Arsen E. Harutyunyan, Sergiu V. Matveev (Qishnev)
The Armenian community of Moldova was formed at least in the 10-11th centuries and developed in the 14-15th centuries after the establishment of Moldovian power in 1359. The town of Izmail previously located in the province of Bessarabia and at present within the region of Odessa of Ukraine, before its fortress having been taken by generalissimo A. Suvorov in 1790 it used to be one of the famous Armenian centers of Moldova where Armenians had several churches, were engaged in handicraft (especially in tailoring) and trade. About a dozen of epigraphs located in the Armenian cemetery adjacent to St. Astvatsatsin Church were still published by Christopher Kuchuk-Hovhannisyan at the beginning of the last century which evidence about once the dense Armenian community. One of the epigraphs is about the church rennovation activities which were accomplished in 1763, during the reign of Catholicos of All Armenians Hakob Shamakhetsi and by donations of local spiritual and secular representatives. The other epigraphs are epitaphs dated 1556-1749.
Unfortunately, those epigraphs have not been preserved but two epitaphs have recently been discovered in Izmail. One of them is situated in the yard of Maria Ivanovna’s house (Fuchik str. 184). It is dated 1725 and bears the names of deceased Friar Pilpos and probably his wife Khanghaz. The other tombstone is exhibited in the yard of Historical Museum of Izmail after O. Suvorov. It is dated 1758 and also bears the names of two deceased – Arzukhan from Bist Village (in Nakhijevan) and probably her husband Hovsep, son of Tsatur. The discovery of new tombstones again reaffirmed the active life of Armenian community in Izmail especially in the 18th century as well as served as an occasion to refer to the history of this Armenian colony and non-preserved epigraphic inscriptions in a new way.