in Elgin Groseclose’s novel “The Carmelite”


Svetlana R. Tumanyan

The Carmelite by Elgin Groseclose is a historical novel that depicts the Persian mission of discaled carmelites in the reign of Abbas the first, dispatched by Pope Clement VIII. Trying to phylosophically evaluate the political, diplomatic and religious aspects of the mission, the American novelist also presents the complicated relations of the Shah with the Armenian colony, forcefully established in Julfa. In part 4, entitled Affairs of Empire, the Armenian religious holiday, the Khatchaturan, commemorating both the Lord’s baptism and His manifestation to the Jews, is portrayed in all detail, based on historical facts. The letters of the Carmelites edited, translated and published by Herbert Chick in A Chro¬nicle of the Carmelites in Persia and the Papal Mission of the XVIIth and XVIIIth Centuries (1939) provided authentic material for the historical events described in the novel. Fray Juan Thaddeus, the protagonist of the novel, was a historical person as all the other characters in the novel, who was so well revered by the Armenian community of Julfa, that when he left Persia, Armenians sent a letter to the Pope beseeching Him to send the Carmelite back as the Bishop of an Armenian Church in Julfa.

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