Born 1771; died Feb. 14(26), 1857. Figure in the Armenian liberation movement; catholicos of all the Armenians (1843–57).
Nerses Ashtaraketsi advocated the liberation of Eastern Armenia from the Turkish yoke with Russia’s aid and the restoration of its independence as a state. After Eastern Armenia was joined to Russia, Nerses was a member of the provisional government. Upon becoming catholicos, he opposed tsarism, which attempted to limit the independence of the Armenian church. On his initiative the Nersisian School was founded in Tbilisi in 1824; it played a large role in the development of Armenian culture.