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PATRIOTISM AND PIETY IN ARMENIAN CHRISTIANITY: The Early Panegyrics on Saint Gregory

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by Abraham Terian

Armenian Christianity manifests a unique blend of patriotism and piety, given its ethnic character form the outset and the fact of its having survived the unfavorable currents of history. Beginning from the inception of Armenian letters at the turn of the fifth century, Terian surveys that blend in ancient Armenian sources spanning a thousand years. He shows how the theme finds its fullest manifestation as a literary motif in the medieval panegyrics dedicated to St. Gregory the Illuminator, founder of the Armenian Church at the dawn of the fourth century. Of these, the panegyric by Hovhannes of Erzenka (a prolific author of the thirteenth century) exhibits all the characteristics of the motif in ancient Armenian literature. Consequently his work receives ample coverage in this unique study, including a translation of the entire text with commentary. Annotated selections from the other panegyrics on St. Gregory complete the book, the second volume in the AVANT series devoted to the study of the Armenian Christian heritage.