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Contents:


  1. The Armenian Church
  2. Navigation menu
  3. Abp. Petrosian on Armenian Christology
  4. Christology of the Oriental Orthodox Churches
  5. Christology in the Tradition of the Armenian Apostolic Church

Hence comes the name "Etchmiadzin", which translates literally to "the place" where Miatsin descended. In the United States, Canada, Syria, and Greece there are also Dioceses that are related to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, so there is duality of representation of the Armenian Apostolic churches in these countries. The rise of the Great House of Cilicia as an autocephalous church occurred after the fall of Ani and the Armenian Kingdom of the Bagradits in Masses of Armenians migrated to Cilicia and the Catholicosate was established there.

The seat of the church now known as the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia was first established in Sivas AD moving to Tavbloor , then to Dzamendav , Dzovk , Hromgla , and finally to Sis , then-capital of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia. Beginning in and continuing for more than six centuries, the city of Sis modern-day Kozan, Adana , Turkey was the center of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia.


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After the fall of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia , in , the Church continued in its leadership role in the Armenian community, and the Catholicos was recognized as Ethnarch Head of Nation. Since , there have continued to be two Catholicosates in the Armenian Church, each having rights and privileges, and each with its own jurisdiction.

Sophia of Sis which can be seen to dominate the town in early 20th-century photographs , was destroyed. The division of the two Catholicosates stemmed from frequent relocations of Church headquarters due to political and military upheavals. The division between the two sees intensified during the Soviet period and to some extent reflected the politics of the Cold War. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation ARF Dashnaktsutyun social democratic political party that had dominated the independent Armenia from to and was active in the diaspora, saw the Church and clergy, with its worldwide headquarters at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in the Soviet Republic of Armenia , as a captive Communist puppet, and accused its clergy in the US as unduly influenced by Communists, particularly as the clergy were reluctant to participate in nationalist events and memorials that could be perceived as anti-Soviet.

Nine ARF members were later arrested, tried and convicted. The incident divided the Armenian community, as ARF sympathizers established congregations independent of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, declaring loyalty instead to the See based in Antelias in Lebanon. The division was formalized in when the Antelias Cilician See accepted to provide spiritual and religious guidance to those communities that the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin refused. The separation has become entrenched in the United States, with most large Armenian communities having two parish churches, one answering to each See, even though they are theologically indistinguishable.

There have been numerous lay and clergy efforts at reunion, especially since the fall of the Soviet Union. He was unable to unite the two Catholicosates, however, despite his having headed both. The Armenian Apostolic Church also has two Patriarchates of high authority both under the jurisdiction of the Catholicos of All Armenians. They are:. List of eparchies [29]. Liturgically speaking, the Church has much in common both with the Latin Rite in its externals, especially as it was at the time of separation, as well as with the Eastern Orthodox Church. For example, Armenian bishops wear mitres almost identical to those of Western bishops.

They usually do not use a full iconostasis , but rather a sanctuary veil a curtain usually with a cross or divine image in the center, used also by the Syriac Churches. The liturgical music is Armenian chant. Many of the Armenian churches also have pipe organs to accompany their chant. Armenian priests below the rank of Very Reverend are allowed to be married before ordination and their descendants' surnames are prefixed with the prefix "Der" or "Ter" in Eastern Armenian , meaning "Lord", to indicate their lineage.

Such a married priest is known as a kahana. This contrasts with the more common celebration of Christmas on 25 December, originally a Western Christian tradition, which Armenia only briefly adopted before reverting to its original practice. There is plenty of evidence indicating that the Septuagint was the Old Testament version used throughout the early Christian Church and was revised in the course of the first and second centuries. Since , the church has mainly used the Gregorian Calendar shared by most civil authorities and Western Christian churches not the traditional Armenian calendar.

The only exception is the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem , where the old Julian calendar is used, putting Nativity celebrations on 19 January in the Gregorian calendar. When in the s, Abraham-Pierre I Ardzivian, who had earlier become a Catholic, was elected as the patriarch of Sis , he led part of the Armenian Apostolic Church into full communion with the Pope and the Armenian Catholic Church was created.

The Armenian Church does not ordain women to the priesthood. Women do serve as altar girls and lay readers, especially when a parish is so small that not enough boys or men are regularly available to serve. Women commonly serve the church in the choir and at the organ, on parish councils, as volunteers for church events, fundraisers, and Sunday schools, as supporters through Women's Guilds, and as staff members in church offices. In the case of a married priest Der Hayr , the wife of the priest generally plays an active role in the parish and is addressed by the title Yeretzgin.

