History of the Armenians
 [The following] are the princes who
had gone to Vaghes, the emperor of Byzantium from the great king
Arshak, from the land of Armenia:
The great archbishop of Armenia, Nerses
the great nahapet of the Mamikonean tohm, named Vardan, the brother of the great stratelate of Armenia, named Vasak (they were the dayeaks and nourishers of king Arshak),
Mehen, the nahapet of Rhshtunik',
Meharh, the nahapet of Anjewac'ik',
Garjoyl Maghaz, the nahapet of Xorhxorunik',
Mushk, the nahapet of Saharhunik',
Demet, the nahapet of Gnt'unik',
Gishken, the nahapet of Bagenk',
Surik, the nahapet of Hesijor,
Vrken, the nahapet of Habuzhenk'.
These [individuals] went to the emperor Vaghes in an embassy [to confirm] affection and unity. But emperor Vaghes detained and exiled the great chief-priest Nerses, releasing in his place king Arshak's nephews (brother's sons), Gnel and Tirit'. [Vaghes] also sent much, inestimable treasure to placate the mind of king Arshak, entrusting this to Vardan and those with him. The emissaries who had left the emperor came to king Arshak of Greater Armenia  presenting him with the emperor's hrovartak and with it a document of displeasure and accusation. For the emperor had written to Arshak, the king of Armenia, about the blessed Nerses, saying that he had killed his only son, and therefore had been arrested. "And so that you will not in any way blame us, accept the two freed hostages, the brother's sons of Arshak, Gnel and Tirit'." [The emissaries] also laid before the king countless treasures of wealth.
Now when king Arshak heard and saw alI of this, he was ungrateful to the giver and to the bearers of the wealth. He was [g113] moved to intense anger against the emperor, [wondering] how he dared to detain a man [such as Nerses], great and honorable, the head, vardapet, and leader of the land and realm. He said: "[May] many rocks [fall] upon the emperor and upon you, the bearers. We too have many rocks with which to knock out your teeth and his. How can I stand this wickedness done to us? Now I will repay him for this favor." He commanded Vasak, his general, to assemble a force, to organize brigades, and to go and loot the Cappadocian areas.  The general and sparapet Vasak immediately implemented the orders given him; he assembled in one place some 260,000 troops, and looted the Cappadocian areas as far as the city of Ankura. For six years, one after the other, he destroyed the land on the borders of Byzantium. They filled up with much loot and diverse sorts of greatness, visiting upon those areas violence with great, intense emnity.
This man, Xad, was a native of the Karin district, from the village of Marag. He had been raised by the archbishop Nerses and nourished before him. He displayed mental quickness, prominence in the faith, in his position he was trustworthy in all things, especially displaying love for the Church of God. Then the blessed Nerses also entrusted him with superintendency of [g114] the poor. In this too he revealed his special consideration.
Now before the archbishop Nerses left on his journey to the country of Byzantium, he ordained this Xad into the episcopate of  Bagrawand and Arsharunik'. He left him as his locum tenens and departed. Meanwhile the entire land of Armenian language was plunged into mourning over the loss of their shepherd and leader, who had left them: in the different districts and regions and areas, the grandees, holders of lands, lords of districts, nahapets, chiefs of the azgs, the entire covenant of the priesthood, and the united assembly of the people. The blessed bishop Xad commanded the entire land to pray and supplicate [God] that the holy Nerses be returned to them. And the entire period that he was in detention, the people prayed for him with fasting. Xad led them in everything in no way inferior than their natural shepherd, Nerses, until his return, until the Lord fulfilled the requests of the land and returned the blessed Nerses to his place.
In that period Arshak, the king of Armenia, did not traverse the path of God, to any great extent. Just as in his childhood he had acted in accordance with divine wisdom, so to the same extent as an adult he was mired in debauched lewdness.  Although the blessed shepherd Xad reprimanded and reproached [him] many times, he was ignored. In that period the king built himself a dastakert in the so-called valley of the district of Kog. He issued an order throughout all the districts of his authority and had it preached in every public place in his lands (such that every place in his districts was full of the royal command), that if someone, anywhere, was guilty, or was liable to prosecution they might come to the dastakert and flourish. If they had shed blood, [g115] had committed a crime, had abducted a woman, or were guilty, had taken another's wealth, or were afraid of anyone, and if they came to that place there would be no lawsuit or adjudication. And if someone was in debt to someone else and the creditor came to that place, without trial or adjudication [the creditor] would be seized and expelled.
