Sahak Partev – Catholicos of All Armenians Who Initiated the Translation of the Bible into Armenian

Sahak Partev - Catholicos of All ArmeniansSahak Partev was the 10th Catholicos of All Armenians. He was the main contributor to the translation of the Bible into Armenian. He also was the author of sermons and festive spiritual hymns on gospel subjects.

According to some sources, St. Sahak Partev was born in Constantinople into the family of St. Nerses. His family was descending from St. Gregory the Illuminator, the first Catholicos of Armenia.

Sahak Partev became the Catholicos of all Armenians at the very time when a significant part of Armenia came under the authority of the Sassanid Empire (Iran). The rulers who followed Mazdaism tried to suppress the national and religious identity of the subordinate Armenian people.

Christianity turned out to be the only real force that contributed to the self-assertion of the Armenian culture. But for its strengthening, Armenians needed to have the Holy Scriptures in their native language.

With the support of Sahak Partev, his associate Mesrop Mashtots restored and supplemented the Armenian alphabet, created a system of Armenian writing, and began translating the Bible. The translation was based on Assyrian and Greek manuscripts which were delivered to Armenia by special envoys of Sahak.

A group of translators led by the Catholicos soon completed their work on the Old Testament, and Mesrop alone translated the entire New Testament. Sahak Partev established schools and published the works of Armenian priests and other writers in Armenian.

From that time, the rapid development of Armenian literature began. According to Mesrop’s biographer Koryun, many scholars and writers have graduated from the schools founded by saints Sahak Partev and Mesrop.

Russian Archbishop Filaret Gumilevsky called Sahak Partev the second enlightener of Armenia after Gregory the Illuminator. In the entire history of the Armenian Apostolic Church, only Grigor III Pahlavuni (1113–1166) occupied the position of the Catholicos longer than Sahak Partev (387 – 428) did. For his deeds aimed at ensuring the preservation of the Armenian identity, the Armenian Church remembers Sahak Partev as one of its greatest saints.



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