Die Armeense alfabet, 'n visioen van God

Die Armeense alfabet, 'n visioen van God


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Die Armeense alfabet is die skrif wat ontwikkel is vir die skryf van die Armeense taal. Hierdie alfabetiese skryfstelsel is gedurende die 5de eeu nC ontwikkel en word vandag nog gebruik.

Die Armeense alfabet het nie net toegelaat dat die Armeense taal geskryf is nie, maar speel ook 'n deurslaggewende rol in die behoud van die nasionale identiteit van die Armeense volk. Die Armeniërs heg steeds groot belang aan hul alfabet, en dit is sigbaar in die Armeense alfabetmonument, wat in 2005 in Byurakan opgerig is.

Anders as die Latynse alfabet waarmee die meeste mense bekend is, bevat die Armeense alfabet 39 letters. Toe die alfabet die eerste keer geskep is, bevat dit 36 ​​letters, waarvan 7 klinkers is en die ander 29 konsonante.

Later is nog drie letters bygevoeg, wat daartoe gelei het dat die Armeense alfabet 39 letters gehad het. Hierdie drie briewe is bygevoeg om die skryf van vertalings te vergemaklik. Daar kan bygevoeg word dat elkeen van die oorspronklike letters 'n numeriese waarde het, wat beteken dat die alfabet ook gebruik kan word vir wiskundige berekeninge en om kalenderdatums op te teken.

Hoewel die geskrewe Armeens min of meer onveranderd gebly het sedert die oprigting van die alfabet, het die gesproke Armeens teen die 19 in twee verskillende dialekte verdeel ste eeu, dit wil sê Oos- en Wes -Armeens. Eersgenoemde was ook bekend as 'Armeens van Rusland' en is gebaseer op die dialekte van Jerevan en Tbilisi, die hoofstede van onderskeidelik Armenië en Georgië, terwyl laasgenoemde ook bekend was as 'Armeens van Turkye' en is gebaseer op die dialek van die Armeense gemeenskap in Istanbul.

Die Armeense taal self het sy alfabet voorafgegaan. Armeens is 'n Indo-Europese taal, 'n familie van tale wat die meeste tale van Europa, die Iraanse plato en Noord-Indië insluit. Daar word bespiegel dat die Armeniërs moontlik reeds in die tweede helfte van die 2 in die gebiede rondom die Lake Van, Sevan en Urmia aangekom het. nd millennium vC. Teen die middel van die volgende millennium het die Armeniërs die plaaslike Urartiërs vervang.

Bewyse hiervoor kan gevind word op die Behistun -inskripsie, wat in opdrag van die Achaemenidiese heerser Darius I, ook bekend as Darius die Grote, gelas is. Op die opskrif is die name 'Armina' en 'Armaniya', die vroegste bekende verwysing na Armenië.

Armenië word op die Behistun -inskripsie genoem. ( .ाटलिपुत्र)

Die skepping van die Armeense alfabet

In die daaropvolgende eeue is Armenië deur verskillende ou skrywers genoem. Dit blyk egter dat die Armeniërs nie hul eie rekords opgestel het nie. Tot op hede is geen dokument ontdek nie (of dit nou steenopskrifte, manuskripte of legendes op muntstukke is) met Armeense letters wat voor die 5de eeu nC dateer. Aan die ander kant word die werk van sommige ou skrywers getuig van die bestaan ​​van 'n Armeense skrif voor die 5de eeu nC.

As voorbeeld, Philo van Alexandrië, 'n Hellenistiese Joodse filosoof wat tussen die 1 st eeu vC en die 1 st eeu nC, het dit geskryf Op diere is in Armeens vertaal. Op diere was 'n werk van Metrodorus van Scepsis, 'n Griekse filosoof en historikus wat tussen die twee geleef het nd en 1 st eeue vC.

Metrodorus was ook 'n goeie vriend en hofgeskiedskrywer van die Armeense koning, Tigranes die Grote, so hy sou vertroud gewees het met die Armeense alfabet. As 'n ander voorbeeld, Hippolytus van Rome, 'n 3 rd eeu nC teoloog, het geskryf dat die Armeniërs een van die nasies was wat hul eie duidelike alfabet gehad het.

In elk geval word algemeen geglo dat die Armeense alfabet eers gedurende die 5de eeu nC uitgevind is. Volgens oorlewering is die alfabet in 405 nC geskep deur Saint Mesrop Mashtots, 'n Armeense monnik, teoloog en taalkundige. Mesrop is omstreeks 360 nC in 'n adellike gesin gebore.