When the royal command had gone forth, there assembled at that place all the thieves and brigands, shedders of blood, killers, liers and harmful seducers, stealers of treasures, dispossessors, false-testifiers, [false] accusers, plunderers, ravishers and covetous people. They had worked many  different crimes, and then fled there. Many women left their men and fled there; many men abandoned their women and fled there; they took other women and fled there; many servants seized the treasuries of their lords and fled there; many depositaries took reserves filled with deposits and fled there; they plundered and ruined the entire eountry. Although the outcry was very great [against it], there was no [law]suit, and the court did not defend anyone's right. Consequently everyone was sighing and lamenting, saying: "Rights have died, and as a result cannot be found. If they had existed and were lost, we would search for them wherever possible and seek to find them."
Now that place became an awan and a city and became so large that it filled the entire valley. Then king Arshak ordered that the dastakert should be named after himself, Arshakawan. They also built a royal mansion there. After this, no one feared his lord at all. Everyone felt dispossession, and cries of sadness increased. As a result of this, the blessed bishop Xad often reproached and reprimanded him, especially when [Arshak] pressured him to "Come, erect an altar in the church at the awan of Arshakawan." But [Xad]  frequently chided and reprimanded king Arshak and all the grandees and princes. He said: "I am a locum tenens, and have [g116] no authority to do anything without [my] father [Nerses] who left me here."
But king Arshak wanted to capriciously deceive the blessed bishop Xad with honor(s) and through greed for wealth. He gave him much gold, many treasures of silver, many steeds from the royal horses, with royal ornaments and silk worked with gold, to deceptively placate him and win him over. But the wealth which [Xad] took from the king, in his presence, he distributed to the poor. Nor did he lessen the reprimands until [the king] ordered that the bishop Xad be expelled from the banak.
Now [Xad] circulated throughout the land, arranging, advising, teaching and providing for the poor as the blessed Nerses had told him to. Many signs of powerful healing of the sick were done by his hands, and he accomplished very many very great miracles. But as he aided the poor and emptied and spilled the new vessels and store-rooms of wine belonging to the apostates, dividing up all the vessels of the store-rooms among the poor, he would go the next day and see them all filled, as if by God's command. Again, each day he would serve the poor, and [the vessels] were always refilled.
Thus were the very great miracles accomplished by this man. He was wonderfully renowned and magnificent throughout all of Armenia. He circulated about advising and teaching the churches of Armenia, everywhere just like his vardapet Nerses. However, once thieves came and stole oxen [belonging] to the church of the blessed bishop Xad. Now the next day the thieves' eyes were blinded and they, without knowing it, gropingly came and brought all the oxen to the blessed Xad's door. Then the blessed Xad himself went outside and saw them, thanking the Lord Who had been so watchful as to visit His believers. Bishop Xad prayed and healed the thieves' eyes. He ordered that they wash and he placed a meal before them, and greatly gladdened them. He then blessed them, gave them the oxen they had stolen, and released them [g117]. Thus did he display great patience in all his affairs, working many signs and miracles. [Xad] had two daughters. He gave one of them in marriage to a certain Asurk who, after [the death of] his father-in-law, held the throne of Xad. 
When the emperor perished, all the shepherding bishops who had been exiled returned and dwelled in their own cities. At that time the blessed kat'oghikos Nerses returned from the desert island where he had been detained. The entire land which had been requesting [his return] was favored with him again. When he returned to the land of Armenia there went before him the bishops of all the districts with their people, all the naxarars, and all the holders of districts. They brought before him all of their sick and he healed them, for which they gave thanks and glory to God. All the people so loved this shepherd that they felt as though they themselves had been returned from captivity with him.
There was much animated rejoicing. Everyone in the land fulfilled their oaths made to the Lord God so that the spiritual treasure and patriarch who had been established for them, would return. And God fulfillled their requests, their painful orphanhood he dispelled, and again consoled them through their kindhearted father's doctrine. All became joyful and their dismal sorrow was replaced with happiness. Even king Arshak went out to meet him, [g118]  as far as the Bak'aser areas, and thence with great gladness they returned. And the morals of the land, the orders and precepts of the churches began to be renewed and to shine.
Now when the patriarch Nerses came to Armenia, he evaluated his locum tenens the blessed Xad, [and observed] that he had stood for truth and propriety and travelled the path of the Lord God, straying neither to the right nor to the left. [Nerses] offered many thanks to God that he found his spiritual son Xad [had acted] as he had wanted, in accordance with his wishes. He found him as he wished. But when Xad told him about all the impieities and the crooked path of wickednees that the king had travelled, he was saddened and mourned and wept, lamenting with excess and with very deep sighs. [He was concerned] especially about the city of Arshakawan, since it had been built with impiety, wickedness, ravishment, and many sins.
