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Principality of Khachen

The history of the Gandzasar Monastery is intimately connected with the history of the Principality of Khachen (Armenian: Խաչենի Իշխանություն), a medieval Armenian state on the territory of the county of Khachen, which is located in the core of Armenia’s province of Artsakh (modern Nagorno Karabakh and adjacent territories). Under the leadership of Grand Prince Hasan Jalal Vahtangian (reigned from 1214-1261), founder of the Gandzasar’s Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Khachen became a de-facto independent kingdom, and a center of Armenian culture and scholarship.

The territory of Khachen during the reign of Prince Hasan Jalal included the entire territory of the modern Nagorno Karabakh Republic plus many contiguous lands to its west, south and north. Because Hasan Jalal’s domain enlarged to include the entire province of Artsakh, his principality was often called the Kingdom of Artsakh. [1]

The term “Khachen” (Armenian: Խաչեն) originates from the word “khach” (Armenian: Խաչ), which means Cross in Armenian. That attests to the fact that for medieval Armenians Khachen was a land of great spiritual symbolism.

The re-awakening of Khachen begins with the decline of the power of Arab Caliphate in Armenia in the ninth century. The weakening of Arab domination favored the expansion of local powers, fueling centrifugal and centripetal forces at the same time. The Bagratid dynasts (Armenian: Բագրատունի, Bagratuni), the original nakharars—highest-class princes—of the ancient Armenian monarchy, reinforced their position and extended their possessions in a successful effort to re-establish a unified Armenian Kingdom. They appointed themselves as monarchs, and had their state’s independence recognized by international powers, including the Byzantine Empire and the Caliphate.

At the same time, the princely elites in the periphery, including those in the remote eastern provinces of Artsakh and Utik, were reviving their territorial ambitions. They both competed with other Armenian kingdoms—such as Vaspurakan and the next-door Syunik—and, while recognizing the authority of the Bagratids, softly resisted the efforts of the King of Armenia to centralize power and reduce their autonomy.

Arranshahiks of Artsakh

In Artsakh, the leadership moved back to Armenia’s ancient Arranshahik dynasty. The word “Arranshahik” means “shahs” (monarchs) of Arran’s lineage.” Arranshahiks were one of the world’s oldest princely houses, with a direct connection to Armenian ancestral patriarchs Hayk and his grandson Sisak, and through them—to key figures of the Old Testament, including Japheth, and, ultimately, Noah.

Movses Kaghankatvatsi, the seventh century’s Armenian historian of Artsakh and Utik, tells the story of how the house of Arranshahiks came into being. In his seminal work “History of the Land of Aghvank,” Kaghankatvatsi repeats a legend originally reported by Movses Khorenatsi, the fifth century author of the “History of Armenia” and the celebrated “father of Armenian history.”

According to Khorenatsi, the founder of this dynasty was Arran, a descendant of Sisak (the ancestor of the Syuni princely clan), who, in turn, was a great-grandson of the ancestral eponym of the Armenians: Hayk Nahapet (Armenian: Հայկ Նահապետ; also called Hayk the Titan: Հայկ Դյուցազուն). It is in Hayk’s memory that Armenians call themselves “Hye” (Armenian: Հայ; pronounced: “High”), and their country—Hayq.

The King of Armenia, Vagharshak, of the Arshakid (Artaxiad) dynasty, entrusted to Arran the control over the northeastern extremity of his kingdom, and it is from Arran that the great princely families of these region would descend. This story is found in Chapter Four of Book One of the “History of the Land of Aghvank” and in Chapter Five of the “History of Armenia.” Movses Kaghankatvatsi writes:

“During the establishment of order for the northern inhabitants, [King Vagharshak] summoned the representatives of the wild tribes living on the northern plain as well as at the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains … and commanded them to stop brigandry and treachery, and to pay royal dues.  Then the King appointed chieftains and rulers for them, and chose certain Arran to head them all, a man from the family of Sisak, one of the descendents of Japheth, who inherited the plains and mountains of the land of Aghvank.”

