Talk:Bana cathedral

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


It's clearly said in Georgian Chronicles that Bana was constructed by King Adarnase II of Iberia in the 7th century the church was reconstructed by another Georgian ruler Adarnase IV of Iberia at some point between 881 and 92. There are Georgian frescos and a Georgian inscription in the Asomtavruli script[1], not Armeanian. Please, Armenian contributors, double check information before deleting it. --ZviadPochkhua (talk) 21:39, 12 May 2016 (UTC)+ To clarify, the Banak Cathedral is originally an Armenian cathedral. It is a signature lobe-supported conical Armenian church of the 7th century. Other such Armenian churches are St Savior in Ani, Goosanats in Ani, St Sarkis of Khedzkonk, Zvartnots, St Gregory the Illuminator in Ani, and Marmashen. I've been made aware (by User:Kober) that Banak was restored by Georgians a few centuries after its construction. This does not cease it from being an Armenian church. More to come... Georgian users, please do not vandalize page without proper discussion on this talk page first. Serouj (talk) 19:34, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

Serouj, throwing accusations of vandalism around and generalization to “Georgian users” is never helpful. You have also removed the Georgian and non-Georgian references. But let’s leave that behind and focus on how to make the article neutral and readable. --KoberTalk 17:58, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
You are right, but the vandalism needed to be put to an with discussion first. The IPs were all from Georgia, hence the generalization. Serouj (talk) 07:44, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
To whom clarify?!
  • Abashidze, Irakli. Ed. Georgian Encyclopedia. Vol. IX. Tbilisi, Georgia: 1985.
  • Amiranashvili, Shalva. History of Georgian Art. Khelovneba: Tbilisi, Georgia: 1961.
  • Grigol Khantsteli. Chronicles of Georgia.
  • The Treasures of Tbilisi, New York Times. September 30, 1990.
  • Rosen, Roger. Georgia: A Sovereign Country of the Caucasus. Odyssey Publications: Hong Kong, 1999. ISBN 9622177484
All these reference sources say that Bana is armenian Cathedral?!--Rastrelli F (talk) 17:43, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Banak is a signature Armenian cathedral. It is true that there might have been a Georgian restoration of it at some point, but that does not keep it from being an original Armenian cathedral. You may add info to the article in this regard, but to deface it of its Armenian origins constitutes vandalism. Serouj (talk) 21:29, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm having trouble locating some of these sources, and the NYT article doesn't seem to mention this church specifically. The source I do have, though, (The Treasures of Georgia, by Vaxtang Beriże et. al., London: Century Pub., 1984) indicates that it is indeed Armenian. The book has a lot of good information; I'll try to add some over the weekend. Kafka Liz (talk) 17:27, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Also, Bana Episcopal Church appears to be a POV fork and probably ought to be merged.
@Sardur: I see you added several of the titles listed under "Addirional reading". Can I ask if you were using English language editions? I'm having some trouble finding them, although I have come up with similarly titled works by the same authors. Thanks, Kafka Liz (talk) 17:43, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

Hello everybody! - Sorry to start this again... But I have great difficulties to see, how it can be proved that the ruin at Penek dates from the seventh century. As mentioned by me below, there have never been any excavations, and there are no preserved inscriptions at Penek that would support a seventh-century date. Furthermore, a seventh-century date is not mentioned in any of the written sources, but a well-known medieval Georgian source explicitly states that the cathedral of Bana was ereceted by the Kartvelian (Georgian) King Adarnase (i.e. around 900 AD).

Style and typology as arguments for dating are somewhat problematic (see also my commnents below). I do not understant what is a "signature lobe-supported conical church." Please note that the core-structure of Bana is very different from Zvartnots; it resembles the lay-out at Garni - which is a highly debated structre, too. Note furthermore that Surb Sarkis at Khtskonk, the church of St Grigor at Ani, and the centrally-planned church Marmashen ALL date from the late tenth and early eleventh centuries. The first and the last lack - as the ruin at Garni - the ambulatory of Bana, Zvartnots, and Ani.

