The Last Journey of King Levon V: From Parisian Splendor to Saint-Denis

In the heart of Paris, where the echoes of history resonate with the grandeur of its architecture, the story of King Levon V of Armenia unfolds like a tapestry woven with threads of triumph and tragedy. Once a sovereign of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, King Levon’s life took a dramatic turn following the loss of his throne in the fortress city of Sis, leading him to a life of luxury amidst the Parisian elite.

King Levon’s will, a document listing 12 churches and hospitals in Paris, reflects his enduring commitment to faith and philanthropy even in exile. The will also reveals a more personal aspect of the king’s life, acknowledging a number of illegitimate children, whose existence paints a complex portrait of a monarch far from his homeland.

The king’s final days culminated on November 29, 1393, within the regal confines of the Palace of Turnelle. His death marked the end of an era for the Armenian diaspora in Europe. In accordance with his last wishes, a procession of 12 beggars clad in white bore his coffin, a symbol of humility from a king who once wore the crown. Levon himself was adorned in white, a serene contrast to the vibrant life he led.

Decades later, the turmoil of the French Revolution in 1789 saw the desecration of many graves, including that of King Levon, in the Celestine Church. The mob, driven by fervor and fury, left little untouched, sparing no thought for the sanctity of the departed.

Yet, the story of King Levon V does not end in desolation. The French government, recognizing the significance of the past, restored the burial grounds. Today, visitors to the abbey of Saint-Denis can find the white marble tombstone of the Armenian king, resting eternally in the company of French monarchs. His presence in the royal vault serves as a testament to the indelible mark he left on both Armenian and French history.

King Levon’s journey from a throne in Sis to a tomb in Saint-Denis is a narrative of resilience, a reminder that even in death, the legacy of a king can traverse centuries and borders, finding reverence in lands far from the one he once ruled.

This article aims to capture the essence of King Levon V’s life and legacy, offering readers a glimpse into the historical ties between Armenia and France, and the enduring spirit of a king whose story continues to inspire.


Here are some authoritative sources that provide detailed information about King Levon V of Armenia:

These sources should give you a well-rounded understanding of King Levon V’s life and legacy. If you need more specific details or have further questions, feel free to ask!

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