Armenians of Kievan Rus’ and Ukraine

Armenians of Kievan Rus’ and UkraineThe Grand Duke of Kiev Vladimir the Great (978-1015) married Princess Anna with the aim of increasing prestige and strengthening his power. Many Armenian soldiers, scientists, architects, and Chalcedonians accompanied their compatriot Princess Anna to Kievan Rus’.

Vladimir ordered the Armenian architect, who had arrived from Byzantium, to build the Church of the Holy Mother of God.

Armenian architects, stonemasons, and painters actively participated in decorating and expanding the ancient St. Sophia Cathedral, as evidenced by 22 Armenian inscriptions dating back at this time.

Not only people of peaceful, creative work arrived in Rus’ but also soldiers. For the first time, Armenian soldiers, who have been widely known for their bravery, were invited by the Russian princes to military service and acted as part of their troops at the beginning of the 10th century. Armenian detachments participated in the struggle of the Kiev princes with the Polish prince Bolesław I the Brave in 1009. In 1062, the Armenian troops participated in wars against princes and Kipchaks.

In Galicia, Armenian people began to appear around the end of the 10th century, settling near Zamkova Mountain, not far from one of the main trade routes of that time, which by the beginning of the 12th century (according to modern archaeological data) had already become cities. Today, it is the historic Rynok Square of modern Lviv.

In the second half of the 11th century, thousands of refugees rushed to the west after the fall of Ani, the capital of the Armenian Kingdom, which had been captured by the Seljuk Turks in 1064. This significantly increased the Armenian population in Ukraine.

It was in Lviv where the Armenian colony, the most significant area in the territory of Galicia, was established. It played a big role in the development of the region’s economy and culture. Among the many buildings here was also the Armenian monastery Hachkatar with the church of St. Anna. They were consecrated, according to some sources, in 1181-1183.

During the reign of Vladimir II Monomakh (1113-1125), the grandson of Yaroslav the Wise and the Byzantine emperor Constantine Monomakh (Armenian), an entire Armenian quarter appeared in Kiev.

The Armenian community of Kiev mainly consisted of artisans and merchants. The glory of Armenian doctors in Ancient Rus’ was so great that one of them, Agapit from Alexandria, was honored to become the court physician of Grand Duke Vladimir Monomakh.

Armenians participated not only in the economic but also political life of the capital of Rus’. “Armenian” streets appeared in almost all cities. Some of them were the main thoroughfares of settlements.

Over the next five centuries (13th-17th), over 20 Armenian colonies with a population of at least 600 thousand people appeared in Ukraine. By the end of the 17th century, there were already 70 Armenian settlements in Ukraine. In addition to Lviv, the most significant Armenian monuments are located:

Zamost’ye – the St Stanislav Church (1765-1768)

Chernivtsi – the St Gregory the Illuminator Church (1869-1875)

Kamianets-Podilskyi – St Nikoghayos Church (1398)

Lutsk – St Stepanos Church (1378)

Mohyliv-Podilskyi – Trinity Church and St Gregory the Illuminator Church (1772-1791)

Yazlovets – Church of the Holy Mother of God (beginning of the 17th century)

In 1937, with the participation of many believers, the primate of Poland, and the Armenian-Catholic archbishop of Lviv, a coronation took place here.

• Kamianets-Podolsk, an Armenian church.
• City of Lviv, B. Khmelnitsky street, the church of Parascheva Pyatnitsa. Approximately on this place stood the Armenian monastery and the church of St. Anna.
• The coat of arms of the Galician land from the seal of Vladislav Opolsky, 1378.
• The interior of the Armenian church in Berezhany.

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