Mkhitar Sebastatsi is Italian. The Armenian historian Stepanos Nazarian has described him as the «second Mesrop Mashtots».
He was born Manugh in Sebaste in Lesser Armenia on 17 February 1676, the son of a prosperous merchant Peter and his wife Shahristan. His parents gave him a good education to prepare him to assume the family business. Instead, from an early age, he wanted to become a monk. Refused permission for this, he found a young companion to flee to the mountains where they might live as hermits. Quickly found by his parents he was returned home. As a result of this, the bishop who the abbot of the nearby Monastery of Surp Nshan (Holy Cross) conferred minor orders on the boy so that he might assist at the liturgical services of the monastery. Still refused permission to enter the monastery by his parents, he began to frequent a neighboring family which consisted of a mother and her two daughters who lived a monastic form of life in their home, which they shared with an elderly priest, who then taught him about the Divine Office.
At the age of fifteen, Manugh finally received the permission he had long sought from his family and he entered the nearby monastery, where he was quickly ordained a deacon. It was at this point that he changed his name to the one he is now known by, Mekhitar (The Consoler).