Seen against this background, I would opt for a rewriting of the article on Bana, using more careful formulations. The attachement to the Armenian architecture portal is questionable and insinuates claims of "posession" and "nationality" which I find chauvinistic. For sure, Armenian artists and masons participated in the erection of Bana, but it is a church in Tao/Tayk which in the tenth century was an ethnically mixed region. Please try to consider that the magnificance of the churches in Tao-Klarjeti is due to multi-ethnicity of the area, instead of bringing forward rather embarrassing and unsustainable nationalistic claims.

Lots of love,(Sofie (talk) 09:45, 7 August 2009 (UTC))

Hi! We are not here to prove anything but to present current knowledge about this building. From what I can see in reliable sources, scholars are divided as to the origins of the church. Both hypotheses should therefore be presented (and attributed). See what I did with the article on WP:fr for instance. Sardur (talk) 09:54, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Barev! Nice point, Sardur. And I really like your way of presenting the ruins at Penek on WP:fr. That's much more balanced than on WP:en. I admire your neutrality and objectivity in this matter, but, yet, I believe wikipedia-contributers can think, too. "Scholarly" writings on Bana/Banak are sometimes driven by dubious motives. Being critical only shows that wikipedia is a serious media, not one that just repreats sometimes doubtfull "authorities". But, of course, you can have another opion on this matter, and I might have misunderstood the whole thing. In that case, I send you my sincere apologies. Many kisses - (Sofie (talk) 10:33, 7 August 2009 (UTC)).

POV fork[edit]

FYI User:Serafita has started a POV fork of this artcle at Bana Episcopal Church. Serouj (talk) 17:44, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

I think, before the correctness of the article is in doubt, is not correct to quote the Georgian authors in the bibliography.Thanks. --Serafita (talk) 07:00, 17 May 2009 (UTC)


To avoid further edit wars and nationalistic clashes over the subject of which I have never thought to be controversial we need to clarify a few things.