In limited circumstances, the Armenian Church allows for divorce and remarriage. On April 23, , the Armenian Apostolic Church canonized all the victims of the Armenian Genocide ; this service is believed to be the largest canonization service in history. The status of the Armenian Apostolic Church within the Republic of Armenia is defined in the country's constitution. Article 8. In , further constitutional amendments were drafted that would make it a crime for non-traditional religious groups to proselytize on adherents of the Apostolic Church. Minority groups would also be banned from spreading 'distrust' in other faiths.

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The Armenian Church

Armenian religious minorities and human rights groups also expressed serious concern over the amendments, with human rights activist Stepan Danielian stating "the Armenian Apostolic Church today wants to have a monopoly on religion". The Armenian Church defines religious groups operating outside its domain as "sects" and, in the words of spokesman Bishop Arshak Khachatrian, considers that "their activities in Armenia are nothing but a denial of the creed of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which is considered the national religion of the Armenian people".

Hrant Bagratyan , former Prime Minister of Armenia, condemned the close association of the Armenian Apostolic Church with the Armenian government, calling the Church an "untouchable" organisation that is secretive of its income and expenditure. After the Bolshevik revolution and the subsequent annexation of Armenia by the U. After a while the Armenian Apostolic Church resumed its activities. There were weddings, baptisms, and every Sunday Church Liturgy at a free will attendance basis.

The Armenian Apostolic Church since restored or constructed more than 30 churches worldwide.


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  • In the Republic of Artsakh government introduced a law entitled "Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organisations", article 8 of which provided that only the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church is allowed to preach on the territory of the Republic of Artsakh. However, the law did make processes available for other religious institutions to get approval from the government if they wished to worship within the Republic. Lebanon , home to a large and influential Armenian diaspora community with its own political parties, has more than 17 recognized Armenian Apostolic churches.

    The Armenian presence in Israel is primarily found in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem, under the jurisdiction of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Syria has one Armenian church, St Sarkis, in Damascus. These churches represent the largest Christian ethnic minorities in these predominantly Muslim countries. Ethiopia has had an Armenian church since the s, when groups of Armenians were invited there after the Armenian Holocaust by the Ottoman Empire. The Armenian Apostolic Church is "seen by many as the custodian of Armenian national identity". Early medieval opponents of the Armenian Church in Armenia included the Paulicians 7th-9th centuries and the Tondrakians 9thth centuries.

    The power relationship between catholicoi and secular rulers was sometimes a source of conflict. In king Hovhannes-Smbat of Ani deposed and imprisoned Catholicos Petros , who he suspected of holding pro-Byzantine views, and appointed a replacement catholicos. This persecution was highly criticized by the Armenian clergy, forcing Hovhannes-Smbat to release Petros and reinstall him to his former position.

    In a major ecclesiastical council was held in Ani, which denied the king the right to elect or remove a catholicos. Architecture historian Samvel Karapetyan has criticized many aspects of the Armenian Apostolic Church, especially its role in Armenian history. Karapetyan particularly denounces, what he calls, Armenian Church's loyal service to foreign invaders: "The Armenian Apostolic Church is a conscientious tax structure, which every conqueror needs.

    In independent Armenia, the Armenian Apostolic Church has often been criticized for its perceived support of the governments of Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan despite the formal separation of church and state in Armenia. He called the church an "untouchable" organization that is secretive of its income and expenditure.

    In recent years, several high-profile leaders of the church have been involved in controversies. He added "Archbishop Kchoyan's reckless disregard and attitude is even more unacceptable due to his position in the Armenian Church. A spokesperson for the Armenian Apostolic Church stated that it is his personal view. In Agos published a report about child abuse during the 90s at the Jarankavorats Armenian School in Jerusalem. According to the report several of the clergymen raped a young male student. This story first aired in a documentary aired on Israeli television.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Armenian Church disambiguation. National church of Armenia. Etchmiadzin Cathedral , the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Thomas Evangelical. History and theology. First Second Third. Liturgy and practices. Major figures. Other topics. Abuna Catholicos Coptic cross Cross of St. Thomas Ethiopian titles Maphrian Tewahedo biblical canon. This subsection needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.

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    Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Main article: Diocese of Artsakh. Main article: Armenian Diaspora. The church continues to ignore the things most people are worried about — vitally important social, economic and political problems and endless corruption scandals. Armenia portal Oriental Orthodoxy portal. New York: Columbia University Press. The Armenian Apostolic Church formally became autocephalous—i. Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. The Antiquities of the Christian Church.


