The Armenian Catholic Church is a Roman Catholic Church of the Eastern Rite. The Armenians were the first people to adopt Christianity as a country around AD 300. Today, there are approximately 7 million Armenians in the world, mostly living in Armenia and Iran. The vast majority are Orthodox Christians who continue to follow the old traditions, but some Catholics exist as well.
Armenia was once part of the Byzantine Empire and so had a large number of churches built with Greek theology and architecture. But beginning in the 9th century, the region became independent under the rule of the Armenian kings. They adopted Christianity as their own national faith and built more churches in this unique style: identical copy after copy of an original that was far away in Armenia. These unoriginal copies are called "imitations" or "derived styles."
Because they didn't create these styles themselves, other religions have also been suspected. Some historians say the Armenians copied these ideas from Muslims, while others claim it's true imitation of the Greeks or Romans. But whatever the case may be, these beautiful churches spread all over Europe helped shape modern day art and design.
Today, most Armenians are Orthodox Christian but there are still some Catholics as well.
St. Gregory the Illuminator persuaded Tiridates III, King of Armenia, to convert to Christianity in an event that is typically dated to 301 AD. Previously, Armenian paganism was the major religion...
Armenia is a country in Asia bordering Iran, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. It is bordered by Russia to the west, Kazakhstan to the northeast, Azerbaijan and Iran to the south, and Turkey - which has an exclave on Arminak island in the Arax River - to the north. Area: 51,716 km2 (19,815 sq mi) Population: 1.85 million Capital: Yerevan Architecture: Modern and contemporary art forms: Caspian Sea and Mediterranean climate: Temperate continental climate
The history of Armenia can be traced back to 740 BC when it was part of the kingdom of Urartu. In 387 BC, Armenia became a part of the Sasanian Empire, but later regained its independence. From 0 to 70 AD, it was ruled by the Armenian kings from the Arsacid dynasty. In AD 428, St. Mesrop Mashtots established the first Christian school in the country. In 627, King Trdat ordered the construction of many churches across Armenia. In 914, King Zakarim Ulughyan started the construction of Yerevan's current cathedral-like buildings.
In an incident that is typically dated to 301 AD, St. Gregory the Illuminator convinced Tiridates III, King of Armenia, to convert to Christianity. This event is often cited as evidence that Armenians were the first nation to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.
However, this is not accurate. Arminius, a German priest, was reportedly baptized by Saint Peter in A.D. 304. So, yes, Armenians were among the first nations to accept Christianity, but they did not do so alone.
Armenians and Assyrians were among the earliest peoples to embrace Christianity. Today, a few thousand Armenians and roughly three thousand Assyrians dwell in the Assyrian homeland. However, before the mid-19th century, these populations were much larger. In fact, according to some sources, they accounted for nearly one-third of the population of modern-day Iraq.
As with many other Christian communities, religious persecution by Islamic rulers drove many Armenians and Assyrians from their homes. Between 1649 and 1829, nearly all of the inhabitants of what is now Turkey were deported to Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) and Central Asia. The deportation was part of the large-scale Islamization policy implemented by the Turkish sultanates to weaken their Christian subjects. An estimated 1 million people were deported from their homes.
After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire following World War I, the newly established countries of Turkey, Iran, and Syria tried to protect their ethnic minorities by creating autonomous regions within those countries. But in most cases, this autonomy was only nominal since the governments under which the minorities lived had no real power. Often, the governments were dominated by indigenous religions--mainly Muslims in the case of Turkey and Iran, or Orthodox Christians in the case of Syria--thereby undermining any true independence for the minorities.
According to the Census of 2011, the composition of people identifying with religions in Armenia is the following: 2,862,366 (99%), of whom 2,797,187 are Armenian Apostolic (97%); 29,280 Evangelical; 13,996 Armenian Rite and Latin Rite Catholic; 8,695 Jehovah's Witness; 7,587 Eastern Orthodox (Russian. Romanian. Bulgarian. Serbian. Greek. Turkish. Vietnamese.)
Armenia has been a secular country since 1991. It abolished all forms of religious discrimination in its constitution that was adopted in 1990. However, some laws can still be interpreted as discriminating against non-Catholics, such as requirements for children to be baptized and for parents to declare their consent for their children to marry.
The government does not fund any religion, nor do they allow any state intervention in religion. Religious education is funded by private charities and churches but is regulated by local authorities who may have licensing requirements for teachers.
There are no restrictions on religion in Armenia. Anyone can practice their faith without fear of persecution.
However, some Christians claim that they experience discrimination from the government and society. They cite examples such as bans on certain types of music at church services, which used to be permitted until 2009, when new regulations were put into place that banned loud music after hours. In addition, some Catholics complain about a lack of priests and bishops to serve the large population within the Armenian diaspora.
The Armenian Apostolic Church, an Eastern Christian denomination in communion with the other Oriental Orthodox churches, is home to around 97 percent of the population. The spiritual center of the Armenian Apostolic Church is the Etchmiadzin Cathedral. Catholicos Karekin II is the church's leader. He was crowned by Pope Francis on August 15, 2013, at the Vatican.
Armenia has a long-standing relationship with Rome, and many scholars believe that it was this connection that helped preserve Armenian culture during its period of persecution under the Ottoman Empire. Today, most Armenians are Christians, but beginning in the 6th century AD, many priests and monks from Armenia traveled abroad to bring Christianity back to their homeland. When these missionaries returned to Armenia, they established small churches where people could meet safely after the fall of the Roman Empire. These missionaries also translated religious books into Old Armenian so people could understand them better. Today, these ancient languages are used by some Armenian priests when celebrating Mass.
Armenian Catholics celebrate many rites and ceremonies associated with the Roman Rite, including confirmation, first communion, marriage counseling, ordination to priesthood or consecration to the Virgin Mary, and holy orders. They use the same prayer book as Latin Catholics, but their version contains only an Armenian translation of the Bible. The original versions are kept in secret vaults called zotins that are protected by guards.