Georgian Churches in Georgia and in Armenia - Part V

19.09.19 17:15

The discussion outlines that Tashiri was a part of Gugareti. Irrespective of the fact that Gugareti, hence, Tashiri, was a Georgian land since ancient times, empowered Armenia conquered it from time to time but failed to prevent it from being Georgian. It was done by the Soviet authorities when, during the process of the delimitation of the Georgia-Armenia border, Stalin initiated that Lore and Tashiri were to be handed over to Soviet Armenia.

Let’s go back to S. Karapetyan’s reference map where he writes that as though the place-names Boghnopor, Manglispor, etc. were primary Armenian ones, and that Kartli, Bolnisi, Manglisi, etc. were secondary. As we have already seen, the province was totally conquered by Armenia, and, in that period, some of the Georgian place-names were substituted by corresponding Armenian ones. There is nothing special in it; such toponymic transformations have occurred in other countries’ historical geographies as well.

Whenever Georgia regained it own Gugareti, Lore, Tashir, Georgian place-names were naturally restored. However, some of the Armenian ones were maintained. “It is a noteworthy fact that names of the cantons, included in Gugark and Tashir, were suffixed with -por, corresponding to the Georgian khevi ‘valley’. The cantons of Armenian provinces proper are, as a rule, suffixed with -dzor (Hakobyan, T. S. Historical Geography of Armenia. Yerevan, 1968; p. 60, ft. 1 [in Armenian]). This attests that the Georgian nomenclature of these historical geographic entities is primary and their Armenized versions are translations. This is natural because, as we know, Gugareti “Gugark,” and Tao “Taik”… are Georgian provinces.”

I believe that this is an accurate and scientifically substantiated conclusion denouncing S. Karapetyan’s attempt to manifest Gugareti and Tashir as primary Armenian place-names and leaving it as just an empty statement.
Now, let’s go back again to S. Karapetyan’s reference map demonstrating its author’s unbridled desire to increase the number of Armenian churches in Georgia to as many as possible. However, before speaking about the reference map, I’d better outline S. Karapetyan’s scholarly activities. We should begin with the book Georgia’s State Policy and Monuments of Armenian Culture (1988-1991) (Yerevan, 1998 [in Armenian]). In the book, he refers to the Georgian and Azerbaijani nations as “destructors of civilization,” that is, he referred to them as barbarians; he allowed himself to make foul-mouthed comments towards the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II. I published a critical article about the book in which I blamed Karapetyan’s anti-Georgian vagaries and, based on factual data, unveiled its pseudo-scholarly content.
I think it would be adequate to touch upon some of P. Muradyan’s works: initially, he targeted all the Georgian place-names ending in the genitive case marker -is, declaring that all of them were Armenian. When this “discovery” was not acknowledged, he targeted the Holy Cross Church of Mtskheta, claiming that it had been built by the Armenian architect Todsak. Georgian scholars (V. Beridze, M. Lortkipanidze, I. Abuladze, Z. Aleksidze, etc.) gave adequate replies but, “one may as well talk to a blank wall!”, he did not pay the slightest attention and kept on doing his business. Here is a document: the prominent Georgian scholar Kalistrate Salia sent a letter from Paris writing: “Paruyr Muradyan published a paper in French about the Holy Cross Church of Mtskheta in Revue des Études Arméniennes; he published not the original of the Armenian inscription but rather the photo made by his friend; he halved the pedestal in order to say that there was no enough space. Interested scholars said that it was P. Muradyan committed unprecedented scientific falsification.

It should be noted that the three or four-line Armenian inscription on the Holy Cross Church of Mtskheta, one of the earliest and unique monuments of Georgian architecture, belongs to the period following the 7th c and is an occasional scratch; it hardly has any scientific value as compared to the Georgian eleven-line inscription. The two inscriptions have a single word in common: sulta ‘of the souls;’ this is why P. Muradyan tries to artificially re-date the Holy Cross Church of Mtskheta. The Georgian inscription mentions Stephanos Patrikios, Demetrius the Hypatos, and Adarnese the Hypatos. Nothing similar occurs in the Armenian one. Despite of P. Muradyan’s attempt, the Armenian scratch is not on par with the Georgian inscription and, thus, cannot be assumed as a ktitoral inscription.

This was why he scratched, drew and decorated the Armenian inscription of the Holy Cross Church of Mtskheta and thus published in Paris. Owing to K. Salia, Muradyan’s fraudulent activities were unveiled soon and international scholars learnt about his “deeds.”


P. Muradyan’s main milestone, that is, his view that Todosaki was ethnic Armenian, became groundless and was smashed like a toy house. The prominent specialist of the Greek language and history proved that Todosaki was ethnic Greek and not Armenian!....




Author Bondo Arveladze

To be continued

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