Later in the text, Kaghankatvatsi again highlights the connection of Arranshahiks to the Patriarch Hayk. When writing about the bloody conflict between the native Arranshahiks and the clan of Mihranians (Mihranids), Armenian-assimilated lords from Persia who invaded Utik’s county of Gardman in the Middle Ages and for some time suppressed local rulers, Kaghankatvatsi calls Arranshahiks “a Haykazian dynasty,” i.e. deriving from Hayk. Kirakos Gandzaketsi, the 13th century author of yet another volume of the “History of Armenia,” reiterates the legend by confirming that kings of Aghvank—Arran, Vachagan, Vache, Urnair and others—all directly descended from Hayk Nahapet. [2]

Principality of Khachen in the Post-Caliphate Era

By the ninth century, the Arranshahiks had two Armenian kingdoms on their lands in Artsakh, including the Kingdom of Dizak, in the south, that existed for a short time only. The Kingdom of Khachen, in the north, was larger and more important. It included most of Artsakh and the southeastern basin of Lake Sevan (which until the ninth century was part of Syunik, nowadays a province in the southeast portion of today’s Republic of Armenia).

The rise of the Kingdom of Khachen began with the powerful and courageous Sahl Smbatian (Sahl ibn Sunbat, in Arab sources), lord of northern Artsakh, who in the first half of the ninth century was mentioned as the governor of all of “Arminia”—a Caliphate’s prefecture consisting of central and eastern Armenian lands, including the former Armenian-ruled Kingdom of Aghvank (“Caucasian Albania” in the writings of several modern Western historiographers).

It was Sahl Smbatian who caught the Persian brigand Babak Khorramdin whose troops were fighting both against the Caliphate and Christian rulers of the Southern Caucasus.

Sahl Smbatian was succeeded by his son Atrnerseh, Prince of Khachen, who married the last Mihranian princess Spram and inherited power over the entire eastern Armenian region.

The principal figure of the second half of the ninth century was Grigor-Hamam “Areveltsi” (“the Oriental”), Sahl Smbatian’s grandson. Movses Kaghankatvatsi’s “History …” reports that at the same time as Prince Ashot I Bagratuni restored the Kingdom of Armenia in 885 AD, Grigor-Hamam fully instituted the Kingdom of Khachen as an Armenian vassal state linked to Bagratid Armenia. Grigor-Hamam extended his authority from the shores of Lake Sevan to the city of Partav on Artsakh’s eastern plain, as well as to certain territories on the north bank of River Kura (e.g. the Armenian-populated Kambyshen).

The King Grigor-Hamam was also celebrated as an important Armenian man of letters. Indeed, he is considered to be the same Hamam who was a key contemporary grammarian, poet, theologian, and musician. The four sons of Grigor-Hamam divided his possessions. Atrnerseh II (910-956 AD) founded the Kingdom of Shake-Kambyshen (Hereti, in Georgian), on the north bank of the River Kura. Its center was at Shake, today known as Shaki (in the northern part of today’s Azerbaijani Republic). Another son of Grigor-Hamam, Sahak-Sevada, established himself at the castle of Parissos, in the county of Gardman. But by extending his possessions he encroached upon the royal domains, drawing the ire of his suzerain, Ashot I Bagratuni, King of Armenia.

Sahak-Sevada’s son Hovhannes-Senekerim succeeded him and, it seems, tried, like his father, to escape the authority of his Bagratid overlords. According to Movses Kaghankatvatsi’s “History …,” he re-established the small kingdom of Gardman-Khachen (Gardman-Parissos) that fell in 1003 AD to the combined attacks of King Gagik I Bagratuni of Armenia and Emir Fadl of Ganja (a small Muslim-ruled principality located just north of Gardman).

Finally, the two other sons of Grigor-Hamam held some territories in the core province of Khachen.

All these small kingdoms and princes were, in principle, vassals of the larger Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia, whose monarchs would periodically re-impose their supremacy by force over territories which extended to the Kura, and beyond.

The fact that the tenth-century Byzantine Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus would mention “the Prince of Khachen, in Armenia” among the Armenian political figures whom he had a correspondence with shows that this entity was undoubtedly considered a part of Armenia. [3]

A centralized Kingdom of Armenia, however, was undermined in the mid-eleventh century by consecutive attacks from the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines, who became masters of Armenia’s capital of Ani in 1045 AD, left Armenia defenseless against a formidable danger: the advancement of the Seljuk Turks—marauding nomads who began arriving from Central Asia. These Turks, Islamized since the tenth century, took control of Persia around the mid-eleventh century, and after seizing Baghdad in 1055 AD, attacked Byzantium. Led by Alp Arslan, the Seljuks took Armenia’s capital city of Ani in 1064 and defied the Byzantine Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes at Mantzikert in 1071 AD.