Saint Mesrop Mashtots het die Armeense alfabet geskep. (Taron Saharyan ~ commonswiki / )

Volgens Koryun, een van Mesrop se leerlinge en biograaf, was die heilige 'n veelhoek, wat 'n aantal tale magtig was, waaronder Grieks, Persies en Georgies. Daar word opgeteken dat hy klassieke tale bestudeer het onder Saint Nerses I, 'n Armeense aartsvader. Na sy studies het Mesrop omstreeks 395 nC 'n monnik geword en later as priester georden.

Mesrop het verskeie kloosters gestig en die Christendom versprei na die afgeleë gebiede van die land, waar die mense nog Mazdaïsme beoefen het, die godsdiens wat Armenië oorheers het voor die koms van die Christendom. Terloops, Armenië word beskou as die eerste land wat die Christendom as staatsgodsdiens aangeneem het, dit wil sê in 301 nC, tydens die bewind van Tiridates III.

Alhoewel Armenië teen die tyd van Mesrop se geboorte reeds 'n Christelike staat was, is dit waarskynlik dat die meeste van die bevolking slegs nominaal Christene was. Omdat hulle nie die Bybel kon lees nie, het baie Armeniërs 'n beperkte begrip van hul godsdiens gehad. Daarbenewens was daar geen Bybels in Armeens geskryf nie, aangesien daar geen skryfstelsel vir die taal was nie.

Tog kan kennis van die Christendom mondelings aan die algemene bevolking oorgedra word deur mans soos Mesrop, so die probleem was nie sonder oplossing nie. In 387 nC verloor Armenië egter sy onafhanklikheid en was dit verdeel tussen die Bisantynse en Sassaniese ryke, die destydse twee supermoondhede van die streek. Daar is gevrees dat die Armeniërs hul nasionale identiteit sou verloor as gevolg van assimilasie in die Bisantynse of die Sassaniese samelewing. Daarom moes iets gedoen word om die nasionale identiteit van die Armeniërs te behou.

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Armeense manuskrip, 5 ste - 6 ste eeu. Die Armeense alfabet is geskep om die Armeense kultuur te bewaar. (Bogomolov.PL / )

Dit was Mesrop wat 'n oplossing gevind het, dit wil sê die uitvinding van die Armeense alfabet. Die heilige is in hierdie poging ondersteun deur Vramshapuh, wat Mesrop as sy kanselier aangestel het.

Vramshapuh regeer Armenië van 389 tot 414 nC as 'n Sassaniese kliëntekoning. Alhoewel Mesrop tradisioneel die 'uitvinding' van die Armeense alfabet erken, is dit miskien meer gepas om te sê dat hy dit weer 'uitgevind' het, aangesien Mesrop volgens die ou bronne 'n veel ouer Armeense skrif wat verlore, eerder as om 'n heeltemal nuwe stel letters te skep.

Is die Armeense alfabet herskep uit 'n verlore skrif?

Een weergawe van die verhaal word verskaf deur Koryun. Die verhaal begin met Vramshapuh wat nuus ontvang dat 'n Siriese biskop met die naam Daniel 'n onverwagte ontdekking van 'n vergete Armeense skrif gevind het. Die koning het die verhaal vertel aan sy kanselier, Mesrop, en Sahak Partev (ook bekend as Isak van Armenië), destyds die Armeense aartsvader.

Standbeeld van Vramshapuh en Mesrop Mashtots naby die Armeense alfabetmonument. (Yerevantsi / CC BY-SA 4.0

Die twee mans besef die betekenis van die ontdekking en spoor die koning aan om 'n manier te vind om die skrif na Armenië terug te bring. Daarom het Vramshapuh 'n man met die naam Vahrij gestuur met 'n boodskap aan Habel, 'n priester en 'n goeie vriend van Daniel. Toe Habel die koning se boodskap ontvang, het hy dadelik na Daniël gegaan, die skrif van sy vriend gekry en dit vir die koning gestuur.

Koryun beweer dat die draaiboek Vramshapuh in die vyfde jaar van sy bewind bereik het. Nadat hulle die draaiboek gesien het, het Mesrop en Sahak die koning gevra vir 'n paar jong kinders waarmee hulle met die alfabet kon eksperimenteer. Aangesien die twee manne 'n sukses was, beveel die koning dat die alfabet deur die hele koninkryk geleer moet word.

Na twee jaar se gebruik van die alfabet, het Mesrop en Sahak egter besef dat die letters onvoldoende was vir die skryf van die Armeense taal. Daarom besluit die twee mans dat die briewe bygewerk en aangepas moet word.

