Battle of Holy Apostles Monastery
The Battle of Holy Apostles Monastery (Armenian: Առաքելոց վանքի կռիվը Ařak'elots vank'i křivë) was an armed conflict between Ottoman Empire forces and Armenian militia at the Holy Apostles (Arakhelots) Monastery near Mush, Ottoman Empire in November 1901.
|Battle of Holy Apostles Monastery|
Early 20th century photograph of Holy Apostles Monastery, where the battle took place.
|Armenian fedayi||Ottoman Empire|
|Commanders and leaders|
22[a] (per Andranik)|
|Casualties and losses|
|3 (Ghazar, Haroutiun and Parsegh)||553 (according to eyewitnesses)|
By the second half of the 19th century, living conditions for the Armenian population in the Mush valley had become intolerable. Added to central government official and unofficial taxes and dues, and Kurdish chieftains extorting their traditional tributes, where predatory Kurdish tribesmen given an official status after being incorporated into the semi-regular Kurdish cavalry units known as the Hamidiye. As a result, thousands of Armenian farmers lost their lands and eked out a living as transient hired labourers or migrated to Constantinople and other cities to live in impoverished squalid conditions. The repeated failures of promised reforms by Constantinople led to some Armenians initiating local measures for self-defense. The Social Democrat Hunchakian Party and Armenian Revolutionary Federation were two Armenian political groups active in the region. After the massacres of Armenians in Sasun in 1894, and the more widespread massacres in the plain of Mush in 1895 and 1896 during the events known as the Hamidian massacres, the political activity of the 1880s developed into armed self-defense units, known as fedayee, who used the mountains as safe havens and as areas for political agitation.
In 1899 several Armenian fedayee commanders were killed, and Andranik Ozanian was given the leadership of all such groups within the Sasun district of Bitlis Vilayet. Under Andranik's command were thirty-eight villages.
In November 1901 Andranik came down from the mountains with some 30 experienced fedayeen (including Kevork Chavush and Hakob Kotoyan) and some 8 to 10 peasants from Tsronk village. Pursued by Turkish armed forces, Andranik's men were eventually cornered and on November 20 they barricaded themselves in the Holy Apostles Monastery located to the east of Mush.
A regiment of five Turkish battalions, some 1200 men, commanded by the pashas Ferikh and Ali, began besieging the fortified monastery. During this period the Turkish army had heavy losses because of cold weather and epidemics. After nineteen days of siege, and surrender negotiations in which Armenian clergy as well as the headman of Mush and foreign consuls took part, Andranik and his men succeeded in secretly leaving Arakelots monastery and moved in small groups back into the nearby mountains. According to Leon Trotsky, Andranik organized the escape by dressing in the uniform of a Turkish officer: "he went the rounds of the entire guard, talking to them in excellent Turkish" and "at the same time showing the way out to his own men".
After breaking out of Arakelots Monastery, Andranik gained a legendary reputation amongst the province's Armenians. "Andranik is not a human being, he is a ghost", Turks used to say after he disappeared. The Kurds believed that when at night Andranik took off his coat, many bullets fell from it. Andranik commanded during the Second Sasun Resistance in 1904, then retreated with his men into Iran, resigned from the Dashnaktsutyun and thereafter traveled to Europe, where he participated in the First Balkan War. In 1924 in Boston, Andranik published his memoirs, The Battle of Holy Apostles' Monastery. Of the events he wrote:
It was necessary to show to the Turkish and Kurdish peoples, that an Armenian can undertake a gun, that an Armenian heart can fight and protect his rights.
- The Battle of Holy Apostles' Monastery by Gen. Antranig, originally recorded by L. G. Loulegian and translated from Armenian by Ara Stepan Melkonian - London; Taderon Press [Gomidas Institute] 2009, ISBN 9781903656808, 70 pages
- The Battle of Holy Apostles' Monastery by Gen. Andranik, wr. Lewon K. Liwlēchean - London, 2008, ISBN 9781903656808, 59 pages
- General Andranik and the Armenian Revolutionary Movement, by Antranig Chalabian - Southfield, 1988, ISBN 9780962274114, 588 pages
- (Andranik, Kevork, Haroutiun from Ouroukh, Vagharshag, Hajji Hagop, Ghazar, Seydo Boghos, Andrig, Missak, Vartan, Assadour, Simon, Terpetos Sarkis, Cheto, Yegho, Parsegh, Hovsep son of Oso, Chatalbash Aram, Megro from Khaskiugh, Moso, Iso, Mourad from Havadorig)
- The Battle of Holy Apostles' Monastery by Gen. Andranik, wr. Lewon K. Liwlēchean - London, 2008, ISBN 9781903656808 - p.40
- Military history: Vol. 12; 1995, Bold and fiercely determined, Andranik Ozanian spent most of his life as a revolutionary for his fellow Armenians, by Antranig Chalabian
- Trotsky, Leon (1980). The Balkan wars: 1912-13: the war correspondence of Leon Trotsky. New York: Monad Press. p. 249. ISBN 0909196087.
- The Battle of Holy Apostles' Monastery by Gen. Andranik, wr. Lewon K. Liwlēchean - London, 2008, ISBN 9781903656808 - p. 57
- The Battle of Holy Apostles' Monastery by Gen. Andranik, wr. Lewon K. Liwlēchean - London, 2008, ISBN 9781903656808
- The Battle of Holy Apostles' Monastery by Gen. Andranik, wr. Lewon K. Liwlēchean - London, 2008, ISBN 9781903656808 - p. 55
- Richard G Hovannisian, Armenian Baghesh / Bitlis and Taron / Mush, pages 5 and 6, 2001.
- The Armenians: history of a genocide, by Yves Ternon - 1990, p. 114
- Pasdermadjian, Hrand (1964). "A History of Armenia (Chapter XV)". The Armenian Review. 17 (1): 78. ISSN 0004-2366.
In 1901 took place the unusual siege of the Monastery of Arakelotz during which Andranik and his soldiers repulsed the onslaught of the Turkish forces for 19 days, pierced the Turkish lines and made their escape into the mountains.
- Trotsky, Leon (1980). The Balkan wars : 1912-13 : the war correspondence of Leon Trotsky. New York: Monad Press. p. 250. ISBN 0909196087.
- Rhyne, George N.; Lazzerini, Edward J. (2006). The supplement to The modern encyclopedia of Russian, Soviet and Eurasian history. Gulf Breeze, Fla.: Academic International Press. p. 22. ISBN 0875691420.
- Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East & North Africa: A-C, by Philip Mattar- p. 195
- The great 4: Mesrob, Komidas, Antranik, Toramanian, by Herminé D. Varjabedian, Shirak Press, 1969, p. 51
- Historical Dictionary of Armenia, by Rouben Paul Adalian, 2010, p. 79