Armenian nobles from Artsakh and Utik courageously defended their lands but, after containing the advancement of the Turkish troops, had to give up the lowlands and eventually retreat to their mountain strongholds and rainforest hideouts to fight, and win, another day.

Revival of Khachen after the Seljuk Occupation

After the partition of the centralized Seljuk Empire during the reign of Melik-Shah (son of the original Turkish leader, Alp Arslan), at the end of the eleventh century, there came a troubled period for the Turks, marked by incessant confrontations between Seljuk generals, emirs, and sultans, as well as between indigenous princes and Turkish chieftains. This situation would last until the second half of the twelfth century.

The Seljuk Turkish invasion, however, brought a new ethnic element to the Southern Caucasus: Turkic-speaking nomads from Central Asia. These migrants occupied lowlands east of the River Kura but began their attempts to move westward, in small groups, on seasonal basis.

The three princely families from the Arranshahik dynasty remained in Artsakh and Utik, from now on more often referred to simply as Khachen. In the west, to the Lake Sevan, the Armenian princes of the district of Tzar (Armenian: Ծար) had their seat at the fortress of Handaberd. In the northeast, their relatives, princes of Haterk (in Upper Khachen), were established on the left bank of the Tartar River, with their spiritual center at the Dadivank Monastery. Finally, in the south, the princes of Hohanaberd, in Lower Khachen, held the center of the province around the Gandzasar Monastery.

Khachen and the Georgian-Armenian Alliance

Queen Tamar and the Georgian-Armenian Alliance.
Fragment of the Betania fresco of Tamar, the legendary Queen of Georgia (c. 1160-1213). Georgia under Queen Tamar became a strong Christian power that helped Armenians liberate their country from Seljuk Turks. To rule the country and fight the wars, Queen Tamar relied on the Armenian-Georgian alliance that was managed by the Zakarians, a dynasty of Armenian nobles with strong ties to Artsakh’s Lords of Khachen. The two most important representatives of the Zakarians—Princes Ivane and Zakare—were uncles of Grand Prince Hasan Jalal Vahtangian, the patron of the Gandzasar Monastery.

In the second half of the twelfth century, the decline of Seljuk power allowed the Georgians to move in the direction of Armenian lands, and a grand Georgian-Armenian military alliance was formed. Beginning with the end of the twelfth century, the Zakarian princes (Mkhargrdzeli in Georgian; Armenian: Զաքարյան), ethnically Armenian dignitaries in the Georgian royal court, liberated the major part of Bagratid Armenia on behalf of the Kingdom of Georgia, and assumed effective control over it.

They re-conquered, among other areas, all of Artsakh and Utik with the exception of the city of Gandzak (Gandja), which remained in the hands of local, newly-Turkified, Muslim lords. Armenian nobles and generals in the service of the Zakarians received their old domains or were granted new ones for their participation in the Georgian-Armenian military campaigns against the Seljuk Turks.

The three princely branches of Khachen—Tzar, Haterk and Hohanaberd—were re-established or confirmed in their rights, while another regional family, the Hahbakians, migrated some 150 miles westward and installed themselves in northern Syunik’s county of Vayots Dzor.

The inscription left by Prince Hasan of Haterk on the walls of the monastery of Dadivank in 1182 AD seems to indicate that some Armenian lords did not await the call of the Zakarians to liberate themselves from the Turks. Hasan of Haterk had fought, victoriously, he says, for 40 years, or since 1142 AD. Probably this was also the case for the lords at Hohanaberd, whose principality of Lower Khachen is confirmed by the famous Armenian legal philosopher Mkhitar Gosh as autonomous already in the second half of the twelfth century, with its spiritual center at the Gandzasar Monastery.

Prince Vahtang, who reigned during the first half of middle of the twelfth century, was followed by his son Hasan (the use of Arab first names was something of a fashion among the Armenian nobility) until about 1200 AD. Hasan was succeeded by his son, Vahtang-Tangik, who died in 1214 AD.

The considerable importance of Khachen in the Georgian-Armenian political ensemble is confirmed by the fact that the main Armenian figure in this period, the Grand Prince Sarkis Zakarian, supreme commander of the Georgian-Armenian armed forces, gave two of his daughters in marriage to princes from Artsakh. One of them, Khorishah, had married Vahtang-Tangik, father of Hasan Jalal Vahtangian, the founder of the Gandzasar Monastery.

