The Mkhit’arist founder Manuk Petrosean from Sebastea or Sivas (later known as Abbot Mkhit’ar) converted to Catholicism in Aleppo after interacting with Catholic missionaries there and also in the eastern edge of Ottoman Asia Min or the mid-169os.
Mkhit’ar founded his order in the Ottoman capital in 1701. When Istanbul became a seething cauldron of anti-Catholic persecutions, Mkhit’ar fled with his disciples to the Peloponnese and eventually in 1715 to Venice where he was granted the lagoon island of San Lazzaro two years later.
The Mkhitarists’ main source of revenue came from the initial grant of the island of San Lazzaro by the Venetian Senate in 1717, and afterward from the sale of their highly coveted printed books as well as the donations and patronage of wealthy Armenian merchants in Istanbul and Ottoman Anatolia.
In the second half of the eighteenth century, much of this revenue was generated by sending Mkhit’arist monks to the wealthy Armenian diaspora settlements in India where a small but very affluent community of Armenian merchants had settled, many of them hailing from the trading outpost of New Julfa on the outskirts of Safavid Isfahan.
Sebouh D. Aslanian
Taken from: Mano Chil