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JOSEPH ARGUTINSKIY THE LONG HAND (1743 - 1801)

Joseph Argutinskiy nicknamed Dolgorukiy (“the Long-Armed”) was an outstanding Armenian clergy leader, who personally participated in the resettlement of Armenians from the Crimea and in establishing the town of New Nakhichevan on the Don.

At the beginning of 1780, Bishop Joseph Argutinskiy, leader of the Russian Armenian Eparchy, received delegates from the Armenian re-settlers and provided his assistance in coordinating and settling the main issues connected with their resettlement by appealing to various state institutions and officials, including the Russian Empress Catherine II.

On November 4 1780, J. Argutinskiy arrived on the Don, where he was received with great honors by Armenian re-settlers and by the commandant of the St. Demetrius of Rostov Fortress, major-general S. Guryev. After the public prayer performed in the fortress church, Joseph Argutinskiy went to inspect the Armenian settlement. Having witnessed their great suffering and hardships, the Bishop tried to console the poor people.

A city plan created by a well-known architect, Ivan Egorovich Starov, was sent from St. Petersburg.

On April 21, 1781, a solemn ceremony marked the foundation of the town of Nakhichevan. Joseph Argutyan (Armenian version of the Russian “Argutinskiy”) addressed the congregation in the wooden Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, where he read the message from the head of Armenian Orthodox Church Catholicos Simeon, which contained greetings and congratulations on the foundation of the town. Then Joseph Argutinskiy blessed the land and the water of the new residential area, anointed four foundation stones laid in the four corners of the new town in the course of the procession of the Cross.

During the following twenty years the Head of the Armenian Eparchy in Russia, Archbishop Joseph Argutinskiy took an active part in the establishment of the town of New Nakhichevan.

Later, J. Argutinskiy became Catholicos of all Armenians.