Pirkinik, Perkinik, Perkenik, Perknig, Perknik, Prknik

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Pirkinik, Perkinik, Perkenik, Perknig, Perknik, Prknik, etc., An Armenian Catholic Village Near Sivas, In Central Anatolia, Turkey

My husband's grandmother, Lucy Arevian/Hagopian Azarian, and her siblings, Batist, Hovsep, Nazareth, and Avidis Arevian/Hogopian were born in the village of Pirkinik, state of Sivas, Turkey. Lucy was born there circa 1875. The family moved to Constantinople, Istanbul, Turkey before 1895. In the early 1920s Lucy moved with her husband and children to New Jersey, United States.

One of the major problems of transliterating a name into another alphabet and languages is the varieties of spelling that can ensue. The village in question is now called Çayboyu (Pirkinik). I have found a variety of spellings including: Perknig, Perknik, Pirkinik, Pirkinek, Pirkenik, Perkenek, Perkenik, Perkinik, Prknik, Prknig, Brgnik, Berkinik. On postcards written by the Tchiboukkearians (the family name of the Armenian poet, Daniel Varoujan) and included in The Tchiboukkearians of Perknig, the spelling was "Perknig". The spelling given to me by members of the Azarian/Hagopian family when I first started the research around 2000 was Prkng.

From the early 1700s until 1915 Pirkinik was an Armenian Catholic village. Most Armenians were Armenian Apostolic (sometimes referred to as the Georgian Church). However the village of Perkinik prided itself in being 100% Roman Catholic. This means that they accepted the full authority of the Pope in Rome. The Armenian Catholic Church was officially recognized by Pope Benedict XIV in 1742. However, I do not know how long the village was Roman Catholic. In 1821 Voyages en Orient refers to the village as "Catholic". Voyages en Orient of 1929 stated that Catholics lived in the Village of Perkinik, a "league" away and there was a monastery that serves as a residences for monks sent by the Patriarch of Lebanon. The people were involved with agriculture and in general were pretty miserable. Storia universale della Chiesa cattolica dal principio del ..., Volumes 27-28 By René François Rohrbacher 1855 indicates that the village was converted in the early 1700s. In 1891 Perkinik was said to have a population of eighteen hundred "souls" (Histoire du Patriarcat Armenien Catholique). However La Turquie d'Asie, geographie administrative of 1891 stated that there were 1,300 inhabitants in Pirkinik.

It is also possible that my husband's grandfather, Abram Azarian, was born in Pirknik. There were Azarians in Perkinik. However, he may have been born in Sivas (or another local village). Whereas Lucy specifically listed her birthplace as "Pirkenik" at her immigration into the US, Abram listed his birthplace as Sivas. The family of Hovhannes Azarian and his wife Anna Kovhovmjian were from Pirkinik. Their sons became wealthy merchants in Constantinople and Boston. See Azarians

In May 2008 my husband, Tom, and I visited Turkey for a week. We spent two days in the Sivas area. One morning our guides and translator, Kagan, Yervant and Metin, drove us to the village of Pirkinik.

Robert Hewson in Armenia, A Historical Atlas and others say that Pirkinik is an hour outside of Sivas. That may have been true in the days before automobiles when one had to travel by foot, donkey or ox cart. By car, the trip from the center of Sivas to Pirkinik took less than ten minutes.

We drove the length of the village on its south side. On the north side of the street were older buildings and on the south were several modern high rise apartments and a modern school. At the end of the village we got out and explored a bit on foot.

We did not venture too far from the main road. Many of the buildings were in very poor shape — patched and jerry rigged with wood, cinder blocks and corrugated tin — and leaning at all sorts of precarious angles. We could see three types of basic construction in the older buildings: cut stone, uncut stone, and timber framing (with rubble filling & stucco finish). Most of the buildings originally probably had mud or tile roofs — although many now had corrugated tin roofs. Many of the buildings had balconies (or the remains of balconies). We could not see any modern buildings in the cluster of older buildings. The only newer buildings were on the periphery of the village.

The men of the village where known to have been muleteers who traveled all over Asia Minor. They have also been referred to as farmers. The women of the village may have made rugs. John Minassian in Many Hills Yet To Climb states that Oriental carpets were woven by young Armenian girls in the hundreds of Armenian villages that surounded Sivas.

Pirkinik, May 2008

Photo Maggie Land Blanck

This is the largest and most imposing building we saw — being one of two buildings of cut stone. Its shape and the domed roofs suggests that it was once the public bath.* The ground level must have been lower at one time as the doorways are impossibly low for an adult to enter. The interior appears to be completely filled with rubble and dirt. We could not find any inscription. The light green object in front of the building is a fountain.

* See the bath in Sivas at Sivas

See also History of Pirkinik Chapter 4

Photo Maggie Land Blanck

Another view of the same building.

Photo Maggie Land Blanck

This building was one of the two buildings of cut stone that we saw (the other being the bath). It is clearly an old Armenian building as evidenced by the inscription in Armenian on the key stone. See image below.

The height of the arch suggests that the building was once much taller. See also History of Pirkinik Chapter 4

Photo Maggie Land Blanck

Another view of the same building.

I believe that this is just a fragment of the original building. The stone work around the arch ends rather abruptly at the top. It is highly likely that the original building was much taller.

Since most of the buildings in the village were of uncut stone or timber framing it is highly likely that this was a building of some importance. With the wide arched doorway it is tempting to think it was part of one of the two known churches. This type of doorway was common on Armenian churches.

Photo Maggie Land Blanck

The inscription on the key stone is in Armenian. We could not make out what is written, except the year — 1909 — which is barley visible on the lower right.

See also History of Pirkinik Chapter 4

Photo Maggie Land Blanck

This is typical of the state of the village today. The uncut stone walls are most likely old; as are the red tile roofs. The cinder blocks and corrugated tin can be presumed to post date 1915. The house on the extreme right is whitewashed. It is likely that at least some of the Armenian houses in Pirkinik were stone covered with stucco that was whitewashed or painted in some way.

Photo Maggie Land Blanck

This building looks to be of timber framing. Notice the remnant of a balcony.

The gate is a ghost of the typical entryway into pre 1915 properties. See the houses in Sivas at Sivas

Photo Maggie Land Blanck

The house on the left shows the uncut stone construction and the one on the right shows a balcony.

Photo Maggie Land Blanck

Our guides told us that this old mill wheel was turned by oxen.

Photo Maggie Land Blanck

This image gives some idea of the terrain around Pirkinik. The house in the distance is of modern construction.

Photo Maggie Land Blanck

Based on window size, the balcony and the type of construction, I believe that this building dates from the days when Pirkinik was an Armenian village. The cemetery in the background on the left is Moslem. This building is one of the first of the old buildings as one approaches Pirkinik from Sivas.

Sivas 1877

SIVAS 1877 edited by Arsen Yarmen contains two images of Pirkinik.

Pirkinik Ermeni Katolik Surp Sarkis Kilisesi. Natanyan kitabinda bu kilisenin adini zikretmemistir. Arsen Yarman arsivi.

[St Sarkis Armenian Catholic church. Natanyan named this church in his book (or something along those lines). Arsen Yarmen archives.]

Pirkinik köyü ahalisi. Arsen Yarman archives

[Pirkinik villagers. Arsen Yarman archives]

Families From Pirkinik

  • The Arevian/Hagopian Family.

    The name is listed in the Constantinople church records as both Hagopian and Arevian. Some of the family left Perkinik and went to Constantinople in the 1880s. The family dispersed even further after 1920 going to the US, Egypt and France. See Arevian/Hagopian now or at the bottom of the page. See also Hagop Arevian

  • The Azarians, a family of wealthy merchants and bankers, who later lived in Constantinople.

    This family included Stephanos Peteros Azarian the Patriarch of the Armenian Catholic Church from 1881-1899. He was born in 1826 in Constantinople. See Other Azarians now or at the bottom of the page.

  • Tchibourkkearian — The Armenian poet, Taniel Varoujan (Varoujean): whose family name was Tchibourkkearian

    Tchiboukkearian, Daniel de Pirkinik (Armenie) admis avec distinction" Pamphlets on Biology: Kofoid collection, Volume 1048, Science, 1907 Universite De Gand, Annee Academique 1907-1908, FACULTE DE DROIT, [Faculity of Law] Grade de licencie en science commercials Premiere Epreuve

    [Tchiboukkearian, Daniel of Pirkinik (Armenia) admitted with distinction], University of Ghent, Belgium, 1907

    Veronica Tchiboukkerian, the daughter of the poet, Taniel Varoujan, was born in Perkenik in 1910. She published a collection of family postcards called The Tchiboukkearians of Perknig.
    "Daniel Varoujian was born in a ancient stone house on the banks of a willow-shaded stream some 125 years ago, in Perknig, in the province of Sebastia. Mekhitarist Fathers of the famous teaching order ran the village school."
    The postcards do not include any images of Perkinik

    The name was also spelt Chebookkerian in the History of the Village of Perkenik by Father Ephrem Boghossian written in the 1950 or 60s. It is also spelt Chpugkyarian on the Internet.