Life, Martyrdom and Miracles of Hasan Jalal Vahtangian

Shortly after being liberated from the Seljuk Turks the Armenian lands suffered the first of exceedingly violent incursions by Mongol reconnoiter horsemen, from 1220 to 1232. While Georgians and Armenians showed resistance to Mongols at that stage, they were unable to defend their nations against the full-scale Mongol invasion of 1235-1236.

After 1236, the Mongols have already become the masters of eastern Georgia, all of the Zakarian-ruled Armenia, and also of the Caspian province of Shirvan. A principal reason behind the success of the Mongols in Southern Caucasus was the weakening of the Armeno-Georgian political and military alliance after the deaths of Zakare Zakarian (1212), Georgia’s Queen Tamar (1213) and Ivane Zakarian (1234).

The beginning of the Gandzasar Monastery starts here. During this period, Hasan Jalal of Hohanaberd, the elder son of Prince Vahtang Tangik of Lower Khachen and Khorishah Zakarian (daughter of Grand Prince Sargis Zakarian, founder of the Zakarian line of princes) expanded his reign to the entire land of Khachen. This is revealed from an engraved inscription left by Hasan Jalal on the internal wall at the Gandzasar Monastery in 1240. In the text Hasan Jalal describes himself as the “native potentate of the high and broad province of Artsakh, King of Hohanaberd.” When Hasan Jalal married Mamkan, the daughter of the Arranshahik king of Baghk, a land that bridges southern Artsakh with Syunik, he also expanded to his father-in-law's lands, and assumed his final title of “Grand Prince of Artsakh and Baghk.”

Much of Hasan Jalal’s family roots were entrenched in an intricate array of royal marriages with old Armenian nakharar families and their offspring. As mentioned above, Hasan Jalal's grandfather was Hasan I (also known as Hasan the Great), a valiant warrior who ruled over the northern half of Artsakh.[4] Hasan I was the husband of Princess Dop from the Zakarian family. Dop later established the princely family of Dopians.[5] By marrying Dop, Hasan I received a dowry which helped enlarge his realm of power to the regions of the current-day Lake Sevan as well as the district of Sotk (in Syunik) and Tzar (in Artsakh). In 1182, Hasan stepped down as ruler and entered monastic life at the Dadivank Monastery. He divided his lands into two parts, with the southern half (comprising much of Khachen) going to his oldest son and Hasan Jalal’s father Vahtang Tangik.

Hasan Jalal was equally a great builder, not only in Khachen (monasteries Gandzasar and Vachar), but also in central Armenia where he financed the restoration of the Kecharis Monastery, in 1248, which had suffered from the Mongols. Kecharis is located about 15 miles north of Armenia’s present-day capital of Yerevan.

Apparently a tribute to a long Arab political tradition and cultural influence, all of Hasan Jalal’s names, but his clan name, are Arabic: Hasan (handsome), Jalal (glorious), and Dola (wealthy). His contemporary Kirakos Gandzaketsi, author of the “History of Armenia,” described Prince Hasan Jalal as “Great Prince Hasan, who is flatteringly called Jalal, a man pious, honest, and Armenian.”

Kirakos Gandzaketsi further writes: “He [Hasan Jalal] was the son of a sister of grand princes Zakare and Ivane [Zakarian], a pious and God-loving man, mild and meek, merciful, and a lover of the poor, striving in prayers and entreaties like one who would live at a hermitage. He performed matins and vespers unhindered, no matter where he might be, like a monk; and, in memory of the Resurrection of our Savior, he spent Sundays without sleeping, in a standing vigil. He was very fond of the clergy, a lover of knowledge, and a reader of the divine Gospels.” (Source: Bedrosian, Robert. Kirakos Ganjaketsi’s “History of the Armenians web-resource)

That is how Gandzaketsi describes Hasan Jalal’s mother Khorishah:

“He also had a pious mother who … went to the holy city of Jerusalem and remained there for many years practicing great asceticism. She astonished all who saw or heard about her. For she had spent all her possessions for the poor and needy … and she fed herself by her own embroidery work. She died there, and since God glorifies those who glorify Him, an arc of light appeared over her grave to encourage others to pursue similar benevolent deeds.” (Source: Bedrosian, Robert. Kirakos Ganjaketsi’s “History of the Armenians web-resource)

The same information can be inferred from the famous wall-wide inscription inside Gandzasar’s Cathedral of John the Baptist made by the orders of Hasan Jalal.

