Two Valorous Kings of Pakradouni's Dynasty:
Abbas Defeating King Ber of Northern Region, (930-952 A.D.) and Ashod Voghormadz, the Good-hearted Sovereign of Armenians, (952-977 A.D.)
The last paragraph's sentence in the 1993 issue of this Directory concerning the Armenian History was as follows:
"Weary and tired after 16 years of wars and troubles, a short but peaceful period marked Ashod Yergat's life. Having no children, he called his brother Abbas near the death bedside for reconciliation and said to him: "If you wish to have my crown, it belongs already to you and to your children".
"He died as a hero for his country, in A.D. 930".
Soon after the mourning days, Abbas was sacred king of Armenia, with the consent and the collaboration of Catholicos Hovannes the Historian and king Gakig Arzrouni of Vasbouragan. Abbas, since his promotion to the royal throne of his country manifested his governing abilities and other exceptional qualities of a perfect man: he was instructed, clever and a prudent man. Instead of a central and unified power in order to govern Armenia he preferred to let other nakharars to exerce separately their authority over their own lands, even if this procedure could represent some danger for the country in time of war against eventual intruders. He claimed however there strict collaboration with the central acting force he took in his proper hands. Then existing little kingdoms were the Vasbouragan, the Sunik and other secondary but unharmful regions surrounding the Pakradounis' leadership.
Two years later, after Abbas' accession to the power, the Arab vosdigan reigning in Aderbadagan, coming from the city of Tabriz at the south-east confines of Armenia, and passing by Nakhichevan, conducted his troops till under the walls of the city of Twin, claiming hard taxes with evident and provocative arrogance. Abbas faced the silly intruder with the assistance of his valiant army-general Kevork Marzbedouni. Even if the Arabs had a primary propulsive success in their attacks, they yielded soon when Gakig Arzrouni, king of Vasbouragan, came to support Abbas joining him near the Khor Virab with valorous fighters and forcibly induced them in a tight trap, like a crashing forceps. Many prisoners were taken and conducted to the Tarunianz (Bayazet) stronghold.
If the late brother Ashod reigned along 16 years of relatively tumultuous period, Abbas enjoyed more fortunate times. The despot Arab vosdigan Yusup had been killed during a battle in the Aderbadagan region, and on the other hand Byzantine forces had registered big and successful actions everywhere against the Arabs, expelling them out of the regions of Aghznik, Daron, Mardin and Mesopotamia.
The Arab world meanwhile politically split and a period of unsteadiness prevailed. The dominating dynasty of Fatimians ruled in Egypt, Persia remained separated from the Arab influence even trying to restore its supremacy over the powerful Arab city of Bagdad. It was right and propitious time to act. The Byzantine empire, favored by the boldness and the perspicacity of its Armenian general, removed completely any Arab influence over Armenia. Then reigning emperor Constantine II Porphyrogenes fastened the friendly ties with the Armenians creating new military and civil or social mutual agreements.
Chief of the commanding staff of the Byzantine armies, Kourken the Armenian conquered one by one the city of Malatia, Mezpin, and soon after reached easily the shores of Tigris river. Helping Kourken in his warlike enterprises were his brother Theophilos and the contributing assistance of his son Romanos, known among the Byzantines as a bright and young militiaman. Returning to Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, the population reserved to Kourken a meritorious reception, with huge festivities never seen before. Recovering the long time coveted freedom from the Arab yoke, it was an opportune time for Abbas to undertake the great constructive work in the country.
First of all Abbas transferred his capital from Shahabivan to Kars. The city of Shahabivan being erected in a flat plain and consequently too much exposed and easily vulnerable region before any attack of foreign invaders, he preferred to move to Kars, a city dominating as a stronghold atop a hill. During centuries, the city of Kars has been one of the most impregnable and famous fortresses of Northern Armenia. Gorgeous buildings and artistically beautiful and perfect churches were erected. Let us remember also the names of some famous monasteries, such as Horomos, Klatzor and Kamerchazor.
Situated on a secluded and very secure region, far from the sordid rapaciousness of Aderbadagan's Arab vosdigans, Abbas ordered the construction of new and magnificent palaces and castles. The central cathedral was erected with exceptionally gorgeous marbles dominated by a sky-reaching dome. In 937 A.D. Abbas decided to proceed for festivities preparing the opening and the legal and official consecration of this church. Learning about the imminent event, a vassal-king of the Northern region of Armenia, names Ber, and heading a huge army of warriors, tried to intimidate Abbas with a foolish proposal: "I come, -he said, -to consecrate that church with the own rite of our country. Should you forbid me to act properly as I wish, I will convert your country into a desert."
Trying to realize his brainless aim, Bar surreptitiously came with thousands of soldiers to compel Abbas to do what he wanted. Unexpectedly many of these soldiers were massacred without pity, and the remaining tried to escape toward their northern regions. But they fell under the pursuing forces of Abbas' military men. Even Ber himself was taken hostage and brought directly to Kars.
Ber was conducted at the doors of the church, where Abbas told him. "Look well to the church you wished consecrate according to your rite, because you will never see it again."
Ber was blinded on the spot with red-hot iron. Heavy ransom was given to liberate the life of Ber by his army men, who swore not to bother Armenians anymore. Spiritual and religious ceremonies marked the consecration of the church in the presence of civil and ecclesiastical authorities, where a cheerful and praying people followed the sacred festivities. All politicians and clergymen were invited to live together in perfect harmony.