So hard as wat hulle probeer het, kon Mesrop en Sahak egter nie hierdie taak uitvoer nie. Uiteindelik is daar deur goddelike ingryping 'n oplossing gevind. Volgens Koryun het Mesrop eendag 'n visioen van God ontvang, wat die heilige onderrig en gehelp het in die wysiging van die ou letters, en sodoende die 36 letters van die Armeense alfabet geskep het.

Invloede op die Armeense alfabet

In die verhaal van Koryun is die Armeense alfabet herontdek uit 'n ouer skrif, wat daarop dui dat Mesrop die letters nie uit die lug gehaal het nie. Geleerdes het bespiegel oor wat hierdie ou skrif moontlik was. Een voorstel is dat die Armeense alfabet gebaseer was op die Pahlavi -skrif, wat gebruik is vir die skryf van Midde -Persiese tale.

Sommige bronne glo dat die Pahlavi -skrif, wat hier getoon word, die Armeense alfabet geïnspireer het. (PawełMM)

Hierdie skrif is afgelei van Aramees en is gebruik om nuwe Zoroastriese godsdienstige tekste te skryf, asook om die bestaande Avestaanse geskrifte te vertaal. Daarom sou hierdie skrif in die godsdienstige konteks in Armenië voor die koms van die Christendom gebruik gewees het. Die Armeense alfabet toon ook die invloed van Grieks, wat nie heeltemal verbasend is nie, aangesien dit een van die alfabet was wat gebruik is om die Christelike skrif te skryf.

Die invloed van Grieks is ook sigbaar in die ooreenkoms van sekere Armeense letters met Griekse letters (nie net visueel nie, maar ook in die letter- / klankvolgorde), die teenwoordigheid van letters vir klinkers en die skryfrigting, dws van links na regs . Boonop word geglo dat 'n Griek met die naam Rufanos Mesrop en Sahak gehelp het toe hulle die Armeense alfabet geskep het.

Volgens oorlewering was die eerste sin wat Mesrop na die uitvinding van die Armeense alfabet geskryf het, “Om wysheid en onderrig te ken; om die woorde van begrip te verstaan ​​”. Hierdie woorde kom uit die Ou Testamentiese Spreuke. Die eerste ding wat Mesrop met die nuwe alfabet gedoen het, was om die Bybel in Armeens te vertaal.

Die eerste gewilde Armeense Bybel, die sogenaamde 'Mesropiese Bybel', is dus in 410 nC vervaardig. Dit lyk asof die oorspronklike kopie van Mesrop se vertaalde bybel nie oorleef het nie. Die 'oudste voorbeeld van die Armeense alfabet' is 'n onderwerp van debat, hoewel daar verskeie aanspraakmakers op hierdie titel is.

Een hiervan is byvoorbeeld die Armeense inskripsie op die 'Armenian Bird Mosaic'. Hierdie mosaïek is in 1894 naby die Damaskuspoort en die Musrara -kwartier in Jerusalem ontdek. Vanuit sy styl en ikonografie is die mosaïek gedateer tot die 5 ste / 6 ste eeu nC. Die Armeense inskripsie op die mosaïek lui soos volg:

"Ter nagedagtenis en verlossing van al die Armeniërs, wie se name slegs aan God bekend is".

Werke soos die Armeense voëlmosaïek is geskep na die ontwikkeling van die Armeense alfabet. (Vissarion / )

Ander mosaïeke met Armeense inskripsie wat uit dieselfde tydperk dateer, is ook in Jerusalem gevind. 'N Ander aanspraakmaker is die sogenaamde' Narses Cross ', 'n silwer kruis met 'n enkele rooi granaat in 'n goue filigraan in die middel.

Net soos die 'Armeense voëlmosaïek', is die 'Narses Cross' gedateer tot die 5 ste / 6 ste eeu nC. Die Armeense inskripsie, wat langs die omtrek van die kruis voorkom, vertaal soos volg:

'Ek Nerseh Koms p'ar˙ sondig en onwaardig het hierdie heilige verlossende kruis gemaak vir [die kerk van] Saint Step'anos in die dorp P'ar˙akert vir die vergifnis van my sondes en vir die rus + van die siele van ons vaders en voorouers en vir die voorspoed en vrede van Armeense huise en ons dorpe en die familie van Xorxor˙unik '. ”

Terug na die verhaal van Mesrop, het die heilige nie gestop by die vertaling van die Bybel nie. Die volgende ding wat hy gedoen het, was om geleerdes na Konstantinopel, Alexandrië en Rome te stuur om na Bybelse en literêre manuskripte te soek. Soos 'n mens sou verwag, is dit in Armeens vertaal.

