The Roman Church obtained its major success at L'viv, where an Armenian community first established in 1340 by Casimir the Great flourished under Polish rule. At first it benefited from the policy of granting internal autonomy to foreign merchant communities, domestic Armenian issues being adjudicated on the basis of their own law code. In keeping with this, religious freedom was granted in 1367, on which occasion the Armenian archiepiscopal see was moved there from the Crimea, exercising a wide jurisdiction over Armenians in Wal-lachia and Moldavia. Over the next three centuries the community's wealth increased from its role in international trade with the Ottoman Empire and Iran. Armenians also acted as bankers and diplomats15 for the Polish crown. Gradually, however, as a result of greater pressure on minorities to assimilate, the religious affiliation of the Armenians of L'viv became an issue of some importance for both church and state.16 From the fifteenth century various attempts were made to entice the community into union with Rome, a proposition favoured by a succession of Armenian bishops.

The irregular election of a twenty-two-year-old priest Nikolayos T'orosowicz as Armenian prelate in 1626 further advanced the cause of union.17 Consecrated on the promise of relieving the Armenian catholicos of his debts to the Persian shah, he presented his creed to Rome and later appealed for support to the Catholic hierarchy when strife broke out within his flock. Nine years later he went to Rome to receive the pallium and was granted a status equal to the local Roman Catholic archbishop. However, delays over the next three decades in implementing liturgical and doctrinal modifications led in 1664 to the establishment of a papal academy (Collegium Pontificium Leopolien-sis Armenorum) in L'viv, which continued to function for over a century.18 Its first director was the elderly missionary savant Clemens Galanus, who had a long history of working with Armenians. About twenty years earlier he had founded a school in Constantinople, where he had instructed Armenian children and perfected his command of the language, which he subsequently taught at the Collegium Urbanum. In that capacity he produced an Armenian

15 In 1666 Bogdan Kourtei was Polish ambassador to Russia and Iran.

16 J. Richard, La papauté et les missions d'Orient au Moyen Age (XIIIe-XVe siecles), second edition (Rome: Ecole francaise de Rome, 1998), 267-70.

17 On this figure, see Arak'el Dawrizec'i, Girk' patmut'eanc' [Book of Histories], ed. L. A. Xanlaryan (Erevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1990), esp. 293-303, 305-10; G. A. Bournoutian, The history ofArak'el of Tabriz (Costa Mesa: Mazda Press, 2005), 1, 265-83.

18 Anonymous, Brni miut'iwn hayoc' Lehastani and eketec'woyn Hrovmay: vamanakakic' yisatakarank' [The forcible union of the Armenians of Poland with the church of Rome: contemporary memoirs] (St Petersburg, 1884), xxix-xxxiv.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment