Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Siunia

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Siunia, a titular see, suffragan of Sebastia in Armenia Prima. Siunia is not a town, but a province situated between Goghtcha, Araxa, and Aghovania, in the present Russian districts of Chamakha, or Baku, and Elisavetpol. The real name should be Sisacan, the Persian form, for Siunia got its name from Sisac, the son of Gegham, the fifth Armenian sovereign. Its first rulers, vassals of the kings of Armenia or the shahs of Persia, date back to the fourth century of our era; about 1046 it became an independent kingdom, but only till 1166. The Church of Siunia was established in the fifth century or perhaps a little earlier. It soon became a metropolis subject to the Catholicos of Armenia, and, as we see in a letter of the patriarch Ter Sargis in 1006, it counted twelve crosiers, which must signify twelve suffragan sees. The archdiocese contained 1400 villages and 28 monasteries. In the ninth century the metropolitan see was fixed in the convent of Tatheo, situated between Ouronta and Migri, sixty-two miles south-east of Lake Gokcha. Separated for a brief interval from Noravank, the See of Siunia was reunited to it, but was definitively separated again in the thirteenth century. In 1837 the Diocese of Siunia was, by order of the Synod of Etchmiadzin, suppressed and subjected directly to the catholicos under the supervision of the Bishop of Erivan, who had a vicar at Tatheo. The complete list of the bishops and metropolitans of Siunia, from the fifth century till the nineteenth century, is known; amongst them we may mention Petros, a writer at the beginning of the sixth century, and Stephanos Orbelian, the historian of his Church. It is not known why the Roman Curia introduced this episcopal title, which does not appear in any Greek or Latin "Notitia episcopatuum", and was never a suffragan of Sebastia.

LE QUIEN, Oriens christianus, I (Paris, 1740), 1443; BROSSET, Listes chronologiques des princes et des métropolites de Siounie in Bulletin de l'Académie des Sciences de Saint-Pétersbourg, IV (1862), 497-562; STEPHANOS ORERLIAN, Histoire de la Siounie, tr. BROSSET (Saint-Petersburg, 1864).

S. VAILHÉ.