World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Armenians of Romania

Armenians in Romania
Gheorghe Asachi
Total population
1,780 (2002)
Regions with significant populations
Transylvania, Wallachia
Armenian, Romanian
Related ethnic groups
Armenian diaspora
Part of a series on
Armenian culture
Architecture · Art
Cuisine · Dance · Dress
Literature · Music  · History
By country or region
Armenia · Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
See also Nagorno-Karabakh
Armenian diaspora
Russia · France · India
Azerbaijan · Argentina · Brazil
Lebanon · Syria · Ukraine
Poland · Canada · Australia
Turkey · Greece · Cyprus
 · Egypt
Hamshenis · Cherkesogai · Armeno-Tats · Lom people · Armeno-Greeks
Armenian Apostolic · Armenian Catholic
Evangelical · Brotherhood ·
Languages and dialects
Armenian: Eastern · Western
Genocide · Hamidian massacres
Adana massacre · Anti-Armenianism

Armenia Portal
The distribution of Armenians in Romania (2002 census)

Armenians have been present in what is now Romania and Moldova for over a millennium, and have been an important presence as traders since the 14th century. Numbering only in the thousands in modern times, they were culturally suppressed in the Communist era, but have undergone a cultural revival since the Romanian Revolution of 1989.


  • History 1
    • Danubian Principalities 1.1
    • Transylvania 1.2
    • Romania 1.3
  • Religion 2
  • Present situation 3
  • Notable Romanians of Armenian descent 4
  • Gallery 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Danubian Principalities

The earliest traces of Armenians in what was later Moldavia are dated by 967 (recorded presence in Cetatea Albă). Early Armenian Diasporas stemmed in the fall of the Bagratuni rule and other disasters, including the Mongol invasion. In 1572–1574, Ioan Vodă cel Cumplit was Hospodar (Prince) of Moldavia, grandson of Stephen the Great, son of Bogdan III and his Armenian concubine Serpega.

Armenian expatriates were awarded tax exemptions at different times in the Danubian Principalities' history. Encouraged to settle as early as the 14th century, they became a familiar presence in towns, usually as the main entrepreneurs of the community – for this, in early modern Botoșani and several other places, Armenians as a guild were awarded political representation and degrees of self-rule. A considerable number of noble families in the Principalities were of Armenian descent.

In Bucharest, an Armenian presence was first recorded in the second half of the 14th century – most likely, immigrants from the Ottoman-ruled Balkans, as well as from the area around Kamianets-Podilskyi and towns in Moldavia; throughout the 19th century, a large part of Armenian Bucharesters had arrived from Rousse, in present-day Bulgaria. The Gregorian Armenians were given the right to build a church around 1638 – it was rebuilt and expanded in 1685, but was damaged by the Russian attack during the 1768–1774 war with the Ottomans.

Citizenship was bestowed on the community only with the decision taken by the international protectorate over the two countries (instituted after the Crimean War and the ensuing Treaty of Paris) to extend civil rights to all religious minorities.


Armenians of Transylvania (1850)

Armenians were present from early on in Transylvania, clearly attested in a document issued by Hungarian King Ladislaus IV the Cuman (late 13th century). Here, they were even allowed to found their own trading towns, the most notable one being Gherla, called Armenopolis/Armenierstadt or Hayakaghak (Հայաքաղաք). The second important Armenian town in Transylvania is Dumbrăveni (Elisabethstadt).

Despite their increasing autonomy, the townspeople's adherence to the Roman Catholic Church was nonetheless demanded (a conversion begun through the efforts of a Botoșani-born prelate, Oxendius Vărzărescu), and further submitted to forced integration by the Habsburg monarchy since the 18th century. The Ordinariate for Catholics of Armenian Rite in Romania is nowadays centered on Gherla, and is placed under the jurisdiction of the Romanian Roman-Catholic Church archbishops of Alba Iulia.

Most Armenians from Transylvania has been magyarized in the last half of the 19th century.


After the Armenian genocide of 1915, Romania was the first state to officially provide political asylum to refugees from the area.

In 1940 about 40,000 Armenians lived in Romania. Under communist rule, Armenians started to leave the country, and Nicolae Ceaușescu's regime eventually closed all Armenian schools.


