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Simeon I of Yerevan

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Simeon I of Yerevan or Simeon Yerevantsi (Armenian: Սիմէոն Ա Երեւանցի;[a] 1710 – July 26, 1780) was the Catholicos of All Armenians from 1763 to 1780. In 1771, he founded a printing press at the Etchmiadzin Cathedral, the first in Armenia.[1][2] According to Rouben Paul Adalian, the pontificate of Simeon I of Yerevan marked the reemergence of Etchmiadzin as a "truly important center of Armenian national affairs".[3]


Simeon I was born in 1710 in Yerevan, then under Safavid Iranian rule.[1][4][5] According to his contemporaries and 19th-century sources, his family was of noble origin.[6] He received his education at the monastic school in Etchmiadzin, where he studied with his predecessor as catholicos, Hakob Shamakhetsi, and eventually joined the teaching staff.[1][7] As a legate of the Holy See of Etchmiadzin, he travelled to Istanbul, New Julfa and Madras, the last of which was an important center of Armenian intellectual activity at the time.[1]

He was elected catholicos at Etchmiadzin in 1763.[1] At the time, due to the remoteness of Etchmiadzin in a frontier province of Iran, the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul had become the most important see of the Armenian Church.[1] Simeon took active efforts in order to increase the role of the See of Etchmiadzin and reassert its primacy over the other sees, including by establishing a printing press in 1771, the very first on the territory of historical Armenia.[1] Four years later he established a paper factory to meet the growing needs and costs of the printing press. He furthermore improved the monastic school, which would become a major center of theological learning in the 19th century.[1]

Catholicos Simeon was particularly hostile towards Armenian Catholics and sought to prevent the spread of Catholicism among Armenians, frequently and harshly criticizing them in his written works.[8] He was opposed to the activities of Indian Armenians Shahamir Shahamirian and Joseph Emin, who envisioned the reestablishment of an independent Armenian state.[9][10]

Simeon I died on July 26, 1780, on the holiday of Vardavar. In accordance with his wishes, his former student Ghukas Karnetsi was elected his successor as catholicos.[11]



  1. ^ Reformed orthography: Սիմեոն Ա Երևանցի


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Adalian 2010, p. 543.
  2. ^ Hacikyan et al. 2005, p. 151.
  3. ^ Adalian 2010, p. 300.
  4. ^ Bournoutian, George (1982). Eastern Armenia in the last decades of Persian rule, 1807-1828. Undena Publications. pp. 7–8. ISBN 978-0890031230. Thus until the Afghan invasion and the subsequent crumbling of the Safavids in 1722, Eastern Armenia was under Persian rule.
  5. ^ Floor & Herzig 2012, p. 376.
  6. ^ Aslanian 2004, p. 27.
  7. ^ Aslanian 2004, p. 28.
  8. ^ Aslanian 2004, p. 44.
  9. ^ Aslanian 2004, pp. 71–76.
  10. ^ Khachikyan 1972, p. 206.
  11. ^ Aghaneantsʻ 1894, p. 195 (ՃՂԵ).


Preceded by Catholicos of the Holy See of St. Echmiadzin and All Armenians
Succeeded by