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Armenians

Armenians

 The motherland of the Armenians was Armenia which in the 9th-12th century was invaded by the Seljuq Turks and then by the Mongols. This led to the mass emigration of the population. Armenia adopted Christianity in the 4th century, recognising it as the national religion. The autonomous Armenian Church was established in the 5th century, after rejecting the decision of the Council of Chalcedon and adopting the theological doctrine of Monophysitism. The Armenian Rite is similar to the Greek one, but the language of the liturgy is Old Armenian. In Poland, the Armenians appeared in the 11th century but the largest influx is associated with the annexation of the Halych Ruthenia to Lviv. In 1356, King Casimir the Great approved the religious, government and judicial autonomy of the Armenians, he established the seat of the Armenian Church bishopry in Lviv. The Armenians lived mainly in the cities, inter alia: Lviv, Kamianets-Podilskyi, Zamość, Stanyslaviv. They observed the customary law (Datastangirk) transferred from Armenia. In the times of Sigismund the Old, the so-called Armenian statute was established, based on Datastangirk, taking into account the provisions of Polish law. It was supplemented by the Decrees of John III Sobieski. It was an attempt to solve the national conflicts caused by the privileged position but also by the autonomy of the Armenians; it remained in use until the end of the 18th century. The Armenians dealt mainly with trade with the East, from which they imported luxury goods, contributing, inter alia, to Orientalisation of Polish culture. They were an educated, rich group subject to Polonisation. In the interwar period, the cultural and religious centre of the Armenians remained Lviv and Kuty, called “the capital of Polish Armenians”, where Armenian traditions and original language survived in their native form. During World War II, most Armenians were exterminated, while those who survived were displaced to the Recovered Territories. After war, they began to organise themselves, initially around the Armenian Catholic Church, and then also in secular organisations. In 2006, the Metropolitan of Warsaw, who is the Ordinary of the Armenian Church, established the Foundation of Culture and Heritage of Polish Armenians, the Armenian Cultural Society was founded in Krakow. There are three Armenian parishes: in Gdańsk, Warsaw and Gliwice. The Archdiocese of Krakow is subject to the parish in Gliwice, where the parish-priest is Rev. Tadeusz Isakowicz-Zaleski. In Krakow itself, the Armenians are commemorated by the khachkar – “votive cross-stone”, located at the St. Nicholas’ Church at ul. Kopernika. It commemorates both the Armenians who lived in Poland, those who were killed in Turkey in 1915 as well as the victims of the Ukrainian UPA and the Armenian clergymen who lost their lives during World War II. Every year on January 6th the Armenian ritual Holly Mass is taking place in the church of Niepokalanego Serca NMP in Kraków. Every year on April 24,Commemoration Day of Armenian Genocide, the Holly Mass is taking place in the św..Mikołaj church in Kraków.

 

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