Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Armenians in Italy

Armenians in Italy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Armenians in Italy
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Milan, Rome and Venice
Armenian, Italian
Armenian Apostolic, Armenian Catholic, Evangelical and Protestant
Related ethnic groups
Armenian, Hamshenis, Cherkesogai groups
Armenians in Italy covers the Armenians who live in Italy. There are currently 3.000 Armenians in Italy mainly residing in Milan, Rome and Venice.[2]
Besides the general population, there are monastic communities on the island of San Lazzaro (Venice) and at the Moorat-Raphael College of Venice as well as Armenian clergy at the Holy See (Vatican).


[edit] History

The oldest information about Armenians living in Italy goes back to the 6th-8th centuries. Later, in the 9th-10th centuries, a great number of Armenians moved to Italy from Thrace and Macedonia. They were the descendants of Paulicians chased from Armenia by emperor Constantin.
As to Armenian communities, they were formed in Italy in the 12th-13th centuries, when active trade was going on between Cilician Armenia and Italian big city-republics as Genoa, Venice and Pisa. Under Cilician Armenian king Levon II (1187–1219) (also known as King Leo II of Armenia), treaties were signed between the two parties, according to which Italian merchants had the right to open factories and to develop industrial activities in the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia and Armenian merchants could do the same in Italian towns. These treaties were periodically renewed, as long as the Cilician Armenian Kingdom existed. In the 13th century the number of Armenians in Italy increased because of the new wave of emigrants after the invasion of Tatars and Mongols.
Beginning with the 15th-16th centuries the process of catholicizing Armenians was strengthened in Italy which greatly contributed to their assimilation with Italian people. Nevertheless, some Armenian organizations continued to function with the aim to preserve national identity. As a result first Armenian books were printed in Venice.
Besides, in the beginning of the 18th century the Armenian Congregation of the Mechitarists (Armenian: Õ„Õ­Õ«Õ©Õ¡Ö€Õ¥Õ¡Õ¶, also spelled Mekhitarists), was founded in Venice, on the St. Lazzaro Island (San Lazzaro degli Armeni). It exists up till now with its monastery, library, manuscripts depository and publishing house, and is considered as a centre of Armenian culture in Italy.
There is also the reputable Moorat-Raphael College in Venice for general education with student body from Armenians from many countries and Collegio Armeno (The Pontifical Armenian College) in Rome for preparation of clergy in the Armenian Catholic Church.

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