Armenia is the first Christian country of the world. In 301 in times of Trdat III the Armenians adopted Christianity as their official religion. Armenian Apostolic Church is one of the oldest national churches and belongs to the group of Eastern orthodox churches. Its centre is situated in Vagharshapat town of Armavir region, where Armenian Catholicosate was established in 1441.
The spiritual head of the Armenian Apostolic Church is the Catholicos of All Armenians. The Armenian Church has 4 main spiritual headquarters: Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Holy See of Cilicia, Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople. Besides these four the Armenian Church has different diocesan structures in different countries.
According to epos, Christianity was preached by Christ’s Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew in the first century. The Armenian history states also that before 301 in the first century King Abgar of Edessa adopted Christianity, who had exchange of letters with Jesus in person. Whatever, the fact is that already in the first century there was Christianity spread in Armenia.
Connected with political circumstances different attempts were made by Byzantine Church and Vatican to eliminate the independence of the Armenian apostolic church and make it Orthodox or Catholic. But those attempts were in vain. In the 11th century after the collapse of Bagratuni kingdom, when an independent Armenian state was founded, the center of Armenian Catholicosate was established in Cilicia , in Hromkla first, then in Sis. But after the fall of Cilicia Kingdom Armenian Catholicosate again was established in Armenia in 1441.
The Armenian Church is also the “smithery” of Armenian culture. Not having statehood, Armenian apostolic church carried out missions of saving the nation, developing education and science. At the same time the regulations of the church became the basis of the traditional-legal relations for Armenian people.
Ancient Armenian religion
Besides Christians there is also a massy pagan community in Armenia, the center of which is the pagan temple of Garni built in 78 AD. Armenian pagans who call themselves “sons of the Sun”, believe that Armenia itself is the divine land and that the Creator created gods in Armenia at the top of the sacred mount of Ararat. According to old Armenian belief heavenly supreme is the Creator, and other Gods have some individual creative abilities. Armenian pagans even nowadays celebrate their millennial rites in Armenia and visiting our country you can become a witness and participant of Armenian pagan rites.