In Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide: How Christianity Came to Armenia, Myth vs. Fact, Two Tales from a Priest

Jean-Léon_Gérôme_-_The_Christian_Martyrs'_Last_Prayer_-_Walters_37113_thumbvia chycho

Last year, in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, I shared a story from my father. This year, I would like to share the account of how Christianity came to Armenia as told by a priest.

A few years ago I attended an Armenian dinner function. A number of friends and family were in attendance including two Armenian priests. As usual, the conversations were lively and the food and drinks abundant – merriment and passionately uninhibited exchange of ideas is the norm in these gatherings.

Post dinner, while everyone was taking delight in what appeared to be an endless supply of sweets and bottomless cups of coffee and tea, one of the priests asked a question: “who here knows how and why Armenians adopted Christianity?”

All Armenians, even the atheists, are aware and will proudly share the fact that the Armenian Apostolic Church “is the world’s oldest national church”; Armenia being “the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion in AD 301.” That Etchmiadzin is considered to be “the oldest cathedral in the world”, and that the Armenian Christian order is unique on the religious landscape and has thus been granted stewardship of a quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem. Every single adult Armenian in the world knows these facts and if probed will gladly share them with inquisitive minds.

As for how Christianity came to Armenia? Below you will find a synopsis of what the priest told us. Please note, since this conversation took place a few years ago the details have become blurry so I’ll make this short and refrain from sharing too many specifics. If you like your historical facts and fiction cited, the following three sources should be referenced – one, two, three.

  1. The Myth
  2. The Fact

[continued at chycho]

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  • Dingbert

    Thank you for posting this. Next year will mark a century since, and the US and many others still will not acknowledge the genocide.

    • salviad

      My pleasure, peace.

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