    In March 2015 Alen Ozumit wrote and shared some information about Daniel Varoujan that was published in his church's bulletin. The church is a Armenian Catholic congregation - Notre-Dame-de-Nareg de Montreal in Quebec. The article is in French and I have made a loose translation since my French is quite limited. Daniel Varoujan was born 1884 in Perknic, Sebaste where he spent his childhood dreaming in the sad shade of willows and throwing stones at ducks along the river. He was still a child when his father migrated to Istanbul. His mother during the long winter evenings sat by the fireside and told him wonderful stories as the wind in the chimney sometimes screamed and sometimes cried like a offering from a ghost. In 1896 Daniel himself left Pirkinik for Istanbul where he attended the Mechitharist 's Fathers school. He was a brilliant student and the school sent him to Venice to further his studies. He was still there in 1902. In 1905 he went to Belgium to study at the University of Ghent. He was passionate about his studies but was homesick for his country and his old mother. In 1909 he returned to Perkinik where he wrote poetry and taught. In 1912 he was appointed perfect of studies at the college of Saint Gregory the Illuminator. On April 24, 1915 he was arrested together with other Armenian intellectuals. He was tied to a tree and dismembered. His remains left to the birds. The information for this article was compiled in 2015 by Georges Vigny.

    There is a fair amount on the Internet about Taniel (Daniel) Varoujan.

  • Desirmenjian

    Anna Desirmenjian, wife of Nazareth Arevian/Hagopian

  • Hagian (Hajian)

    1. Bishop Giovanni Hagian (AKA John Hajian) was born in Perkenik in 1802. He was the Bishop of Cesarea di Cappadocia and a first Vatican Council father.

    2. Isacco Hajian, Archbishop of Sebastia, born in Perkinik in 1837.
    See more below under Bishop Hajian's List

  • Kazanjian —
    "Margaret said that her grandmother's maiden name was Kazanjian. Her grandmother left the village prior to 1915. There she worked in a rug factory. Her father upon receiving a tip from a Turk that a future genocide may occur left the village with his family in 1912. Margaret lives in Toronto." Robert Haroutunian, March 2007.

  • Kricorian,

    Kricorian (Mathieu), mechanic, born July 21, 1874 in Pirkinik (Turkey), residing in Levallois-Perret (Seine), rue de Gravel, 30 [Journal officiel de la Republique francaise. Lois et decrets -Journaux officiels (Paris)-1915]

  • Balian Family

    per Therese Topalian, July 2008

  • Topalian Family

    per Theresa Toplian, July 2008

    Zakar Topalian, born November 1, 1890 in Perkinik, Sivas, Armenia, medium build, short, brown eyes and hair, Fitchburg, Worcester, Massachusetts, registered for the WWI Draft Registration in 1917. Additional information: alien, single, soldier Turkish. There are things I cannot make out as the image is fuzzy. It is interesting that he specifically listed Perkinik and Sivas. Most men only listed the county of birth.

    Joe Topalian is the translator from Armenian to English of The History of the Village of Perkenik (Pakradunik) by Fr. Ephrem Boghossian C. M. Vd (Mechitharist of Vienna, Austria)

  • Der Astrazadurian also spelt Asdvadzadurian
    Michele Derastrazadurian, Cilicia delgi Armeni, Ciliciae Armenorum, Michaele Derastrazadurian, nato in Pirkinik, Archidiocesi de Sebaste, nel 1788, promosso da Cesarea in partibus 25 Gennaio 1844 col nome di Gregorio Pietro VIII"

    Annuario pontificio, By Catholic Church, Curia Romana, 1861

    [Celecia in Armenia, Melkon Derastrazadurian, born in Pirkinik, Archdiocese of Sivas in 1788 promoted at Cesarea in partibus 25 January 1844 with the name Gregory Peter VIII, Annuario pontificio, By Catholic Church, Curia Romana, 1861]

    In Partibus Infidelium (often shortened to in partibus, or abbreviated as i.p.i.), is a Latin phrase meaning "in the lands of unbelievers"


    He died in 1866 according to various lists of the Armenian Catholic Patriarchs of Cilicia.

  • Korkorouni

    Leon Korkorouni — Mgr Korkorouni

    Archeveque Armenien Catholique de Malatia (Melitene). [Armenian Catholic Archbishop of Malatia]

    "Mgr Korkorouni etait ne a Pirkinik pres Sivas, le 20 juin 1822; il avait fair se etudes au Seminaire patriarcal de Bzomar (Liban), ou il avait ete appele au sacerdoce. C'est le avril 1861 qu'il avait ete preconice archeveque de Melitene. Sa mort a eu liue le 15 aout"

    Annales de la propagation de la foi, Volumes 69-70, 1897

    [Bishop Korkouni was born in Pirkinik near Sivas, June 20, 1822; he studied .... Bzomar (Lebanon), where he was called to the priesthood. Since April 1861 he had been archbishop of .... Melitene. He died ... August 15.]

  • Gharipecan

    Died 18 June 1915 in Tokat (a.k.a. Eudocia) (Turkey)

    ISEVUHI GHARIPEVAN, professed religious, Armenian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception born: 06 November 1879 in Brgnik, Sivas (Turkey)

    Martyrs of Armenia

  • Madoian

    Fr. Sahag Madoian (vdpt.) Sivas (Sebastia) Sivas (Sebastia), Brgink, Apostolic, Martyr, Born 1872 in Brgnik; studied in Zmmar; ordained as vardapet in 1896. Losses of the Armenian Church During the Genocide, Priests

  • Shahnamian

    Fr. Sahag Shahnamian (vdpt.) Sivas (Sebastia) Sivas (Sebastia), Brgink, Apostolic, Martyr, Born 1884 in Brgnik; studied in Zmmar; ordained 1907. Losses of the Armenian Church During the Genocide, Priests

  • Asdvadzadurian

    Fr. Mikayel Der-Asdvadzadurian (vdpt.), Sivas (Sebastia), Sivas (Sebastia), Brgink, Apostolic, Martyr, Born 1873 in Brgnik; studied in Zmmar; ordained 1896. Losses of the Armenian Church During the Genocide, Priests

See also History of Perkinik Chapter 18

Images Of Village Life

These scenes of village life are carved out of wood. They were hanging on the walls of a kebob shop in Sivas. The manager gave me permission to photograph them.

Photo Maggie Land Blanck

Photo Maggie Land Blanck

More Images Of Village Life

The backs of these two post cards say the same thing:


This typical picture of agricultural life in Armenian was painted in the neighborhood of the village of Lagh-Keny, which is situated a short distance from Ismidt, and important town of about 15,000 inhabitants in Asia Minor. The surrounding country is flat and very fertile, the chief products grown being corn, maize, potatoes, tobacco, and vegetables. Man of the methods in vogue and implements in use are of a delightfully primitive character."

  • Ismidt is currently called Izmit. It is located about 110 Km southwest of Istanbul on Gulf of Izmit in the Sea of Marmara at the edge of Anatolia. It was the site of a major earthquake in 1999.

  • Corn in Europe equals wheat in the USA.

  • Maize in Europe equals corn in the USA.

  • The method of sowing and threshing the corn (wheat) would have been similar in Pirkinik.

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Sowing Corn

Planting was done after the snow had melted in the spring. Sowing was done in the traditional form of a cross: one handful to for God, one for the tax man, one for the birds and one for the villager himself. (Armenia Sebastia/Sivas and Lesser Armenia)

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

"Threshing Corn"

Most likely the "corn" was wheat or barley.

The plowing of the fields was done by men. The reaping was done by women who also winnowed and cleaned the grain after the men threashed it .

Armenian Massacres and Turkish Tyranny, 1896, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Pirkinik — Google Earth

Google Earth

Pirkinik as seen on Google Earth

1. location of the bath pictured above.

2. location of the building, with the Armenian writing on it, pictured above.

Pirkinik in print

Over the years travelers to Turkey visited Sivas and the outlying village of Pirkinik. Perodically comments were made about the village in travel books. The village was also mentioned in some publications of the Roman Catholic church as several Roman Catholic Bishops and Archbishops were born in Pirkinik and there was an obvious missionary interest by both Catholic and Protestants in the area.

These writings were in French, Italian, Latin, German and English. If you read French, Italian or German please excuse my translations. My knowledge of German is very poor. My French is very sketchy. My Italian is passable.

I used the assistance of Google translation (which, I have to say, is one of the most helpful things on the Internet.)

Another fabulous Google source is "Google Book" from which most of the excerpts on Pirkinik are taken.

Thank you Google!!

1781 and 1801

"Nous trouvames le musselim et sa cour au hameau de Pirkinik , a une lieue de Syvas. Il dormait quand nous arrivames. Il fallut attendre dans la rue. La chaumiere, son asile, etait composee d'un grenier et d'une ecurie, remplie de ceux de son parti, qui y tenaient conseil. Un quart d'heure apres, on nous introduisit. Nous le trouvames fort abattu, et dans un etat a faire pitie. C'etait un bel homme de moyen age, et qui paraissait fort doux. Les ceremonies furent courtes. Il lut nos firmans, les lettres que nous avions pour le nouveau pacha, en cas qu'il fut deja arrive, et nous pormit une escorte. Il ajouta qu'il nous ferait avertir du lieu du rendez-vous. Ce village a un mauvais couvent de moines grecs.

