CHAPTER 3 ARRAN IN THE PERIOD OF ARAB DOMINATION

Persecuted by the Albanian Catholicos Stepanos, one of the prominant scholars of the time – Mkhitar Gosh, was given shelter by Prince Vakhtang. Mkhitar Gosh, the condifier of Armenian law, began to write his codes of law in Heterk43. Mkhitar Gosh testified that Hassan was the ruler of the principality, and his domain was a piece of the abolished Armenian Kingdom. Vakhtang and his five brothers built in 1991 the monastry of Nor Getk for Gosh in the Aghstev valley**. They confirmed this fact in a lithographic inscription. Gosh presented the Prince of Princes with a copy of his book.

Though the Khachen principality was also reduced to vassalage as Armenia, but practically it was an independent autonomous state, ruled by a sovereign prince. In a colophon of Georgian manuscript we read that Prince Vakhtang of Khachen sent the Georgian King David a horse, in return for the fortress Gardman and a town.*** The tombstones and cross-stones of that period prove that the horse continued to be an object of warship in Artsakh.

The Khachen princes continued to fight heroically against various Seljuk chieftains and rebellious lieutenants. They fought both in Khachen and in Armenia. Vakhtang’s brother Vassak, for example, fell on the battlefield in Siunik in 1201, fighting the Turks. Thus, the defence of Armenian eastern borderlands was realized by the joint army under the Zakarians. Vakhtang died in 1212. As he had no heirs (his two sons were dead) the Atabek Ivane Zakarian, following his centralizing policy, annexed the Hatenk principality to Verin Khachen (Tsare). His sister Dop, whose husband had also died, resided there.

After the death of her husband, Vakhtang’s widow Arzu Khatun, who was the daughter of Tpghis Emir Kurd Artsruni, built the basilica of Dadivank and decorated the pulpit with miraculous covers and embroidered curtains.

With the help of his mighty brother, Dop was famed for her independent and flourishing Verin Khachen, that’s why the principality as well as the residing family was called Dopian, The principality covered a large territory; from the shores of the lake Sevan(Gegharkunik) to the Artsakh lowlands.

Even during this period the ecclesiastical conflicts between the Armenian monophysite and the Byzantine dyophysite churches did not cease to exist. The Byzantine higher clergy did not give up their political strivations, as the existence of Armenian independent country hindered their political and religious overloadship of the east. The new Greek suggestions were discussed in the Cilician Armenian religious residence of the Catholicos. The priesthood of north-eastern Armenia was also invited to take part in the meeting. But instead of arriving in Cilicia, they sent a letter, refusing to unite. At last everybody understood that by the term “unification” the Byzantine Church meant “subordination’ to their faith, and abolishment of others. As a result of the refusal, the Armenians were forced to adopt Chalcedonianism. The most prominent Armenian political dealer of the period, Zakare Amirspaslar was authorized to carry out the task. Probably certain doctrinal and liturgical differences between the Armenian and Georgian Churches hindered his centralizing policy. But the Armenian church didn’t give up its claim to represent an authentic apostolic tradition. Zakare was opposed even by his nephew Grigoris (Dop’s son) who was the head of Haghpat monastry.

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