When he went there to attend a commemoration for the Saints, he himself would sit in the school house, surrounded by the sons of sorcerers and pagan priests [g141]. He then would command the crowd which had assembled with books and tablets in hand to read aloud in unison. And he was happier than someone who had discovered a great treasure.
He began to inquire into and investigate the wicked sects of the finger-cutters and the poisoners, for both were murderous cults. While he was starting his investigation, humane God willed that the evil sect should be eliminated from the land by this godly king. For as Vach'e' heard, their wickedness in Aghuania had been practised for a long time. Other kings of the Aghuans were either unable to capture them or had not exerted themselves. Furthermore, the accursed and evil Persian marzpans had indeed caught them frequently, but then subsequently released them for bribes.
Now it happened that one day when they were engaged in the evil act of finger-cutting in a cave in a secure wooded area on the bank of the Kur River, a young lad happened to walk along a path close to where they had bound another boy to four stakes by his thumbs and toes and were flaying him alive. Hearing the groaning, this younger boy went in and saw the evil deeds of the murderous [g142] criminals. They chased after him with the intention of seizing him too, but he ran off and dived into the Kur. Now the [fleeing] boy had noticed a tree standing on an island in the middle of the river. He made for it, and climbed up without his pursuers seeing him. He was able to escape and cross the river. But he had recognized those men and he hurried to tell the king all about it.
 When the king heard about this, he offered up prayers of thanksgiving to humane Christ and commanded the clergy to fast and pray so that this wicked devil-worship be exposed and eliminated from the land. Satan had such a hold on the minds of his evil satellites [i.e., the finger-cutters] that it was impossible to make any of the evil men of that sect break their oath. The king ordered the arrest of the men who had been seen committing the murder as well as many other men who were known by reputation [to be associated with the sect], but despite the beatings and other terrible tortures, none of the evildoers could be made to talk. He even commanded that a mixture of scalding vinegar and borax be poured into their ears until their eyes turned white like the moon. But even this did not make them confess.
As we mentioned earlier [g143], it was God Who guided the hand of this king to remove the wicked sect from the kingdom. Consequently, [King Vach'agan] cleverly devised a plan to make them confess. He ordered that all of them be taken to the place of the killing, and selected one who was younger than the rest. He ordered that this man be released. Then [the king] made him a promise that "I will not have you put to death if you confess and honestly tell us the details of this devil-worship." Falling on his face, the young man started to narrate the mysteries of the wicked cult. He said:
The demon appears in the form of a man and orders that three ceremonies (dask') be conducted, each one involving three men. These men are not to be pierced or killed, but while still living the skin and thumb of the right hand is removed and pulled with the skin over the chest to the little finger of the left hand. Then the little finger is cut and broken off inside. The same is done to the feet while the man is still alive. Then he is killed. The skin is removed and placed into a basket. He pointed out a man and woman who belonged to the evil sect, and then even more people came forward to confirm the same things about the sect. The king then spoke to the man who had related all this to him, saying: "Your life is spared in accordance with the oath I swore. However [I would like you to] do the things you described to those [who perpetrated them] on others." The man performed those acts on many people in the presence of the royal camp. Half of them were taken to their villages and were killed in the same manner, in the presence of their own familes. [King Vach'agan] also commanded that many poisoners be seized and killed. That sect had the form of worship in which every year the demon would order a man to be given poison and killed. If it proved impossible to give [the poison] to a stranger, the demon so harassed [the worshipper] that he gave the fatal poison to a member of his own family [g145].
When the time for the wicked service arrives, a folding chair made of iron is set up. The feet of the chair are in the shape of human feet, as many of us present there saw. Now some valuable garment is placed upon the chair and when the demon arrives, he puts this garment on, and sits on the chair. Then he takes a weapon, and begins to examine the slain man's skin [g144] and fingers. Now if they are unable to procure any [human for sacrifice], [the demon] orders that the bark from a tree be stripped off and that an ox or sheep be sacrificed in front of him. Then he eats and drinks with his evil servitors. A horse, saddled and harnessed, is held ready. Mounting the horse he gallops around until the horse stops by itself. Then [the demon] becomes invisible and disappears. He does this every year.
