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What Is the Armenian Contribution to Hellenism and Orthodoxy?

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#1 Yervant1


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Posted 12 October 2015 - 06:19 AM

Greek Reporter
Oct 10 2015

What Is the Armenian Contribution to Hellenism and Orthodoxy?

By Catherine Tsounis - Oct 10, 2015

I was walking on Second Avenue by NYU Langone hospital and saw a
banner of `100: The Armenian Genocide.' I did not realize until later
that I was in front of the St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral at 630th and
2nd Avenue, and it was then I remembered the unique contribution to
Eastern Orthodoxy and Hellenism the Armenian nation played.

Few persons know that they carried a lantern of light in the Byzantine
Empire throughout its history.

The Byzantine Empire was multi-cultural. Nations and races were united
under the Greek language, civilization and Orthodox faith. `Due to
centuries of foreign domination, much of Armenian history has been
neglected,' according to People of Far. `As such, much of the
influence Armenians had on the Byzantine empire has been swept under
the rug by the Ottomans and later the Soviets. Nevertheless, the
contributions of Armenian people to the Byzantine empire has been more
than significant'.

St. Vartan Cathedral, NYC

As the historian P. Charanis said, `the important role played in the
history of Byzantium by that talented minority, the Armenians, has
been generally unrecognized'. Even though Armenia was only in part a
vessel of Byzantium, many Armenians became successful in the Byzantine
Empire. From bishops, architects, important military figures and even
Emperors, Armenians were represented in all walks of Byzantine life.
In fact one out of five Byzantine emperors and empresses were
ethnically full or in part Armenian.'

Basil the Bulgar Slayer

The best example of this is Emperor Heraclius, whose father was
Armenian and mother Cappadocian. Emperor Heraclius began the Heraclean
dynasty (610-717 A.D.).The Akathistos Hymn sung during Orthodox Lent
commemorates his victory and saving of Constantinople with the help of
Our Lady, Virgin Mary.

Basil, `The Bulgar slayer' became one of the strongest Byzantine
emperors, winning territory in the Balkans, Mesopotamia, Armenia and
Georgia. He was noted for his victory (1014) and increased his
domestic authority by attacking the landed interests of the military
aristocracy and of the church.

Byzantine Armenian soldier.

The Armenian military power, to some scholars, was the basis of the
stability and longevity of Byzantium. A strong army was needed,
Armenia was the source, from the 5th century forward, the Armenians
were regarded as the main constituent of the Byzantine army.

In the article, `Armenia, Byzantium, and the Byzantine Armenians',
`another example of the impact of Armenians within the Byzantine
Empire is the Great Church known as Hagia Sophia. There was a
devastating earthquake on October 25, A.D. 989, which ruined the great
dome of Hagia Sophia. After the disaster, the Byzantine emperor Basil
II, asked for the Armenian architect Trdat (or Tiridates), creator of
the great churches of Ani and Agine, to repair the dome.

Hagia Sophia

The magnitude of the destruction in the church caused reconstruction
to last six years. The church was re-opened on May¨13, 994. The
magnificent reconstructed dome designed by Trdat in the tenth century
remains aloft the `Great Church' to this day.'

We must not only remember the 100 year genocide, but the unique
contribution of Armenians as carriers of the Greek language,
civilization and Eastern Orthodoxy.


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