  • We don’t possess any direct written records regarding the Armenians’ use of the cathedral. We first hear of Bana when the Georgian prince Adarnase rebuilt it in the 9th century. However, the peculiar rotunda design is indeed of Armenian origin and clearly modeled on Zvartnots. This is not a subject of debate. This led to quite a reasonable conclusion that the original Bana church might well have been built earlier, perhaps during the tenure of Catholicos Narses III, a sponsor of Zvartnots, in the 7th century. Then the cathedral lay in ruins as a result of Arab invasions until restored by the Georgians. As it can be seen from the extant structure, the cathedral’s original design was preserved, but featuring certain Georgian architectural details. From there on for several centuries to come, Bana was one of the royal cathedrals of the Georgian crown.
I think everything is clear in this regard. References will obviously come.
  • Regarding the naming, Bana is the most common name used by both Armenian and Georgian sources. This is indeed derived from “banak” which in Armenians means “an army camp” (in Georgian it is banaki, btw), but per WP:NAMING we use what is most common, not what is original. Judging from the title Serouj first chose for this article, his sources also seem to refer to the monument as Bana. I don’t really see any problem with renaming the article to Bana, explaining the origin of this name. After all, we can propose a move and organize a poll.
  • If you all calm down and give me a couple of days, I will suggest my version of the text based on different sources. --KoberTalk 17:57, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
I'd support Bana over Banak, per: WP:EN. "Bana" is far and away the most common name in the articles and books I've found, all of which are in English. Kober, you make an excellent point about usage. I tend to focus on art and architecture, so I hadn't even considered that aspect of the matter. Perhaps we should avoid labelling it as one or the other in the opening sentence, and reserve the ethnic labels for discussion of its architecture and history. Kafka Liz (talk) 18:15, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for your positive input, Kafka. Indeed, we can just define Bana as an abandoned Christian cathedral in the opening sentence and then go on with its Armenian and Georgian periods of history.--KoberTalk 18:24, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
I've got a lot of material on this church - some of it in English, some in Russian (which I can only read using machine translation) or Armenian (which I can't read), and I've been there 3 times. The local name used now is Bana, but "Bana" or "Banak" are not the real names of the church, they are the name of the district. I don't think the original name is known. The Armenian and Russian sources seem to concentrate on its architecture rather than on its history. BTW, the surviving structure is surrounded by the ruins of low walls and the traces of buildings that seem to have been ignored by visitors and commentators. Some of this is not just some long-abandened peasant village, but built from carefully finished masonry that is similar to the church itself. The whole hill might be artificial. Must make a fourth visit sometime. Meowy 20:57, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
I would interested in this books and namely in the authors. When are these books published and which sources are quoted in bibliography. What a pity that for you isn’t possible to read an another source too: Georgian! Then would it clear that the Georgian sources prove that the first bishop was the Georgian Kvirike, Bana Episcopal Church was a place of the wedding ceremony of King of Georgia Bagrat IV and there was buried king of Georgia Vakhtang IV. And events like these happen not in the Cathedrals of neighbor states.
And one of the best sources to make clear how the population for example in XVI century in this area or even in whole South Georgia was is the pay book of Gorjistan Vilayet from 1595. This book is worth reading!--Serafita (talk) 06:57, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
I've got "At the Sources of Armenian Classical Architecture" by Tiran Marutyan, Yerevan, 2003. It has a whole chapter on Bana (p181-237), but is all in Armenian. It seems to be gathering together all the various theories about the church and its original appearance. I also have "Zvartnots" by Stephan Mnatsakanjan, Moscow, 1971, in Russian. The book has about 5 pages about Bana, in which it is studied in the context of other Zvartnots-like churches. Thierry/Donabedian's "Armenian Art" also mentions Bana in a few places, including a brief analysis of the design of the church's ionic-like capitals. Page 25 of Vol 2 of T. A sinclair's "Eastern Turkey" describes Bana, but not in much detail. The same, but in French, for the Thierry article in Bedi Kartlisa from 1960. I've got a photocopied article from DOP (1985) by Edward's about the church - but can't locate it at the moment. The 1948 Toramanian book listed in the bibliography doesn't actually seem to have much about Bana - no photos and just a small, badly printed plan. I think he must just mention it in passing (but the article is in Armenian so I don't know for certain). Armenian Karin/Erzurum , Richard Hovhanissian (Ed), 2003, has a chapter titled "The Architecture of the Karin/Erzurum region", by Christina Maranci which has 2 pages about Bana. It mentions an article by Dora Piguet-Panayotova "Recherches sur les tetraconques" in Orens Christianus 73 (1989), and another by W. Eugene Kleinbauer in "Art Bulletin" vol 54 (1972) and a ph.D. thesis by the same author from 1967. Meowy 15:09, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
Great elaboration. I've got Tiran Marutyan's text ("At the Sources of Armenian Classical Architecture"). It is quite detailed, and starts out with: "T. Toramanian considers with certainty that the Zvartnots-style cathedral [Banak] is a monument of Armenian architecture, constructed in the boundaries of Armenia." It goes on to cite the various places where Toramanian refers to Bana, and onto the research of Georgian scholars and how even they contradict each other, and even themselves (particularly, that some Georgian scholars consider Banak to be of the 7th century and constructed by Georgians, but that at that time the region of Banak was under the jurisdiction of the Armenian Mamikonian family of nakharars. The 57 pages of text has a treatment of both history and architecture. I've read the first few pages, and skimmed parts of the rest. Serouj (talk) 17:31, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
However, Marutyan seems a bit heavy-handed in his treatment and his aims. The book is writen as a response to exaggerated Georgian claims, but one gets a feeling (based on its English summaries) that he has gone too far the other way in his opposition to them. Though maybe that is just because his arguments are not presented in detail in those summaries. Meowy 02:00, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
I have no idea who is Marutyan and which Georgian scholars he tries to challenge, but the Georgian sources I have consulted acknowledge Zvartnots being Bana's model and put 7th c as the date of the cathedral's foundation. Bana's recorded history begins with Georgian reconstruction in the 9th c and the Armenian and Georgian versions coincide here. A bit above I've already posted my summary and I'm interested in the opinion of Armenian users.--KoberTalk 04:14, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
Dear Kober, your summary is correct except that many Georgian sources claim the builders of Banak were Georgian, and not Armenian. That is where Toramanian and Marutyan differ; if it was constructed in 7th century, then it was built by Armenians and used by Armenians for around 200 years. With regarding to naming, Muratyan suggests going with the original Armenian name of the church (perhaps it had a different name altogether) and I agree with this view; in the article we already mention the usage of "Bana" but we certainly need to add in the introduction the Georgian restoration and usage of the church in the 9th-11th centuries (and also details on who got married / coronated at the Church in the history section). I still need to make the time to fully read the 56 pages Muratyan devotes (probably in about 1 month's time). But you have the general jist correct above. It would be interesting to find out Banak's later history, if any info is available. Serouj (talk) 07:51, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
The main claims that Marutyan is challenging are some Georgian claims that the Hripsime-type plan originated in Georgia. So the Bana chapter is a sort of sideline to the book's main purpose, and not metioned in much detail in its English summary. Turns out I only photocopied part of the Dumbarton Oaks article by Robert Edwards, the bit that contains a description of Bana. He calls it a "Georgian Church", but he also says that the churches at Bana, Kamis, and Oltu castle are the only examples of "Iberian construction" in the Oltu-Penek valley, and all the castles are distinctively Armenian, and this part of "Tao" was really a part of Armenian "Taik". Meowy 15:28, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