Hasan Jalal was certainly one of the principal figures in Armenian political and cultural life in the thirteenth century. He succeeded his father in 1214 AD and was able to maintain a degree of autonomy in Khachen. When news about the Mongol invasion reached Khachen, Hasan Jalal, together with nearly the entire population of his core region, found refuge in a fortified territory supported by the Havkahaghats and Hohanaberd fortresses. Unable to take the fortresses, enraged Mongols ravaged Khachen’s countryside.

In order to stop the devastation, Hasan Jalal submitted to the Mongols around 1239 AD, and worked hard to establish good relations with them in return for their goodwill. That implied the participation of Hasan Jalal’s Armenian troops in Mongol military expeditions on the territory of Western Armenia. In these expeditions, Hasan Jalal acted as an intermediary between local Armenian communities and Mongol generals. His mission resulted in the saving of thousands of Armenian lives, protection of Armenian churches and monasteries as well as punishment of the old enemies: Seljuk Turk chieftains who ruled some regions of Western Armenia.

With the objective to preserve good relations with the Mongols in mind, Hasan Jalal gave his daughter Ruzukan in marriage to the Mongol chief and general Bora, son of the Mongol supreme commander Charmaghan. Nor did he neglect his relationships with his peers and compatriots. He married his other daughter, Mama, to Umek, a wealthy West Armenian merchant from the city of Manazkert who supposedly benefited from his father-in-law’s Mongol connections for advancing his trade operations on the Great Silk Road. The third daughter, Mina, married Prince Tarsaich Orbelian, a prominent Armenian feudal lord from the neighboring province of Syunik. Prince Tarsaich and Princess Mina had three children: son Jalal, and two daughters: Mamkan and Aspa.

King Hetum I of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.
King Hetum I of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia (reigned from 1226 to 1269). Reproduction of a medieval Armenian miniature from Matenadaran—Armenia’s Institute of Ancient Manuscripts.

Hasan Jalal’s particular strength was in the area of diplomacy where he played the role, to a degree, of representative of all of Armenia. Kirakos Gandzaketsi writes that, as a diplomat, in 1244, Hasan Jalal facilitated contacts between the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, on the Mediterranean Sea, and the Mongols, who accepted an embassy from King Hethum I (1226-1269), the first of Cilicia’s Hethumid dynasty. Interestingly, the Hetumids hail from Prince Oshin of Lambron, who migrated to Cilicia from Utik and, possibly, shared with Hasan Jalal the same Arranshahik bloodline of ancient Armenian kings and patriarchs.

Through his friendship with the Mongol Prince Sartakh, who was a Christian convert and looked after his co-religionists, Hasan Jalal undertook two long journeys: the first in 1251, to the father of Sartakh, Khan Batu of the Golden Horde (the Mongol state in Russia), north of the Caspian; and a second (1255-1260) as far as Karakorum, in Mongolia, to see a grandson of Chengiz Khan—the Great Mongol Khan Mangu.

Desiring to protect his domains from excessive taxation but also to elude the domination of the Zakarian princes, Hasan Jalal secured for Khachen the status of a tumen, a separate administrative unit subordinated directly to the Mongol Khan. This privilege, which conferred a considerable degree of autonomy, was granted by the Mongols with a view to exercising better control over the conquered territories by dividing local ruler. They made the same concession to other large areas in northeastern Armenia: the three Zakarian principalities and the Orbelians’ Principality of Syunik.

Despite all the diplomatic endeavors, however, relations between the Christian lords and new Mongol generals and tax collectors gradually deteriorated. Mongol conversions to Islam and their increased hunger for revenue played a certain role in this dynamic. The deaths of Sartakh (in 1256) and Great Khan Mangu (in 1259), on whose goodwill Hasan Jalal apparently depended, were the other factors that might have changed the balance in Armenian-Mongol relations. Unable to tolerate unreasonable taxation and mounting religious pressure, Hasan Jalal Vahtangian probably participated in an anti-Mongol uprising in 1260, allying himself with the forces of the Georgian king David IV Narin (1225-1293).

