Category : Armenia

(CH) The Oldest National Church in the World

When investigating the origin of church-state collaboration, most Westerners look back to Constantine and the 313 Edict of Milan, which made Christianity the favored religion in the Roman Empire. But Christianity likely achieved state- approved status even earlier in Armenia, where celebrations this year will commemorate 1,700 years of faith.

According to legend, in 301 Gregory the Illuminator (so named because he “enlightened the nation with the light of the gospel”) ascended from a stone pit after 13 years of imprisonment for refusing to renounce his faith. He then cured Armenia’s King Tiridates III of madness and converted him to Christianity. Gregory went on to establish the church in Armenia on the spot where he saw Christ descend in a vision. In all his efforts, Gregory built on the groundwork laid by the apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew, who reportedly preached the Gospel in Armenia as early as the first century.

(Note: Recent scholarship suggests that most or all of Gregory’s accomplishments are more accurately dated to the years between 313 and 316, meaning Rome was actually first to convert, but Armenia’s sticking with 301 because the year “has always traditionally enjoyed the character of official acceptance.”)

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Posted in Armenia, Church History

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Saint Nerses

O Christ, Who art the Keeper of all, let Thy right hand guard and overshadow me by day and by night; when I sit in the house, and when I walk abroad; when I lie down, and when I rise up again, lest at any time I fall; to the glory of Thy Name.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Armenia, Spirituality/Prayer

Bishop Robert Innes writes from Armenian remembrance event

“Why”, asked our Eastern brothers and sisters, “are the Western churches not doing more to prevent the ongoing persecution and killing of Christians even today in the Middle East?” It is a difficult question to answer. The plain fact is that we lack the international institutions necessary to secure and enforce world peace. The genocidal tendency lurks within the human spirit ”“ that fear of the other which, in its most malevolent form, treats the other not as a person but as an object that may be annihilated or ”˜cleansed’. The events in which I participated in Yerevan certainly caused me to grieve for the wrongs done to the Armenian people and to lament the slowness of the world in properly recognising these wrongs. But beyond that, I wondered what it would take for world leaders to develop the structures and institutions and the sheer political will to make sure that the wholesale persecution and killing of people because of their creed, race or ethnic background is properly punished and prevented.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Armenia, Europe

Bishop Geoffrey Rowell's Farewell Visit to Armenia

Canon Meurig Williams writes:- “Bishop Geoffrey visited Armenia from Friday August 23rd until Tuesday 27th. This was a farewell visit to Catholicos Karekin II and the Armenian Apostolic Church before Bishop Geoffrey retires in November. In his role as Anglican co-chair of the theological dialogue with the Oriental Orthodox Churches of which the Armenian Church is one, Bishop Geoffrey has a long standing relationship going back many years. He has accompanied both Archbishops George Carey and Rowan Williams on their official visits to the Armenian Church and was present also at the 1700th anniversary of Armenian Christianity.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Armenia, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Europe, Orthodox Church, Other Churches