of Persia became master of Armenia (378 AD), he not only persecuted the Christians most cruelly, but also, for political reasons, endeavored to prevent Armenia from all contact with the Byzantine world. Hence his viceroy, the renegade Armenian Merouzhan, closed the schools, proscribed Greek learning, and burnt all Greek books, especially the Scriptures. Syriac books were spared, just as in Persia itself but in many cases the clergy were unable to interpret them to their people. Persecution had not crushed out Christianity, but there was danger lest it should perish through want of the Word of God. Several attempts were made to translate the Bible into Armenian. In 397 the celebrated Mesrob Mashtots and Isaac (Sachak) the Catholicos resolved to translate the Bible. Mesrob had been a court secretary, and as such was well acquainted with Pahlavi, Syriac and Greek, in which three languages the royal edicts were then published. Isaac had been born at Constantinople and educated there and at Caesarea. Hence he too was a good Greek scholar, besides being versed in Syriac and Pahlavi, which latter was then the court language in Armenia. But none of these three alphabets was suited to express the sounds of the Armenian tongue, and hence, an alphabet had to be devised for it.

A council of the nobility, bishops and leading clergy was held at Vagharshapat in 402, King Vramshapouch being present, and this council requested Isaac to translate the Scriptures into the vernacular. By 406, Mesrob had succeeded in inventing an alphabet--practically the one still in use--principally by modifying the Greek and the Pahlavi characters, though some think the Palmyrene alphabet had influence. He and two of his pupils at Samosata began by translating the Book of Proverbs, and then the New Testament, from the Greek Meanwhile, being unable to find a single Greek manuscript in the country, Isaac translated the church lessons from the Peshitta Syriac, and published this version in 411. He sent two of his pupils to Constantinople for copies of the Greek Bible. These men were present at the Council of Ephesus, 431 AD. Probably Theodoret (De Cura Graec. Affect., I, 5) learned from them what he says about the existence of the Bible in Armenian. Isaac's messengers brought him copies of the Greek Bible from the Imperial Library at Constantinople--doubtless some of those prepared by Eusebius at Constantine's command. Mesrob Mashtots and Isaac, with their assistants, finished and published the Armenian (ancient) version of the whole Bible in 436. La Croze is justified in styling it Queen of versions Unfortunately the Old Testament was rendered (as we have said) from the Septuagint, not from the Hebrew. But the Apocrypha was not translated, only "the 22 Books" of the Old Testament, as Moses of Khorene informs us. This was due to the influence of the Peshitta Old Testament.

Not till the 8th century was the Apocrypha rendered into Armenian: it was not read in Armenian churches until the 12th. Theodotion's version of Daniel was translated, instead of the very inaccurate Septuagint. The Alexandrine text was generally followed but not always.

In the 6th century the Armenian version is said to have been revised so as to agree with the Peshitta. Hence, probably in Mt 28:18 the King James Version, the passage, "As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you," is inserted as in the Peshitta, though it occurs also in its proper place ( Joh 20:21 ). It reads "Jesus Barabbas" in Mt 27:16,17 --a reading which Origen found "in very ancient manuscripts." It contains Lu 22:43,44 . As is well known, in the Etschmiadzin manuscript of 986 AD, over Mr 16:9-20 , are inserted the words, "of Ariston the presbyter" but Nestle (Text. Criticism of the Greek New Testament, Plate IX, etc.) and others omit to notice that these words are by a different and a later hand, and are merely an unauthorized remark of no great value.

Results of Circulation:

Mesrob's version was soon widely circulated and became the one great national book. Lazarus Pharpetsi, a contemporary Armenian historian, says he is justified in describing the spiritual results by quoting Isaiah and saying that the whole land of Armenia was thereby "filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." But for it, both church and nation would have perished in the terrible persecutions which have now lasted, with intervals, for more than a millennium and a half.

This version was first printed somewhat late: the Psalter at Rome in 1565, the Bible by Bishop Oskan of Erivan at Amsterdam in 1666, from a very defective MS other editions at Constantinople in 1705, Venice in 1733. Dr. Zohrab's edition of the New Testament in 1789 was far better. A critical edition was printed at Venice in 1805, another at Serampore in 1817. The Old Testament (with the readings of the Hebrew text at the foot of the page) appeared at Constantinople in 1892 ff.

Modern Armenian Versions.

There are two great literary dialects of modern Armenian, in which it was necessary to publish the Bible, since the ancient Armenian (called Grapar, or "written") is no longer generally understood. The American missionaries have taken the lead in translating Holy Scripture into both.

The first version of the New Testament into Ararat Armenian, by Dittrich, was published by the British and Foreign Bible Society at Moscow in 1835 the Psalter in 1844 the rest of the Old Testament much later. There is an excellent edition, published at Constantinople in 1896.

A version of the New Testament into Constantinopolitan Armenian, by Dr. Zohrab, was published at Paris in 1825 by the British and Foreign Bible Society. This version was made from the Ancient Armenian. A revised edition, by Adger, appeared at Smyrna in 1842. In 1846 the American missionaries there published a version of the Old Testament. The American Bible Society have since published revised editions of this version.


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