Payment of Debt
According to scholar Sebouh Aslanian at UCLA, “My first monograph was on this fine and smart gentleman, Catholicos Simeon Yerevants’i (r.1763-1780) and his very seminal book, “A Book Called the Payment of Debt,” the very last work printed by the firebrand Catholicos before his death in 1780.
This is indeed a precious book to own since not many copies were printed and it was quite difficult to get a hold of this book when it was published. The Amiras in Istanbul were passing it from hand to hand (if correspondence from San Lazzaro is to be believed).
The work provided basic lessons to well-to-do Armenian elite in the Ottoman capital and elsewhere helping them “refute” the preaching of Catholic missionaries and Catholic Armenians in particular. The book’s principal target was the Mkhitarist congregation and its founder Abbot Mkhitar. The latter were represented as the arch enemies of the Armenian nation qua confession and famously referred to as the “small foxes [ղուեսունք փոքունք] that pollute our fields, or as the “forerunners of the Antichrist” (կարապետք ներինն). Other savory epithets were also used to vilify the Mkhitarists such as “poisonous serpents” (զսողունս դունաւոր) or destructive moths (աւերիչ ցեցք).
The purpose of this book is to say that being a member of the Armenian “nation” meant being loyal to the Holy See of Ejmiatsin and professing the Nicene creed which is central to the Armenian church and its teachings. The book is a tirade against Chalcedon and its followers.”
An eclectic assemblage of objects coving a wide range of human history.