New details on the origin of Simon Vratsyans’ family
Artsruni S. Sahakyan, Ashot G. Manucharyan, Hakob S. Khatlamajyan, Sasun M. Harutyunyan
Key words – inscription, Armenian, village, cemetery, gravestone, source, scientific, information, history, survey.
Great Sala is one of the five villages in Myasnikyan region, Rostov Province, Russian Federation. It is on the left bank of the river Don and was founded by the Crimean Armenians who were exiled by the Empress of all Russia Yekaterina II (1762-1796). Independent of the hardships the re-settlers, who had left the mild climate of the Black Sea and pictueresque countryside behind, got gradually adjusted to the harsh desert conditions of Don. Moreover, they could both turn it to blooming territories and prosper themselves. According to the facts given by academician Vladimir Barkhudaryan the population of the village rose from 262 to 4191 from 1793 to 1914. Simon Vratsyan (1882-1969), the popular Armenian political person and Statesman, the first Prime-Minister of Armenia (1918-1920) stated that his birthplace of Great Sala was one of the richest, prosperous and civilized centres among the villages. He even, half-ironically but mainly with deep pride, mentioned that it was considered to be called Petite/Small Paris.
It was supposed that Armenian epigraphic inscriptions existed in the village. In 1967 a known Armenian epigraphic professor Grigor Grigoryan in the course of expedition field works managed to collect 9 inscriptions, the two of which were from the Church of Surb Astvatsatsin/St. Holy Mother, and other 7 – from the local cemetery. The collected materials were included in “Collection of Armenian Inscriptions” (VIII publication, Russian Federation, Yerevan, 1999, p.153).
In 2017 23 inscriptions were found and copied by us, 20 of which were published for the first time. Those newly found cuneiform inscriptions 50 years ago were deeply covered by thick layers of earth, grass and bushes. Due to the mentioned fact they were not revealed then and, consequently, they were not examined. The inscriptions are dated back to the mid-XIX and beginning of the XX centuries. The gravestones and grave slabs bear the names of the Armenians, the years both of their birth and death. It is interesting to mention that we can find a lot of information about Armenians and their origins in the history, namely six-volume collection by Simon Vratsyan, titled “On the Ways of Life” (Beirut, 2007).