On September 30 (October 13), the Church commemorated a great saint, a missioner and confessor, a bishop of Christ’s Church – St. Gregory, the enlightener of the Armenian people. Thanks to his confessional feat and his work on the field of Christ, the whole people turned to the faith in Jesus Christ. For 2 centuries, Armenian Orthodox Church supported the Eucharistic communion with other local Orthodox Churches. However, unfortunately, it could not accept the doctrines of the 4th Ecumenical Council and this is why for more than 1500 years is does not have the Eucharistic communion with the Orthodox Church.
Below we will mention some interesting facts about the Armenian Orthodox Church and its founder – St. Martyr Gregory.
1) Gregory was of the family of Parthian kings. His father killed his own relative – the king of Armenia – for authority and the whole tribe of the future enlightener of Armenia was killed for that. Gregory himself was rescued by another relative of him, who later brought him to Caesarea of Cappadocia, where Gregory was baptized and raised in Christian faith.
2) To make amends for what his father had done, Gregory decided to come back to his homeland and join the service at the court of king Tiradath, the son of the killed Armenian king so that he could be his servant.
3) King Tiridath could not stand the Christian faith of his servant and was the one who ordered to throw Gregory into the moat, where he spent 14 years. He ate there the food that one good woman brought to him.
|St. Gregory sitting in the moat|
4) King Tiridath killed a saint virgin Ripsimia, abbess Gaiania and 35 virgins, after which he lost his mind and could find the cure only through his repentance, to which we was called by St. Gregory.
5) Armenia is the first country in the world’s history that accepted Christianity as its state religion.
6) The Head of the Armenian Church – Catholicos, who has full power. He is the only cleric who can ordain bishops. Other bishops can only assist him during the ordination. The elected catholicos takes his position until his death.
|Catholicos Krekin II and Patriarch Kirill|
7) Bishops can be chosen only from among single unmarried priests who have a science degree.
8) Before to become a servant, a married priest has to be married at least for a year and has a child.
9) In Armenian Church, the rank of archimandrite is not a position, but a science degree, which can be accepted only by the unmarried clerics.
10) Following an ancient Christian tradition, Armenian Christians celebrate the Nativity of Christ and the baptism of the Lord on one and the same day, which is January 6, and call it the feast of the “Epiphany”.
11) The Armenians use unleavened bread for Eucharist and do not dilute wine with water.
12) Armenian Church did not accept the Council of Chalcedon largely owing to the war against Persia as well as due to the fact that the Byzantine Empire itself denied the Council of Chalcedon back then, and the Armenian Church followed the Byzantine. However, later the Byzantine Empire would accept the decisions of the Council, while the Armenians would not.