During the reign of Heraclius and the destruction of the Persian kingdom under Yazdgird, when Ezr was kat'oghikos of Armenia and Mushegh sparapet, when Grigor was lord of Siwnik', Mat'usagha, bishop, and Varaz Grigor, lord of Gardman, held authority in Aghuania, I, Yovse'p', a hermit, left the retreat at Brut in the district of Gegham. It had been burned down due to the terrible troubles of the period, for lawless men became infuriated and trampled the churches underfoot, demanded tribute from the oppressed, and laid waste the land in their destructive path. The bloodthirsty race of Tachiks in particular began to grow mighty and to wage war. And they turned all lands into mere earth to be trampled underfoot. I escaped from such tribulations by fleeing to the district of Artsakh to the village of Yzerk and to the elderly bishop Mihr. He received my unworthy self, asked the villagers for this site, and built [g417] this church, where I dwelled for twelve years. Then God gathered him to his fathers.
Andre'as succeeded to his throne and held authority for eleven years. I accepted him as my lord, and he fully confirmed me in my offices. However, there were no relics of Saints in this place. Now it happened that a certain hermit called Mxit'ar from Tandzik', wanting to see the holy city of Jerusalem, journeyed there with two companions and worshipped before all the holy things. After he had resided there for a year, Christ granted him some relics of Saint Stephen and Saint George through a pious Byzantine citizen who had preserved them for his kinsfolk. When they had died out, he gave the relics of the Saints to Mxit'ar, saying: "Take them back to our own land and put them in a place worthy of them." [Mxit'ar] quickly accepted the treasure and travelled via Byzantine territory for fear of enemies. He arrived at Mount Taurus at the martyrium of Saint Andrew who had been martyred there along with many companions by King Seleucus. There he made a great request and implored the guardian T'umas to give him some of the relics of Andrew. [T'umas] was persuaded by his entreaties and acceded to his request.
 Having received this valuable treasure, [Mxit'ar] came to the Artsakh area [g418]. It was then that I, Yovse'p', hearing this news, went out to meet them in a manner befitting the [dignity of] putting the Saints to rest. The next day I asked Mxit'ar where he wanted to take the Saints, and he replied: "They will dwell wherever God wills it." Overwhelmed by my love of the Saints I said to him: "I realize that I am unworthy to guard them, but with you, Mxit'ar, I am certain that we shall guard them all the days of our lives." [Mxit'ar] accepted this [offer] and laid the Saints to rest in the martyrium which P'ok'rik ("Small") the carpenter had constructed with the aid of his son Yohan and Baxdane'r the smith. For three years we performed commemorative services for them in accordance with the canons.
After this, the desire was planted in my heart to get some of the relics of Saint John who was great among those born of woman, as the Savior attested. With my students K'ristosatur, Grigor and Sargis, I went in search of [some of the] relics of John the Baptist (Karapet, "Precursor"). This was done by the command of Andre'as the priest, who also provisioned us, and with the consent of my [monastic] family, the monks Yovhan and Mxit'ar. I set out and arrived at the holy city of Jerusalem. After worshipping there I returned in great sorrow, for all of them there were tainted by their adherence to the world-destroying Council [of Chalcedon]. Paying respect to none of them, I returned to my village of Puhavank' in the district of Gelark'uni [g419]. Now I had known from my childhood that a piece of the relics of John were located there. With great entreaties I begged Grigorik, the guardian of [the relics of] the Saints [for some part of them]. By the mercy of God I convinced him, and he opened a chest in which we found [the relics of John] the blessed Baptist, the Apostle Thomas, and the proto-martyr Stephen. Our forefathers had brought them here from the [then] Orthodox [clerics] of the holy city of Jerusalem. I, Yovse'p', took them to the same martyrium. Filled with the greatest joy [the monks] came out to meet me. Thus we laid them to rest in this place and established commemorative services for them in accordance with the teachings of Cyril of Jerusalem, who prescribed readings for the glory of Christ our God.
After this, all the Saints located in the district of Gegham were well pleased. All [the relics of the other Saints] were brought to this same church. Each [reliquary] was marked with [the proper] name in writing. Through their intercession may the Lord God have mercy on this land.
