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The history of the KatholikÚs of Akdamar (921-1917)

921 On insistence of the king Gagik, who wanted to see Akdamar erected as an autonomous, diocese, the KatholikÚs Ghevorg nominates Yeghishe, the king's nephew, archbishop of Akdamar.
927 After vane attempts of king Ashot Yerkat (of iron) Bagratouni and his rival Ashot Shapouhian to liberate the city of Dvin from the yoke of the Arab emir, the seat the KatholikÚs was transferred from Dvin to Akdamar for reasons of safety.
928 After the death of Ashot II Bagratouni, Gagik evokes himself the right to nominate the KatholikÚs.
943 The seat of the KatholikÚs is transfered to the city of Arghuina, near Ani.
966 Bishop Stephen, who aspired to be the KatholikÚs of all northern Armenia, arrives in Akdamar in exile.
1112 After a long period devoid of references or news, KatholikÚs Basil, escapes from An! and seeks protection at Akdamar where he was, already the highest religious authority. He nominates the young fifteen year old Gregory as his successor.
1113 Basil dies and Bishop David, supported by five other priests, rebel against his decisions, proclaiming himself KatholikÚs.
1114 A general assembly of priests and feudatories - not less then 2.500 persons - excommunicate David, but were not able to enforce their decree and so David continued to exercise his position.
1165 A certain Stephen is nominated KatholikÚs.
1200-1225  The powerful feudatories of Sefedinian become masters of the region of Akdamar.
1227 The KatholikÚs Stephen II Narekatsi dies as is testified by a khatchkar in his memory, discovered in the monastery of the Resurrection, near the village of Devabouyn, on the banks of Lake Van.
1272 Stephen III Sefedinian, firstborn to king Sefedin, is nominated KatholikÚs. .
1276 In a manuscript, edited in the region of Vaspourakan by the scribe Romanos, the KatholikÚs Stephen and king Leo, son of queen Zabel are cited.
1291 In an inscription in the church of the Resurrection in a village in the Metsop region, the builder of the church, a certain father Abraham, the KatholikÚs Stephen and king Arghoun-Khan are mentioned.
1293 The KatholikÚs Stephen is also cited in a manuscript of the monastery of Varag.
1293-1307 During these years Gregory of Anavarza tries to revoke the excommunication of the KatholikÚs of Akdamar by the KatholikÚs Gregory beginning a correspondence with King Cilicia Hetoum. In this same period the KatholikÚs of Akdamar is Zaccaria.
1296 The KatholikÚs Zaccaria is remembered for his friendly relationship with the metropolitan of Slounik, Stephen Orbelian.
1297 At Akdamar in the copied text of a gospel the KatholikÚs Zaccaria is referred to.
1303 The historian David of Akdamar writes the history of the fall of the Artzrouni dynasty. The KatholikÚs Zaccaria and Stephen Orbelian are also mentioned.
Up to 1336 The KatholikÚs Zaccaria has two gavit built in the church of the Holy Cross, one to the west and the other to the east. To Zaccaria one can also attribute the beginning of the construction of the church of S. George, on the island of Lim, and of other works of the monastery.
1336 Probably in this year Zaccaria's nephew Stephen was nominated KatholikÚs.
1340 Nerses Palients in his writtings attacks the Armenians and the KatholikÚs of Akdamar; criticising above all the fact that although the KatholikÚs is still living his successor should be nominated and should necessarily belong to the Artzrouni dynasty.
1345 During a synod held in the city of Sis (Cilicia), the KatholikÚs of Akdamar spoken of with contempt by the KatholikÚs Mkhitar Archbishop -. The historian David of Tabriz even calls him the anti-KatholikÚs.
1346 The KatholikÚs Zaccaria dies: his tomb with relative inscription still exists on the island. He is succeeded by his nephew David, in a moment when the country was in great difficulty.
1369 Zaccaria becomes KatholikÚs, known later as the - martyr
1393 The KatholikÚs Zaccaria is made a martyr: the episode of martyrdom is the subject of a poem by Gregory of Khlat, in which his successor is cited as his brother David: on the island there still exists a khatchkar in memory of their parents.
1409 Gregory of Tathev, member of the community of the monastery of Akdamar, later became a famous political figure and a celebrated man of letters, and was not restrained by this circumstance when he had to speak badly and excommunicate the KatholikÚs of Akdamar.
1410 The KatholikÚs James in the footsteps of Gregory of Tathev, confirmed the excommunication of Akdamar and also excommunicated the KatholikÚs of Sis (Cilicia). However Gregory of Tathev was unable W separate the diocese of the region of Kadchberouni from that of Akdamar.