Bana Episcopal Church should be merged into this article. Particularly, its Georgian restoration and further Georgian usage should be mentioned, while maintaining its Armenian origins and first 2 centuries of Armenian usage. Serouj (talk) 03:24, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

I support the motion and absolutely agree on mentioning its use under Georgian Chalcedonian rites.--The Diamond Apex (talk) 15:10, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree. Can someone do this? --Carlaude talk 05:51, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
I have done this. But the title still remains problematic. Regardless of its etymology, the most frequently used name (ie, Bana) should be used according to WP:NAME. If moving the article to Bana is still deemed controversial, I'm going to initiate a formal renaming procedure per Wikipedia:Requested moves. Let the community decide which title is better. --KoberTalk 17:31, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
No objections to the move? --KoberTalk 04:35, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the original name of the church should be used. "Bana" is a misnomer (does it even mean anything in Georgian?). The cathedral's name is Բանակ (Banak) from the Armenian language. Serouj (talk) 05:19, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
It is not a "misnomer". Per WP:NAME, the article's title should be a name that is most frequent, not original. Banak is a placename where the church was built. The cathedral's name has always been "Bana" (regardless of its origin or meaning). Note that no medieval Armenian sources mention the cathedral. All we know about it comes from Georgian annals which use Bana. The name has been retained in modern use by most scholarly sources.--KoberTalk 05:29, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
It really doesn't matter whether medieval Armenian sources mention it or not -- indeed, they may, somewhere in an as yet unread text. Keep in mind we are talking about the year 650. Recent scholarly research by Muratyan, among others, corrects the name to "Banak" as it was originally called. Serouj (talk) 06:12, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
It must be done as it is and not how anyone want it. It is the main feature what Armenians differs from the other world.-- (talk) 07:42, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Serouj, I am sorry, but the most common name for this site in English does currently seem to be Bana Cathedral. The sources are clear that it is of Armenian origin, so may we not allow the point that its common name differs from the original? Kafka Liz (talk) 00:05, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Well, I suppose it doesn't make much of a difference since Banak Cathedral will redirect to Bana Cathedral. The only discrepancy arises (I believe) when doing Google searches, as Google doesn't seem to index pages with redirects. I've made the move. Serouj (talk) 01:07, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
There was a problem while I tried moving. Looks like an admin needs to make the move... Serouj (talk) 01:09, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
I succeeded in moving the article to Bana cathedral. I'll now fix redirects. --KoberTalk 18:07, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Reconstructed monasteries abandoned by Armenians[edit]