Mesrop word toegeskryf aan die skryf van 'n versameling Bybelse kommentare, die vertaling van patristiese werke en die konstruksie van liturgiese gebede en gesange op 'n agttoonskaal. Met ander woorde, dit was Mesrop wat die grondslag gelê het vir 'n nasionale Armeense liturgie, wat op sy beurt gedien het om die nasionale identiteit van die Armeniërs te behou.

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Mesrop het die Bybelse werke in Armeens vertaal met behulp van die nuutgeskepte Armenië -alfabet. (Fê / CC BY-SA 4.0 )

Nodeloos om te sê, Mesrop is 'n hooggeagte figuur in Armenië. Hy sterf in 440 nC en sy lyk is na die dorpie Oshakan, in die Aragatsotn -provinsie, nie ver van die stad Ashtarak nie, geneem. Drie jaar nadat Mesrop in Oshakan begrawe is, is 'n kerk oor die graf van die heilige gebou. Dit is gepas die naam Saint Mesrop Mashtots Church.

Die kerk is verskeie kere deur die geskiedenis beskadig en opgeknap, en die huidige struktuur dateer uit die 1870's. Die kerk is 'n bekende bedevaartsoord, danksy die reputasie van die heilige.

Die uitvinding van die Armeense alfabet deur Mesrop is vandag nog steeds 'n bron van groot trots vir die Armeniërs. Dit word duidelik gesien in die oprigting van die Armeense alfabetmonument. Die monument is in wese 'n groep van 39 reuse -steenhoutwerk, een vir elk van die 39 letters van die Armeense alfabet.

Die monument is geskep deur J. Torosyan, 'n argitek, in 2005 ter geleentheid van die Armeense alfabet in 1600 ste verjaarsdag. Die monument is geleë in Byurakan, 'n dorpie op die hange van die berg Aragats. Omdat dit nie ver van Oshakan geleë is nie, is dit 'n huldeblyk nie net aan die Armeense alfabet nie, maar ook aan Mesrop Mashtots, die man wat dit geskep het.


Geskiedenis van die Armeense Kerk

Die oorsprong van die Armeense Kerk dateer uit die Apostoliese tydperk. Volgens die antieke tradisie wat goed ondersteun word deur historiese bewyse, is die Christendom reeds in die tweede helfte van die eerste eeu in Armenië verkondig deur die twee dissipels van Jesus Christus, naamlik St Thaddeus (Johannes 14: 22-24) en St. Bartolomeus (Johannes 1: 43-51). Gedurende die eerste drie eeue was die Christendom in Armenië 'n verborge godsdiens onder hewige vervolging.

Dit was aan die begin van die vierde eeu, 301 nC, dat die Christendom amptelik deur die Armeniërs as die staatsgodsdiens aanvaar is. Daar moet ook onthou word dat die idee van die Christendom as staatsgodsdiens destyds 'n vernuwing was.

Sint Gregorius die Illuminator, die beskermheilige van die Armeense Kerk, en koning Thiridates III, die heerser van die tyd, het 'n deurslaggewende rol gespeel in die amptelike kerstening van Armenië. Dit is 'n bekende historiese feit dat die Armeniërs die eerste nasie was wat formeel by die Christendom gehou het. Hierdie bekering is in die vierde en vyfde eeu gevolg deur 'n proses van institusionalisering en armenisering van die Christendom in Armenië.

Gebeure van die vyfde eeu was van kritieke belang vir die skepping van 'n kenmerkende Armeense Christelike kultuur en identiteit. Die belangrikste hiervan was die uitvinding van die Armeense alfabet deur die monnik Mesrob Mashdots en sy landgenote. Vertalings van die Skrif, kommentare, liturgie, teologie en geskiedenis is gemaak. Boonop was die eerste bloei van die oorspronklike Armeense literatuur in die vyfde eeu bekend. 'N Voorbeeld is die leerstellige werk van Yeznik Koghbatsi, Weerlegging van die sektes. Die Slag van Avarayr in 451 teen Persië, hoewel 'n nederlaag vir die Armeniërs onder Vartan Mamigonian, word as kritiek onthou om die Armeniërs die reg te kry om hul Christelike oortuiging te beoefen.