1431 The Kurd Peri-bek conquers the island and the region of Akdamar. The KatholikÚs David taken refuge in the village of Ourants, in the region of Mokk, for two years until following a peace treaty he returned to Akdamar.
1434 David nominates his successor Zaccaria.
1441 The KatholikÚs of all Armenia, Kirakos revokes the excommunication of the KatholikÚs of Akdamar.
1459 The KatholikÚs Zaccaria, powerless against the oppression and sackings by Ghlidj-Aslan, invokes the help of the Persian king Dchanshah, who succeeds in liberating the region and re-establishes law and order.
1460-1461 A large synod re-establishes Echmiatzin as the seat of a KatholikÚs, to which is elected Kirakos of Virap, colliding against the aspirations of Gregory of Makou. Following which he succeeded in substituting himself instead of Kirakos, but the KatholikÚs Zaccaria by means of large gifts obtained from king Dchahanshah the right to be the KatholikÚs of both Echmiatzin, from which he expelled Gregory, and of Akdamar.
1460-1500 From a rather reliable source we know that for a short time the KatholikÚs of Akdamar obtained also jurisdiction of Echmiatzin.
1461 In this year a disagreement springs up between the king Dchanshah and the Sultan of Khlat (Ahlat) Dchahangir. Dchanshah conquers Khlat and makes ready to march against Baghesh (Bitlis), Sasoun and Taron, but Zaccaria fearing a catastrophe, offers himself as a mediator, and succeeds in convincing Dchanshah to return to his own lands.
In the month of December Dchahanshah marches against Shiraz and Kerman in order to quell several local revolts. His son Hasen-AIII organises a plot against Zaccaria, with the aim of taking him prisoner in order to use him as ransom for the treasures of Echmiatzin: Zaccaria, who comes to hear of the plot, escapes to Van with the treasures, and seeks refuge near Mahmat-Bek. The brother-in-law of Dchahanshah reaccompanies him with great honours to Akdamar.
1462 Zaccaria leaves the treasures in the monastery of Akdamar and returns to Echmiatzin with his nephew Stephen, who later is to be elected archbishop of this city.
1464 The KatholikÚs Zaccaria is poisoned at Echmiatzin and is succeeded by Stephen at Akdamar and Aristakes at Echmiatzin.
1466 Smbat, the cousin of KatholikÚs Stephen, becomes king of Vaspourakan with the help of Dchahanshah; but his reign never had an important political significance.
1467 Stephen succeeds in conquering the KatholikÚs of Echmiatzin for a short period, but later re-affirms its independence. In this year king Dchahanshah dies; his son Hasan-Bek adopts a rather unfavourable political standing regarding Akdamar: in fact the small reign of Vaspourakan is eliminated.
1473 From this date onwards, a new period full of wars, catastrophes and political struggles begins. Ouzoun-Hasan Agh-Ghoyanllou, king of Persia, Mesopotamia, Azerbaijan and Armenia is heavily defeated by the Ottomans near the city of Derchan.
1489 KatholikÚs Stephen dies and is succeeded by Zaccaria, the son of king Smbat.
1490-1495 During this period the nephew of the king Ouzoun-Hasan, who later reigned under the name of Shah-Ismayil, is a guest at Akdamar where he was accompanied by Sheikh-Haydar, who had miraculously saved the king's nephew from a massacre.
1491 Emir Sofi from Tabriz falls in the attempt to conquer Akdamar.
1496 This is probably the date in which KatholikÚs Stephen dies and is succeeded by Atom.
1499 The Kurds of the region taking advantage of the occasion when the lake was covered in ice overrun the monastery of Akdamar and the surrounding areas, sacking and massacring numerous Turks and Armenians.
1500 King Shah-Ismayil conquers many territories among which is also the region of Vaspourakan. In this year the disorders begun in 1473 came to an end.
1510 In the short period of this date John and later Gregory become KatholikÚs; the latter remained as head of the church for nearly thirty years, leaving among other things the fruit of a considerable literary activity.
1512 In a gospel edited by the scribe Joseph the king Shah-IsmayiI and the KatholikÚs John are cited.
1534 The Ottoman Turks conquer the whole of Armenia and also the region of Vaspourakan, at the end of a long series of wars against the Persian king Shah-Thamasp.
1544 Gregory II become the KatholikÚs of Akdamar in this year and governs for a period of nearly forty years.
1586 From this date ruled KatholikÚs Gregory 111, nicknamed Gregory the minor, probably until 1612.
1606-1660 During this period there are no exact historical facts on which one can contemplate. We only know that in a letter from the KatholikÚs of Sis (Cilicia), that during these years an important relationship was established between the KatholikÚs of Akdamar and Echmiatzin. The KatholikÚs of Echmiatzin Phillip (1632-1655) succeeded in extending his influence to the KatholikÚs of Akdamar
1661-2 The KatholikÚs of Akdamar Martiros, taking advantage of the confusion of the turkish-persian war turns to the sultan of Constantinople Mahmet, begging him to release the diocese of Van, Berkri, Ardjesh, Khlat, Baghesh, Moush and Hoshap from that of Echmiatzin and conceed them to Akdamar. However the sultan, who was equally pestered by the KatholIk6s of Echmiatzin issued a decree in favour of the latter.
