Today is the Mekhitarist Order founder Mkhitar Sebastatsi's birthday
Famous public and church figure Mkhitar (Manouk) Sebastatsi was born on February 7 1676 in Sebastia, in the family of Petros and Shahristan. He received his primary education in Surb Nshan Monastery of Sebastia. After finishing it, in 1691 he studied in the monasteries of Echmiadzin, Karin and Sevan. In 1695, Sebastatsi left for Aleppo, where he got acquainted and got closer to Latin-origin clerics. Before leaving for Aleppo, Mkhitar Sebastatsi had already been ordained as a deacon. In 1696, he was ordained a celibate priest and three years later - a vardapet.
Mkhitar Sebastatsi was only 20 years old when he decided to establish a unity that would support the spiritual and cognitive prosperity of his nation and the members of which were not to be restricted by the clergy. Already in 1697, Sebastatsi shared this idea with Khachatur Erzrumetsi, who welcomed it and expressed hope to provide his support.
By 1700, Sebastatsi had already found 8 students. He started propagandizing catholicism, printed four religious books. In order to avoid religious persecution, Sebastatsi moved the Order to Methon city in Venice for two years, where he later built the first Armenian church.
In 1712, the Pope approved the Constitution of the Order and Sebastatsi was given the title of abbot. In 1717, St. Lazarus Island was transferred to the Mekhitarist Order.
Being a clergyman, Sebastatsi has never been restricted to spiritual and religious problems only. He always paid attention to the sick and the poor, who usually received adequate help. Sebastatsi founded a church and a school on the island of St. Lazarus, defining it as a university. He also founded a matenadaran, published 50 books, most of which were religious.
He published Bible with translation of 7 other languages which brought him great fame and praise. The book «Vocabulary of the Armenian Language» that has an indisputable role in Armenology, was not published during Sebastatsi’s lifetime.
Sebastatsi died on April 27 1749. He is buried in St. Lazarus Island of Venice. Due to his patriotic activities, he was given the titles «The second illuminator of the nation», «The second Mesrop» during his lifetime. After his death, the Order was called Mkhitaryan and it still preserves «Mekhitarist traditions». In nowadays Yerevan there is an educational complex, named after Mkhitar Sebastatsi.
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