[We found the musselman and his court in the hamlet of Pirkinik, a league from Sivas. He was sleeping when we arrived. He had to wait in the street. The cottage, his asylum, was composed of a granary and a stable filled with those of his party, who held council. A quarter hour later we were introduced. We found him much depressed, and in a pitiable state. He was a handsome man of middle age, and who seemed very sweet. The ceremonies were brief. He read our firmans, the letters we had to new pasha, if he had already arrived, and he allowed us an escort. He added that we would alert the rendezvous place. This village had a poor convent of Greek monks.]"

Novuveau Voyage de Constantinople a Bassora, 1781 and 1801


Voyages en Orient, de l'annee 1821 a l'annee 1829 Constantinople, Grece By Victor Fontanier

"Sivas est peuple de quarante mille habitans, en comptant huit mille maisons portees sur les registes; sur ce nombre, il y a environ trois mille. Ameniens.

"Les catholiques habitent dans un village nomme Perkinik, et situe a une lieue de distance. Il y a un couvent qui sert de residence a trois moines envoyes par le patriarche du mont Liban. Ces catholiques s'occupent d'agriculture, et sont en general assez miserables. Les Armeniens font le commerce de la noix de galle que l'on tire de Mossul, du tabac de Malathia, et surtout de cuivre provenant de mines situees a six lieues, dans les montagnes de Sud. J'ai ve des eschantillons de ce cuivre, c'etait du cuivre pyriteux et du corbonate bleu. Il parait que les mines d'ou on l'extrait doivent etre abondantes, d'apres la quantite qui entra dans le commerce. C'etait autrefois a Tocate qu'on le transportait, et cette ville avait acquis une grande reputation pour la maniere de la travailler. Depuis que les communications sont devenues plus faciles, on l'envoie a Cahissarie de la a Tarsous, et il na'a pas peu cantribue a la prosperite nouvelle de ce dernier pays. J'ai reconnu aussi que les Armeniaens achetaient a Sivas une grande qualite de medailles, et je croirais assez que les orfevres du pays occupent a en fabriquer; j'en ai achete plusieus.

[Sivas has forty thousand inhabitants, counting eight thousand houses listed on the registers; of these, there are about three thousand Ameniens.

Catholics live in a village called Perkinik, located a mile away. There is a monastery that serves as a residence for three monks sent by the Patriarch of Mount Lebanon. These Catholics are engaged in agriculture, and usually are quite miserable. The Armenians are traders "la noix de galle" that are derived from Mosul, tobacco from Malathia, and especially copper from mines located six miles in the mountains to the South. I've "eschantillons" of this copper, and copper pyrite and corbonate blue. It appears that the mines must be abundant, based on the quantity that enters the trade. It was formerly transported to Tocat, and this city had gained a great reputation for the "way of working". Since communication has become easier, it sends an envoy to Cahissarie and from there to Tarsus, and this accounts "not a little" to the new prosperity of that country. I also recognized that the Armenians of Sivas have a great quality of medals, and I believe that the goldsmiths of the area are busy manufacturing; I bought "plusieus"."]


This book uses old German print so I can only get the phrase that comes with the Google Book preview. My ability to read German is very poor and my ability to read old German print is nonexistent.

Die Katholiken wohnen in einem etwa eine Stunde entfernten Dorf genannt Perkinik. Dort ist ein Kloster fur trei ...

[The Catholics live in a remote village about an hour called Perkinik. There is a monastery for trei ....]

Das Ausland: Wochenschrift fur Lander- u. Volkerkunde, Volume 1; Volume 3, 1830

I think this is pretty much the same as in the French Voyages en Orioent of 1821


En quittant Siwas, le 6 juillet, je pris la direction du nord-est, pour gagner Erzeroum. Dès qu'on a dépassé le village de Perknik, distant d'une lieue, qui présente le phénomène remarquable d'une population exclusivement catholique au milieu d'une nation encore dissidente, on reconnait que là finissent les limites de la Cappadoce, et qu'une contrée nouvelle commence. C'est la petite Arménie qui, de ce coté, est comprise entre le Kizil-Irmak et l'Euphrate. Des villages entiers sont arméniens sans qu'il s'y trouve de Turcs. Les femmes et les enfants ne parlent ni n'entendent la langue de leurs dominateurs. Le sol, nu comme le désert, est coupé par des chaines de collines ou de hautes montagnes blanchies par les neiges, qui se croisent et courent dans toutes les directions, présentant sur leurs flancs d'épais herbages, où s'engraissent ces beaux troupeaux de moutons qui servent à l'approvisionnement de Constantinople, et qui font la richesse principale du pays. A leurs pieds s'étendent des vallées, qui sont plutot des plaines, et où le froment, l'orge et le seigle croissent avec une abondance égale, mais à des époques bien différentes, suivant que le terrain est plus ou moins élevé. De toutes parts s 'échappent du sein des rochers et des entrailles de la terre des sources, d'une eau si fraiche, si limpide et d'un gout si délicieux, que véritablement elle fait perdre le souvenir et le regret des boissons européennes. Un grand nombre d'eaux chaudes, de toutes les températures et de toutes les qualités, révegrave;lent un autre genre de richesses que la terre recèle et garde inutilement enfouies, à cause de l'ignorance ou de l'apathie de ceux qui la possèdent. L'année se divise en deux saisons : l'hiver, dont le règne est généralement de huit mois, et l'été, qui vient, avec ses chaleurs souvent extre mes, faire naitre, pousser et jaunir les moissons. L'aspect monotone du pays, où nul ombrage ne repose jamais la vue, inspire un sentiment de mélancolie indéfinissable; et l'on est peu tenté d'envier le sort de ses habitants, dont les villes et les bourgades, cachées sous terre, se confondent de loin avec l'apre nudité du sol.

[Leaving Sivas, July 6, I headed northeast toward Erzurum. Once we passed the village of Perknik, distant a league, which has the remarkable phenomenon of an exclusively Catholic population in the midst of a dissenting nation, we realize that there are eventually limits to Cappadocia, and that a new country begins.

It is little Armenia, this side is between the Kizil Irmak and the Euphrates. Villages are entirely Armenians with no Turks. Women and children do not speak nor hear the language of their rulers. The landscape, naked as the desert, is broken by ranges of hills or mountains white with snow, which intersect and run in all directions, presenting their sides of thick grassland where herders fatten beautiful sheep used to supply Constantinople, which are the main wealth of the country. At their feet the valleys, which are rather plain, where wheat, barley and rye grow with equal abundance, but at times quite different, depending on whether the land is higher or lower. Escaping from all parts of the rocks and within the bowels of the earth water sources so fresh, so clear and tasting so delicious that one forgets the memories and longing for European drinks. Numerous warm waters, of all temperatures and all the qualities, reveal another kind of wealth that the earth holds buried because of the ignorance or apathy of those who possess it. The year is divided into two seasons: winter, whose reign is generally eight months, and summer, with its often extreme heat, to be born, to grow and to yellow harvest. The monotony of the country, where shadowing is not ever seen, inspires a feeling of indefinable melancholy, and there is little temptation to envy the fate of its inhabitants, including the towns and villages, hidden under earth, merge with the harsh nudity of the landscape.]

Correspondance et mémoires d'un voyageur en Orient, Volume 1 By Eugène Boré


Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica da S. Pietro sino ai nostri giorni, 1842

"In Pirkinik evvi usa chiesa pubblica cattolica, e compresa anche Sivas, vi sono circa settanta od ottanta famiglie assistite da tre, o quattro sacerdoti del patriarca di Cilicia."

page 138

[in Pirkinik (evvi) a public catholic church, which also includes Sivas, there are about 70 or 80 families "assisted" by three or four priests from the patriarch of Cilicia.]


The Missionary Herald, Volume 41, 1845, By American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions

Armenian Catholics

Mr. Johnston has communicated the following facts.

I have but little authentic information to communicate respecting this sect among the Armenians. They are said to number one thousand houses at Artoin, one hundred at Erzeroom, one hundred at Trebizond, four hundred at Tokat, fifteen at Sivas, three hundred and fifty at Pirkinik, - a village near to Sivas, - two hundred at Gurin; and at Angora, which is their strong hold in Asia Minor, they are very numerous, though I know not the exact number, perhaps about two thousand bouses. Nor have I any definite information respecting the origin and growth of this sect, except that in Tokat they have increased from about one hundred and fifty to near four hundred houses, since their recognition as a distinct sect by the Turkish government At Trebizond it seems they have not increased, or at least have made no proselytes from the Armenians, since their formal separation. The increase at Tokat seems to have been brought about, partly by the zeal of educated native preachers, and partly by their attention to the poor and relief extended to individuals in times of need. But as a body they have lost their former zeal, have become relaxed in their morals, and, consequently, have ceased to make proselytes as they formerly did."


