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A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Moses of Khoren


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Moses (5) , of Khoren (Moses Khorenensis )—-called by his countrymen the Father of History—the poet, grammarian, and most celebrated writer of Armenia, was the nephew and disciple of St. Mesrob, the founder of Armenian literature. [See MESROBES.] Born at Khoren or Khorni, a town of the province of Darou, he was one of a band of scholars sent by Mesrob to study at Edessa, Constantinople, Alexandria, Athens, and Rome. There he accumulated very wide historical knowledge (cf. Hist. Armen. iii. 61, 62). Returning to Armenia, he assisted St. Mesrob in translating the Bible into his native language, a work which was accomplished between 407 and 433. This fixes his birth in the early part of cent. v.; though some place it in the latter part of cent. iv. Beyond his literary activity we do not know much about his life. He succeeded Eznig as bp. of Pakrevant, where he displayed great spiritual activity. According to the medieval Armenian chronicler, Samuel of Ani, he died in 488, aged 120. The following works attributed to him are extant: (1) Hist. of Armenia , (2) Treatise on Rhetoric , (3) Treatise on Geography , (4) Letter on Assumption of B. V. M. , (5) Homily on Christ's Transfiguration , (6) Oration on Hripsinia, an Armenian Virgin Martyr , (7) Hymns used in Armenian Church Worship . He wrote also 2 works now lost, viz. Commentaries on the Armenian Grammarians , of which fragments are found in John Erzengatzi, an Armenian writer of cent. xiii., and Explanations of Armenian Church Offices , of which we have only some fragments in Thomas Ardzrouni (cent. vii.). The Hist. of Armenia is perhaps the work of a later writer, but it is in some respects one of the most important historical works of antiquity. It embodies almost our only remains of pre-Christian Armenian literature and preserves many songs and traditions retained at that time in popular memory. For special studies of it see Dulaurier in Journ. Asiat. Jan. 1852. It is also very valuable because it preserves extensive remains of Assyrian, Chaldean, Syrian, and Greek writers. Moses had studied long at Edessa, where the library was very rich in ancient Assyrian chroniclers. This work also throws much light on the history of the Roman empire in cents. iv. and v., and its struggles against the renewed Persian empire and the efforts of Zoroastrianism. It has been translated into Italian by the Mechitarite Fathers (Venice, 1841); into French by V. Langlois in Historiens anciens de l’Arménie (Paris, 1867). See also AE. Carriére, Moise de Khoren, etc. (Paris, 1891); Id., Nouvelles sources de Moise de Kh. (Vienna 1894); Id., La. legende d’Abgar, dans l'hist. de Moise de Kh. ; also F. C. Conybeare in Byzant. Zeitschr. (1901), x. 489 seq.

[G.T.S.]


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Moses of Khoren'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hwd/m/moses-of-khoren.html. 1911.

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Saturday, October 24th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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