Mikołaj Torosowicz – Bishop of Lviv of the Armenian Rite

Mikołaj Torosowicz – the thirteenth Lviv bishop of the Armenian rite, was born in 1605 in Lvov in the family of a wealthy Armenian merchant Jacob Torosovich.

In January 1627, the ex-patriarch Melchizedek secretly ordained Torosovich as a bishop in the Armenian church of St. Christ in the Krakow suburb in Lviv (according to other sources, this happened in 1626 in Istanbul).

Since the Armenian community considered him a man who illegally received the episcopal rank, the position of Bishop Torosovich was precarious. It is possible that it was then that Torosovich conceived the idea of ​​a complete break with Etchmiadzin and transfer to the rule of Rome.

In the spring of 1630, the vardapet Christoph (Khachadur) arrived in Lviv from the Catholicos, who was obliged to resolve the conflict between the society and the bishop. Vardapet took the side of the community. He broke off relations with Torosovich, closed the doors of the cathedral in front of the bishop, and demanded a trial of him.

Torosovich understood what the court threatened him with, and he felt what the verdict would be. Then he decided to give himself completely under the care of the Catholic clergy, adopting the Catholic religion. This ceremony took place on October 24, 1630, in Lviv in the church of the Order of the Barefoot Carmelites of St. Michael.

The Pope recognized Torosovich and his heirs on the episcopal throne as archbishops-metropolitans with jurisdiction in Poland, Moldova, and Wallachia.

During the entire time of his tenure on the throne of the Lviv Armenian archbishops (1627-1681), the struggle of local Armenians against the union continued, and violent conflicts occurred, in which the royal power, the Catholic clergy, and the Lviv magistrate often interfered.

The situation in the Armenian Church had a fatal effect on the position of the Armenians themselves – many Armenians began to leave Lviv, the Armenian trade was greatly reduced (especially since 1638), a significant number of Armenians became impoverished.

After a long war with Torosovich, the Armenian elders decided at least de jure to convert to Catholicism.

They gave King Jan Casimir a confessor of faith and agreed to come under the jurisdiction of Rome.

The Lvov Armenian archdiocese nominally covered the entire territory of Poland and Wallachia, but in fact the Wallachian Bishop Isaac was independent of the Lvov Metropolitan.

At that time, there were on average 9 parishes, 13 places of worship, and approximately 23 priests for 3-4 thousand believing Armenians. In Lviv itself, besides several Basilian (Armenian-Catholic) monks, 7 priests served three churches: the cathedral, the monastery of St. Anna with the church of St. Jacob of Nisibis, and the Church of St. Cross.

The Lviv Catholic Armenian Archdiocese existed for over 300 years:

  • 1. Mikołaj Torosowicz – October 24, 1630-1681
  • 2. Hunanyan Vartan – 1681-1715
  • 3. Augustinovich Jan Tobias – 1715-22 December 1751
  • 4. Augustinovich Jakub Stefan – December 22, 1751-January 11, 1783
  • 5. Tumanovich Yakub Valerian – January 11, 1783-September 2, 1798
  • 6. Simonovich Jan Yakub – March 1, 1800-October 3, 1816
  • 7. Varteresevich Kaetan Augustin – July 27, 1820-February 6, 1831
  • 8. Stefanovich Samuel Tsyryl – February 24, 1832-December 8, 1858
  • 9. Šimonowicz Grzegorz Michal – December 8, 1858 – June 14, 1875
  • 10. Romashkan Grzegorz Jozef – April 3, 1876-December 14, 1881
  • 11. Isakovich Isaac Nikolai – July 3, 1882-April 29, 1901
  • 12. Teodorovich Jozef Teofil – December 16, 1901-December 5, 1938
  • 13. Dionysius Kaetanovich (apostolic administrator) – 1938-1954

In 1938, the last archbishop of Lviv, Jozef Teofil Teodorovich, died. After his death, the archdiocese was ruled by the apostolic administrator Dionysius Kaetanovich, who was convicted in 1945 and died in the Gulag.

By Ashot Abrahamyan

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