Leo I, King of Armenia
1150 – 1219
Who was Leo I, King of Armenia?
During his reign, Leo succeeded in establishing Cilician Armenia as a powerful and a unified Christian state, and his pre-eminence in the political arena cannot be overestimated. He eagerly supplied the armies of the Third Crusade with provisions, guides, pack animals and all manner of aid, besides pledging the cooperation of his army. Under his rule, Armenian power was at its apogee: his kingdom extended from Isauria to the Amanus Mountains.
In 1194–1195, when he was planning to get the title of king, he instituted a union of the Armenian church with Rome. With the signing of the Act of Union, his coronation proceeded without delay. He was consecrated as king on 6 January 1198 or 1199, in the Church of Holy Wisdom at Tarsus.
His accession to the throne of Cilicia as its first Armenian monarch heralded into reality not merely an official end to Cilicia’s shadowy umbilical connection to the Byzantine Empire, but also a new era of ecclesiastical co-operation with the West.
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