Die uitvinding van die Armeense alfabet het die Goue Eeu van die Armeense letterkunde tot gevolg gehad. Studente is na die sentrums van klassieke en Christelike leer in Edessa, Cesarea, Konstantinopel, Antiochië, Alexandrië en Athene gestuur om hulle voor te berei op die vertaling van die Bybel, die liturgie, die belangrike skryfwerk van Griekse en Siriese kerkvaders en klassieke letterkunde &# 8211Grieks en Latyns – in Armeens. Die Bybel, wat uit die Septuaginta vertaal is, is binne 'n paar jaar voltooi en die meeste Patristici is binne dertig jaar vertaal, maar die hele proses, insluitend die vertaling van sekulêre boeke, het ongeveer tweehonderd jaar geduur.

Die “Holy Translators ” word in die Armeense kerk hoog geëer. Baie van die vertaalde werke het sedertdien verlore gegaan in hul Griekse of Siriese oorspronklike, maar is in die Armeens bewaar.

Oorspronklike werke is ook gedurende die Goue Eeu gekomponeer, insluitend werke oor geskiedenis, filosofie, hagiografie, homilies, gesange en apologetiek. Later is werke oor die wetenskappe geskryf. Alhoewel baie verlore gegaan het weens die verwoesting van oorlog en tyd, word baie vandag bewaar in die groot biblioteek van die Matenadaran (waarin daar byvoorbeeld byna driehonderd manuskripte van Aristoteles se werke is) in Jerevan en in die Armeense kloosters in Jerusalem, Venesië en Wene. Die Armeense kerk het die Armeense volk dus 'n sterk nasionale kultuur gebied, net toe die Armeense staat sy politieke onafhanklikheid verloor het.

'N Migrerende Katoliekosaat

Sint Gregorius die Illuminator het die organiseerder van die Armeense Kerkhiërargie geword. Sedertdien is die hoofde van die Armeense kerk Katolieke genoem en het hulle steeds dieselfde titel. Sint Gregorius het gekies as die plek van die Katoliekosaat, toe die hoofstad Vagharshapat, in Armenië. Hy bou die pauslike woning langs die kerk met die naam “Holy Mother of God ” (wat in die afgelope tyd die naam van St. waarin hy die Eniggebore Seun van God uit die hemel sien neerdaal het met 'n goue hamer in sy hand om die plek van die nuwe katedraal wat in 302 gebou sou word, op te spoor. politieke mag na veiliger plekke beweeg. Die kerksentrum het ook saam met die politieke gesag na verskillende plekke verhuis.

In 485 is die Katolikosaat dus na die nuwe hoofstad Dvin oorgeplaas. In die 10de eeu verhuis dit van Dvin na Dzoravank en dan na Aghtamar (927), na Arghina (947) en na Ani (992). Na die val van Ani en die Armeense koninkryk Bagradits in 1045, het massas Armeniërs na Silisië gemigreer. Die Katoliekosaat, saam met die mense, vestig hulle daar. Dit is eers gestig in Thavblour (1062), daarna in Dzamendav (1072), in Dzovk (1116), in Hromkla (1149), en laastens in Sis (1293), die hoofstad van die Siliciese Koninkryk, waar dit sewe eeue lank gebly het . Na die val van die Armeense koninkryk in Cilicië, in 1375, het die kerk ook die rol van nasionale leierskap aangeneem, en die Catholicos is erken as Ethnarch (Nasiehoof). Hierdie nasionale verantwoordelikheid het die omvang van die missie van die Kerk aansienlik uitgebrei.

Twee Katolikosate binne die Armeense Kerk

Die bestaan ​​van twee Katolikosate binne die Armeense Kerk, naamlik die Katoliekosaat van Etchmiadzin (die Katoliekosaat van alle Armeniërs), Etchmiadzin-Armenië, en die Katoliekosaat van die Groot Huis van Cilicië, Antelias-Libanon, is te wyte aan historiese omstandighede. In die 10de eeu, toe Armenië deur Seljuks verwoes is, het baie Armeniërs hul vaderland verlaat en hulle in Cilicië kom vestig, waar hulle hul politieke, kerklike en kulturele lewe herorganiseer het. Die Katolikosaat het ook sy toevlug geneem in Cilicië.

