Chapter 17



(Armenian Manuscript Pages 107-108)


(This is a Complete Translation. [JT])


W have in our possession only a few sketches regarding the character of the Perkeniktsees.  Though these are insufficient to build a complete picture, they do at least shed some light on enough aspects of their character to enable us to catch a glimpse of the beautiful whole.


         1. One of the beautiful sides of the Perkeniktsees' character is their hospitality, a trait shared in general by natives of Armenia.  We now cite a succinct but informative testimony from 1840:


In the beginning of July 1840 two Vienna Mechitharist fathers, Fr. Stepan Shiukiurian and Fr. Andreas Bedrossian (Petrosian) visit Perkenik en route to Diarbekir from Samson and stay over at the village's rectory.  One of them later writes to Vienna about the hospitality they were accorded during  their sojourn in Perkenik:


They warmly received us and showed us great honor and love for the two days we spent there.  Then loading us up with provisions for our journey, they directed us[1] to Dikranagerd (Diarbekir).[2]


         2. A well-known character trait of the Perkeniktsees has been his[3] piety.  The Perkeniktsee had a living faith and deep love of his religion.  On their stay in Perkenik in 1858, a priest who was accompanying an Armenian Catholic bishop notes his impressions of their piety and writes:


They are to be praised highly for their devotion and firm adherence to orthodoxy. They are well-versed in the various aspects of their Catholic Faith[4]


Our Fr. Stepan Shiukiurian has twice been a guest in Perkenik and is extremely impressed by their deep religious faith.  He writes:


They possess an amazing nature and they are very secure in their faith.  They show  respect to their priest-rector as to God.[5]


In explaining this Perkeniktsee trait of deep respect for their clergy, Mr. Joseph Reissian writes:


The Perkeniktsees had a very deep respect for and complete trust in their clergy, be they priests or nuns.  In return for the spiritual and moral services the latter rendered, the people recompensed them most generously and gave them the best of what they had.

The clergy were the village elders, and even functioned as the village "mayor," doctor, and just about everything else.


We can also cite the following  additional traits in the Perkeniktsee character:


In disposition generally sweet-tempered, virtuous and modest;  fiercely jealous of their honor;  fervent defenders of the sanctity of nation, family and religion;  appreciative of their lineage and local traditions;  responsible and true to their word;  unforgiving of and furious toward injustice;  avoiders of boastful language;  and uninclined to engage in profit-making commerce.

[1]This is older Armenian and the verb hooghargetsin zmez can mean "accompanied us" as well as "directed us" or "'sent us off."  But the absence of another verb of motion makes me lean toward the latter meaning. The alternative translation would be "accompanied us all the way to Dikranagerd..."  I'm not sure which is intended.[JT]

[2]Archives of the Vienna Mechitharist Library for  Sept. 1, 1840.  [EB]

[3]This is good old English and not chauvinist:  his" here means his and hers. [JT]

[4]Archives of the Vienna Mechitharist Library for Nov. 26, 1858. [EB]

[5]Archives of the Vienna Mechitharist Library for 1842. [EB]

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