So the blessed patriarch Nerses went to the king and spoke with him, saying: "Why have you forgotten the Lord and abandoned His commandments, the Creator Who created everything out of nothing, the Father of orphans and the judge for widows, Who for our sake  descended into poverty, Who does not abandon the poor but in His humanity has nourished them? God is the righteous judge, the mighty, the broad-minded Who heeds all the downtrodden and accepts no contempt. How and why did you dare to scorn His commandments? Was your father not betrayed into ruination for such impudence? But you still have not remembered Him Who did not recall the sins of your father, but placed you in his position, that is [granting] you your father's throne and crown. But you have begun to be impious before the Lord your God and dare to openly boast as you relate your impudence, impiety and injustice so like that of the Sodomites. The entire country is weeping and lamenting for those dispossessions and ravishments by which you wanted to grow great. You were not satiated by the great and extensive abundance of the realms given to you by Christ, the Lord of all [g119].
Now heed what I tell you and do it to try to preserve yourself and spare yourself from the wrath of God. Let not the wretched land of Armenia be lost because of you. For I have seen in a vision that destruction and demolition is about to come over the ruined land of Armenia. Now command that that place [Arshakawan],  be completely demolished, and that the people whom you assembled be dispersed to their own places, and that each return what he owes, so that you will not be plunged into the depths of wicked anger and be destroyed. As for the sins which you have committed we will command all the land to fast and supplicate for you and we shall enter into atonement with you. Who knows, maybe the Lord will forgive the unbelievable sins which you have committed. If you are so desirous of having that place [Arshakawan], I myself will [re]build it with justice, and keep it flourishing before you."
Now the king ridiculed and scoffed at the kat'oghikos' words. But [Nerses] becoming even angrier, repeated: "Know, oh king, that all this was prophesied by the prophets of God, saying: "Woe is him who builds his house, not with justice, and constructs the upper story not with right," and "They will lament, saying, woe to him who greedily seizes what is not his, for if they be beautiful and very great houses, they will turn to ruin, and no human will dwell in them. Rather, they will be pasture for flocks, resting places for beasts, dens for wild animals, lairs for hyenas, rabits, and foxes, nests for cranes and ravens, and fields for sowing. Thus will the works of your hand be ruined, and not be [re]built, and all the impious inhabitants will perish in them. They will become resting places for oxen, pasture for  onagers, and foxes will enter and exit their floors. They will not be [re]built nor inhabited for eternity."
So spoke the patriarch Nerses. He left the king and went and circulated throughout the districts teaching, arranging, correcting and confirming the churches in [g120] all the districts of Armenia. Three days after the venerable Nerses had spoken these words the Lord subjected the town of Arshakawan to misfortunes. Ulcers, or what others call pestilence, started to afflict [the inhabitants] appearing on people and animals. These tribulations were visited upon them no more than three days, until [the city] was devoid of people. Of 20,000 households not a single person remained alive. For they all perished and were destroyed suddenly, and death was general.
After this the king hinself sought out the patriarch Nerses. Finding him, [Arshak] requested that he offer prayers for him lest he too perish (for he was quite terrified). Then  the archbishop Nerses began to speak with the king, saying: "Because the righteous and the sinners are mixed together in this land, the sinners are temporarily spared because of the righteous. It is because of the righteous that the lives of the sinners are prolonged in this land. Just as the weed, sown by the enemy in the midst of clean grain, grows together with it and is spared (so that in plucking out the weed the grain is not also pulled out), so the weed, as the grain is temporarily nourished by the dew, the rain, irrigation, warmth, and the bright light of the sun. So it will continue until harvest time when the harvest of grain is reaped and gathered into the granaries of the Kingdom, while the weed is thrown into eternal fire and burned. This reaping takes place at the end of time [g121] when the Son of God will come and will order the heavenly mshaks who descend Him, to harvest all those who have reposed in the grave and [at that time] come forth. Then will He choose. The righteous, like the grain, He will take with Him to the Kingdom while the sinners, like the weed, He will order cast into the eternal inextinguishable fires.
"Now you, even before the harvest has begun, weeded the tares from the grain, and prematurely gathered them without the grain. And so prematurely the fire came and destroyed the weeds  which were gathered together. But beware lest you and this land be destroyed on your account." The king, on bended knees, beseechingly requested that [Nerses] be reconciled with him, and he made a vow that he would never again deviate from [Nerses'] word.
