MECHITHARISTS, a congregation of Armenian monks in communion with the Church of Rome. The founder, Mechithar, was born at Sebaste in Armenia, 1676. He formally joined the Latin Church, and in 1701, with sixteen companions, he formed a definitely religious institute of which he became the superior. Their Uniat propaganda encountered the opposition of the Arme nians and they were compelled to move to the Morea, at that time Venetian territory, and there built a monastery, 1706. On the out break of hostilities between the Turks and Venetians they mi grated to Venice, and the island of St. Lazzaro was bestowed on them, 1717. This has since been the headquarters of the congre gation, and here Mechithar died in 1749, leaving his institute firmly established. The Mechitharists are numbered among the lesser orders affiliated to the Benedictines.
BIBLIOGRAPHY.-See Vita del servo di Dio Mechitar (Venice, 1901) ; E. Bore, Saint-Lazare (1835) ; Max Heimbucher, Orden u. Kongrega- tionen (1907) I. § 37 ; and the articles in Wetzer u. Welte, Kirchen lexicon (ed. 2) Herzog, Realencyklopadie (ed. 3), and the Catholic Encyclopaedia. (E. C. B.) MECHNIKOV, ILYA (1845-1916), Russian biologist, was born at Ivanovka, in Kharkov on May 15, 1845. At the age of
17 he entered the Kharkov university and two years later went to Germany. Returning to Russia in 1867, he became a dozent in zoology both at St. Petersburg and at Odessa, where in 187o he was made professor of zoology and comparative anatomy. In 1882 he went to Messina and there began his studies on the nature and habits of microbes. Henceforth he devoted himself to pathological study and in 1888 went to Pasteur in Paris, who gave him a laboratory in the Ecole Normale. By 1892 his views on the essential importance of phagocytosis were firmly estab lished. In that year he published The Comparative Pathology of Inflammation, followed in 1901 by his chief work, Immunity in Infectious Diseases (Eng. trs. 19o5), and a more popular treatise, The Nature of Man (19o3, Eng. trs. 1904). In later years he made a special study of the bacteria infesting the alimentary canal of man. In 1908 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine. He died in Paris July 16, 1916.