"A few moments afterward an old man, with a bald head, a long white beard, and a severe countenance, entered. He trembled violently at the sight of the pacha, as if he though his hour had come.

He was a poor Maronite monk, sent recently by the patriarch of Mount Libanus to replace the superior of the convent of Perkinik, who was dead. The pacha had, whilst passing on that day thought this Catholic village, in the environs of Sivas, wished to make an exaction on this miserable convent, in which a few monks, covered with rags, lived by the labor of their hands, in the midst of a population as miserable as themselves. Djezzar, unable to extort the money which they had not, had carried off their superior with him, to detain him as a hostage until the sum demanded was paid."

The monk replies:
"I have nothing in the world which thou canst take from me, but my life."
At which point the pasha shoots him.

Graham's American monthly magazine of literature, art, and fashion, Volume 37, 1850

Note: Djezzar was the name of the pacha in this story.


"Non vi sono in Sebaste, oggidi Sewas, che alcune case cattoliche. Bisogna far una lega per trovar le altre. Il villaggio di Perknick, composto di centosessanta case, presenta il singolar fenomeno di non racchiudere che cattolici in mezzo ad un paese infedele o scismatico. L'epoca della sua conversione alla vera fede risale al principio dell' ultimo secolo, allora che si suscitavano a Tokat e ad Angora violenti persecuzioni contra gli ortodossi, e che il beato Gumida moriva martire a Costantinopoli. Un cattolico armeno, chiamato Michele, venne a stanziare in questo villaggio. La sua vita regolare e piena di buone opere gli guadagnò la stima e la confidenza degli abitanti. Siccome era istruito e dotto, egli profittò di questo vantaggio per dirigere l'educazione de' fanciulli, ai quali insinuò a poco a poco i principii dell' ortodossia. Sendo morto il coadjutore della chiesa, si gettarono incontanente gli occhi sopra di lui per surrogarlo. Michele, che credeva di dover adempiere la missione di cui il Signore lo incaricava visibilmente, accettò questa dignità, e in breve guadagnò alla Chiesa tutto il gregge. Perknick divenne apertamente cattolico.

We are in Sebaste, today Sewas, where there are some catholic homes. You have to go about a league away to find others. The village of Perknick comprising one hundred and sixty houses, is a unique phenomenon of not containing anything but catholics in the midst of a county which is either infidel or schismatic. The time of conversion to the true faith dates to the the beginning of the last century when there arose a violent persecution in Tokat and Angora against the Orthodoxes and when the blessed Gumid died a martyr in Constantinople. An Armenian catholic called Michael came to live in this village. His ordered live and his good works earned him the respect and confidence of the inhabitants. Since he was educated and literate he took this advantage to direct the education of the children to whom he slowly slowly insinuates the principles of orthodoxy (presumably the Roman Catholic Orthodoxy). When the the priest of the church died, their eyes unanimously were cast on him (Michael) to replace him (the priest). Michael who believed he had to fulfill the mission which the Lord had visibly instructed him to do accepted with dignity and soon gained the whole flock for the church. Perknick was openly Catholic.

In que' giorni era nella nazione armena un movimento generale di conversione, e questo fu il motivo delle persecuzioni di cui abbiamo parlato. I capi del clero armeno di Sebaste, spaventati del glorioso conquisto di Michele, lo denunziarono caritatevolmente al muftì o capo della religione musulmana ed al pascià, accusandolo d'infedeltà verso il gran signore e di trama coi Franchi nemici della Porta. Queste accuse ingiuste furono ascoltate, e Michele fu citato in giudizio e poi messo a morie sulla porta della chiesa di Sebaste, posta sotto la protezione della Vergine Maria. Le ultime esortazioni falle al suo gregge e l'olocausto del suo sangue, prezioso davanti il Signore, hanno sparso sopra Perknick una benedizione efficace. Noi abbiam trovalo questo villaggio irremovibile nella sua fede. Esso è molto bene diretto da tre giovani preti usciti, dal monte Libano e assai istruiti. Noi gli abbiiam trovati che presedevano alla costruzione di una chiesa che sopravanzerà per solidità e gusto quella degli Armeni. Essi hanno fatto di questo villaggio come una piccola città cristiana, le cui eccellenti leggi hanno impresso agli abitanti tal carattere di probità che li fa distinti sino a Costantinopoli.

In those days there was in the Armenian nation a general movement towards conversion and this was the motive for the persecution we have mentioned. The leaders of the Armenian clergy of Sebaste worried by Michael's glorious conquest "caritatevolmente" charitably?? denounced him to the mufti or Muslim regional leader and the pasha and accused him of infidelity against the Lord and plotting with the French enemies of the Sublime Porte. These unjust accusations were listened to and Michael stood trail and executed at the door of the church in Sebaste, under the protection of the Virgin Mary. The last pleas made by his flock and the burnt offering of his blood, precious to the Lord, have placed a blessing on Perknick. We find this village immovable in its faith. It is very well directed by three young priests who came from Mount Lebanon and are highly educated. We fount them presiding over the construction of a Church which is unsurpassed for sturdiness and Armenian aesthetics. They have made this village into a small Christian city, whose excellent laws have imprinted the inhabitants with an honest character that one only finds in Constantinople.

Secondo antiche congetture storiche, essi discenderebbero tutti dalla famiglia de' Pagratidi, razza reale che gli ha diverse volte governati. Nondimeno non hanno l'orgoglio aristocratico, che sembrerebbe almen tollerabile fra loro. Noi abbiam trovato il fratello dell'arcivescovo che faceva egli stesso pascolare gl'innumerevoli greggi che formano l'unica loro ricchezza. Tutti sono allevati nel rispetto e nella più umile sommissione per la santa sede, segno caratteristico del vero cattolico. Non dimenticherò mai, soggiunge il dotto viaggiatore, l'impressione che mi fece una vecchia di oltre cent'anni, attorniata da quattro generazioni. Quando monsignor Scafi, missionario della congregazione de'lazaristi, che risiede a Costantinopoli e mio onorevole compagno di viaggio, si fece a lei conoscere qual prete romano allevato a Roma, la vecchia, udendo il suo nome veneralo fra loro, levò gli occhi e le braccia al cielo, benedicendolo di aver veduto prima di morire un inviato del sommo pontefice.

"According to ancient historical conjecture they all descend from the Pagratidi family, a real people who have ruled several times. In any event, they do have an aristocratic pride that seems tolerated among themselves. We found the brother of the Archbishop who was himself grazing innumerable flocks that are their only form of wealth. All are raised in respect and humble submission to the Holy See, a characteristic sign of a true Catholic. I will never forget, added the learned traveler, the impression made on me by a an old lady of over one hundred years surrounded by four generations. When Monsignor Scafi, a missionary from the Lazzarist congregation who lives in Constantinople and my honorable travel companion, when it became known to her that he was Roman priest raised in Rome the old woman, hearing his name venerated among them raised her eyes and arms to heaven and blessing him for having seen before her death an emissary from the Supreme Pontiff.

Storia universale della Chiesa cattolica dal principio del ..., Volumes 27-28 By René François Rohrbacher 1855


"A une heure de Sebaste, se trouve le village de Pir- kinik, habitent exclusivement par des Arme niens catholiques, au nombre de 3000 environ. Ils ont une assez vaste eglise en pierre et une residence pour le cure et ses deux vicaires"

[One hour from Sebaste, lies the village of Pir-Kinik, inhabited exclusively by Armenian Catholics, numbering about 3,000. They have a fairly large stone church and a residence for the priest and his two vicars."]


A une heure de Sébaste, se trouve le village de Pirkinik, habité exclusivement par des Arméniens catholiques, au nombre de 3,000 environ. Ils ont une assez vaste église en pierre et une résidence pour le curé et ses deux vicaires. Mgr Khadifian a été reçu avec allégresse par ses ouailles de Pirkinik, où il passe ordinairement l'été et l'automne. La population de ce village est trés-pieuse et trés-attachée au Saint-Siége. Elle assiste chaque matin à la messe et le soir aux vêpres. L'école, soutenue par une confrérie qui vient d'être fonde, est fréquentée par 200 éléves. Pirkinik a beaucoup souffert de la guerre. Les habitants sont cultivateurs ou muletiers. Ceux-ci, renommés pour leur fidélité, traversent toute l'Anatolie. On peut leur confier, en pleine sécurité, toutes sortes de valeurs; les voyageurs, et surtout les missionnaires catholiques, aiment à voyager avec eux. Pendant la derniére guerre, les commandants des armées turques d'Asie ont réquisitionné leurs mules, et Pirkinik a été ainsi grandement appauvri. Il est entouré d'un grand nombre de villages habités par des Arméniens non unis, mais fort doux de caractére. Quand Mgr Khadifian traversait ces villages, tous les habitants allaient à sa rencontre et lui oiTraient la table et le logement. Si l'école de Pirkinik pouvait prendre un plus grand développement, et si une école poulies jeunes filles y était établie, peu agrave; peu la foi catholique renaitrait dans ces villages, et Pirkinik deviendrait, je crois, chez les Arméniens grégoriens, le centre d'un grand mouvement d'union avec l'église romaine. Les prédicants prolestants, forts de leurs ressources pécuniaires, ont déjagrave; pris pied dans cette province, et ils cherchent à gagner é l'hérésie les Arméniens non unis.