Now the mardpet Hayr was a man more wicked and morally foul, more impious and unjust than the previous mardpets, styled "Hayr" ["Father"]. It was he who destroyed all the azgs of naxarars in the period of the reign of king Tiran; and similarly, during the reign of Arshak, he committed even more evils toward everyone than anyone [had]. Now he went and circulated about his mardpetut'iwn, and Hayr mardpet descended into the district of Taron to see his villages.
At that time the blessed Nerses was circulating about his own [area] of authority. For they held those fifteen districts under [g122] their personal authority as sephakan, as was natural; they had been stipulated as their's privately. And the principal of those  districts were as follows:
and what was within and around them. Now when Hayr mardpet went to circulate about his principality, the blessed kat'oghikos Nerses had also gone to that foremost place where Gregory had built the first church and the tombs of the martyrs to perform the memorial [services] for the saints. It happened that Hayr mardpet was crossing those places and wanted to go to the blessed places of Ashtishat to pray and to receive a greeting from the holy archbishop Nerses. They prayed and greeted each other. Then the blessed patriarch Nerses ordered that a meal be prepared for those who had arrived. While they were preparing something befitting his senior status, [Hayr] went for a walk from the episcopal residence to the chapels of the saints, strolling in the large and beautiful  place. When he saw the beauty of those places, its lofty elevation and the view which stretched out below (which was very captivating), he placed [his] evil eye on it.
Then the eunuch [returned], entered [the dining room], sat down and began eating and drinking. When he was good and drunk he started speaking arrogantly and presumptuously. He insulted king Trdat, and the dead and living Armenian kings of the Arsacid azg, race, and tohm. He said: "Why were such places as these given not to men, but to people wearing women's dress?" Scorning and deriding the holy places, he continued: "We shall demolish these places, for a royal mansion should be built here. And if I, Hayr mardpet, return alive to the king, I will replace what is here, remove the people here, and construct a royal chamber" [g123].
When the blessed archbishop heard this, he said: "Our Lord Jesus Christ first chose this place to bear His name, by which name every place is glorified together with His Father and the Holy Spirit. He commanded [us] not to covet or desire the belongings  of another. Now whoever greedily desires and covets what has been dedicated to Him, that person will not achieve what he has threatened; rather, his many sins will hinder the intention." After this Hayr mardpet left the holy places, and descended to the banks of the Euphrates river, in a valley dense with forests of wild-plum trees, near the confluence of two rivers where in ancient times Sanatruk the king had built the city named Mcurn.
Now when he reached this place the judgement of the Lord's anger was visited upon the impious Hayr for his deeds and words. He was betrayed into the hands of a man named Shawasp, a remnant of the Arcrunik' azg. While [Hayr] was seated in a wagon and was travelling on the road, Shawasp approached and began to tell the mardpet a fictitious story, saying: "I saw a bear as white as the snow." And he charmed the mardpet into getting out of the wagon, and mounting a steed. Then they entered the forest and lay in wait. When they were in the bushes, Shawasp remained somewhat behind. He hit the eunuch Hayr with an arrow from behind that went right through him. [Hayr] fell to the ground and perished. Thus the words of the man of God had been fulfilled immediately. For no word of [a] man of God falls [unheeded] to the ground [g124]. 
In those times there was a beautiful [woman] named P'arhanjem who was the daughter of a certain Andovk, one of the naxarars of the nahapet of Siwnik'. She was extremely well known for her beauty and modesty. The lad Gnel, the king's nephew (brother's son) married her. The girl's renown for beauty spread about, and her reputation as a beauty grew and increased. Now another of Gnel's cousins (father's brother's son) named Tirit' became passionately inflamed [for her] and so concealed [his desire] until he was able to make her his. After [Tirit'] had attained his wish and had seen [P'aranjem], he sought means by which he might destroy her husband so that afterwards he might be able to ravish her.
Tirit' began to think up treacherous strategems, and he hired many assistants and supporters to carry forward his slander. He treacherously spoke false slander about Gnel to king Arshak, saying: "Gnel wants to rule, and to kill you. All the grandees,  the naxarars and the azats like Gnel and all the naxarars of the land prefer his lordship over them than yours. Now they say, 'look and see what you do, king, so that you can save yourself'" [g125]. Thus did they agitate king Arshak with such words until they had confirmed their statements in the king's mind.
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