Hasan Jalal was captured several times by the Mongols yet his family was able to free him by paying a ransom. The insurrection eventually failed, and under the orders of Arghun, a Mongol Muslim tax administrator (ostikan), Hasan Jalal was arrested once again and taken in chains to the Persian city of Qazvin. According to Kirakos Gandzaketsi, Hasan Jalal’s daughter Ruzukan appealed to Hulagu Khan’s wife Doquz (who was a devout Nestorian Christian), to pressure Arghun to free her father. However, as soon as Arghun learned of this, he had Hasan Jalal tortured and executed. [6]

Kirakos Gandzaketsi writes:

“When the impious ostikan [governor] learned this, he immediately sent executioners and had the blessed and just man killed during the night. The impious executioners went and tore [Jalal's] body into pieces … May he achieve his crown in Christ, our God. So perished the unblemished and pious man, ending his life by keeping the faith, in the year 710 [of Armenian Calendar, i.e. 1261].” (Source: Bedrosian, Robert. Kirakos Ganjaketsi’s “History of the Armenians web-resource)

Hasan Jalal's son Atabak-Ivane ordered several of his trusted men to travel to Persia to retrieve his father's dismembered body, which had been hidden in a well by a Persian man in whose house Hasan Jalal was kept. The Persian told Atabak that when his father died, a beam of light descended from the heavens upon his remains. During their journey home, Atabak’s confidantes claimed that they similarly witnessed the same apparition.

Upon bringing it back, the body was given a proper funeral and buried at the family cemetery near Gandzasar. Later, Hasan Jalal’s remains were reburied at the vestibule of the Gandzasar Monastery, in 1431.

Hasan-Jalalians and the Melikdom of Khachen

The Mongol occupation had disastrous socio-economic effects on Armenia. The peasantry was exterminated or deported; the aristocracy was decimated or undermined economically. The cities were in ruins. Ethnic integrity was weakened through the emigration of indigenous Christian Armenians, and the settlement of nomadic Muslim tribesmen: Kurds and Turks. The reign of the Mongols was followed by invasions of Tamerlane (1386-1405) and the Turcoman tribesmen known as the Black Sheep or the Kara-Koyunlu (1410-1468).

While Khachen was not spared from these calamities, its mountain lords preserved their autonomy. When the majority of the Armenian landed nobility gradually disappeared from the political arena, the two branches of the princes of Khachen, the north-easterners and the southerners, continued to exist. The inscriptions and the colophons of the manuscripts show that the descendants of Hasan Jalal Vahtangian of Hohanaberd, who began calling themselves Hasan-Jalalians after their celebrated ancestor, remained in possession of Lower Khachen during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

The reign of the Turcoman ruler Jahan-Shah (1437-1467) brought a relative lull to eastern Armenia. Deciding to temporarily favor certain Armenian regions, Jahan Shah allowed the re-establishment of a pan-Armenian Katholicosate (Mother See) in Echmiadzin, in 1441. He also confirmed the possessions of the Princes of Khachen and accorded them the title of melik (“king” or “prince,” in Arabic). By the late 1500s, the Hasan-Jalalian family had branched out to establish melikdoms (duchies) in Gyulistan and Jraberd, making them, along with Khachen, and two other melikdoms, Varanda and Dizak, a part of what in the 18th century became known as the Melikdoms of Khamsa—a union of five Armenian principalities of Artsakh-Karabakh.

Allahverdi II Hasan-Jalalian, who was to die in 1813, was the last ruler of Khachen with the full title of melik when the Russian Empire first entered the region in 1805. His descendents, from 1813 to 1920s, ruled Khachen under the title of bek.

Not only did noble descendents of princes of Khachen become meliks, they also retained hereditary spiritual leadership of all of Artsakh and Utik by manning the throne of Katholikos of Aghvank at the Holy See of Gandzasar up to 1815, and later—as metropolitans and bishops of the Diocese of Karabakh of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

[1] Hewsen, Robert H. “The Kingdom of Artsakh,” in T. Samuelian & M. Stone, eds. Medieval Armenian Culture. Chico, CA, 1983

[2] Kirakos Gandzaketsi. “Kirakos Gandzaketsi’s history of the Armenians,” Sources of the Armenian Tradition. New York, 1986, chapter 10

[3] Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. De ceremoniis aubae byzantinae (Ed. J. P.Migne. Patrologiae cursiis completus, Series Graeco-Latina, 112), p. 248

[4] Hewsen, Robert H. “The Kingdom of Artsakh,” p. 47

[5] Bedrosian, Robert. " Armenia During the Seljuk and Mongol Periods" in The Armenian People From Ancient to Modern Times, Volume II: Foreign Dominion to Statehood: The Fifteenth Century to the Twentieth Century. Richard G. Hovannisian (ed.) New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 1997, pp.253-254.

[6] Kirakos Gandzaketsi. History of the Armenians, Chapter 63: The death of pious prince Jalal, [g389-392]