Mr. X or Captain Pogossian

That whole evening and all the days following were spent with Pogossian. He took me everywhere, as he knew all the ins and outs of the town. We went to places where ordinary pilgrims do not have access and even to the Kanzaran, where the treasures of Echmiadzin are kept and where one is very rarely admitted.

During our talks we discovered that the questions which were agitating me also interested him; both of us had much material to share on these questions, and little by little our talks became more intimate and heart­-to­-heart, and a strong tie was gradually formed between us.

Pogossian was nearing the end of his studies at the Theological Seminary and in two years was to be ordained a priest, but his inner state did not correspond to this at all. Religious as he was, he was none the less extremely critical of his environment and strongly averse to living among priests whose mode of life seemed to him to run entirely counter to his own ideals.

When we had become friends, he told me a great deal about the hidden side of the life of the clergy there; and the thought that on becoming a priest he would have to live in this environment made him suffer inwardly and feel deeply distressed.

After the holidays I stayed on in Echmiadzin for three more weeks, living with Pogossian at the house of the Archimandrite Surenian; and thus I had the opportunity more than once of talking about the subjects which agitated me with the archimandrite himself, and also with other monks to whom he introduced me.

But during my stay in Echmiadzin I did not find what I was looking for and, having spent enough time to realize that I could not find it there, I went away with a feeling of deep inner disillusionment.


Pogossian and I parted great friends. We promised to write to each other and to share our observations on the questions which interested us both.