1669 The KatholikÚs John Toutioundchi carries out restoration work in the monastery of Varag, devastated by an earthquake.
1670 The date in which KatholikÚs Peter dies, inscribed on a plaque on his tomb which is to be , found in the cemetery of Akdamar.
1671 Stephen, successor to KatholikÚs Peter, is remembered in a gospel carrying this date.
1677 In a gospel edited in the church of the village of Dasht, in the Mokk region, Karapet is remembered as the successor to the KatholikÚs Phillip.
1681 Although he was never officially nominated Thomas was KatholikÚs of Akdamar.
1682 In this year KatholikÚs Thomas is received by the KatholikÚs of Echmiatzin Yeghiazar and confirmed as the KatholikÚs of Akdamar.
1696 The KatholikÚs of Echmiatzin Nahapet revokes the title of KatholikÚs of Akdamar of Thomas owing to a personal resentment between the two, and bishop Avetis is nominated in his place.
1697 KatholikÚs Thomas reacts with the help of Toursoun-Pasha and obtains the diocese of the city of Van, nominating Sahak Artsketsi as his successor in direct contrast to the wishes of the KatholikÚs of Echmiatzin.
1698 After only four months after his nomination Sahak Artzketsi dies.
1699 John Ketzouk becomes KatholikÚs until 1704.
1705 John is succeeded by KatholikÚs Hayrapet I but only governs for two years.
1707 KatholikÚs Hayrapet dies and is succeeded by Gregory remains until 1711.
1720 John Hayots-Dzoretsi is elected KatholikÚs.
1725 In a book written in the monastery of Arberd the KatholikÚs Gregory of Hizan is remembered for having carried out numerous architectural works, especially in the monastery of Akhavank.
1736 Nicholas of Sparakert is elected KatholikÚs. Once assumed power he succeeds in giving a considerable impulse to the cultural life of the monastery.
1743 The KatholikÚs Nicholas begins to extend again the religious influence of the monastery and of the KatholikÚs of Akdamar. Thus he sends father Alexander to Constantinople in order to obtain a decree from the Sultan to the effect that the diocese of Van, Baghesh, and Moush, with relative city return under the jurisdiction of Akdamar. Father Alexander, having obtain the edict, succeeds in seizing all the goods and taxes already collected in these diocese that were to be handed over to the envoy of the monastery of Echmiatzin.
1746 The reaction of the monastery of Echmiatzin is not late in coming. The KatholikÚs Lazzarus violently protests to the court of Constantinople and with the help of James, the Armenian patriarch of the city, obtains a new edict which re-assigns the diocese in discussion to the KatholikÚs of Echmiatzin. The KatholikÚs of Akdamar Nicholas is arrested and imprisoned.
1747 All the members of the monastery of Akdamar and many other religious authorities of the region turn to KatholikÚs Lazzarus asking clemency for the imprisoned KatholikÚs. Lazzarus consents to liberate him but in exchange succeeds in annexing the monastery of Akdamar and its area of influence to Echmiatzin. The Katholikos Nicholas is also obliged to pay to the rival monastery all the goods coming from taxes, duties, donations and other revenue.
1751 Nicholas dies and his successor proclaims his independence in full contrast with the agreements stipulated with Echmiatzin.
1761 Thomas becomes KatholikÚs of Akdamar; he declares himself still independent but following a difficult economic situation is forced to go to Echmiatzin to renew the old agreements with the KatholikÚs James in order to obtain economic help.
1764 On the base of pacts stipulated with the monastery of Echmiatzin the KatholikÚs Thomas elaborates a text which from then on was to regulate the relations between the two institutions.
1783 On the death of the KatholikÚs Karapet assumes an attitude in direct contrast to the seat of Echmiatzin, but finishes in winning the approval of the KatholikÚs Luke.
1788 However following further vindications by the KatholikÚs Karapet, Luke abandons any favourable attitude and nominates a certain Mark KatholikÚs of Akdamar.
1792-1794 During these two years a certain Theodor is KatholikÚs of Akdamar.
1796 KatholikÚs Michael who is to have succeeded Karapet is attributed to have composed numerous pieces of religiously inspired music.
1803 Khatchatour Vanetsi becomes KatholikÚs: for the work he accomplished he was later called - miraculous and immaculate ..