In 1375 is die Armeense koninkryk Cilicië vernietig. Cilicia het 'n slagveld geword vir vyandige Seljuks, Mamluks en ander indringers. Intussen het Armenië 'n betreklik rustige tyd beleef. Die verslegtende situasie in Cilicië aan die een kant en die groeiende kulturele en kerklike ontwaking in Armenië aan die ander kant, het daartoe gelei dat die biskoppe van Armenië 'n Catholicos in Etchmiadzin gekies het. Laasgenoemde was die oorspronklike setel van die Katolikosaat, maar dit het na 485 opgehou om as Katolieke Stoel te funksioneer. In 1441 is 'n nuwe Katoliekos in Etchmiadzin in die persoon van Kirakos Virapetsi verkies. Terselfdertyd was Krikor Moussapegiants (1439-1446) die Katolieke van Silisië. Daarom was daar sedert 1441 twee Katolikosate in die Armeense Kerk met gelyke regte en voorregte, en met hul onderskeie jurisdiksies. Die eerbewys van die Katoliekosaat Etchmiadzin is nog altyd erken deur die Katoliekosaat Silisië.

Gedurende die grootste deel van sy geskiedenis was die Armeens -Ortodokse Kerk 'n instrument vir die oorlewing van die Armeense nasie. Dit was inderdaad die Kerk wat die Armeense nasionale bewussyn behou het gedurende die baie eeue waarin daar geen Armeense staat was nie.

Die Armeense Kerk het 'n belangrike rol gespeel in die opeenvolging van Moslemryke waarin sy gelowiges geleë was. Omdat sommige hiervan volgens godsdiensverwantskap verdeel was, was die leiers van die Armeense in werklikheid ook polities verantwoordelik vir hul gemeenskappe. Die Armeense Kerk is sterk geraak deur twee verskynsels in die twintigste eeu: die volksmoord in Turkye, waarin 1,5 miljoen gesterf het, en die Sowjetisering van Oos -Armenië, wat sewe dekades van amptelike ateïsme ingelui het. Die volksmoord het in wese die kerk in Turkye vernietig, waar slegs 'n oorblyfsel oor is. Dit beïnvloed ook die manier waarop die Armeense Kerk die idee van lyding in hierdie wêreld benader.

Die kerk floreer in die Armeense diaspora en herwin sy krag in die nuut onafhanklike Armenië (1990 ’s).


Die skepping van die Armeense alfabet

Mesrop Mashtots is gebore in 362 nC, in die dorpie Hatsekats, Armenië.

Sahak Partev, die Armeense catholicos, het Mashtots die taak gegee om 'n nuwe Armeense alfabet te skep.

Tot op daardie tydstip was die meeste geskrewe weergawes van Armeens in Grieks.

Mesrop Mashtots - die skepper van die Armeense alfabet

Die alfabet begin met die letter A as Astvats (wat God beteken). en eindig met Q as Qristos (wat Christus beteken). Later verskyn daar egter nog drie briewe.

  1. և (ja). Dit is eintlik 'n voegwoord wat beteken ‘and ”. Dit word slegs in klein hoeveelhede gebruik. By die gebruik van hoofletters moet dit dus met twee letters geskryf word- ԵՎ. Aan die begin uitgespreek "yev", in die middel van die woord "ev".
  2. Օ. Oos -Armeniërs gebruik dit aan die begin van die woorde wanneer dit as "o" uitgespreek moet word, in plaas van "Ո" (vo). Wes -Armeniërs gebruik dit gewoonlik in die middel van die woorde.
  3. Die laaste een is ֆ (F).

Oorspronklik was daar 36 letters in die Armeense alfabet. Drie letters is bygevoeg in die 10de-12de cc, vir 'n totaal van 39 letters.

Die oorspronklike 36 letters van die alfabet was in 4 rye van 9 letters.

Voordat Armenië egter die Arabiese syfersisteem aanvaar het, verteenwoordig elke letter 'n getal.

Die eerste ry letters was vir die syfers 1-9, die tweede ry vir 10's-90's, die derde ry 100's-900's en die vierde vir 1000's-9,000.

Die letters in die ou Armeens verteenwoordig dus 1996.

U vind hierdie getallestelsel ingeskryf op ou monumente in Armenië, sowel as op 'n paar moderne (byvoorbeeld die Matenadaran).

Boonop is die eerste sin in Armeens wat die alfabet gebruik:

Weet dat wysheid en onderrig die woorde van begrip waarneem. ” (Mesrop Mashtots)

Die Armeense alfabet voor St. Mesrob: die geheim van biskop Daniel's Script

In 301 nC het die Koninkryk Armenië die eerste staat ter wêreld geword wat die Christendom as 'n amptelike godsdiens aangeneem het.