I would be interested in the following: "...the Georgian princes reconstructed a number of monasteries abandoned by Armenians and built new foundations". Can somebody put the exact "number [and names] of [this] monasteries" in concrete terms abandoned by Armenians? Thanks! --Serafita (talk) 08:13, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Hello - I would also be very interested in this issue!!! Personally, I only know of one historically substantiated Georgian appropriation and reconstruction of an abandoned Armenian monastery: i.e. the monastery and cathedral of Ishkhani (aka Ishxan, meaning "prince" in Arm.) - cf. the "Life of St Grigol Khandzteli" by the tenth-century Georgian scribe Giorgi Merchule

But there might be others and more? I am looking forward to learning more!

Kisses, (Sofie (talk) 10:00, 7 August 2009 (UTC))

Historical Armenian Monasteries and Churches[edit]

I have a question: Why aren't there any article about the historical armenian charches and monasteries in Georgia? It would be interesting. There are only the articles about the churches in Armenia, Artsakh, Nakhichevan, Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, Israel, Italy. Can somebody add it? --Serafita (talk) 13:36, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Dear Serafita - there are plenty of Armenian churches in Tbilisi. Some of them are in a pretty bad state today, which is very sad. But these churches are of comparatively late date. In Kvemo Kartli ("lower Kartli") there are, on the other hand, churches and monasteries which might have evolved in a mixed Armeno-Georgian past - matters could not always be devided exactly along ethnical lines: Armenians and Georgians probably got along really well in the early middle ages, and it is a fact that they constantly visted each others pilgrimage centres even though the respective ecclesiastical authorities strongly disapproved this. Best regards, (Sofie (talk) 10:12, 7 August 2009 (UTC)).

Tiran Marutian[edit]

Hello, everybody! Wow - what an entertaining discussion about the origins and the "nationality" of the cathedral at Bana/Banak! That was really fun to read.

However, please do ackowledge that Tiran Marutian is not a serious secondary source when it comes to the medieval monuments of Tao-Klarjeti - which he calls "Armenia Profunda." For him all churches of the region, not only Bana, are Armenian. According to Marutian, they were all built by "Armenian Chalcedonians," and he even goes so far as to claim that David Kuropalates, the donor of a number of well-known tenth-century churches in Tao (among them Oshki, Parkhali, and Otkhta Eklesia) was Armenian, too. This is like claiming that Queen Elisabeth is German. In other words, Marutian has a very static and outspokenly primordial view of nationality.

The problem that the inscriptions of the churches are written in Georgian, explains Marutian by the "fact" that the Armenians living in Tao used Georgian as their church language by the tenth century. This led to the sarcastic comment by the Georgian art historian Vakhtang Beridze that in this case it was difficult to see the limits of Armenianness.

I suggest that Marutian's conception of the Armenianness of all the churches in north-eastern Turkey has to be seen against the background of the tragic experiences of the Armenian people at the beginning of the twentieth century (the genocide and the loss of most of the territory). Another explanation, however, are the roots of art history writing in the South Caucasus which are strongly connected to the negative legacy of the Austrian art historian Josef Strzygowski who promoted medieval Armenian architecture in West Europe before WWI, and who advocated the superiority of Armenian culture to Georgian culture because of racial reasons (the Armenians being "Aryans," whereas the Georgians are not).

Please consider the possibily of more flexible notions of identity! Static conceptions of "us" and "them" have caused so many problems in the past. Moreover, as the example of the Bagrationi family shows - in the middle ages, as today - it was quite possible to change identity and to transform into someone new.

(Sofie (talk) 13:03, 5 August 2009 (UTC))

You seem to be confusing time periods in history. The area (Tayk) was occupied first by Armenians, then by Georgians. Hence, many already existing Armenian churches such as Banak and Voski were converted to Georgian. Serouj (talk) 16:25, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Hello Serouj, did you read what I wrote above? Of course was Tayk Armenian in the seventh century. So, no misunderstandings here. Marutian, on the other side, maintains that Tao was Armenian in the tenth century, and that David Kuropalates (r. 966-1000) was an Armenian. See his book Architectural Monuments (in Russian), Yerevan 1989, p. 144 ff, and repeated very explicitly in the English summary on p. 265: "Davit Kyurapaghat was a Chalcedonian Armenian, his courtiers Armenian speaking Armenians, the population mostly Armenians." Tell me please, who is confusing matters?

