Religion

Religion

In 301 AD, in the rule of Trdat 3rd Armenia was the first country in the world that accepted Christianity as state religion. During all subsequent centuries Armenian Church was uniting force, supporting commonness of the faith, as well as protecting the nation and its culture.

Armenian Apostolic Church (Hay Arakelakan Yekegheci) is one of the oldest Christian Churches in the world. in its official regulations   It proclaimed the descent from apostolic primary source without mediation of some other church. The founders of Armenian Church are 2 Apostles of Jesus Christ: St. Thaddeus (Tadevos) and St. Bartholomew (Bardughimeos), who preached Christianity in Armenia in the 1st century AD and were martyred by Armenian king Sanatruk. Gregory the Enlightener (Grigiopr Lusavorich) had been proclaimed the 1st Catholicos of all Armenians in 302, afterwards he was canonized.  Armenian Church recognizes as legal only the first three Ecumenical councils from 325-431, when all great churches were undivided in the concept of Devine Essence of Christ and the basic doctrines of Christianity on Trinity, Incarnation, and Expiation. Armenian Church doesn’t accept the doctrines of Council of Chalcedon, which took place in 451, as Armenian Church teaches: “The Lord Jesus Christ is God the Incarnate Word. He possesses the perfect Godhead and the perfect manhood. His fully divine nature is united with His fully human nature yet without mixing, blending or alteration.”

The Armenian Church belongs to the Oriental Orthodox branch of Christianity together with 4 other ancient Eastern Churches: Coptic, Ethiopian, Assyrian, and Indian Malabar, which all are considered to be Anti-Chalcedonian. The head or the Supreme Patriarch of the Armenian Church is Catholicos, whose residence is in Ejmiadzin, the spiritual and administrative center of the Armenian Church worldwide.

Major religious holidays

Christmas (Surb Cnund) – January 6 Church makes it together with Epiphany with common name Theophany.
Namegiving (Anvanakochutyun) – January 13 The celebration referring to the name giving of Jesus Christ in the temple.
St. Sergius Holiday (Surb Sargis) – last day of the fast The day of lovers, couples. Before going to bed people eat a salted cookie, which the church blesses as bread and salt. By a legend, the Saint visits the houses and evokes dreams on their promised.
Candle mass Day (Tearn endaraj)– February 14 After the special church mass people set fires with songs and lighted candles in hands. They jump over the fire to be purified in the flame.
Holy Easter – 1st Sunday after the full moon counting off from the vernal equinox It is dedicated to torments of Christ, His death on the cross, and Miraculous Resurrection. The last week of the Christ’ earth life is the seventh week of the Lent. Every day of the week has its sacrament. It comes after the Palm Sunday (Tsaghkazard), when many people walk with fluffed willow branches and diadems.
Annunciation (Avetum Surb Astvatsatsni) – April 7 The feast dedicated to the angel Gabriel’s announcement to the Virgin Mary about becoming the mother of Jesus, the Son of God, marking his Incarnation.
Ascension (Hambardzum) – 40th day after Easter On this day bride-girls sank into a jug a button, a thimble or a bead, then filled with water from seven springs, covered with a posy of seven flowers and left for the night under stars. In the morning a dressed up girl pulled out the items from the jug one by one accompanies by girls’ singing. Every couplet of the songs foreboded the fate of the item owner.
Transfiguration (Vardavar) – middle of summer In ancient times Vardavar was holiday of water devoted to Goddess of love and beauty. People gifted her roses, let fly doves and watered each other.
Assumption of Blessed Virgin (Surb Mariam Astvatsatsin) – 2nd Sunday of August On this day the church sanctifies vine.
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