Esdras (2)

Esdras (Armen. Ezr or Ezras), catholicos or universal patriarch of Armenia, was born at Parhajlaguerd (in the province of Ararat). He was educated ῥfrom his childhood in the patriarchal palace, and after having filled the office of doorkeeper to St. Gregory the Illuminator, was elected to succeed the patriarch Christopher III, who died A.D. 628. A short time after that the emperor Heraclius, on his return from his expedition against Chosroes II, king of Persia, stopped at Garin, formerly called Theodosiopolis and now Erzerim, and undertook to unite the Armenian Church with the Greek. To this end he tried to conciliate the affections of the Armenians who had submitted to his rule. He gave them as governor-general a very popular man, the prince Mjej Cnouni; he treated the patriarch with distinction, and gave him a part of the city of Goghp. At the order of the emperor, Esdras called together a council (A.D. 629) in the city of Garin, where a great number of bishops, doctors (vertabeds), and Armenian princes, likewise several Greek doctors, came together. During the conference of one month, the reunion of the two churches was decreed. The Council of Chalcedon was recognized as the fourth, General Council, and it was concluded that the feast of the nativity of Jesus Christ is to be celebrated separately from that of his baptism. Most of the Perso-Armenian bishops adhered to the decisions of the council. Many of the theologians who had- attached themselves to the anathematized doctrines received Esdras very coldly when he came back to Tevin, the seat of his administration, and loudly disapproved his last acts. The chief of this party, John Mairagometsi, was ill-treated by order of the patriarch and sent into exile as a heretic. Esdras died in 689, of sorrow, it is said. He has been differently judged by his compatriots; the historians John VI Catholicos and Michael Asori (or the Syrian) call him ignorant, while the Armenians unitedly reverence him as a saint. During his time Armenia was ravaged by the Arabs, who massacred thirty thousand people in the city of Tevin. Nerses III, bishop of Daik, succeeded Esdras. See Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, s.v.

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