The Armenian Apostolic community has a number of churches and a monastery in Romania. The church is under the jurisdiction of the See of Holy Echmiadzin of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The churches include:

  • Episcopia Armeana Hreshdagabedats Mayr Yegeghetsi (Apostolic) (Bucharest)
  • Holy Cross (Mănăstirea Hagigadar) Armenian Apostolic Monastery of the Wishes (Manastirea Dorintelor, Suceava)
  • Armenian Apostolic Church of Iasi (Biserca Armeana Sf. Maria, Iași)
  • Armenian Apostolic Church of Constanta (Biserca Armeana Sf. Maria, Constanța)
  • St. Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church of Botosani (Biserca Sf. Treime, Botoșani)
  • Adormition of Holy Mother Armenian Apostolic Church of Botosani (Biserca Adormirea Maicii domnului, Botoșani)
  • Armenian Apostolic Church of Brăila

There is also the Zamca Armenian Apostolic Monastery in Mânăstirea Zamca, Suceava.

Armenian Catholic churches and Parishes belonging to the Armenian Catholic Church include:

  • Parohia Armeano Catolica (Gherla, Szamosujvar)
  • Parohia Armeano Catolica (Dumbraveni, Erzsebetvaros)
  • Parohia Armeano Catolica (Gheorgheni, Gyergyoszentmiklos)
  • Parohia Armeano Catolica (Frumoasa, Csikszepviz)

Present situation

Since 1989, there has been an Armenian cultural and political revival in Romania. As of 2002, there were 1,780 Armenians, many of them from mixed families, and the number of native speakers of the Armenian language is 721. There is one Armenian church in Bucharest on what is called Strada Armenească ("Armenian Street"). The origin of the church is from the 17th century. But the wooden building burnt in a fire in 1781. The newer structure was built starting 1911 through the efforts of Armenian immigrants from the Ottoman Empire. The new church opened in 1915. The church is run by bishop Datev Hagopian. The Armenian community exists since almost a thousand years, and the Armenian Apostolic Diocese has a history of at least 600 years.

Also running is the Hagigadar Monastery established in 1512 with many visitors making it a tourist attraction. The community is celebrating the 500th anniversary of its establishment.

Besides the church is a two-storey cultural center with the first floor being a library of Armenian old and new books and the second floor, a museum. The library was established by literary figure Hagop Sirouni (real family name Jololian). The collection suffered after the Soviet authorities exiled him to Siberia in the 1940s and the collection was confiscated only to be returned to the Armenian community in 1987 after suffering serious losses.

The origin of the existing Armenian community is basically Western Armenian. But it suffered greatly with the establishment of communist regime, the emigration of many Armenian Romanians back to Soviet Armenia after the Second World War, the immigration waves to the West.

However the present community is being reinforced by Eastern Armenians immigrating from Armenia and other countries or by Armenian students coming to study in Romania.

The community presently publishes the periodicals Nor Ghiank (in Armenian), Ararat, and the state-sponsored Lăcașuri de cult.

Notable Romanians of Armenian descent

Romanians of Armenian descent have been very active in Romanian political, cultural, academic and social life. Most worthy of mention would be His Holiness Vazgen I, Catholicos of Armenia, and Iacob Zadig, a general in the Romanian Army during World War I.


See also


  • at the Central European University siteArmenians in Romania (retrieved on 28 November 2005)
  • (Romanian) Armenii ("The Armenians"), on Divers online bulletin of ethnic minorities in Romania (retrieved on 28 November 2005)
  • Neagu Djuvara, Între Orient și Occident. Țările române la începutul epocii moderne ("Between Orient and Occident. The Romanian lands from at the beginning of the modern era"), Humanitas, Bucharest, 1995, p. 178
  • Constantin C. Giurescu, Istoria Bucureștilor. Din cele mai vechi timpuri pînă în zilele noastre ("History of Bucharest. From the earliest times to our day"), Ed. Pentru Literatură, Bucharest, 1966, p. 98, 270-271

External links

  • (Romanian) onlineArarat
  • List of Armenian Churches in Romania
  • (Romanian) Marius Vasileanu, "Biserica Armeană" ("The Armenian Church"), in Adevărul
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.