There were still other diabolical sects. [According to one,
supposedly,] one demon would cause blindness to those refusing to
worship evil while another would give spots [to those refusing to
worship]. Should one [member of the sect] betray another, the
sorcery of evil demons would bring upon him the afflictions of
blindness and spots. The king seized such people and tortured
them to death. He also eliminated robbers and other evil-doers
from the land of the Aghuans, like a seasoned and virtuous farmer
tending his fields with enthusiasm and love, uprooting the
thistles and weeds, broadcasting and sowing the good seed to bear
fruit thirty, sixty, and a hundred times over. Almighty and
merciful God, observing the beauty of the virtuous conduct of
this man and the zeal with which he strived to work God's will,
bestowed on him the relics of the most holy martyrs in Christ
from a place where the spiritual and ineffable treasure was
 This miracle was related by Yunan, archbishop of the Huns, who was from the land of the Mask'ut'k'. [Yunan] was a very honest man and was himself an eyewitness to the event. Now in Haku lay the relics of the blessed martyrs [g147] the priest of Ts'ri and the Chighb lad who had been beheaded by the Persian Argesats'ik'. Their remains had been taken to Ts'ri. There a man of supremely luminous appearance and a similarly radiant youth appeared at night in a vision to the priest of the monastery named Yakob. They said: "Go to Ts'ri and inform the city's governor, who is a lord from the land of the Aghuans named Xochkorik. We shall show him the same vision [that you are seeing]. We are Saints of the Church. You and he are to remove [our relics]." The priest ignored this. However the same vision was repeated to him a second and a third time. He continued to ignore it until he fell seriously ill and was close to death. Then those same men in the forms of splendid luminous angels returned again and said to the priest: "Do you know why you are dying?" He replied: "No, lords." They said: "It is because you are stubborn and disobedient. You would not go to Xochkorik in Ts'ri and retrieve our relics. And lo, now you lay dying!"
The priest begged them to cure him so that he might quickly go and fulfill their order. They put their hands on him, and he was cured at once. He got up and went to the city of Ts'ri . He located Xochkorik who was administrator in [g148] the city who asked him no questions and received him like a man of God. The man in the vision had told him that Xochkorik would also see a vision, and so the priest did not make explanations. After eating they got up, the priest going to sleep in the church with two other priests who were with the governor [Xochkorik], while Xochkorik himself went to sleep attended by two servants. Those same men appeared in their awe-inspiring shape and said to Xochkorik: "Get up and go to the church, for the Saints are there. You and the [other] priest must gather them up and remove them." [Xochkorik] awoke and was told: "Hurry, this is a vision." However, he fell back to sleep again. The vision returned. [The men in the vision] said: "We are not speaking solely that you get up early, but for the sake of our relics which are in that church. You and the priest must go and fetch them."
 He awoke in an awful fright, but soon he fell back into sweet sleep again. A third time those men who were clothed in light and who possessed the most glorious and beautiful forms reappeared and told him: "Get up and go to the church. There you will see a great light burning. Notice where the light shines, for there lie the relics of the Saints." This same vision [g149] appeared at the same time to the priest who got up and met Xochkorik who came to tell him about his own vision. They met, explained why they had arisen and told each other about their visions. Then the priest Yakob and the lord named Xochkorik, together with the two priests attached to the governor and the two servants, went to the church, crossing themselves. After they had entered the porch near the bema and had prayed before the Cross, they saw the most amazing bright light in the church. The light was so overwhelming that they were unable to get to their feet. Even after singing a psalm or two they were unable to get up. When they had sung a third psalm, however, Almighty God helped them, and it was as though someone had put them on their feet. They crossed themselves and went farther into the church which was now filled with the brightest, most glorious light. There they prayed until morning. At dawn, all the light in the church concentrated over the place where the most blessed relics of the venerable martyrs [g150] of Christ lay. As the light died down, a light flickered on and off above the spot until they were able to see just where it was. They opened it and found the Saints' relics. There was an inscription on the vessel containing the relics which read: "I, Grigoris, brought these Saints, Zacharias, father of John, and the venerable Pantaleon, who was martyred in the city of Nicomedia. And then I myself died." They removed the Saints' relics, washed and anointed them with holy oil. Xochkorik sealed them with his own ring, then rode off on his horse to take the message to the pious king Vach'agan, informing him of the discovery of these great relics.
