Gregory Pakourianos (Latinized as Gregorius Pacurianus) (Georgian: გრიგოლ ბაკურიანის-ძე), Grigol Bakurianis-dze; Greek: Γρηγόριος Πακουριανός; Armenian: Գրիգոր Բակուրյան, Grigor Bakurian; Bulgarian: Григорий Бакуриани; (died 1086) was a Byzantine politician and military commander of Georgian origin (source: proffesor Bogveradze A., III chapter. 3,p. 267, Tbilisi 1978) He was the founder of the Monastery of the Mother of God Petritzonitissa in Bachkovo and author of its typikon. The monks of this Orthodox monastery (today, the Bachkovo Monastery) in Bulgaria were Iberians.
Origin and physical characteristics
Gregory's origins are a matter for scholarly dispute. He is believed to have hailed from the region of Tao or Tayk, which had been annexed by the Byzantines to the theme of Iberia in 1001. According to the contemporary historian Anna Comnena, who knew Pakourianos personally, Gregory was "descended from a noble Armenian family," while the Armenian chronicler Matthew of Edessa, from the 12th century, saying Pakourianos was of "Vrats'" origin had in mind the religious affiliation of Pakourianos. Gregory himself proclaimed that he belonged to "the glorious people of the Iberians" and insisted his monks to know the Georgian language. In her study on Byzantine administration over the provinces of Armenia, Armenian historian Viada Arutjunova-Fidanjan concludes that Pakourianos was born into a Chalcedonian Armenian family.
Taking into account all the evidence available on Pakourianos, the scholar Nina G. Garsoïan proposed that "the most likely explanation is that [the Pakourian family] belonged to the mixed Armeno-Iberian Chalcedonian aristocracy, which dwelt in the border district of Tayk'/Tao."
In 1064, he participated in the unsuccessful defense of Ani against the Seljuk leader Alp Arslan and his allies: the Caucasian Georgians headed by King Bagrat IV of Georgia and Albanians headed by King Goridzhan. He served afterwards under Michael VII Doukas (1071–78) and Nikephoros III Botaneiates (1078–81) in various responsible positions on both the eastern and the western frontiers of the empire. Since 1071 he was a governor of the Theme of Iberia. As the Seljuk advance forced the Byzantines to evacuate the eastern Anatolian fortresses and the Theme of Iberia, he ceded control over Kars to King George II of Georgia in 1072-1073 but this did not prevent the invaders from capturing the city.
Later he was involved in a coup that removed Nikephoros III. The new Emperor, Alexios I Komnenos, appointed him "megas domestikos of All the West" and gave him many more properties in the Balkans. He possessed numerous estates in various parts of the Byzantine Empire and was afforded a variety of privileges by the emperor, including exemption from certain taxes. In 1081, he commanded the left flank against the Normans at the Battle of Dyrrachium. A year later he evicted the Normans from Moglena. He died in 1086 fighting the Pechenegs at the battle of Beliatoba, charging so vigorously he crashed into a tree.
He was also known as a noted patron and promoter of Christian culture. He together with his brother Abas (Apasios) made, in 1074, a significant donation to the Eastern Orthodox Holy Monastery of Iviron on Mount Athos. He signed the official Greek version of the Typikon in Armenian. He also signed his name in Georgian and Armenian characters rather than Greek. It is assumed that Pakourianos did not know Greek.
Gregory Pakourianos and his brother Abas were buried in a bone-vault house near the Bachkovo Monastery. The portraits of the two brothers are painted on the north wall of the bone-vault house.
- Typikon of Gregory Pakourianos for the Monastery of the Mother of God Petritzonitissa in Bachkovo .
- Asdracha Catherine, La région des Rhodopes aux XIIIe et XIVe siècles: étude de géographie historique, Athen: Verlag der Byzantinisch-Neugriechischen Jahrbücher, 1976, pp. 74-75.
- (Russian) Arutjunova-Fidanjan, Viada. Типик Григория Пакуриана. Введение, перевод и комментарий (The Typikon of Gregorius Pacurianus). Yerevan, 1978, pp. 134-135, 249.
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- Anna Comnena. The Alexiad. Translated by Elizabeth Dawes. London: Routledge, Kegan, Paul, 1928, p. 51.
- On this, see Matthew of Edessa (1991). Մատթեոս Ուռհայեցի`Ժամանակնագրություն (The Chronicle of Matthew of Edessa) (in Armenian). Ed. Hrach Bartikyan. Yerevan: Yerevan State University Press. pp. 160, 500, note 226.
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- Typikon of Gregory Pakourianos for the Monastery of the Mother of God Petritzonitissa in Bachkovo. Page 54, paragraph 71. http://stmaryofegypt.org/typika/typ032.html
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- Arutjunova-Fidanjan, Типик Григория Пакуриана, p. 120.
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- (Russian) Arutiunova-Fidanian, V. A. Типик Григория Пакуриана. Введение, перевод и комментарий. Ереван, 1978, с. 249 (The Typikon of Gregorius Pacurianus, Yerevan, 1978, p. 249.
- Comnena, Anna, “The Alexiad”, Translated by E.R.A. Sewter, Pengium Books Ltd., London, 1969, (reprinted in 2003), pp. 560.
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