Religion in Armenia. Christianity
Armenians are Christians. The Armenian Apostolic Church is unique. It is very close to Orthodoxy, but it is not identical, since it preaches monophysitism. According to this concept, Christ is not of two natures-divine and human, but only one – divine.
Faith and religion in ancient Armenia
The disconnection of the Armenian Church from the Byzantine Church occurred in 554 at the Dvin Church Cathedral. It condemned the decisions of the Chalcedonian Cathedral of the Byzantine Church on the dual nature of Christ.
Since the 13th century, the Vatican has unsuccessfully tried to spread its influence in Armenia.
The Armenian Apostolic Church is headed by the Supreme Patriarch-Catholicos of All Armenians.
Traditionally, it has three patriarchal throne:
- Catholicosate of Cilicia (Antilias, Lebanon),
- Patriarchate of Jerusalem,
- Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Before the adoption of Christianity, Armenians, like many other nations, were pagans. In the 6-4 centuries, the main god was Hyke. He appears in myth as a giant-hunter, and his name was one of the constellations (Orion).
The god of the dying and resurrected nature was Ara, the goddess of love – Astkhik.
Christianity in Armenia: state religion
Armenia is known to be the first country in the world where Christianity was adopted and declared the state religion.
The Armenian church is also called the Gregorian church. This name is used in the process of proceeding from the fact that the adoption of Christianity is associated with the name of St. Gregory the Illuminator, in the world of Gregory Pargev. He actively preached before the adoption of Christianity, hiding from persecution and was even, according to legend, imprisoned. When King Trdat changed his attitude toward Christianity, he freed Gregory the Illuminator and accepted christening from him.
Christianity began to spread in Armenia already in the 1st century AD thanks to the apostles Bartholomew and Fadea. That is why the church is called << Armenian Apostolic >>
By the 4th century Christianity had become very widespread, despite the brutal persecution of Christians, as in ancient Rome.
The date of adoption of Christianity was 301.
This happened under the reign of King Trdatthe Third, who first persecuted the Christians, and then with his family and his court took a new faith and ordered to baptize “all the people, all the inhabitants of the country of Armenia, from young to old.”
The Armenian church played a very important role in the history of its people, since after the loss of independence it became a national organization, which assumed many functions of state power.
The Catholicos was the supreme judge, took part in the drafting of civil laws, convened a council – the highest advisory body of the Armenian secular and the spiritual nobility, and also was its head.
Church hierarchies took part in the implementation of foreign policy ties. In the Middle Ages, the church was the basis for the development of culture, science, and contributed to schooling.
The Armenian people treat their church with awe and reverence, protects it.
They realize that without the church there would be no nation, for there was a threat to dissolve among the predatory peoples and tribes.
In the name of their faith, the Armenians went to great sacrifices and bickering. When, for example, Persian king Yezdigerd the Second tried to forcefully convert Armenians into Zoroastrianism in order to assimilate the nation, a national liberation uprising broke out, which lasted for thirty-four years.
Violent repression did not break the people, and the Persians accepted Christianity as the state religion of Armenia.
All the outstanding monuments of the Armenian architecture are connected in one way or another with the church and religion – churches, monasteries, palaces of the Catholicos.
The classical period is considered to be the century when outstanding monuments of architecture were built – the temples of Ptghni, Hripsime, Bagavan, Zvartnots, Lmbatavank.
In the Middle Ages, the capital of the Armenian Bagratids, the city of Ani (now the city is on the territory of Turkey) became the centre of remarkable architecture.
Here there were remarkable architectural creations, talking about the religious beginning of that time: the cathedral (1001), the round temple of King Gagik (1015), the tower-like church of the Savior (1036) and the only five-cupola church-the church of the Apostles-with a plan in the form of a cross, enclosed in a rectangle.
The Armenian religion is the spirit of the nation, its power and the greatest pride.