["One hour from Sivas, lies the village of Pirkinik, inhabited exclusively by Armenian Catholics, numbering about 3,000. They have a fairly large stone church and a residence for the priest and his two vicars. Bishop Khadifian is received with joy by his Pirkinik flock, where he usually spends the summer and fall. The population of this village is very pious and very attached to the Holy See. They attend Mass every morning and vespers in the evening. The school, supported by a brotherhood that has just been founded, is attended by 200 students. Pirkinik has suffered greatly from the war. The inhabitants are farmers or muleteers. These, renowned for their honesty, traverse the whole of Anatolia. We can give them, with complete safety, all sorts of valuables: travelers, especially the Catholic missionaries, like to travel with them. During the last war, the commanders of the Asian Turkish army commandeered their mules, and thus Pirkinik was greatly impoverished. It is surrounded by a large number of peaceful un-united Armenian villages. When Bishop Khadifian passes through these villages, all the people go to meet him and offer board and lodging. If the school at Pirkinik were enlarged, and if a school for young girls was established it would gradually revive the Catholic faith in these villages, and Pirkinik would become, I believe, home of the Armenian Gregorian, the center a great movement for unity with the Roman Church. The Protestant preachers, with strong financial resources, have already gained a foothold in the province, and they seek to convert if the Armenians do not unite.]

Aprés trois jours de séjour à Pirkinik, Mgr Khadifian s'est acheminé vers Gurine, ville en partie habitée par des Arméniens catholiques. Il était accompagné de M. l'abbé André Alexandrian, un des secrétaires de S. B. Mgr Hassoun, qui se rendait en congé agrave; Gurine, son pays natal, pour y voir ses parents aprés plusieurs années d'absence. Les habitants de Pirkinik ont accompagné leur pasteur, pendant deux heures de marche, jusqu'à la montagne Kardachicar, prés d'une fontaine célébre. Lagrave;, Mgr Khadifian leur adressa une touchante allocution, et, aprés les avoir bénis et avoir appelé sur eux les bienfaits du Ciel, il prit congé, au milieu de leurs larmes. Ces bons Arméniens ne quittérent le sommet de la montagne que lors qu'ils eurent perdu de vue leur évoque. Le trajet de Pirkinik à Gurine fut plein de tristesse. En traversant ces vallées semées de villages musulmans ou schismatiques, Mgr Khadifian se sentait le coeur' navré. Dans ce vaste district, illustré autrefois par tant d'évêques, pas un seul catholique.

[After a three days stay at Pirkinik Bishop Khadifian headed toward Gurine, a village partly inhabited by Armenians Catholics. He was accompanied by Abbe Andre Alexandrian, one of the secretaries of S. B. Bishop Hassoun, who was on leave to visit his homeland of Gurine and to see his parents after years of absence. The inhabitants of Pirkinik accompanied their pastor for two hours walking up the mountain Kardachicar, near a famous fountain. There, Bishop Khadifian gave a touching speech, and after having blessed them and called upon them the blessings of heaven, he took leave in the middle of their tears. These good Armenians left the summit of the mountain until they had lost sight of their bishop. The way from Pirkinik to Gurine was full of sadness. Crossing these valleys dotted with Muslim or "schismatiques"* villages Bishop Khadifian felt sad of heart. In this vast district, from which so many bishops had come, not one Catholic.**]

Les Missions Catholiques: Volume 11 - Page 63 By Society for the Propagation of the Faith, Catholic Church. Pontificium Opus

*I am not sure of the interpretation of the word "schismatiques". I could refer to Protestants and/or Apostolics.

**Literally "In this vast district, formerly illustrated by so many bishops, not one Catholic."

Bishop Gabriel Khadifian was the Armenian Roman Catholic bishop of Sivas and Tokat. He was consecrated in Pera, Constantinople in 1877 in the presence of delegates from the Holy See in Rome. He made his first official visit to his dioceses in 1879. The above description of Pikrinik was made at that time.

To see images of the Armenian muleteers go to Armenians in Turkey, Customs, Dress and Food



In an Armenian book of Travels belonging to the priest of Pilkinik1 near Sivas, I saw the following inscriptions along with several others, all equally badly copied and hopeless, from Geumenek near Tokat. I give two of these inscriptions, which contain the name of the town.

The inscription is dated in the year one hundred and three. On the analogy of the local eras used in various parts of Asia Minor in the Imperial period, there can be no doubt that this era is that either of the formation of the country into a Roman province or of the assumption by the town of the name HieroCaesareia This name for the city is common on the coins, which show that the era dates from A.D. 37, when Caligula gave to Polemon the kingdom of Pontus, which had belonged to his father Polemon. In the year 140 A.D., which corresponds to the year 103 of the inscription, the consuls were the emperor Atonius Pius and Verus Caesar, afterwards the emperor M. Aurelius. It is probable that this inscription is in honour of the two consuls, and it may be restored as follows, omitting the honorary pedigree and titles which were given with the emperors name.

The names Crispinus also occurs at Sebastian (No. 12). The general drift of the inscription is clear, but it is difficult to connect the separate fragments, some of which need considerable emendation; and the later part is very uncertain."

The Journal of philology, Volumes 11-12 By William George Clark, Ingram Bywater, John Eyton Bickersteth Mayor


Les Missions Catholiques, Volume 16 By Society for the Propagation of the Faith, Catholic Church. Pontificium Opus a S. Petro, 1884

"Je fus retenu a Sivas au-dela de mes previsions, parce qu'on avait prepare une grand'messe de Dumont et un examen public. Comment se refuse a preside une telle solennite? Je profitai de cette prolongation de sejour pour visiter le village de Perkenik. C'est une oasis exclusivement catholique, chose rare et Presque unique dans ces contrees schismatiques. La population est rude, mais ferme dans sa foi. Plusieurs pretres et eveques, le patriarche lui-meme sortent de Perkenik. Les homes sont muletiers et sillonnent l'Asie Mineure dans tous les sens. Leur eglise es grande et tien tenue. Un pretre y dirige l'ecole avec success. Il a bonte de m'accueillir de la maniere la plus cordiale. C'est ici que l'on peut juger du resultat que nois obtiendrions pour la glorie de Dieu, si nous parvenions a former des groupes catholiques puissant.

Independants et libres, sans melange d'infideles, les rudes habitants de Perkenik sont fiers de lour village. Il faut ententre avec quell accent d'un doux orgueil ils repondent: "Je suis de Perkenik", -orsqu'on les aborde sur les grands chemins. Je suis de Perkenik, c'est-a-dire je suis catholique et je voudrais bien voir que quelqu'un fut assez ose pour y trouver a redire. Comme la situation changeait en Armenie avec des colonies semblables a celle-ci!

Ce village fut a l'aise jadis. Il s'appauvrit chaque jour. Les prestations et les corvees entravent la travail lire et remunerateur. Tel pere de famille est tenu a une corvee de vingt jours por la construction d'un dedfice public ou le soin des routes. Celui qui a des mulets et des voitures se voit force de les mettre a la disposition de entrepreneur. Cependant il faut vivre durant ces jour, vivre et faire vivre sa famille! Et puis les redevances en nature sont ecrasantes. Le vilayet de Sivas est un des cinq auxquels imcombe l'obligation d'amortir la dette russe imposee par la derniere guerre. On croit qu'il faudre cent ans pour se liberer."

[I was unexpectedly detained in Sivas, because we had to prepare a grand mass "of Dumont" and a public exam (or review). How can one refuse to preside at "une telle solennite"? I took advantage of this extended stay to visit the village of Perkenik. It is an exclusively Catholic oasis, very rare and almost unique in these schismatic countries. The people are crude, but firm in their faith. Several priests and bishops, the Patriarch himself, are from Perkenik. Men are muleteers and traverse Asia Minor in all directions. Their church is large and well maintained. A priest leads the school with success. He met me in the most cordial manner. Here we can see what results are obtained for the glorie of God, if we form powerful Catholic groups.

Independent and free, without mixture of infidels, the peasant inhabitants of Perkenik are proud of their village. With a sweet accent of pride they say: "I am Perkenik." (word) as you approach them on the highways, I'am Perkenik, that is to say I am Catholic and I would like to see someone find fault with that. The situation changed in Armenia with colonies similar to that one!

This village was once comfortable. It gets poorer every day. The "benefits" and chores outweigh the work and reward. For example a father of a family is given twenty days work building an edifice or working on the public roads. Whoever has mule and carts was forced to make them available the contractor. But he must live during the days (that his mules were not available to him), live and provide for his family! And then the royalties in kind are overwhelming. The vilayet Sivas is one of five whose income is required to reduce the Russian debt imposed by the last war. It is believed to be a hundred years to be out from under it.

1888 — The Conversion of Perkinik to Catholicism — Early 1700s

No exact date is given for the episode described. However, the precious paragraph refers to 1711 and 1713.

