CHAPTER 4 THE KHACHEN PRINCIPALITY IN X-XIII CENTURIES

After the death of Ashot II, his brother Abbas I (930-952) came to the throne in Armenia. He chose the Kars fortress of Vahand as his residence.

The Abkhaz tribe was beginning to liven up in the north of Armenia. Their king Ber invaded Armenia with an enormous army, trying to capture Kars and subjugate the whole country, as he noted himself, ” to possess the temple built by Abbas”.16

Ber’s army was defeated in the very first battle. The lofty king was enchained and carried to Kars, to have a look “on the temple built by Abbas”.

Sahak Sevada was succeeded by his elder son Hovhannes. As the last historiographer of “The History of Albania Dashkhurantsi wrote, “Our God the Christ chose Hovhannes, who was also called Senekerim, achieving the royal status. This way our all-mighty Lord restored the abolished kingdom”.17 The Persian King sent a throne, a light-footed horse and a royal tunic to the Albanian King Sanekerim-Hovhannes (958-1003). The representative of Byzantine Empire David Magistros presented the king “with a royal purple garb, praising and honouring that godly man, who was anointed by the patriarchal hand (probably by Catholicos Theodoros I) to glorify Jesus Christ”.18 Senekerim chose the city Parrisos as his residence, which was situated on Shamkor stream near the present day Azerbaijani Kelakend village).19 Parrisos stretched from the Mrrav mountains to the city of Shamkor, covering the whole Gardmank. The medieval Armenian historian Asoghik testified that the mother of King Abbas of Kars was the sister of Parrisos princes Senekerim and Grigor (who was blinded by the Armenian King Ashot II)20.

During that period of the ninth century Hamam-Grigor’s grandson Ishkhanik reigned in Shaki-Kambechan. He inherited the royal title from his father Atrnerseh. The sister of Georgian Prince of Princes Gurgen’s sister was Ishkhanik’s mother. Following his mother’s advice, Ishkhanik converted the Shaki- Kambachan Armenians to the Chalcedonian faith, depriving them of the Armenian origin and environment.21

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