SAROYAN, ARMAN (2022) THE ORIGINS OF ARMENIAN PHILANTHROPY:
NERSĒS THE GREAT AND THE QUESTION OF THE
(CRITICAL EXAMINATION). Doctoral thesis, Durham University.
This thesis investigates the work of Nersēs the Great, who was one of the most prominent ecclesiastical leaders of the Armenian Apostolic Church in the 4th century. In Armenian church history, Nersēs is esteemed as a founder of the
philanthropic movement. There is, however, no consensus regarding the origins of Armenian philanthropy. Through an examination of late antique Armenian sources, this work will explore important similarities and some differences
between the philanthropic institutions of Nersēs and those of Basil of Caesarea. This exploration suggests that Nersēs’ philanthropic movement was a part of a broad movement that began to emerge in Greek world prior to Eustathius or Nersēs.
An introductory chapter examines the 4th century historical environment of Armenia Major, which allows us to appreciate how various political, religious and social challenges influenced the emergence of the philanthropic movement of
Nersēs. The second chapter considers, first, the sources that tell us about the origins of Nersēs’s philanthropic movement and, second, it addresses the dating of the
Council of Ašhtišhat. In the third chapter, I investigate the similarities and differences between the philanthropic institutions of Nersēs and the Basiliada. The fourth chapter considers social justice in Armenian and Basilian traditions of philanthropy. In the 5th chapter, I show how the sponsorship of philanthropy was organized in both traditions and that parallels exist between the two traditions in relation to their concern with tax relief for the poor. In the 6th chapter, I consider a few important questions concerning the possible relationship between Eustathius and Armenia. In the seventh chapter I question the standard view that the charitable agencies of Nersēs did not continue after his death because of the antichurch policy of the Armenian King Pap (369-375). My conclusion suggests that the observed parallels between the philanthropic movement of Nersēs and Basiliada enables us to hold that they both stem from a common tradition, that particularly the West could have served as a source of inspiration for the philanthropic movement of Nersēs.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Doctoral)|
|Award:||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Keywords:||Nersēs the Great, Armenian Philanthropy, Poorhouse, Guesthouse, Basiliada, St. Basil, Eustathius of Sebaste.|
|Faculty and Department:||Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||10 Jan 2023 11:31|