IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF A REMARKABLE SERMON — 2022-1

The investigation of the Police Department on the sermon of Archimandrite Bagrat Tavakalyan on November 12, 1895

Mkrtich D. Danielyan
Archimandrite Bagrat Tavakalyan is one of the outstanding figures of the Armenian national liberation movement􀍎􀀃He actively participated in the People’s Liberation movement, became a member of the Dashnaktsutyun party and left a noticeable mark in the history of the national liberation movement. Tavakalyan was born in Derbent in the family of an employee. He refused to study at the Junker school and began working in the village of Mikhaylovo as an idle worker and at the same time studying the works of Russian utopian socialists. Already since 1877, the young Tavakalyan begins to promote revolutionary ideas. When he was 21 years old, Tavakalyan tried to write and read in Armenian. He was one of the first narodnik figures who bowed to the idea of combining the ideology of the revolutionary movement with the problems of the Armenian reality and thereby
became one of the founders of the national-narodnik trend. In 1880, he went on foot through Igdir and Alexandrapol, crossed to Turkey, examined Armenian villages for more than a year, and then settled in Van. From Van, he leaves Taron, where he worked as a Derik teacher for two years. In Turkey, he was extirpated under the pseudonym Zaqi. Consequently, Tavakalyan returns to the Caucasus, and then goes back to Turkey and receives the title of archimandrite under the name Bagrat from the bishop.

Tavakalyan, like many former national-narodniks, became a member of the Dashnaktsutyun party and actively participated in its activities. He especially distinguished himself in Atrpatakan, becoming the abbot of Derik monastery and by all means contributed to the transfer of hayducs, weapons and ammunition to Western Armenia.

It is known that Tavakalyan was also active in Alexandrapol. The presented archival documents are the materials of Tavakalyan’s activity in Alexandropol and the investigation on his truly historic sermon on November 12, 1895, organized by the Tsarist Police Department, which are published for the first time.