Coup d'oeil sur l'Armenie: a propos d'une mission de la Compagnie de Jesus By Damas (Andre, le r.p. de, 1888

"Un autre Jesuite, le P. Gregoire, polonais, expulse d'Erivan, s'etait au village de Perkenik, pres de Sivas. Les familles catholiques y etaient peu nombreuses. Le Pere s'ingenia de son mieux. Il associa a son apostolat un armenien catholique appartenant aux Freres-unis. Ce jeune homme ouvrit une ecole, espousa la fille du cure schismatique, convertit son beau-pere, et l'amena a faire son abjuration etre les mains du Jesuite polonais. La conversion du pasteur entraina celle du troupeau. Aujourd'hui, le village n'abrite pas un seul armenien schismatique. Il est ferme dans la loi catholique, c'est un de nos centres importants."

page 178

[Another Jesuit, Father Gregoire, Polish, expelled from Erivan, took refuge in Perkenik village, near Sivas. The Catholic families were few. The Priest tried his best. This work of the Armenian Catholics was associated with the mission of "Freres-Unis". This young man opened a school, married the daughter of "cure of the schismatic" (pastor of the non Catholic church), converted his father-in-law, his wife, and solemnly renounced himself of the Polish Jesuits. The conversion of Pastor (the father-in-law MLB) lead the rest of the congregation (the herd). Today the village has no "schismatic Armenians" (Armenian Apostolics MLB). It is firmly in Catholic law and is one of our major centers.]

Sivas in 1892 - La Turquie d'Asie: geographie administrative, statistique ..., Volume 1 By Vital Cuinet
A little closer to the city, we see the village of Pirkinik whose population is estimated at 1,300 inhabitants, all Armenian Catholics. It is said to have been founded by a family member of Pakradouni (Bagratids) who gave several kings to Armenia. Most men in this village were muleteers, but since the completion of roadways in the province, most transportation was done by arabas, this job is no longer as profitable as before. Also the population, already reduced by almost half, declines even more as a result of male emigration to Constantinople, where they will go into service. Already the number of deaths exceeds that of births which drop alarmingly. Pirkinik women are known for their athletic form. At some distance from this village there are iron springs well attended by families of Sivas, who move there to live in tents during June and July.


Le célébre Méchitar, fondateur des moines arméniens, appelés du nom de leur fondateur Méchitaristes, était également originaire de Sébaste ; c'est grace agrave; lui que la littérature arménienne fut conservée et devint si florissante. Le martyr Michel, décapité pour la foi en 1707 dans la ville de Sébaste, était de Berkenik. Au xvni siecle, les persécutions des patriarches dissidents de Constantinople diminuerent le nombre des catholiques; quelques familles, pour éhapper à l'emprisonnement, cederent à l'erreur; plusieurs autres émigrèrent à Constantinopleet à Smyrne. Les fidèles qui restent encore sont à Berkenik, à Sébaste, à Tokat et à Guirine; leur nombre est de six mille, -andis que les Arméniens non unis sontau nombre de deux cent mille. Un tel désastre avait réduit Sébaste au rang d'évêché. Mais, le 30 mai 1892, S. S. Léon XIII, par une lettre apostolique, daigna l'ériger à nouveau en siège archiépiscopal, conférant à l'évè que le titre d'archevêque de Sébaste et d'évêque de Tokat. Actuellement, cette province de Sébaste a quatre églises, cinq chapelles et un monastère qui se trouve pregrave;s de Tokat, treize prêtres et cinq écoles. Le village de Berkenik, composé de cinq cents familles, toutes catholiques, n'a pas d'école. Près de cent soixante-dix garçons et plus de deux cents jeunes filles reçoivent l'instruction dans de pauvres maisons : bancs, livres, tout manque à ces classes.

The celebrated Mechitar, founder of the Armenian monastery called Mechitarists was also from Sivas, it was through him that the Armenian literature was preserved and became so successful. The martyr Michael, beheaded for the faith in 1707 in the city of Sebaste, was from "Berkenik". In the eighteenth century, the persecution of the dissident patriarchs of Constantinople diminished the number of Catholics: a few families, to escape imprisonment, yielded to the "error" [conversion] and several others moved to Constantinople or Smyrna. The faithful who are still in "Berkenik", Sivas, Tokat and Guirine; their number is six thousand, the un-united Armenians number two hundred thousand. A similar disaster reduced Sivas to the rank of bishopric. On May 30, 1892, S. S. Leo XIII by apostolic letter deigned to erect it again in the archbishopric, giving the bishop the title of archbishop and bishop of Sebaste in Tokat. Currently, the province of Sebaste has four churches, five chapels, a monastery located near Tokat, thirteen priests and five schools. "Berkenik" village, consisting of five hundred families, all Catholics, no school. Nearly one hundred and seventy boys and more than two hundred young girls receive instruction in their poor homes: desks, books, are all lacking in these classes.

Les Missions catholiques, Volume 25 By Society for the Propagation of the Faith, Catholic Church.

Mechitar (1676-1749) See Mechitar


About 1 hr. from the town is the Armenian Monastery of the Holy Cross, in which are kept Senekherim's throne, and other relics of the Armenian Viceroys. On the height to the E., separated from the town by Pirkinik Su, and commanding a fine view, is the Mosque of Abd elWahab, built on old foundations, and still called by Christians the Church of S. John."

Handbook for travellers in Asia Minor, Transcaucasia, Persia, etc By John Murray (Firm), 1895

1898 —

Les Missions catholiques, Volume 30 By Society for the Propagation of the Faith, Catholic Church. Pontificium Opus a S. Petro Apostolo

A Pirkinik, l'eglise est in ruine; la terrasse menace de s'effondrer. L'interieur de l'edifice sacre est dans un etat amentable; l'humidite a deja deteriore tous les tableaux. Ce village, compose de 400 familles, toutes catholigues, n'a pas encore pour les garcons une ecole tant soit peu convenable. Les pauvres enfants sont obligue de se reunir dans une chamber etroite, obscure, sans pave, malsaine; c'est pourquoi la frequentation d'un tel local devient odieuse aux enfants, et il est tres difficile de trouver un professeur qui consent a y passer quelques heures."

[At Pirkinik, the church is in ruins, the terrace is threatening to collapse. Inside the sacred edifice is an "amentable" state. The moisture has already deteriorated all the "tableaux" (frescos?). The village comprises 400 families, all catholics, the boys school is unsuitable. Poor children are obliged to meet in a narrow chamber, dark, without paving, unhealthy, so attendance at of the local child has becomes obnoxious, and it is very difficult to find a professor who agrees to spend a few hours.]

Massacres of Armenians in Anatolia occurred between 1894-1896. The area around Sivas was hit between November 12-15, 1895.


Sebaste ou Sivas, l'antique Diospolis, clebre pas les 40 martyrs de Sebaste. Sebasten, Armenorum (Asie Mineure). Rite armenian. Erige en ev. par Pie IX en 1858, puis en archev. Par Leon Xiii. le 30 mai 1892, avec le diocese uni de Tokat (Tokaten). Hab. 1,050,000: cath. armen.*, 3,000; schism.**, 237,000: prot., 2,000; juifs***, 400; 12 pr. miss., 4 egl. on chap.

HAGIAN (Isaac), ne a Perkinik, dioc. de Sebaste, le 6 mai 1837, elu le 8 avril 1892. archev. le 30 mai 1893

[Sebaste or Sivas, the ancient Diopolis, know for the 40 martyrs of Sebastia. (Asia Minor) Armenian rite......... Inhabitants 1,050,000, Armenian Catholic, 3,000, schism (presumably Apostolic) 237,000, protestants 2,000, jews 400......

HAGIAN (Isaac) born at Perkinik diocese of Sebastian 6 May 1837.......

Archeveques et Eveques Residentiels Annuaire pontifical catholique By Battandier, 1903


The The Bastard of Istanbul, A Novel by Elif Shafak

"Even in Sivas, in the small Catholic Armenian village of Pirkinik when they went to seek shelter with Grandpa and Grandma, only to be expelled one night by soldiers breaking into the house; even when he found himself walking amid thousands of drained, famished, beaten Armenians guarded by soldiers on horseback, even when he trudged through a long, thick carpet of mud, vomit, blood, and excrement.........."

page 239 and 240


Danish documents on the Armenian Genocide: The minister in Constantinople (Carl Ellis Wandel) to the foreign minister (Erik Scavenius) Source : Danish National Archives, Foreign Office, Group Cases 1909-1945. Dept. 139, Gr. D, No. 1, "Turkey - Inner Relations". Package 1, to Dec. 31, 1916 No. CXIII [113] Constantinople, September 4,

"In the parish of Sivas, the only village to have been spared is Pirkinik, where the archbishop, Monseigneur Ketchedjian, has escaped to. He, and one cleric that accompanied him, are the only survivors."


"The favour that had been obtained through the Austrian and American Embassies in Constantinople for Catholics and Protestants to be exempted from deportation, is in some cases being faithfully observed, but in others not at all. I was in Sivas when the rich village of Perkenik was entirely and most ruthlessly deported. It was an entirely Catholic village of perhaps one thousand homes. They had beautiful horses and great flocks of sheep. The flocks and horses were sent into the city, and the people were literally driven out with whips. When a complaint was made to the officers that this should not be done, because they were Catholics and had been especially faithful to the Government at all times, the reply was given that politics had changed, and that Italy had entered the war since this order had come from Constantinople."