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    Basic Books. Estimated dates vary from to Retrieved 5 March Hovannisian, Palgrave Macmillan, , Volume 1, p. Church History and Religious Culture. Archived from the original on Retrieved Nine Saints Ethiopian Orthodox Monastery. Archived from the original on 26 January Retrieved 28 January Official website of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Online Etymology Dictionary. Nersess Armenian Seminary". Nersess Armenian Seminary. PhD Dissertation. Journal of American Ethnic History. Archived from the original on 17 March Archived from the original on 22 February The Deaconess in the Armenian Church.

    New York: St. Nersess Press. Journal of Ecumenical Studies. Boon TV on YouTube. In Wolhuter, Charl; de Wet, Corene eds. International Comparative Perspectives on Religion and Education. Pew Research Center. Caucasus Barometer Armenia dataset. Archived from the original PDF on While Christianity was practiced in secret by a growing number of people in Armenia during the first and second centuries, it was St.

    During a hunting trip, Anak killed the King and ran away. The loyal men of the King pursued Anak, who was subsequently killed. The dying King gave orders to exterminate Anak's family. Only one infant escaped this slaughter, and was rushed by his nurse to the city of Caesarea. This nurse happened to be a converted Christian. She brought up her charge in the Christian faith and gave him a Greek name, Gregory. Gregory became a devout Christian; married a Christian lady named Mariam, and had two children, Verthanes and Arsitakes.

    When the Persian King heard that the King of Armenia was killed, he overran the country and established Persian rule in Armenia. Two of the children of King Khosrov were saved.

    Abp. Petrosian on Armenian Christology

    The Princess Khosrovidought was taken to one of the inaccessible castles of the country, while Prince Trdat was taken to Rome. Trdat received a thorough Roman training. When he became a mature young man, able to rule a kingdom, he was sent by Rome to occupy Armenia, recover the throne of his father, and become a Roman ally.

    As Trdat was returning to Armenia, most of the loyal Armenian feudal lords, who were in hiding, accompanied Trdat. Gregory also decided to go along with him. Nobody had any knowledge of his background or of his religious convictions. Trdat found out that St. Gregory was a well-educated, dependable and conscientious young man. He appointed him as his secretary. After winning back Armenia, Trdat gave orders for a great and solemn celebration.

    During the festival, St. Gregory was ordered to lay wreaths before the statue of the goddess Mother Anahit, who was the most popular deity of the country. Gregory refused and confessed that he was a Christian. One of the king's ministers decided to reveal St. Gregory's secret. He told the King that St. Gregory was the son of Anak, the killer of his father King Khosrov.

    Trdat gave orders to torture St. When St. Gregory stood fast, the King ordered him to be put to death by throwing him into a prison-pit Khor Virab in the town of Artashat to be starved to slow death. Through divine intervention and with the assistance of someone in the Court, St. Gregory survived this terrible ordeal for thirteen years. It is thought the Princess Khosrovidought, the King's sister, had found a way to feed St.

    Gregory in the dungeon. During that very year the king issued two edicts: the first ordered to arrest all the Christians in Armenia confiscating their property, the second ordered to put to death those who hid Christians. These edicts show how dangerous was Christianity for the State and for heathen religion in the country.

    This undertaking of persecution revealed the presence of a group of women, who were peacefully and secretly living in the capital city of Vagharshapat. The Holy Tradition claims that a group of Roman Christian virgins ran away to the East in order to escape the persecutions of the Emperor Diocletianus. After visiting Jerusalem and paying tribute to the holy places, the virgins came to Edessa, then crossed the frontiers of Armenia and settled down in vineyards not far from Vagharshapat.

    This was too much for King Trdat and he mercilessly ordered to have all the women killed. They were 32 in number. This slaughter of innocent women and his frustration at being rejected threw the King into melancholy and finally made him insane. He could not attend the affairs of the state. His sister, Khosrovidukht, did everything to bring her brother back to his senses. Then one day in a dream, she saw St.

    Sourp Hagop Armenian Church Live Stream

    Gregory coming out of the dungeon and healing her brother. She told the people at the Court of her dream, and revealed that he was alive. They sent men to the dungeon to bring him out. As he emerged, out came a man with a long beard, dirty clothes and darkened face. But his face was shining with a strange and strong light. He immediately gathered and buried the remains of the virgin-martyrs and thereafter preached the Gospel for a period of time and healed the King.

