Sargis R. Melkonyan

Key words – Garegin Hovsepyan, Garegin catholicos, Garegin I., Holy Ēǰmiacin, Catholicosate of Cilicia, Antelias, Gevorkyan Theological Seminary, University of Leipzig, monothelitism, the Council of Karin, «Sasna Crer», national epos.

In February 2017 was celebrated the 150th anniversary of the outstanding Armenian art critic, armenologist, archaeologist, theologian, member of the brotherhood of St. Ēǰmiacin and Catholicos of the Great Hous of Cilicia in 1943-1952: Garegin I. Hovsepyan. Not many such people, about the life of which it’s possible to write a book, but exclusive ones, about individual parts of life which can be written several books. Catholicos Garegin belongs to these latters.

The history of the Armenian people of the first half of the 20th century without his name is inconceivable. By his activities he was always there, where the Armenian people needed him. From the church altars to the fronts of wars, from archaeological excavations to libraries, from different centers of the Armenian diaspora on the historic See of Cilicia. Here is the outline, on which it’s possible to describe the biography of the blessed Catholicos. On this basis we can say, that it’s impossible to present the all activity of Garegin Hovsepyan in one article. Therefore we decited to write separate articles about for different periods of his life and activities: his study period (1877-1897), when he was archimandrit-vardapet (1897-1917), bishop (1917-1943) and catholicos (1943-1952).

In the frst part of our work, which is published here, we investigated the long 20 years of student life of Garegin Hovsepyan. His studies began in 1877 from the monastic school of Amaras. After several months of study here in 1878 he moved to the Theological Academy of Shushi and studied here until 1881. At that time it was the central school of the Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Church.

In the life of the future Catholicos everything has changed when his father received a letter from Gevorkyan Theological Seminary of the Holy Ēǰmiacin. By this letter Hovsepyan was given the opportunity to continue his studies in Ēǰmiacin. The reason for this proposal was a letter of the father of Garegin Hovsepyan addressed to the Catholicos Gevork IV. In this letter he asked to receive his sone to the Theological Seminary.

Garegin Hovsepyan studied in Ēǰmiacin in 1882-1890. At that time he had the opportunity to listen to the lessons of the most outstanding Armenian teachers of the second half of the 19th century. In 1889 he became one of the first students of the Gevorkyan Theological Seminary, who wanted to join the brotherhood of Holy Ēǰmiacin and took monastic vows. Even in his student years, Garegin Hovsepyan showed interest in science and in studies recent years he published several scientific articles in the journal “Ararat”. But his serious scientific works were two folklore works: “Sasmay Crer” (Սասմայ Ծռեր) and “P’shrank’ner zhoghovrdakan banahyusut’yunits” (Փշրանքներ ժողովրդական բանահյուսությունից) published in Tiflis in 1892 and 1893. With these works he made several new discoveries in the field of Armenian folkloristics.

Garegin Hovsepyan graduated with honors from the Gevorkyan Theological Seminary and in 1892 was sent to Germany to continue his studies, especially in the field of theology. There he studied at the universities of Berlin, Leipzig and Halle-Saale from the famous German theologians of the late of 19th and early 20th centuries. In Germany in addition to theoretical theology he also studied practical theology. For this he as a volunteer lived in Charity Hospital “Bethel” in Bielefeld for about three months and practically studied diakonia. On the basis for this in the journal “Ararat” Hovsepyan has published series of articles the “Church and care for the poor”, which became the first scientific work of the Armenian theologian in the field of practical theology. His studies in Germany Garegin Hovsepyan graduated in 1897 with the degree of Doctor of Sciences. His doctoral work was called “The history of the emergence of monothelitism” (Die Entstehungsgeschichte des Monotheletismus), which was published in 1897 in Leipzig. In this article, for the first time we analyze the individual parts of this work, which is still the only monograph in the Armenian scientific environment about the problem of monothelitism in 7th century.

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