1362. In its heyday in mid-century, the order is supposed to have claimed the affiliation of fifty monasteries and about 700 monks, though it was badly hit by the Black Death of 1347-48.110

Clearly the Fratres Unitores went further than any other Armenian confession in identifying themselves as Latins, their Armenian heritage being preserved only in the matter of language. Consequently, it is not surprising that, though not a major feature of early lists of discrepancies between Latins and Armenians, the pivotal question of baptism, the rite of entry into the church, was raised most frequently and vociferously by their members, especially Nersees Palienc', archbishop of Manazkert. On this count an Armenian delegation to Avignon for assistance against Mamluk attack on Cilicia in 1336 was detained on suspicion of heresy. Thereafter, at Benedict XII's behest, Palienc' instigated a minute investigation of the Armenian creed and practice that culminated in the compilation of 117 articles against the Armenian Church, which clouded Armeno-papal relations for about two decades.111 Apart from the usual trinitarian and christological issues, it raised a large number of sacramental issues and questions of canon law,112 which were debated at the synod of Sis of 1341/2. Significantly, the response, offering a point by point refutation of the charges, was brought to Avignon by the Armenian Franciscan Daniel of Tabriz, previously a monk of St Thaddaeus.113


Such papal scrutiny draws attention once more to the religious complexity of the Armenian polity at the close of our period. Despite various attempts to resolve the schism at Alt'amar begun in 1113 by the elevation of a separate catholicate on the old Arcruni lands, it continued to defy a solution.114 The catholicate at Sis still nominally in union with Rome vacillated in its religious orientation depending on which party was in the ascendant. Increasing disaffection with their Lusignan monarchs from Cyprus and internecine struggles

110 Van den Oudenrijn, 'The Monastery of Aparan', 294.

111 A. L. Tautu, Acta Benedicti XII (1334-1342) [Fontes ser. iii, 8] (Rome: Typis polyglottis vaticanis, 1958), 119-55.

112 S. P. Cowe, 'Catholic missionaries to Armenia and anti-catholic writings'.

113 For the text of the rebuttal, see Tautu, Acta Benedicti XII, 160-234, and, for the identity of the bearer, P. Pelliot, 'Zacharie de Saint-Thadee et Zacharie Sefedinian', Revue de l'Histoire des Religions 126 (1943), 150-4.

114 After attempts to resolve the issue by King Het'um II in the late thirteenth century and by Grigor Tatewac'i in the mid-fourteenth, the dispute was finally settled as part of the reorganisation of the church following the return of the catholicate to E jmiacin in 1441.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment