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Armenian Church

Armenian Church. One of the Oriental churches, sometimes incorrectly called ‘Armenian Orthodox’. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as a state religion, after the conversion of King Tiridates III by St Gregory ‘the Illuminator’ c.294 (hence the name ‘Armenian Gregorian Church’ which is sometimes used). A major factor in the preservation of Armenian national consciousness has been membership of the Church, and non-ethnic Armenians cannot be admitted to membership, though this does not prevent children becoming members by baptism if one parent is Armenian.

The Armenian Church was much influenced by contact with the Crusaders, of which one result was a temporary (12th–13th cents.) union of much of the Church with Rome. Another was the adoption of the mitre as the liturgical headgear of its bishops. The present Uniat church, the Armenian Catholic Church of c.100,000 members, goes back only to 1740.

Under the Ottoman Turks the Armenians suffered notorious persecutions, culminating in massacres as late as 1920 which left practically no Armenians in Turkish territory. Of the 3½ million Armenians, most live now in the ex-Soviet Republic of Armenia, where conflict with Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh is exacerbated by memories of persecution. There is a large diaspora, including ½-million in the USA.

The Armenian Church has two classes of priests: the vardapets or doctors, who are unmarried, and the parish priests who, unless monks (monasticism) must be married before ordination as deacons. Bishops are usually chosen from among the vardapets. The Armenian liturgy is celebrated in the ancient Armenian language, having been translated (with the Bible) in the early 5th cent. by St Mesrob, who himself invented the Armenian alphabet. For the eucharist the Armenians use unleavened bread, and do not mix water with the wine.

They follow the Julian calendar. Following the ancient Eastern practice, the birth of Christ is not celebrated as a separate feast at Christmas, but at Epiphany. An organ or harmonium is often used to accompany the choir, in contrast to the Orthodox churches, where such instruments are forbidden.

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"Armenian Church." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 28 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Armenian Church." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved April 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/armenian-church

Armenian Church

Armenian Church, autonomous Christian church, sometimes also called the Gregorian Church. Its head, a primate of honor only, is the catholicos of Yejmiadzin, Armenia; Karekin II became catholicos in 1999. His rule is shared by the patriarchs of Jerusalem and Constantinople and by the catholicos of Sis (Cilicia). In general, Armenian practices resemble those of other Eastern churches; the priests may marry and communion is distributed in both bread and wine, although the use of unleavened bread is a Western practice. The liturgical language is classical Armenian. Armenia became Christian at the end of the 3d cent. through the missionary work of St. Gregory the Illuminator. In the next century the young church made itself autonomous, apparently because of the efforts of the metropolitan bishop of Caesarea, St. Basil the Great, to impose certain reforms. After the Council of Chalcedon the Armenians rejected the orthodox position; this adoption, at least tacit, of Monophysitism completed the isolation of the Armenian Church from the rest of Christendom. Part of the Armenian Church reunited with Rome temporarily in the 13th and 14th cent., and missionary work by the Roman Church in the 14th cent. resulted in many converts. In 1740 the Catholic Armenian rite was officially organized, in communion with the pope but under its own patriarch. Today there are Armenian churches in every continent.

See P. C. Gulesserian, The Armenian Church (tr. 1939, repr. 1970); D. Attwater, The Christian Churches of the East (2 vol., rev. ed. 1961).

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"Armenian Church." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 28 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Armenian Church." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved April 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/armenian-church

Armenian Church

Armenian Church an independent Christian Church established in Armenia since c.300 and influenced by Roman and Byzantine as well as Syrian traditions. A small Armenian Catholic Church also exists (see Uniate).

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"Armenian Church." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 28 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Armenian Church." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved April 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/armenian-church