Chronology of Catholic Dioceses:The Armenian Catholic Church

See a list of abbreviations used in this list.

1: Historical Background

2: Jurisdictions

1: Historical Background

The Latin Crusaders established close contacts with the Armenian Apostolic Church in the 12th century when they passed through the Armenian kingdom of Cilicia on their way to the Holy Land. An alliance between the Crusaders and the Armenian king contributed to the establishment of a union between the two churches in Cilicia in 1198. This union, which was not accepted by Armenians outside Cilicia, ended with the conquest of the Armenian kingdom by the Tatars in 1375.

A decree of reunion with the Armenian Apostolic Church, "Exultate Deo", was published at the Council of Florence on 22 November 1439. Although it had no immediate results, the document provided the doctrinal basis for the establishment of the Armenian Catholic Church much later.

Catholic missionary activity among the Armenians had begun early, led initially by the Friars of the Union, a now-defunct Armenian community, related to the Dominicans, founded in 1320. With the passage of time, scattered but growing Armenian Catholic communities began to ask for a proper ecclesial structure and their own patriarch. In 1742 Pope Benedict XIV confirmed a former Armenian Apostolic bishop, Abraham Ardzivan (1679-1749) as Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, based in Lebanon, and with religious authority over the Armenian Catholics in the southern provinces of the Ottoman Empire. In the north, they continued to be under the Latin Vicar Apostolic of Constantinople. The new patriarch took the name Abraham Pierre I, and all the successors have likewise the name Peter in their ecclesiastical title.

The Ottoman millet system, which provided for the administrative autonomy of minorities under the direction of their religious leaders, had placed all Armenian Catholics under the civil jurisdiction of the Armenian Apostolic Patriarch in Constantinople. This resulted in serious difficulties for Armenian Catholics and even persecutions until 1829 when, under French pressure, the Ottoman government gave them the right to be organized civilly as a separate millet, with an Archbishop of their own in Constantinople. In 1846 he has vested with the civil authority as well. The anomaly of having an Archbishop with both civil and religious authority in the Ottoman capital and an exclusively spiritual Patriarch in Lebanon was resolved in 1867 when Pope Pius IX united the two sees and moved the patriarchal residence to Constantinople.

The vicious persecution of Armenians in Turkey at the end of World War I decimated the Armenian Catholic community in that country: seven bishops, 130 priests, 47 nuns and as many as 100,000 faithful died. Since the community in Turkey had been drastically reduced in size, an Armenian Catholic synod in Rome in 1928 decided to transfer the Patriarchate back to Lebanon (Beirut), and to make Constantinople (now Istanbul) an Archeparchy.

There were also a number of Armenian Catholic communities in the section of historic Armenia which came under Russian control in 1828. Pius XI established the diocese of Artvin for all Armenian Catholics in the Russian Empire in 1850. But czarist opposition to Eastern-rite Catholicism resulted in the abandonment of the Artvin diocese within 40 years. In 1912 the Armenian Catholics in the Empire were placed under the Latin bishop of Tiraspol, who resided in distant Saratov. The Armenian Catholic Church was entirely suppressed under communism, and it was only with the independence of Armenia in 1991 that communities of Armenian Catholics began to resurface. On 13 July 1991 the Holy See established an Ordinariat for Armenian Catholics in Eastern Europe based in Gyumri, Armenia.

Today the largest concentrations of Armenian Catholics are in Beirut, Lebanon, and Aleppo, Syria. The church has seven dioceses in the Middle East: Two in Syria, and one each in Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Turkey.

Many Armenians in the diaspora are under the jurisdiction of Latin Ordinaries. But statistics covering Armenian Catholic jurisdictions indicate that they counted 364,000 Armenian Catholics at the end of 1998.

-CT (based on Robertson 1995, CE, and AP 2000 and James A. Derrick's reseach, based also on Attwater 1935)

