Eleazar (2)

Eleazar (in Armenian Eghiazar), an Armenian patriarch, was born at Anthab, in Syria. In 1650, David, the patriarch of Constantinople, was ejected from his seat, and Eleazar elected in his place. He held this position only for two years, for in 1652 Philip, the patriarch of Etchmiadzin, and supreme head of the Church, arrived at Constantinople, expelled Eleazar, and consecrated John of Meghin, who, in turn, was soon ejected by the intrigues of Eleazar. The see then remained vacant for some time. Eleazar went to Jerusalem, in compliance with an invitation of the patriarch of that city, Azduadzadur, who wished his assistance in a quarrel with the Greeks, and promised to make him his successor. While residing in the convent of St. James, Eleazar discovered a treasure of 100,000 pieces of gold and 100,000 pieces of silver. After many troubles with Turkish officials and several imprisonments, he succeeded in obtaining possession of the convent. He built a church, called after the residence of the chief patriarch of the Armenians, Etchmiadzin, and caused himself to be elected independent patriarch of Jerusalem. He was expelled in 1664, and again, after having regained possession of the dignity, in 1668, when he was succeeded by a personal enemy, Martyr. The people, dissatisfied with this change, replaced Azduadzadur, after whose death Eleazar took forcible possession of the patriarchal see. He maintained himself in this position until 1680, when, after the death of James IV, the patriarch of Etchmiadzin, he assumed the title of patriarch of all the Armenians. A subsequent election confirmed him in this position, and in 1682 he took up his residence in Etchmiadzin. His chief aim as head of the Armenian Church was to put an end to internal dissensions. He died at Etchmiadzin in 1691. — Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 15:791.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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