In 387 nC het Armenië egter 'n moeilike tydperk in sy geskiedenis beleef. Armenië verloor sy onafhanklikheid, want Persië en Bisantium het saamgesweer om die land te verdeel. Die Christendom het begin afneem in die Persies-beïnvloed deel van Armenië. In baie provinsies het mense heidense tradisies laat herleef.

Destyds beklee Mesrob Mashtots die pos as sekretaris en tolk by die koninklike hof in die hoofstad Vagharshapat. Hy het sy primêre opleiding ontvang by 'n Griekse skool tuis in Taron. Hy was ook vlot in Grieks, Persies en Siries.

Die mesograaf Koryun van St. Mesrob beskryf St. Mesrob as 'n dapper kryger en talentvolle administrateur. Hy verdien respek by die hof vir sy goeie kennis van vechtkunsten en sy persoonlike vaardighede.

Twee kommer het veroorsaak dat Mashtots se inisiatief 'n aparte alfabet vir die Armeniërs geskep het.

Eerstens kon die Armeniërs nie die Heilige Bybel in Grieks of Siries lees nie. Hulle kon ook nie preke in daardie tale verstaan ​​nie. Dit was 'n faktor wat die erosie van die Christelike geloof op die platteland versnel het.

Die tweede faktor was 'n hernieude bedreiging van kulturele assimilasie as gevolg van die sterker rol van Siriese geestelikes en pro-Persiese feodale here in Armenië. Dit was 'n koninkryk waarvan die onafhanklikheid sigbaar ondermyn het.

St. Mesrob het die volle omvang van hierdie probleme begryp toe hy omstreeks 395 nC die koninklike hof tydelik verlaat op 'n evangeliseringsmissie na die provinsie Syunik in Armenië (die oostelikste provinsie van Armenië vandag) en die naburige distrik Goghtan (in die huidige Nakhichevan , Azerbeidjanse Republiek).

By sy terugkeer na die hoofstad Vagharshapat ontmoet Mesrob Mashtots Katholikos Sahak Partev (338 AD - 439 AD), die hoof van die Armeense Kerk, wat St. Mesrob sy volle steun bied.

Sahak Partev was uit die familie van St. Gregory the Enlightener, die stigter van die Amaras -klooster. Hy is die mede-outeur van die Armeense alfabet. Net soos St. Mesrop, het die Armeense Kerk Sahak Partev gekanoniseer en Armeniërs verwys dikwels na hom as Sahak die Grote.

Die formele onderskrywing van die Armeense Kerk van die voorstel van Mashtots op sy sinode val saam met die terugkeer van koning Vramshapuh na die hoofstad van sy reis na Mesopotamië. Daar het die Armeense monarg probeer om 'n polemiek te bemiddel wat verband hou met die ballingskap van Johannes Chrysostomus deur Aelia Eudoxia (oorlede in 404 nC). die keiserin van die Bisantynse keiser Arcadius.

Middeleeuse skrywers berig dat koning Vramshapuh in Mesopotamië uitgevind het oor die bestaan ​​van 'n sekere ou Armeense skrif, in besit van biskop Daniel van Edessa. Die koning het van die sinode se besluit verneem. Daarna stuur hy sy vertroueling Vahrich Khaduni na Mesopotamië om 'n voorbeeld van Daniël se briewe na die koninklike hof te bring vir inspeksie deur St. Mashtots en St. Sahak.

Die oorsprong van die Danieliaanse skrif bly 'n kwessie van intense akademiese debat, aangesien geen voorbeelde daarvan oorleef het nie.

Dit is bekend - van Koryun en Movses Khorenatsi en ook van ander skrywers - dat die draaiboek vir Armeens aangepas is. Die rangskikking van die letters was ook volgens die volgorde van die Griekse alfabet. Die patroon wat St. Mesrob gebruik het vir al die drie alfabet wat hy geskep het.

Die mees algemene hipotese oor die bron van die Danieliaanse skrif dui daarop dat dit 'n vroeëre Armeense skryfstelsel verteenwoordig. Semitiese kalligrafie was die basis. Dit is egter in die antieke tyd laat vaar weens die grootste tekortkoming - die onvermoë om die fonetiese struktuur van die Armeens korrek te weerspieël. Of, as alternatief, is dit vergeet omdat die staat nie die verspreiding en gewildheid daarvan ondersteun het nie.

Die mes van die heilige Mesrob, Koryun, gee aan dat sy onderwyser die letters onmiddellik begin gebruik het toe die Danieliaanse skrif in Armenië aankom.

Die inherente onvolmaakthede van die Daniëliese skryfstelsel het die mes- en vertaalpogings van Sint Mesrob egter onproduktief gemaak.

