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An exceptional personality : Father Mekhitar and his congregation
Abbot Mekhitar was born in Sebaste (today Sivas) in 1676. In 1700, in Constantinople, he founded an Armenian Catholic religious order, and two years later moved it to the island of Morea, then under Venetian control. In 1715, in the wake of the Turkish conquest, the Mekhitarists settled in Venice where, in 1717, the Venetian Republic offered them residence on the island of San Lazzaro. A Benedictine monk, Mekhitar gave his followers a high level of education, paying special attention to the rich Armenian cultural heritage. He became very active in publishing. The Austrian branch of the Order, which was acknowledged at Trieste in 1773, then moved to Vienna by Napoleon in 1810, is also equipped with a publishing house.
In 2000, Venice and Vienna joined forces, coinciding with the 300th anniversary of the Order, the 2000th anniversary of Christianity and the 1700th anniversary of the adoption of Christianity by Armenia as a state religion.
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