Russian city in the trans-Caucasian province of Kutais
Artvin, a Russian city in the trans-Caucasian province of Kutais, is situated near Turkish Armenia on the left bank of the Tchoruk, which flows into the Black Sea. In 1894 it contained 5,900 inhabitants, mostly Armenian and Turkish. In Artvin and vicinity there are nine Armenian-Catholic churches, four schools for boys and three schools for girls. The Gregorian Armenians have five churches and two schools. The Armenian-Catholic Diocese of Artvin (Artuinensis Armenorum) was established in 1850 by Pius IX for the United Armenians in southern Russia, and was first suffragan to the Metropolitan of Constantinople, afterwards directly subject to the Armenian-Catholic Patriarch of Cilicia, whose see is Constantinople. The first bishop was Timotheus Astorgi (1850-58), who was succeeded by Antonius Halagi (1859) and Joannes Baptista Zaccharian (1878). In 1878, Russia annexed the entire territory of this diocese and united it with Tiraspol. Up to the present time, Russia has prevented the appointment of a bishop and is now trying to cause an apostasy among the Armenians. The diocese of Artvin numbers about 12,000 Catholics of the Armenian Rite; 25 mission priests (of whom 23 are natives); 30 churches and chapels; 22 primary schools with almost 900 pupils. The girls are instructed partly by the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Catholics of the Latin Rite in the diocese of Artvin are subject to the regular jurisdiction of the Bishop of Tiraspol.