Abbas I, the brave Pakradouni king died in very old age, and his son Ashod III succeeded him on the throne. Ashod III has been the most sympathetic monarch of Armenia. He was a kind and generous person, interested about the intimate life and happiness of his own people, who gratefully called him Voghormadz (in Armenian language that means good-hearted, loving person or dedicated to do well all around), because even if wearing the royal purple and behind the showy display of external richness and high authority, he did a gentle and benevolent spirit towards the people. He dedicated himself to promote the flourishing, the embellishment and the growth of his country, and searched the means to defend it vigorously. During his reign many philanthropic and charitable institutions, hospitals, retirement houses, shelters, retirement houses, shelters for invalids were founded. He personally cured poor and sick people. He invited every day beggars and other homeless persons to share his meals at the Court, serving them wine and refreshing beverages filled up in his own royal cups, and calling brother, friend all this wretched and pitiful forlorns, with a magnificent Evangelical spirit of compassion.
Contemporaneous writers praise Ashod III as a clever, ingenious and handsome man, son of an admirable father, having a pretty looking and perfectly shaped body, religiously devote and repelling all wicked and bad behavior and habits, so that he rigorously and continuously persecuted all kinds of outlaws, malefactors and evildoers.
The entire city was ready to proceed for the crowning of the king. Everywhere cheering people, banners and richly ornamented stands… The king of neighboring Aghvans and their patriarch, 40 Armenian bishops, monastery priors and clerical representatives, princes, chief rulers and other vassal-kings attended the ceremony with their military parades. The Armenian army, heavily armored and in gorgeous performance, was ready to honor his king, under the commandment of Gor Marzbedouni.
Then the Catholicos Ananis Mogatzi, in company with all his ecclesiastical hierarchy, proceeded to the anointment of Ashod's front and then deposed the huge, rich and sparkling crown on his head. All the assistance and the little kings presented their allegiance and submission…
This has been a glorious day for the newly founded city of Ani, and a day of joy and mutual congratulation for all Armenians (961 A.D.) For what concerns the political situation, outside of Armenia, many Arab vosdigans taking advantage by the weakening of power of the central authorities residing in Bagdad, transgressing all legal limits of power and domination, induced the populations to pay their taxes, and in the meantime, they revolted against the authority of Khalif…
One of these vosdigans, named Hamdoon, governing the Mesopotamian region, and a portion of Aghznik region in Armenia, dared to claim taxes also from Ashod, who categorically refused to execute such abnormal exigencies. Invading with a huge army the region of Daron, Hamdoon sent a delegation to the Armenian king reitering his exigencies. However Gor Marzbedouni and his well-trained army men inflicted him with a severe lesson of precaution and discretion. Soon other forces joined Ashod's regiments, specially the Sassounzis, forming this way a unique and strong army, which has been able to crush the Arab forces, hostaging Hamdoon himself. This boasting man was beheaded on the post and his head was sent to the Khalif of Bagdad.
The Khalif, feeling himself free from a dangerous rival, and appreciating the courageous act of Ashod, thankfully sent him precious gifts and a bi-leveled crown, naming Ashod Shahi Armen, which means king of Armenians: that was a good sign for an official recognition of the Armenian Kingdom.
New troubles expected Ashod; troubles coming from his brother Moushegh, just in time when leaving the central residential city of Kars he intended to transfer to Ani, the nation's new capital. Without hesitation, Moushegh declared himself king of Kars, and Vanant region. For a short time, however Ashod feeling himself offended, didn't agree with the rebelling behavior of his brother. Shortly after, however, Mooshegh prudently gave up and with all other little kings of the surrounding regions submitted himself to the authority of King Ashod.
The renowned emperor of Byzance Hovhannes Chemishkik, an Armenian native from Pokr Hayk and grand-son of the brother of Kourken, after his clamorous victories against the Russian armies near the river Danube, and other Arab occupants in Cilicia and Mesopotamia, turned his weapons against the Khalif of Bagdad, in 974 A.D., pretexting the capture and assassination of his army commander Mleh and other 40 militiamen in the Arab city.
Approaching the Daron region, Ashod faced the Byzantine armies with suspicion, unaware of what was happening all around his kingdom. He prudently alerted all his forces in order to avoid any unexpected eventuality. But Chemishkik reassuring Ashod about his intentions, the two leaders confirmed their agreement for a mutual and solid collaboration. Chemishkik was unable to fight the Arabs, because of their strong fortifications, and so he changed his mind from invading those lands and returned to his kingdom.
Besides the city of Ani, Ashod ordered the construction of the famous monastery of Haghpad, which served for a long time as an educational and scientific center (A.D. 967). The other famous monastery of Sanahin was constructed by the orders of his wife Khosrovitoukhd. In 977, Ashod III, the good-hearted king of Armenians, died, establishing the everlasting memory of a gentle and valorous king of Armenian History.
Next year, a comprehensive and complete description of the city of Ani will be given, in order to relate to our readers about this exceptional and magnificent city where king Ashod reigned as an exemplary monarch and manifested his philanthropic activities. One thousand and one churches were erected in the city of Ani, rivalizing with luxury and extraordinary architectural beauty.

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