...Armenian Christianity faced [a] difficult task in being accepted at the royal court, particularly against the background of the ongoing geopolitical tensions that beset Armenia, stuck between the Roman and Sassanian Empires. Aristakes, Gregory's son, had been murdered by Armenian noblemen for chastising them over their unchristian ways. His successor, Vrtanes, was pursued by an angry mob inspired by the queen, who resented his preaching. Vrtanes' son, a local bishop, was trampled to death. The next Catholicos was a man called Yusik, ably described for us by Phaustus in his fifth-century History of the Armenians:
Though he was but a lad, he was robust and tall, was extremely handsome and attractive, to the point that he had no equal throughout the country. With a soul clean and radiant he did not occupy himself at all with mundane things. Rather, he was like a brave warrior of Christ, like a champion hero who, from his boyhood onward scorned and threatened the invisible enemy with victory. He never showed partiality or bias toward anyone, but rather bore the message of the Holy Spirit like a sword fixed to his waist. The grace-giving Spirit filled him with knowledge with which, like a fountain, he irrigated the ears and souls of all listeners of the country.
The irrigation does not, however, seem to have been received particularly well:
With words of priestly authority [Yusik] threatened and reproached them for their impiety, adultery, homosexuality, the shedding of blood, dispossession, ravishment, hatred of the poor and numerous other sins such as these.
Phaustus tells that on one annual feast day in 347, when Yusik had lambasted the king and other nobles for coming to church and darkening its doors with their sins, he was set upon and done to death. According to Moses Khorenatsi, Yusik was "beaten for a long time with thongs of ox hide, until he gave up the ghost under the whipping. This murder may not have been soley thanks to his insistence on Christian ways of behaving, but also to wider geopolitical interested parties. The ruler of the Sassanian Empire, Shapur II, had been keenly in favour of pro-Sassanian nobles within Armenia—something that Rome had been actively supporting the Armenian king, Tiran, to suppress, even if that meant the elimination of a Catholicos. Yusik's replacement resigned within a year, and no further Catholicos was appointed until 353 C.E. 1
...Tiran was resentful towards the blessed Yusik, because of his constant chiding and in relation to the image of Julian, which the king had erected in a church in the district of Cop'k', and which the blessed Yusik had smashed and trampled upon—and he ordered that he be struck with whips until, as a result of the beating, he gave up his soul. 2