Na twee jaar se gesukkel met biskop Daniel se skrif, het St. Mesrob Armenië verlaat op sy eie reis na Mesopotamië. Daarna het hy leiding begin soek by Griekse en Siriese retorici in die stede Edessa en Samosata.

En dit was in Samosata, in 406 nC, waar St. Mesrob, na baie besprekings en konsultasies met die topkoppe van sy tyd, met die finale weergawe van die Armeense alfabet vorendag gekom het. Middeleeuse historici het hierdie gebeurtenis nooit as 'n uitdrukking van goddelike wil uitgebeeld nie.

Armeense alfabetmonument

Armeense alfabetmonument

Die Armeense alfabetmonument is gewy aan die skepping van die alfabet deur Mesrop Mashtots. Dit is in 2005 op die oostelike helling van die berg Aragats, in die dorpie Artashavan, gebou.

Dit bestaan ​​uit 39 standbeelde van die Armeense letters met klippe. Volgens die plan van die beroemde argitek Jim Torosyan, is die monument gestig ter herdenking van die 1600ste herdenking van die Armeense alfabet -skepping. Dit is ook deur hom ontwerp.

Behalwe die letters, is daar ook ander beelde in die park. “Tumanyan met sy helde ”, “Gregory the Illuminator ”, “Skepping van die letters, 405 ”, “Khachatur Abovyan ” en “Mkhitar Gosh ”.

As u 'n entjie van die monument opdraand, sien u die 33 meter hoë kruis wat Jesus Christus se ouderdom simboliseer toe hy gekruisig is. Dit bestaan ​​uit 1711 groot en klein metaalkruise wat die tydperk van die Christelike Armenië simboliseer.

ARMEENSE TAAL

Die Armeense taal het drie fases.

Almal is die gevolg van die natuurlike evolusie van taal.r:

Eerstens

Klassieke Armeens of “Grabar ”. Armeniërs het dit van die 5de tot die 19de eeu gebruik.

Dit is die “ taal van boeke ” (vaktaal in die Middeleeue) met lenings uit die Iraanse tale. Die Armeense kerk gebruik dit steeds.

Hierdie tydperk was baie ryk aan godsdienstige werke. 'n goeie voorbeeld is die vertaling van die Bybel. Dit word die “ Queen of Translations ” genoem vanweë die skoonheid en perfeksie van die taal. Vanweë sy getrouheid aan die teks.

Tweedens

Middel -Armeens. Gebruik vanaf die 11de tot die 15de eeu.

Dit was die “ taal van die land ” of “vulgar ” taal van gewone mense. Dit het geleidelik die geskrewe vorm vervang. Middel -Armeens het ook in die 19de eeu 'n literêre taal geword.

Derde

Moderne Armeens of#8220Ashkharabar ” begin in die 19de eeu. Dit het twee takke:

Gespreek in Armenië, gebaseer op die dialek van Jerevan.
Gepraat deur die diaspora na die volksmoord van 1915, gebaseer op die dialek van Konstantinopel. Nou gebruik Wes -Armeniërs dit.

Armeens vorm 'n onafhanklike tak van die Indo-Europese taalfamilie. Armeens kom die meeste ooreen met Grieks. Dit het egter baie geleende woorde uit Indo-Iraanse tale soos Pushto en Persies. Trouens, gedurende die baie vroeë periodes van sy klassifikasie het mense Armeens as 'n Iraanse taal beskou vanweë die groot aantal Iraanse leenwoorde.

Die klankstelsel van Armeens is atipies van Indo-Europese tale. Dit het ejektief klanke. Ejektiewe is klanke wat 'n mens kan maak deur die stembande (nie die longe nie) te gebruik om lug uit te stoot. Armeens het sewe nominale gevalle. Die taal onderskei twee getalle, enkelvoud en meervoud.

Boonop het die Armeens nie 'n grammatikale geslag nie. Die posisie van die onbepaalde artikel wissel tussen Oos- en Wes -Armeens. In die Oosterse variëteit gaan dit voor die selfstandige naamwoord, in die Westerse volg dit die selfstandige naamwoord.

Elke werkwoordstam het twee vorme, wat bases genoem word. Een vir die eenvoudige verlede tyd en verlede deelwoord. Die ander vir alle ander tye, buie en deelwoorde. 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 identiteit. 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)

Inhoud

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). [ aanhaling nodig ] 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. [ aanhaling nodig ]


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.

Hoekom? 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 is die hoofvertaler van die Updated American Standard Version (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. 15de eeu
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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