The pious king was overjoyed and rejoiced and stood in prayer for the graciousness of God, giving thanks for this great blessing bestowed upon him.
Then he assembled bishops, monks, and hermits, and conducted a grand memorial service for the Saints. Alms were generously given to the poor. He dressed the bishops and priests in honorable vestments and sent Manase', his very devoted court priest, with other officials to quickly [g151] bring the holy relics of the most blessed martyrs. When they had arrived, the king, the queen, and numerous officials went on foot to meet them. They were accompanied by the Cross, incense, many flowers, and a countless multidue of people. The king blessed and glorified Jesus Christ the true God through these virtuous and holy martyrs.
 After this the king adorned the reliquary of the Saints with diverse royal garments, gold, silver, precious stones, and ordered that a folding wooden altar be constructed and covered in red leather. [He also ordered that] white linen be prepared to embellish the inside of the resting place of the Saints and all the Gospels. Shushanik, queen of the Aghuans, a pious and benevolent woman, ordered that her great pavilion be erected over the red altar of the Saints to form a church into which the officials and the king and many people might enter and be sheltered from the heat and kept dry in case of rain. A linen screen was erected around the pavilion to form an enclosure which the king's retinue might enter at the time of the service [g152] and worship and pray to God and hear the holy scriptures before the Holy Cross and the blessed martyrs in Christ.
Since the king always took these relics around with him when he traveled, he ordered litters to be made in their name and to be decorated again with red leather and precious white linen and a cross of gold set with precious gems and the king's name carved in gold and attached to the litter. There were crosses embroidered with multi-hued silks which glittered from the royal crown. Choice white horses from the royal stables which the king was fond of and treasured had their tails dyed red [for this occasion]. Officers were designated to attend to the litter of the Saints and the horses. Apart from the Saints, the Gospel, and other Scriptural writings, nothing else was permitted in the litter. White oxen were yoked to the vehicle which carried the altar of the Saints. [King Vach'agan] appointed many of the court priests, deacons, readers, and psalmists to revere and tend to the Saints day and night. When the camp started to move [g153], the litter with the Saints was at the front. It was covered with white linen and surmounted with a gold cross and a royal crown woven in multi-hued silks. [It was accompanied by] royal white horses decorated in red silk and with regal crowns on their heads. There was a multitude of servitors in front and behind, crosses in hand, singing psalms and hymns in unison praising the power of the Holy Trinity.
This procession was followed by the palanquin of the queen, which was followed by the queen's entourage. Now when they wanted to encamp, first they erected the red altar with the gold cross on top, which was for the Saints. A large white tent was placed over this. With great care and accompanied by fragrant incense, they then brought in the Saints to rest there. Next the royal tent and other arrangements for the king were seen to. Then the king himself together with the queen and the entire army performed morning and evening prayers glorifying the Saints. Now it happened that this God-loving and pious king lacked a male heir. Making a vow before the monks, [King Vach'agan] beseeched God through the intercession of the Saints to grant him a son. And benevolent God [g154], the giver of good things heard his prayers and bestowed a son on him. With joy did he receive this gift from God, delivered to him by the agency of the blessed martyrs. [Vach'agan] named the boy Pantaleon and commanded that he be raised with a fear of God and always be zealous in worshipping the holy martyrs of Christ.
 When the benevolent king sat down to supper he ordered that a jug from the royal vessels be filled so that he might drink wine, and that two large silver tables bearing the royal bread always be placed across from his table. A deacon stood at the foot of the royal table to take portions of whatever dishes were put there and to put them on the other tables. When the royal meal had ended the deacon took these foods and distributed them to the poor. Every Sunday when they performed the divine mass and the life-giving words [of Scripture] were read aloud before the entire assembly the king did not go empty-handed before the Gospel. Indeed, he was ever focused on his fear of Christ and enthusiastically participated in fasts and prayers together with the queen and all the court and untiringly [g155] commemorated the Saints urging all to belief in Christ. Constantly rejoicing, he grew ever stronger in the hope of Christ and in His eternal goodness.