The distance of the hollow rock grave of our life-giving Savior Christ from the center of the dome of the Holy Sepulcher is one and one half fathoms [g420]. Mounted on pillars on top of the church sits a dome 100 cubits high and 100 wide. There are twelve columns on both sides below and twelve columns in the upper story. In that upper story are located the spear, the sponge, and the cup of Christ, plated in gold. The principal church is that of the Discovery of the Cross. It is called the [Martyrs'] Chapel, and is 20 cubits distant from the Church of the Resurrection. It has 65 columns along its length, above and below. The blessed Church of Golgotha is ten paces from the Church of the Resurrection and is called Adam's Tomb. There is an altar on the rock above this, where Christ was crucified. The holy Church of Sion is one furlong distant from the Church of the Resurrection. It is 100 cubits long and 70 wide, with cloisters comprising eighty columns. It lacks an upper story, having only an attic made of wooden trellis-work, and it is in here that hangs the crown of thorns which they placed on the head of the Giver of Life. To the right of the church there is the upper story of the sacrament and a wooden dome on which is painted the Last Supper of our Savior and in which there is an altar. Mass is celebrated in the upper story of the Church of Sion, and there is one upper story (?).
The house of Pilate, called Gabbatha, is located to the right of the Church of Holy Sion. The stone our Savior stood on before Pilate and His footprints [on that stone] [g421] are visible to this day. Beneath it is the basin where He washed His disciples' feet. To the left of the Church of Sion stands the prison where Christ was imprisoned; and mass is offered on an altar in there. In the place outside the town—where the Jews seized the coffin of the blessed Virgin, to prevent her from being buried—is a dome mounted on four pillars, and the pillars are made of marble and are adorned with a bronze cross. From top to bottom there are 250 stone steps down to the holy Tomb of the Virgin, which is in the valley of Gethsemane. From there to the Mount of Olives, where Christ rose, there are 800 steps.
In the place of the Ascension there is a beautiful building with a dome in the shape of the Church of the Resurrection, 100 cubits long and 100 cubits wide. The Jordan River and Mount Hor and many districts are visible from there. Bethlehem is 220 parasangs to the west of the Church of the Resurrection. The church is 200 cubits long and 100 wide, having ninety marble columns and stone arches. Inside this [church] is the double cave which Abraham bought as a tomb. Below the sanctuary are the holy grotto and the manger, where there is an altar on which mass is celebrated. On the right of the church there is a martyrium where the relics of the children killed by Herod are kept. East of this, on the banks of the Jordan [g422] 5 furlongs from Bethlehem, is a terrace where there are two churches in which mass is celebrated. Seven parasangs from Jerusalem towards the east, in the place where the Savior was baptized, there is a church built in the form of a cross with pointed roofs, 80 cubits long, 80 wide, with three altars on which mass is celebrated. The Mount of Olives is to the east of Jerusalem.
The Mruv monastery of the Forty Martyrs, close by in the same area is now held by the Arabs.
The monastery of Partaw, "The Holy Mother of God", near the Tower of David; half is held by a woman named Mariam from Shamk'or, and half by the Arabs.
The monastery of Kaghankaytuk' in the same area; at present half is held by a Christian named T'eodoros, an Arab, Abraham's deacon. [T'eodoros was the son] of Abughkami from [the town of] Zarishat in Aghiovit, [and half] is held by the unjust and wicked Arabs.
The monastery of Artsakh, "The Mother of God", which is located to the south of Saint Stephen's, now is completely held by the Arabs [g423].
The monastery of Amaras, "St. Gregory", half of which is held by a woman called Grigori, and half by the Arabs.
The names of three other Aghuanian monasteries forcibly taken by the Arabs are not known. There is another [Aghuanian] monastery with the monasteries of the Ar'aweank' in the middle of the marketplace which now is held by the Arabs. Because of the envy of the Jerusalem patriarchs, consecration of Armenians and Aghuans by the monasteries was forbidden, for there were more than a hundred of them. Armenian princes gave to Emperor Justinian 7 talents (kendinar), which is 70,000 dahekans, and so wrested the monasteries from the tyranny of the patriarchs. Afterwards, however, through our lack of care, all of them fell into ruin [g424].
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