    Trdat III proclaimed Christianity as the state religion of Armenia after which the entire royal court was baptized. King Trdat was cured and became a new man. He said to St. Gregory: "Your God is my God, your religion is my religion. Today there are large Armenian Orthodox congregations in many middle-eastern countries outside Armenia. Of particular importance is the Armenian Apostolic Church of Iran see also Christians in Iran where Armenians are the largest Christian ethnic minority. Copyright The Church was founded by Jesus Christ cf. Matthew ; According to tradition, two of His Apostles--St.

    Thaddeus and St. Bartholomew--preached His Gospel in Armenia as early as the second half of the first century. Then in , St. Gregory c.

    Christology of the Oriental Orthodox Churches

    He was consecrated a bishop by Leontius, the metropolitan of Caesarea, as the first Bishop of Armenia. The origin of the Armenian liturgical and sacramental tradition is ascribed to him. He began his missionary work in Armenia during the first decade of the 4th century, while a layman, and upon is consecration as Bishop he established the Armenian nation's Holy See in Vagharshapat Etchmiadzin.

    He is called Illuminator because he "enlightened the nation with the light of the gospel" through baptism.

    Christology in the Tradition of the Armenian Apostolic Church

    The Christianization of Armenia "determined the entire future course of Armenian history". The Armenian nation embraced Christ in its own land where God himself "descended". Etchmiadzin, literally, means "the only begotten descended. Gregory saw Christ in a vision who indicated to him where to build His Church, the first Armenian Church. As the new Faith took roots in the life of the nation, the invention of an Armenian alphabet was necessitated. Realizing the needs of the Armenian faithful, in , St.

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    Mesrob Mashdotz ca. Greek and Syriac were the languages used in the church services. Soon after the invention of the alphabet, St. Mesrob together with St. Sahag and a group of associates--known as Holy Translators--translated the Holy Scriptures into Armenian, followed by the biblical, theological and liturgical writings of eminent church fathers.

    This most important era is known as the Golden Age of Armenian history. Mesrob and St. Sahag, their disciples and co-workers] spearheaded the creation of the Armenian Christian culture under the patronage of the King Vramshapuh ca This period was one of intense activity and rapid development for the Church and was decisive in its consolidation and nationalization. One of the most significant events in Armenian Christianity is the battle of Avarair. Toward the middle of the fifth century, Armenia faced growing pressures from the Persian King Yazdegert II, who had issued an edict bidding the Armenians to renounce Christ and embrace Zoroastrianism.

    The Armenians remained loyal to their faith, repeatedly refused to disavow Christ. In , headed by the commander-in-chief Vartan Mamikonian, Armenians fought against the Persians to preserve their faith. Yeghishe, the historian who wrote The History of Vartan and the Armenian War, in a dialogue between the Persian Tenshabuh ambassador and the Priest Ghevont, expresses the profundity of this faith, "Christ, the living and life- giving true God, by His beneficent will became the healer of souls and bodies and Himself first suffered tortures and pains to cure the entire human race.

    Vartan fell in the battle field of Avarair and Armenians were physically defeated. For the next thirty years oppression and resistance followed, until A. The following centuries were difficult periods for the Armenian nation-- Persian rule and later Arab domination c.

    In the 9th century c. In the medieval Kingdom of Cilicia or Lesser Armenia, there was an independent entity from the end of the 12th century to Persecution and martyrdom had become common occurrences in the life of the Armenian nation. A larger proportion of Armenians were massacred by the Turks in the Ottoman Empire starting in the late 19th century to early 20th century.

    Armenians also suffered under the Russians starting in until the early s. In assessing history and the role of the Armenian Church in the life of the Armenian nation, Abp. Aram Keshishian writes: "Confessing Christ has become the quintessence of our history. The history of the Armenian Church in all its manifestations and achievements, conflicts and struggles, is in the fullest sense of the term the history of confessing Christ in action.

    The Armenian culture in particular with its spiritual depth and transcendent dynamism has provided the Church with creative insights and new perspectives and horizons in terms of integrating Christ into the ethos of the Nation. The Bible, liturgy and worship, writings of the church fathers, church councils, saints, canons, religious art and rituals--organically linked together- -formulate the Holy Tradition of the Church. This Faith is articulated in the Creed of the Armenian Church, which in turn defines the church's raison d'etre and sets the parameters of its modus operandi.

    The Armenian Church professes her faith in the context of her worship. Theologically, whatever the church believes, the church prays. Therefore, the Armenian Church's worship and liturgy constitute a prime source for teaching her faith. History, i. Humanity male and female is created in the image and likeness of God, and as such is a special creature. However, because of the Fall of man, sin entered the world.