Grigor Tatevatsi and the Sacraments of Initiation
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This thesis investigates the sacraments of initiation of Grigor Tatevatsi (1346-1409), one of the most prominent ecclesiastical leaders of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian in Armenian Church Patristic and Other Essays examined Tatevatsi’s sacraments of initiation, and declared that Grigor Tatevatsi abdicated the theology of the Armenian Apostolic Church and integrated many important issues from Thomas Aquinas. This study challenges Ashjian’s statements, and by examining the political, historical and theological context, elaborates the sacraments of initiation of Grigor Tatevatsi in different colours. At the beginning of the fourteenth century, according to a missionary programme of Rome, successful work was started by the Latin Church in Armenia. During the crucial period for the Armenian Christianity, in time of political, social, intellectual and ecclesiastical changes, Grigor Tatevatsi becomes one of the dominating figures, and the first chapter examines his life. The second chapter of this work examines the purpose of the Dominican Order in Grand Armenia, and the origin of the Unitors, the Latino-Armenian Brotherhood, during fourteen century. The last three chapters deal with Tatevatsi’s sacramental theology of initiation. The third chapter focuses on the sacrament of baptism, the fourth chapter investigates the sacrament of confirmation, and the fifth chapter deals with the sacrament of communion and elucidates how Tatevatsi sees the sacrament that unites us to Christ. These three chapters compare the theology of Grigor Tatevatsi within that of Thomas Aquinas, showing how Tatevatsi engaging with Aquinas, not to abdicate Armenian theology but to defend it within the context of wider Christian practice, comparing Latin, Greek and sometimes Syriac practice to show that Armenian theology reads the early Christian tradition in ways that sometimes differ from the other traditions, but are not inferior to them.