Papers by command, Volume 33 By Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons - ANGORA: STATEMENT BY A TRAVELLER, NOT OF ARMENIAN NATIONALITY, WHO PASSED THROUGH ANGORA IN AUGUST 1915

"The favour that had been obtained through the Austrian and American Embassies in Constantinople for Catholics and Protestants to be exempted from deportation, is in some cases being faithfully observed, but in others not at all. I was in Sivas when the rich village of Perkenik was entirely and most ruthlessly deported. It was an entirely Catholic village of perhaps one thousand homes. They had beautiful horses and great flocks of sheep. The flocks and horses were sent into the city, and the people were literally driven out with whips. When a complaint was made to the officers that this should not be done, because they were Catholics and had been especially faithful to the Government at all times, the reply was given that politics had changed, and that Italy had entered the war since this order had come from Constantinople."

Snippet view

"In Sebaste, come anche nelle sue adiacenze compreso Perknik, e Gurin si contano seicento anime cattoliche in circa. In Perknik vi sono due sacerdoti cattolici, ultimamente pero, il Padre Antonio monaco di Monte Libano, spedi dal detto...

[In Sebaste, as well as in its vicinity including Perknik, Gurin, and there are about six hundred Catholic souls. In Perknik there are two Catholic priests, but recently, Fr Anthony Monaco of Mount Lebanon, sent by that...]

Il vicariato apostolico di Costantinopoli 1453-1830: documenti, ..... Issues 103-104, Bohumil Spacil, Georg Hofmann, Pontificium Institutum Orientalium Studiorum - 1935 - 336 pages

This information must be from before 1915, but I do not know the date.


There are a number of books online in Turkish, which, unfortunately, I cannot read. There are also a number of books that require payment to read online or to buy.

Pirkinik - the Population and the School as Mentioned Over Time

In 1842 it was estimated that there were 70 or 80 families in the village. In 1845 it was estimated that there were 350 persons.

In 1855 it was stated that here were 160 homes.

In 1865 and 1879 the population was estimated at 3,000. If this was true the population increase by 2,650 people (more than 8.5 time) in 20 years. This is highly unlikely!!

The school was mentioned in 1865, 1879 and 1884.

In 1893 the school was in bad shape and the students were forced to learn in "poor homes".

By 1898 there were reportedly 400 families, the church was in ruins and the school was "unsuitable".

In 1915 there were an estimated 1,000 homes.

Today the village has 200 buildings at most. To see images of the boys school and the village go to The History of the Village of Perkinik


The Armenian review, Volume 3, page 77.

Perkenik was referred to as a "ruined Armenian village"


"With its roots in Istanbul, the Order soon spread its branches to the surrounding provinces. Subsequently, from 1847 to 1915, schools were opened in Garin, Bardizag, Bilejik, Marzevan, Trabizon, Malatia, Marash, Kharpert, Adana, Ardevin, Perknik, Hajin, Gurun and in Aleppo. By 1915, the number of schools reached thirty with some seventy-five Sisters teaching in these educational institutions."

The Order of the Armenian Sisters of The Immaculate Conception

Famous People list from the History of Perkenik by Father Ephrem Boghossian written in the 1950 or 60s and translated by Joe Topalian.

Bishop Hajian's List

  1. Der Hovhannes Margosian, died 1697.

    Nothing on the Internet with this spelling as of Jan 2011.

  2. Der Michael, martyred in 1707.

    See Storia universale della Chiesa cattolica dal principio del ..., Volumes 27-28 By René François Rohrbacher 1855 above.

  3. Der Kaspar, jail mate of Martyr Der Michael, died in 1742-44.

    Nothing on the Internet with this spellingas of Jan 2011.

  4. Der Hagop Areviants, died in 1766.

    Nothing on the Internet with this spelling as of Jan 2011.

  5. Der Kaspar Borchanian, died in 1766.

    Nothing on the Internet with this spelling as of Jan 2011.

  6. Der Asdvadzadur, forefather of Der Asdvadzadooriants.

    Asdvadzadur of Armenia Catholicos

    Asdvadzadur was the Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church between 1715 and 1725. As Catholicos, he secured an alliance with Christian Peter the Great of Russia for aid against the expansionist Muslim powers of the Ottoman Empire and Persia prior to the Russo-Persian War. He is buried at St. Hripsime Church, Echmiadzin.

    Wikipedia and more

    Fr. Hovhannes Der-Asdvadzadurian - Bitlis, Mush or Taron, Dzori Tagh village - Apostolic - martyr*

  7. Der Michael, grandson of the Martyr, died in 1782.

    Nothing on the Internet with this spelling as of Jan 2011.

  8. Der Ghougas, grandson of the martyr, died in 1802

    Nothing on the Internet with this spelling as of Jan 2011.

  9. Der Hovhannes Demirjian

    Nothing on the Internet with this spelling as of Jan 2011.

  10. Der Asdvadzadur Der Asdvadzadurian (see above)

    Fr. Mikayel Der-Asdvadzadurian (vdpt.) - Sivas (Sebastia), Brgink - Apostolic - martyr - Born 1873 in Brgnik; studied in Zmmar; ordained 1896.*

  11. Der Krikor Krtian.

    Nothing on the Internet with this spelling as of Jan 2011.

  12. Der Arakel Ananian.

    Nothing on the Internet with this spelling as of Jan 2011.

  13. Der Hagop Gharibian.

    Nothing on the Internet with this spelling as of Jan 2011.

  14. Fr. Hovhannes Bedigian, Monk in Armenian Order of St. Anthony.

    Nothing on the Internet with this spelling as of Jan 2011.

  15. Der Hovsep Markarian.

    Nothing on the Internet with this spelling as of Jan 2011.

  16. Der Boghos Krtian.

    Nothing on the Internet with this spelling as of Jan 2011.

  17. Der Bedros Danielian. See Chapter 18, History of the Village of Perkinik

  18. Der Parsegh Reissian, served in Vatican's Propaganda.

    ???Acta Apostolicae Sedis: commentarium officiale,Volume 54; Volume 1 - Page 887 Catholic Church. Pope, Vatican City - Law - 1962 Reissian ... (could not view on line)

  19. Fr. Pilibbos, Antonian monk.

    Not enough info

  20. Michele Derastrazadurian - Gregory Peter VIII Asdvadzadurian, Catholicos-Patriarch of the House of Cilicia.

    See Families above

    Born 1788 Pirkinik

    1855 (see above) "We found the brother of the Archbishop who was himself grazing innumerable flocks that are their only form of wealth."

    Gregory Petros VIII Der Asdvadzadourian patriarch 1843-1866.

    Armenian Catholic


    "A glorious name in the annals of Armenian nation"

    His patriarchate occurred during a period of religious freedom and he was able to build: 15 churches, many chapels, priest's housing, schools. He established a seminary, published booklets and enriched the convent library. With Gregory VIII the seat of the Armenian Catholic Patriarch moved from Lebanon to Constantinople.

    Gregory VIII died in 1866.

    Michele Derastrazadurian

    Diocese E Titoli Dei Patriarchi

    Cilicia degli Armenia, Ciliciae Armenorum: Michele Derastrazadurian, nato in Pirkinik, Archidiocese di Sebaste nel 1788, promosso da Cesarea In partibus 25 Gennario 1844 col nome di Gregorio Pietro VIII.

    Diocese of Patriarchs and Titles Cilicia of the Armenians, Michael Derastrazadurian born in Pirkinik Archdiocese of Sivas, in 1788 promoted from Caesarea 25 January 1844 under the name Peter Gregory VIIII

  21. Gregory Vartabed Bedigian.

    Nothing on the Internet with this spelling as of Jan 2011.

  22. Fr. Thomas Maksetian (born 1776), Mechitharist of Venice.

    Nothing on the Internet with this spelling as of Jan 2011.

  23. Hovsep Vartabed Borchanian.

    Nothing on the Internet with this spelling as of Jan 2011.

  24. Hovhannes Vartabed Hajian (Hagian), Archbishop of Caesarea, (Cappadocia)

    His day = 1886, per note in Chapter 18, Distinguished Personalities of Perkenik

    Bishop Giovanni Hagian (AKA John Hajian) born Perkenik 1802, Bishop of Cesarea di Cappadocia

    The Churchman's year book, with calender for the year of grace 1871, by William Stevens Perry Caesarea, John Hagian.