 The king consulted with his court priests about how to discover the remains of such a desirable and goodly figure. Summoning the abbot of the village he asked whether or not there were any indications [of where the grave might be located] in the church cemetary. [The abbot] replied that there were now many graves in the vicinity of the church and that since the period of the [Iranian] raids and the main foundation of the church, no one had been able to build upon that which the great Gregory had founded. The king proclaimed: "I command that the ground be excavated so that perhaps in the midst of so many graves we shall come upon the grave of the most holy venerable one. We must now place our trust in fasting and prayers and many pleas to All-merciful God, remembering the word of the Lord that a good request is quickly accepted by our generous God."
At this, all the bishops assembled the priests, deacons, and clergy under their jurisdictions and carrying the Lord's Cross, they quickly and unitedly gathered at the king's own personal village called Diwtakan. Great punishment was stipulated for those who delayed. [At Diwtakan] they greatly celebrated the memory of the Saints for three days. Now the king had a custom of standing and paying homage to the entire clergy which had assembled there. He had located the most holy relics of Gregory and the most celebrated Hr'ip'sime' and Gayane' at Darahoj village in the state of Artsakh which a priest named Matt'e' had brought from the Armenian kat'oghikos Yovanne's Mandakuni [A.D. 478-490], and which [reliquaries] had been sealed by his ring. [King Vach'agan] sent for these relics and had them brought to him. When [the relics of] great Gregory arrived at the great assembly at Diwtakan, together with his comrades in martyrdom Hr'ip'sime' and Gayane' [g158], the king, queen, and all the grandee lords traveled a good distance out from the village to meet them. In front went the bishops with their entire retinues of clerics and servitors, group by group, brigade by brigade. Each brigade bore aloft the venerable relics of the Saints together with the Gospel and numerous crosses and various banners. The smoke of fragrant incense rose thickly from the celebrants and was accompanied by the sweet sound of psalms and spiritual songs continually praising God, bestower of the greatest gift of all.
 Thus did the king with the greatest joy greet the Saints along with the crowd. The king himself solicitously attended the priest who carried the relics. Bringing them to the resting place of the Saints, he placed them with [the remains of the] venerable Zacharias and Pantaleon. Then the benevolent king trusted in the firm faith and virtuousness of the people and declared: "Now I am certain that through the intercession of the great Gregory, God will grant me the most holy relics of [Gregory's grandson] the blessed Grigoris."
The king then took the multitude of the most blessed assembly and ordered all the bishops [g159] with the priests, deacons, hermits, and the entire clergy of the Church with their own servitors, each rank carrying Gospels and many crosses and incense censers. The king walked with the priests of the royal court and many servants. Now it was springtime and rain was pouring down on them. The king, therefore, wanted to leave the queen behind. However, she would not consent to this and she too, with a zealous desire, went to look for the Saints. They took along with them the five holy martyrs of Christ, that is, the great Gregory, the venerable Zacharias, the most blessed Pantaleon, and the most renowned and victorious combatants Hr'ip'sime' and Gayane' to intercede with great and all-powerful God so that through them his request would be fulfilled.
The relics of the Saints, wrapped in various royal garments and accompanied by much incense and diverse fragrant flowers, were placed in the litter of the Saints which was covered with red leather decorated with white linen over it. A gold cross adorned with precious stones was attached to the top of the litter. There were white horses with their tails dyed red [g160] and royal horses wearing crowns. The multitude of the servants of the royal court went before and behind this litter carrying crosses and worshipping and praising God with sweet-voices day and night without stop. The king himself walked alongside the litter singing along with the psalms of blessing. The ranks of the bishops, each one accompanied by a large crowd of people, walked at the four corners of the Saints' litter singing psalms and praising the Only-Begotten God and requesting what they all desired, the blessed relics of Saint Grigoris.