1804 KatholikÚs Karapet dies of a heart attack and is buried in the cemetery of Akdamar.
1823 Haroutioun dies and is succeeded by John of Shatakh.
1843 On the death of John, the Armenian patriarch of Constantinople tries at all costs to prevent the election of the new KatholikÚs, on the pretext that the seat of Akdamar directly depended on the city of Constantinople. Notwithstanding the strong opposition, Khatchatour Mokatsi, a member of the monastery proclaims himself KatholikÚs: but soon after the Sultan of Constantinople, granting the requests of the patriarch, exiles the rebel KatholikÚs to Nicopoli (Shapin-Garahisar).
1846 After a period of three years Khatchatour is able to return to the monastery of Akdamar on condition that he does not participate in an political activity.
1854 Gabriel dies, having already refused the position several years before. He is succeeded by the Abbot Vardapet Khatchatour.
1858 An agreement is finally reached between the patriarch of Constantinople and the monastery of Akdamar; nevertheless the life in the monastery is still not completely tranquil, because the endless struggles for power (among which one of the most severe was the one conducted by a certain Hakob Yedesatsi) hampered the work of the KatholikÚs Peter Piuolpioul.
1864 Khatchatour Shiroyan organises a plot against the KatholikÚs Peter, succeeding in the end in killing him and substituting himself as KatholikÚs.
1868 Khatchatour Shiroyan is not able to prevent the news of the scandal; summoned to the court of Constantinople and put on trial for the -murder of the KatholikÚs Peter but is glamorously declared innocent. Thus he is able to return to Akdamar to continue as KatholikÚs.
1876 Khatchatour is decorated with the medal of Medchidiye by the Ottoman sultan.
1895 The KatholikÚs Khatchatour dies and the diocese of Akdamar is definitively annexed to the patriarch of Constantinople.
1900 Akdamar becomes a ordinary monastery run by an abbot: from which depended the regions of: GevaĢ, Shatakh, Nortouz and Mokk, in all 193 churches and 41 monasteries. The city of Khizan and the village of the surrounding regions (109 churches and 17 monasteries) had the monastery of Akdamar as their religious centre.
1917 The monastery ceases all activities and is finally abandoned because of the adverse political conditions.

The history of the constructions on the island of Akdamar (600-1873)

600-700 The most antique fortifications of the island were built during this period.
640 The first real town-walls appear, built for defence purposes by Theodore Rshtouni with several other buildings, among which, most probably was a church.
915-921 After a long period devoid of references or news, it was during these years that architect Manuel, under orders of king Gagik Artzrouni, built the church of the Holy Cross, the royal palace, the port with relative facilities and a new ring of fortified walls.
1272-1296 The restoration work began by KatholikÚs Stephen continues on the dome of the church of the Holy Cross. An badly damaged inscription referring to this work is to be found on the southern facade, above the low-reliefs of David and Goliath:
During the glorious reign of... Khan and in the Armenian year of seven hundred... anos KatholikÚs of the Armenians... in the year eight... restores the dome... built on the foundation... Gagik king of the Armenians... thank God -.
1293 Above the entrance, today destroyed, of the church of S. Stephen on the island of Akdamar, there was an inscription in memory of KatholikÚs Stephen, two builders of the church, and the priests Sergius and Stephen.
1296-1336 KatholikÚs Zaccaria builds a small chapel adjacent to the northern side of the church of the Holy Cross. Perhaps even two gavit, later destroyed were the work of the same KatholikÚs.
1602 The scribe father Joseph writes a gospel in which he tells of the reconstructions carried out by KatholikÚs Gregory at Akdamar: the restoration of two gavits, the replacement of the roofing of the church of S. Stephen and other works. Following this Gregory makes a trip to Jerusalem from which he returns laden with gifts.
1763 An inscription on the facade of the church of Akdamar describes the construction of the latest west gavit, commissioned by KatholikÚs Thomas to the architect Nahapet. The same information is displayed in an inscription above the southern entrance to the gavit.
1870 From this date onwards the abbot Khatchatour undertakes a series of restoration works in the Akdamar monastery and in several other holy places. On the bell-tower built near the southern facade of the church of the Holy Cross on e can read the following inscription: "It was built by the princes Akhidjan and Gevorg in memory of the resurrection of Christ"
On his initiative, a large building, destined to house a school and the seat of the KatholikÚs, is built; an inscription referring to these works is inscribed above the main entrance of the school.
1873 An inscription on the facade of the upper level of the same building tells us that all these buildings were restored and renewed by Bishop James.
Documenti di Architettura Armena (italian | english),
Facolta di Architettura del Politecnico di Milano /
Accademia delle Scienze dell'Armenia Sovietica
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