Grigor Tatevatsi (1346-1409 or 1410) was a prominent Armenian scholar, philosopher, theologian, and teacher of the Middle Ages. He was the rector of Tatev University in Armenia. Together with his teacher Hovhannes Vorotnetsi, he was one of the main representatives of the Tatev school.
Tatevatsi was born in 1346 in the town of Tmok (now Tmogvi, Georgia) of the Gugark district of Armenia. His father was a craftsman and mother a simple peasant woman. His family had fled from the province of Archesh due to Muslim raids. And after Tatevatsi was born, they moved to Syunik.
Mentor and student
Upon reaching the age of 14, Tatevatsi was sent to study at the Tatev monastic school. Well-known philosopher Hovhannes Vorotnetsi would teach and educate him for 20 years. With his help, Tatevatsi received the rank of vardapet (archimandrite). At the age of 40, he received the rank of protoarchimandrite. In accordance with the will of his mentor, Tatevatsi would become the rector of Tatev University.
Tatevatsi spent his whole life in the Tatev Monastery. However, Muslim raids forced him to move to Metsop monastery in 1402. At this time, the Armenian church was in conflict with Armenians who accepted the Roman supremacy. Tatevatsi also participated in this conflict and achieved the cancellation of the excommunication of the Catholic Armenians from the Armenian Church.
Then, he would travel around the country for some time and lead discussions with the Uniates. Tatevatsi also preached among Muslims. He was engaged in music and painting as well.
The philosophy of Tatevatsi
His philosophy was based on the notion that personal experience allows us to learn more about the world. He was a supporter of the independence of faith and knowledge from each other. According to Tatevatsi, a person should receive training and education before cognition.
The theological and philosophical heritage of Tatevatsi had a great influence on the philosophical thought of Armenia. Armenian philosopher David the Invincible’ philosophy, in its turn, greatly influenced the works of Tatevatsi.
In Tatevatsi’s works, a significant role is given to the relationship between God and nature. He, like Aristotle, explained the divine creation of nature as the transformation of the existing into reality. According to Tatevatsi, the material world is constantly changing. He thought that changing was the pledge of its eternity.
Literature and artwork
Tatevatsi created many theological and philosophical works. These include “Interpretation of the Psalms”, “Book of Wisdom”, “Book of Sermons”, “Voskorik”, and the analysis of the works of Aristotle and Porphyry. In addition, it was thanks to Tatevatsi’s works that Hovhannes Vorotnetsi’s philosophy survived until our days. Tatevatsi also created paintings distinguished by the finest color and disclosure of the inner world of the human.
Grigor Tatevatsi died on December 27, 1409, in the Tatev Monastery. He was buried there as well.
“The second John Chrysostom” and “Gregory the Theologian” – this is how Tatevatsi, a priest of the Armenian Apostolic Church, was called for his eloquent and deep sermons. Grigor Tatevatsi was the last individual to be awarded the title of a saint of the Armenian Church.
Read also: Armenian Philosophers of the Early Medieval Period, Medieval Armenian Philosopher Hovhannes Imastasser, Hovhannes Vorotnetsi