Tiridates III, Armenian King

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Reigned 282 to c. 330, scion of Parthian Neroimposed Arsacid dynasty of Armenia. He regained the throne from the Sassanids of persia with help of the Roman Emperor diocletian, who imbued Tiridates with hatred of Christianity. Tiridates engaged in drastic persecution of the Christians in Armenia until his conversion (c. 302), when he was baptized by (St.) gregory illuminator, who had miraculously cured him of a serious illness. Tiridates then made Christianity the official religion of the kingdom, gave Gregory large donations for building churches, and arranged Gregory's consecration as bishop of Armenia. Tiridates was hated by the Armenian nobles friendly to Persia and was killed by his majordomo. Often designated as "Constantine of Armenia," Tiridates is listed among the saints of the Armenian Church; his feast is celebrated on the Monday after the fifth Sunday after Pentecost.

Bibliography: h. f. tournebize, Histoire politique et religieuse de l'Arménie (Paris 1910). l. arpee, A History of Armenian Christianity (New York 1946).

[n. m. setian]