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Title: Deux figures prophétiques de l'église arménienne du XIIe siècle pour le dialogue interecclésial
Subtitle: Nersēs Šorhali et Nersēs de Lambron
Author(s): AUGÉ, Isabelle , DÉDÉYAN, Gérard
Journal: Revue des Études Arméniennes
Volume: 41    Date: 2022   
Pages: 159-194
DOI: 10.2143/REA.41.0.3291883

Abstract :
This article deals with two great figures of Armenian Christianity in the Middle Ages. The first part focuses on the catholicos Nersēs Šnorhali. Following a hagiographical text, it enlightens the catholicos rule in a very difficult political context. He’s a very attentive shepherd, very close to his flock and he carries out a efficient charitable activity. In the same time, he’s a real stateman who negotiates with the biggest rulers, like the Byzantine Emperor. Then, the Letter to Leo, addressed by Nersēs of Lambron, Archbishop of Tarsus, to Leo the Magnificent, ruler of Cilician Armenia, allows us to observe an exceptionally constructive relationship between the prelate and the sovereign. Inspired by the frankness, but also by the charity of the Apostle Paul of Tarsus, emboldened by the great renown of his princely house and the evangelizing action of the catholicos from the Pahlawuni dynasty, Nersēs clearly recognizes the royal prerogatives, but blames Leo for carrying out secular institutional reforms on the model of the Franks and, at the same time, for listening to the reproaches of the clergy of Greater Armenia concerning the ecclesistical reforms carried out by himself on the Latin model. Nersēs invites Leo to join the cohort of Holy kings of the third and fourth centuries, and to become aware of the increase in royal prestige, following the influx of Greeks and Latins to the cathedral of Tarsus. It affirms the primacy of the Sees of Rome and Constantinople. He is the best ambassador of the Cilician monarchy to the Christian emperors.

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