    Bishop Giovanni Hagian born 1802, Perkenik, Ordained Bishop 2 June 1850 age 48.4, Bishop of Cesarea di Cappadocia, (Armenian) Turkey, First Vatican Council: Council Father

    Les Missions Catholiques, Volume 12 By Society for the Propagation of the Faith, Catholic Church. Pontificium Opus a S. Petro Apostolo


    Caesarea (Asia Mino). - We wrote to Constantinople, May 24, 1880: "Bishop John Hadjian, Armenian archbishop of Caesarea, died on 18th of this month, at three in the morning. Bishop Hadjian was born in 1802, in Armenia Minor, near Sivas (Sebaste), at Pirkinik. During the great persecution of 1827, when the Armenian Catholic Community of Constantinople was exiled and dispersed in the interior of Asia, Father Jean Hadjian, then a simple missionary, disguised as a cook, assisted the families deported to Caesarea. To avoid being recognized by the enforcement Turkish officers and the Gregorian patriarchy, he said Mass before dawn for one of the families in exile, then went to the bazaar for provisions of meat and worked in the kitchen the rest of the day. "God wanted what was a place of exile to became, in 1850, the archbishopric of this zealous priest. "When the Catholic Armenian nation had shaken off the yoke of patriarchy Gregorian, Father Hadjian returned to Kaysery, no longer dressed as a cook, but a missionary, preached freely and came to form a small community in this memorable city. The good example for the Armenian-Catholic families deported to Kaysery set by Bishop Hadjian had laid the first seed of faith in the Gregorian Church a germ that the zeal of the preacher and the bishop later developed. "
  25. Michael Vartabed Shegian.

    Nothing on the Internet with this spelling as of Jan 2011.

  26. Der Hovagim Der Boghossian.

  27. Der Krikor Der Asdvadzadurian.

  28. Der Asdvadzadur Der Asdvadzadurian.

  29. Ghevont Vartabed Khorkhoruni, Bishop of Malatia.

    "Melitene o [or] Malatia, r. Armeno, Melitenen. Armenorum. Arciv. - Armenia Minore -

    Leone Kurkoruni, n. in Perkinik, nel 1822, eonsagrato 7 ap. 1861

    Sedi Archivescovili e Vescovili Residenziali [Residential seats of archbishops and bishops]

    Annuario Ponticio 1865

    Archbishop Leone Korkoruni✟ Deceased Bishop of Melitene degli Armeni Events 20 Jun 1822 Born Perkinik 7 Apr 1861 38.8 Ordained Bishop Archbishop (Personal Title) of Melitene degli Armeni First Vatican Council: Council Father

    Annals of the propagation of the faith, Volume 60 By Society for the Propagation of the Faithm 1897



    Mgr. Korkorouni was born at Pirkinik, near Sivas, on the 20th of June 1822. He studied at the Patriarchal Seminary at Bzommar (Lebanon), where he was ordained Priest. On the 7th of April, 1861, he was raised to the dignity of Archbishop of Malatia. His death took place on the 15th of August.

  30. Der David Krtian.

  31. Der Bedros Balabanian. (See Mr. S Balabanian's list below)

  32. Sahag Vartabed Hajian, Archbishop of Sebastia.

    Archbishop Isacco Hagian, born 6 May 1837 Perkinik, appointed Bishop of Sebaste degli Armeni, 8 Apr 1892 age 54.9, appointed archbishop of Sebaste degi Armeni, 30 May 1893 age 56.1.

    HAGIAN (Isaac), ne a Perkinik, dioc. de Sebaste, le 6 mai 1837, elu le 8 avril 1892. archev. le 30 mai 1893

    Archeveques et Eveques Residentiels Annuaire Pontifical catholique By Battandier, 1903

  33. Der Dimoteos (Timothy) Baghdigian.

  34. Der Serope Kazanjian.

  35. Der Bedros Ayjian
*Losses of the Armenian Church During the Genocide

Mr. S. Balabanian's List

  1. Mardiros Vartabed Mgrian, from Aleppo, remained in our village for 30 years.

  2. Very Rev. Der Bedros Balabanian (my paternal uncle), Arajnort from 1890-1900.

  3. Sahag Vartabed Madoyan, Perkeniktsi, Arajnort 1900-1908.

  4. Very Rev. Michael Der Asdvadzadurian, Perkeniktsi, 1900-1908.

  5. Very Rev. Bedros Ayjian, 1902-1904, Armenian teacher.

  6. Hagop Eminents (Eminian).

  7. Serope Vartabed Kazanjian, Evdokatsi.

  8. Very Rev. Poladian.

  9. Nerses Vartabed Baghdigian, Perkeniktsi.

  10. Krikor Vartabed Pehlivanian, Sebastatsi, 1905-1915, teacher of religion.

  11. Shahnamian Vartabeds

  12. Very Rev. Ashikian
The Mechitharists (Mekhitarist)

"MECHITHARISTS, a congregation of Armenian monks in communion with the Church of Rome. The founder, Mechithar, was born at Sebaste in Armenia, 1676. He entered a monastery, but under the influence of Western missionaries he became possessed with the idea of propagating Western ideas and culture in Armenia, and of converting the Armenian Church from its monophysitism and uniting it to the Latin Church. Mechithar set out for Rome in 1695 to make his ecclesiastical studies there, but he was compelled by illness to abandon the journey and return to Armenia. In 1696 he was ordained priest and for four years worked among his people. In 1700 he went to Constantinople and began to gather disciples around him. Mechithar formally joined the Latin Church, and in 1701, with sixteen companions, he formed a definitely religious institute of which he became the superior. Their Uniat propaganda encountered the opposition of the Armenians and they were compelled to move to the Morea, at that time Venetian territory, and there built a monastery, 1706. On the outbreak of hostilities between the Turks and Venetians they migrated to Venice, and the island of St Lazzaro was bestowed on them, 1717. This has since been the headquarters of the congregation, and here Mechithar died in 1749, leaving his institute firmly established. The rule followed at first was that attributed to St Anthony; but when they settled in the West modifications from the Benedictine rule were introduced, and the Mechitharists are numbered among the lesser orders affiliated to the Benedictines. They have ever been faithful to their founder's programme. Their work has been fourfold: (i) they have brought out editions of important patristic works, some Armenian, others translated into Armenian from Greek and Syriac originals no longer extant; (2) they print and circulate Armenian literature among the Armenians, and thereby exercise a powerful educational influence; (3) they carry on schools both in Europe and Asia, in which Uniat Armenian boys receive a good secondary education; (4) they work as Uniat missioners in Armenia. The congregation is divided into two branches, the head houses being at St Lazzaro and Vienna. They have fifteen establishments in various places in Asia Minor and Europe. There are some 150 monks, all Armenians; they use the Armenian language and rite in the liturgy."

See Vita del servo di Dio Mechitar (Venice, 1901); E. Bore, Saint-Lazare (1835); Max Heimbucher, Orden is. Kongregationen (1907) I. 37; and the articles in Wetzer u. Welte, Kirchenlexicon (ed. 2) and Herzog, Realencyklopadie (ed. 3), also articles by Sargisean, a Mechitharist, in Rivista storica benedettina (1906), "La Congregazione Mechitarista." (E. C. B.)

The same on several internet sites.

See also Mekhitarist Fathers and Mekhitar.org


A Vartabed was a doctor of theology.


"The confiscation process was not clear and we do not have concrete data about the issue in the Sivas case; however, a letter, sent to Ministry of Interior by four Catholic Armenians from Pirkinik, a village of Sivas, indicated the existence of some property problems. According to this letter, forty Armenians returned to Pirkinik; however, the local government in the Sivas Province did not restore their lands and houses. As a result, the Ministry of Interior sent a document to the Sivas Province on 19 January 1919 and demanded the investigation of this situation quickly. It stated that if there were occupied houses and lands by Muslims they should be restored to their original owners.161

161 BOA. DH. KMS, 49-2/15-1, BOA.DH. KMS, 49-2/15-2.

ARCHIVAL DOCUMENTS Prime Ministry Ottoman Archives, Istanbul, Turkey (BOA) DH. KMS, 49-2/15-1; DH. KMS, 49-2/15-2;

Pirkinik Caravan Owners

Village World, a reminiscence of life in an Armenian Turkish village before 1915, was written by Vahan Hambartsumian. It was translated into English in 2001. Hambartsumian says:

"The entire export and import business of Sebastia was done by the Armenian caravan owners of Prknik and Ghavraz. For days and weeks these caravan owners would overnight in dirty inns during their travels between Sebastia and Samson"

Pirkinik - Çayboyu

Today Pirkinik is called Çayboyu.

To see more images of the village please go to Cayboyu (Pirkinik) village a flickr page compiled by Jelle Verheij.

One of Jelle Verheij's images contains a stone marker inscribed in Armenian and dated 1861. Can anyone translate it?

Sivas - Pirkinik koyundeki Ermeniler. Yil: 1903 - The Armenians in the village of Pirkinik. Year: 1903 (Courtesy of Armen Chakerian January 2017)

The History of the Village of Perkenik (Pakradunik) Fr. Ephrem Boghossian C. M. Vd (Mechitharist of Vienna, Austria) Translation by Joe Topalian

Chapter 18, Distinguished Personalities of Perkenik

Note: In this translation of the History of Perkinik, Daniel Varoujan's family name is spelt Chebookkerian, not Tchiboukkearian.

Lucy Arevian/Hagopian Sivas
Other Arevian/Hagopians Other Azarians
Armenian Ancestors The Genocide
Images of Armenian Life in Turkey

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This page was created in May 2008: Latest update, March 2017