About Bana: there have never been any excavations at the site. The theory that it could be a seventh-century church that was later appropriated and rebuilt by the Bagrationi has recently been elaborated by the Moscow-based Armenian art historian Armen Kazarian. He thinks that part of the exterior (the northern half, to be precise) dates from the seventh century while the rest of the church, inclusive its core, should date from tenth century.

Kazarian's theory is based on comparative and stylistic analyses. There are no written sources that mention the existence of a cathedral at Bana/Banak in the seventh century. But, as you know, Bana is mentioned in later Georgian sources. The similarity with Zvartnots - and ultimately with the Anastasis Rotunda in Jerusalem - was certainly intended by the builders of Bana, and I would imagine that they also were aware of the former significance of the place which, as you write, might have been the site of a royal camp in Arsacid times.

Style as the sole criteria for dating is highly problematic for various reasons: Formal design does not necessarily develop in a linear way, and old expressions might intentionally be reused at a later stage in history, for example to signalise ideas of renewal and continuity. In fact, that might exactly be what we were witnessing at Bana.

However, in order to get a clear picture, archaeological excavations are needed. But these are not likely to take place in the near future because of the reluctance of the Turkish authorities.

In the meantime, the last remaining carved elements that were used for the above-mentioned comparative analyses are being looted. In autumn 2007, there was still one column left in the east exedra of the cathedral - but now, in summer 2009, it has disappeared. It's really sad that nothing is done to preserve remains of these unique and once magnificent historical monuments. We certainly agree on this, I believe.

Best regards, (Sofie (talk) 18:42, 5 August 2009 (UTC))

Changes in article[edit]

  1. Presenting the architectural style of Banak cathedral as Georgian is groundless. It is clearly Armenian (as mentioned in text cathedral is constructed in "the Zvartnots Cathedral design", which is Armenian cathedral). There is NO medieval monument in Georgia constructed by the patterns of Banak.
  2. Affiliation of church as only Georgian is biased. If the cathedral was constructed in 7th century, when it would surely be under Armenian church jurisdiction as all churches in Tayk at that time.
  3. the extended survey of history of Tayk or Tao should be completely edited or eliminated as it has no direct connection to the subject of article and is clearly biased pro-Georgian. Thus:
    1. The region of Tayk IS an Armenian-Georgian boundary marchland, but never only Georgian.
    2. The representation of the population of Diaokha as proto-Georgian is hypothetical, but is represented here as proven fact.
    3. Pharnavaz I is a semi-mythical king, but he is presented here as real one with concrete chronology (302 B.C)
  4. There is NO such a notion in the serious scientific literature as Caucasian architecture. I suppose, the Geogian wiki-editors simply invented this word to avoid mentioning the Armenian origin of Banak cathedral. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:30, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Medieval Caucasian architecture is a valid and, I think, useful term to encompass the common traits found in Georgian and Armenian architecture. However, most Armenian architecture is nowhere near the Caucasus so the term has to be used with care. Meowy 21:54, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Biased, nationalistic, groundless changes in the article[edit]

User ChelseaFCG continuously make changes in the article, which are biased, nationalistic and groundless. Please, take attention to previous discussions on the origin of Banak catherdral. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:39, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

35 years[edit]

I would like to see the sources for that sentence about 35 years. This parts at least for 400 years belonged to Greater Armenia and were made part of the Upper Armenia or Tayk province. Also the Armenian name should be added.-- (talk) 20:22, 1 December 2012 (UTC)


According Google Books Ngram viewer Tao is far more common than Tayk so no need in use of both of them --g. balaxaZe 05:55, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

  • ^ Bakraze, Dimitry (1875). Kavkaz v Drevnikh Pamiatnikakh Khristianstva [The Caucasus in the Ancient Monuments of Christianity. Tiflis.