2: Jurisdictions

Lwow / Lviv [Arm.] (AEp) - (Grand Duchy of Lithuania) Ukraine
Lwow / Lviv [Arm.] (AEp, vacant, later, from 1516, schismatic) - (Grand Duchy of Lithuania) Ukraine
Lwow / Lviv [Arm.] (AEp, schismatic) - (Grand Duchy of Lithuania) Ukraine
Lwow / Lviv [Arm.] (AEp, reunited with Rome) - (Polish Ukraine) Ukraine
Alep / Aleppo / Halab [Arm.] (Catholic bishops from now) - (Ottoman Empire) Syria
Ankara / Ancira / Angora [Arm.] (Catholic bishops from now) - (Ottoman Empire) Turkey
Cilicia [Arm.] (Patr., now Catholic) - (Ottoman Empire) Lebanon
1774 (1827?)
Adana [Arm.] - (Ottoman Empire) Turkey
Mardin [Arm.] (AEp, detached from ....) - (Ottoman Empire) Turkey
Constantinople / Istanbul [Arm.] (AEp, detached from ....) - (Ottoman Empire) Turkey
Alep / Aleppo / Halab [Arm.] ("diocese erected") - (Ottoman Empire) Syria
Marasc / Malatia [Arm.] (detached from ....) - (Ottoman Empire) Turkey
1849~ ?
Alexandria [Arm.] - Egypt
Amida / Diyarbekir [Arm.] - (Ottoman Empire) Turkey
Ankara / Ancira / Angora [Arm.] (restored) - (Ottoman Empire) Turkey
Artvin [Arm.] (detached from ....) - (Ottoman Empire) Turkey
Caesarea in Cappadocia / Kayseri [Arm.] (detached from ....) - (Ottoman Empire) Turkey
Erzerum / Garin [Arm.] (detached from ....) - (Ottoman Empire) Turkey
Ispahan [Arm.] (detached from ....) - (Persia) Iran
Prusa / Brussa / Bursa [Arm.] (detached from ....) - (Ottoman Empire) Turkey
Trabzon / Trebisonda [Arm.] (detached from ....) - (Ottoman Empire) Turkey
Jerusalem - [Arm.] (Ottoman Empire) Holy Land
Sivas [Arm.] (detached from ....) - (Ottoman Empire) Turkey
Tokat - (Ottoman Empire) Turkey
Melitene / Malatia [Arm.] (detached from ....) - (Ottoman Empire) Turkey
Karput / Kharput [Arm.] (detached from Erzerum) - (Ottoman Empire) Turkey
1865 (1867?)
Jerusalem [Arm.] (vacant, abandoned) - (Ottoman Empire) Holy Land
Constantinople [Arm.] (Patr., and united to Cilicia) - (Ottoman Empire) Turkey
Artvin [Arm.] (vacant, impeded by the Russians) - (Russia) Turkey
1883 (1884?)
Musc / Mush [Arm.] (detached from Erzerum) - (Ottoman Empire) Turkey
Iskanderiya / Alexandria [Arm.] (detached from the Latin jurisdiction of Egypt AV) - Egypt
Sivas [Arm.] (AEp) - (Ottoman Empire) Turkey
Tokat (incorporated in Sivas) - (Ottoman Empire) Turkey
Alep [Arm.] (AEp) - (Ottoman Empire) Syria

Most Armenian jurisdictions in Turkey were de facto destroyed and abandoned during the persecution of the Armenians during the First World War (1914-1918). An conference of Armenian bishops in Rome in 1928 reorganized the pastoral care of Armenian Catholic still living within the borders of Turkey, basically by reestablishing the Archeparchy of Constantinople (the Patriarch returning to Lebanon). The 13 dioceses which had been squashed during the persecutions, were not formally abolished until 1972.

Greece [Arm.] (Ord., detached from Constantinople) see: Athens - Greece
1926 (1921)
AA for the Armenians in all of Russia [Arm.] (within Tiraspol / Artvin) see: Tbilisi in Georgia - (Soviet Union) Georgia, Armenia, etc. .
Istanbul [Arm.] (AEp, reestablished, detached from Cilicia, incorporating in fact all of Turkey) - Turkey
1928 and 1929
Bairut [Arm.] (Metr., and Patriarchal Eparchy of Cilicia, detached from ....) - Lebanon
Romania [Arm.] (Ord.) - Romania
Baghdad [Arm.] (AEp, detached from Mardin) - Iraq
Kamichlié [Arm.] (detached from Mardin) - Syria
Iskanderiya, Alexandria [Arm.] (the Arabic name Iskanderiya supplied as official name) - Egypt
France [Arm.] (ApEx) - France

Adana [Arm.] (abolished, classified as titular see) - Turkey
Amida / Diyarbekir [Arm.] (abolished, classified as titular see) - Turkey
Ankara / Ancira / Angora [Arm.] (abolished, classified as titular see) - Turkey
Artvin [Arm.] (abolished, classified as titular see) - Turkey
Caesarea in Cappadocia / Kayseri [Arm.] (abolished, classified as titular see) - Turkey
Erzerum / Garin [Arm.] (abolished, classified as titular see) - Turkey
Karput / Kharput [Arm.] (abolished, classified as titular see) - Turkey
Marasc [Arm.] (abolished, classified as titular see) - Turkey
Mardin [Arm.] (AEp, abolished, classified as titular see) - Turkey
Melitene / Malatia [Arm.] (abolished, classified as titular see) - Turkey
Musc / Mush [Arm.] (abolished, classified as titular see) - Turkey
Prusa / Brussa / Bursa [Arm.] (abolished, classified as titular see) - Turkey
Sivas [Arm.] (AEp, abolished, classified as titular see) - Turkey
Trabzon / Trebisonda [Arm.] (abolished, classified as titular see) - Turkey

Jerusalem [Arm.] (revived, as Patriarchal Vicariate) - Holy Land
Latin America and Mexico [Arm.] (ApEx) - Argentina

Poland [Gr.-Cath. and Arm.] (ApEx) - Poland

United States and Canada [Arm.] (ApEx) - USA
Damascus [Arm.] (Patriarchal Exarchate) - Syria
Sainte-Croix-de-Paris [Arm.] (new name, previously Francia ApEx) - France
San Gregorio de Narek en Buenos Aires [Arm.] (detached from Ord. Latin America and Mexico) - Argentina
Jerusalem [Arm.] (Patriarchal Exarchate, previously called Patriarchal Vicariate) - Holy Land
Jerusalem and Amman [Arm.] (territory dependent upon the Patriarch without constituting an ecclesiastical circumscription (cf Eastern Canon Law [CCEO] can. 101), previously Patriarchal Exarchate, and new name, previously Jerusalem) - Holy Land, Jordan

Poland [for Orientals without an Ordinary of their own Rite] (ApEx, previously for Gr.-Cath., Arm.) - Poland
Eastern Europe for Armenian Catholics [Arm.] (Ord.) see: Gyumri - Armenia
av Webmaster publisert 08.09.2004, sist endret 08.09.2004 - 12:11