Armenia is the first Cristian country of the world. Back in 301, during the reign period of Tiridates III, the Armenians adopted Christianity as their state religion. The Armenian Apostolic Church is one of the oldest national churches of the world and belongs to the group of Eastern orthodox churches. The spiritual center of the Armenian Apostolic Church is located in the city of Vagharshapat of Armavir Marz (region), where the Armenian Chatolicosate was established since 1441. The Supreme Spiritual leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church is Catholicos (Supreme patriarch) of All Armenians. The Armenian Church has four main spiritual and administrative headquarters: Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Holy See of Cilicia, Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem and Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Armenian Church has different diocesan structures in different countries- apart from these four. According to the legend, the Apostles Saints Thaddeus and Bartholomew preached Christianity in Armenia in the first century. The Armenian history also testimonies 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 church and Christianity community 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 Chatolicosate was established in Cilicia, in Hromkla first, then in Sis. But after the fall of Cilinia Kingdom Armenian Catholicosate again was established in Armenia in 1441. The Armenian Church is also the “smithery” of Armenian culture. When Armenia had no statehood, Armenian apostolic Church carried out mission 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 “Arordi” 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.