04 June 2003, 04:35
Tondraks, tondrakits - participants of heretic anti-feudal national movement in medieval Armenia (30-40-ies of the IX - middle of the XI century) with the center in the village Tondrak, north of the lake Van.
The founder of the movement Smbat Zarekhavantsi appealed to abolish the activity of the church, the church rituals etc. Part of Pavlikians that found safety in the Eastern Armenia, strengthened the movement of Tondraks and influenced their ideology. In the doctrine of Tondraks under religious surface there was the protest of the working masses against the social inequality. Against Tondraks there united not just the Christian secular and ecclesiastic feudal lords, but also the Moslem Arab emirs of Armenia.
The movement spread in Airarat, Shirak, Sunik and in Armenian districts subject to Byzantium - Taron, Khark and Manali. The movement had the character of the national liberation struggle against Byzantian expansion. After a number of defeats caused by Byzantium in the 70-ies of the 10th century many Tondraks were moved to Thrace by force. They opposed Byzantium before it conquered the Armenian kingdom of Bagratids (year 1045). The movement of Tondraks started to spread in the cities, too (including the capital of Bagratids Ani), involving the new strata of Armenian society - the average clergy and the petty feudal lords. The movement had three branches, the followers of the most radical one rejected god, doubted in the afterlife, denied the eternal life of the soul. In the middle of the XI century the deputy of Vaspurakan and Taron Grigor Magistr (Pakhlavuni) managed to destroy the movement of Tondraks.