Their deep commitment to a representative democratic form of government with popular participation characterised by a strict delimitation of duties, checks and balances, and transparency in operation, was also embedded in the group's draft constitution for a liberated Armenian state informed by the Enlightenment principles of the rule of law and the rights of man. There the division ofchurch and state was rigorously maintained, and to that end the educational system was also set under state management and made mandatory for both boys and girls. No discriminatory tax was to be applied to minorities in the state as were levied on the Christian communities in Muslim states, yet a certain remnant of the millet consciousness remains in terms of land ownership and eligibility for holding public office. These were to be the sole preserve of members of the Armenian Apostolic Church and were therefore not even extended to Armenian Catholics.

This was the first articulation of a new voice: that of the merchant middle class over against the traditional elites of the clergy and aristocracy. It was inevitable that it would be strenuously opposed by the catholicos of the time, Simeon Erevanc'i (1710-80), whose conception of Armenian identity - with its focus on Holy Ejmiacin-was entirely traditional.45 Nevertheless, some of the hierarchy, such as the abbot of the monastery of the Holy Precursor in Mus, the second most famous pilgrim site on the Armenian plateau, cooperated with the group around Sahamirean, who also maintained contact with Archbishop Yovsep' Arlut'eanc' (1743-1801), prelate of the Armenians of Russia.

Catholic and Protestant millets

As we have observed, seventeenth-century Catholic missionary activity culminated in the establishment of two institutions in the following century, the Mxit'arist order and the Uniate patriarchate, both still incorporated within the single Armenian millet. At the same time, these maintained a rather different profile, the former accepting much of the heritage of Armenian Christianity while acknowledging papal supremacy, the latter much more directly Roman in outlook and orientation. Inevitably this produced friction, which manifested itself during talks with the patriarchate in 1810,1817 and 1820 regarding the possibility of reintegration within the Apostolic Church. In view of the fact that

45 Simeon Erevanc'i also finalised the names of the saints to be commemorated in the liturgical diptychs. For a recent study, see Sebouh Aslanian, Dispersion history and the polycentric nation: the role of Simeon Yerevants's Girk' or koci partavcar in the eighteenth-century nation revival [Bibliotheque d'arménologie 'Bazmavep' 39] (Venice: St Lazar's Press, 2004).

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