 King Vach'agan together with the bishops ordered that no one should eat anything until evening, and then that they should only fortify themselves with a small amount of bread. The king himself followed this regime until the discovery of the Saints. The royal court priests fasted very zealously and beseeched benevolent God. Indeed, there were some who did not eat anything until the remains of the Saints were discovered. Day and night the entire assembly prayed without cease and fervently and loudly called upon God seeking Grigoris whom they all desired. Then the pious King Vach'agan convened a meeting and for an extended time [g161] they prayed for the relics of the venerable Grigoris.
During these days the king sent the priest of Darahoj, Matt'e', with some servitors to Suhar' to hold a service and celebrate mass in the name of the Saints who had been discovered there. Now while they were performing the morning service the priest Matt'e' fell asleep. He heard a loud voice that said: "Look for Saint Grigoris to the east [of the church]." This indeed turned out to be true. First, however, they mistakenly began digging in the cemetary to the north of the church. But subsequently they uncovered the most blessed relics of the venerable one, just as the voice had told them.
At this point the king came from Diwtakan with a large number of the assembly, the bishops, priests, the servitors, with the entire congregation fasting, praying, and beseeching benevolent God, as we have described. They reached the village named Arazhank'. It was here that a deacon of the royal court by the name of Yove'l had a vision before dawn in which he saw himself with a spade on his shoulder searching for the remains of the blessed Grigoris. And then Grigoris himself appeared to the man as a monk wearing a white garment. [Grigoris] asked the deacon [g162]: "What are you looking for?" [Yove'l] replied: "[All of us], the king and all the servitors with the entire brigade of the Aghuans are looking for [the grave of] Grigoris, but we cannot find it." The venerable one took the deacon by the hand and bowed toward the spot where the Saint's remains were buried. He said: "If you are looking for Grigoris, he is there." And he ordered him to dig in that place in the cemetary where there was a small hill surmounted by a cross. The venerable one went onto the hill and stood by the cross. A priest by the name of Nat'an, who was the deacon's brother, and another priest named Gideon (Gedewon) began to dig there. Yove'l, who was on his knees, had a sack in front of him. They had found the relics and were departing in great joy. But just then [Grigoris] called after them: "My ribs and feet are still here. Take them too." And we found [the parts] he mentioned. Waking up, [Yove'l] related his vision to the king. Even though the deacon had never been to Amaras, he said: "I will know the spot he showed me."
 At this, the king was overjoyed. He sent Manase', his court priest, together with the same deacon [Yove'l] to Amaras in advance of his own journey there. When they arrived there, the deacon pointed out the spot where they had found the relics of the Saint. Then [the royal entourage, including] the relics of Saint Zacharias and the venerable Pantaleon [g163], blessed Gregory, the renowned warriors Hr'ip'sime' and Gayane', the king himself, the great assemblage with the bishops, priests, and servitors set out from Arazhank' and arrived at the tiny village of K'arue'ch. A morning service was celebrated there. Here too that same deacon Yove'l had another vision in which four older monks and Grigoris who was the youngest stood around that very place where he had been commanded to dig. In awe the deacon fell on his face, but when he arose and wanted to question [the apparitions], they disappeared. The morning service began that day and the pious king ceaselessly prayed to God for the discovery of the blessed Grigoris, crossing himself with the Lord's sign, and from the innermost depths of his heart greatly beseeching generous God.
 The litter of the Saints, covered in white, was drawn by a white horse and bore a golden cross adorned with precious gems and the priceless crown with its banners on the cross which shone like a star, went first [in the procession] in glory and splendour in the midst of the Christian army. Now when the blessed God-loving assembly entered the village a small river was seen to flow through the settlement and a bridge had been built over it on the royal route. The king, because of his great love for the Saints, would not leave [care of] the litter to anyone else. Instead, he personally dismounted and took it with him as he crossed the river, wearing his royal garments. When they reached the designated place, the king with the bishops and the entire multitude knelt in prayer for a long time so that they would achieve what they sought. Pitching a royal tent over the spot [the king] commanded that it be guarded carefully until [g166] the morning. Now it happened that at that time there was no bishop at Amaras, so they asked the priest at the village monastery and other senior folk whether or not they had seen anything there. They related what they had heard from the hermit Job.
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