THE APOSTOLIC CHURCH OF ARMENIA

The Apostolic Church of Armenia (or Armenian) is called apostolic because born of the evangelization of the holy apostles Thaddaeus and Bartholomew, and Armenia because it is the Church of the place and the Christians who populate it. This denomination, which has never changed over the centuries, is based on the tradition inherited from the first Christian communities, which took the name of the place where they were constituted: names of cities in the Roman Empire, where the cities governed the provinces (eg churches of Corinth, Ephesus, Rome …); country names outside the limes, where the urban fabric was less developed (eg churches of Ireland, Ethiopia, Armenia …). The apostolic mention, also inherited from ancient ecclesiology, reminds us that the teaching of Christ was directly received from his apostles. The denomination of the Armenian Apostolic Church is therefore fraught with meaning, which is why we must strive to respect it.

In spite of this, the Armenian Apostolic Church is regularly designated under improper names that distort its physiognomy and the main one is that of Gregorian Church – or Church of the Illuminator – by reference to St. Gregory the Illuminator. Churches have never designated themselves by the name of an apostle or a saint, even if it was at the origin of the evangelization of their community. He is only a Church of Christ, who is its sole founder and head. The concept of “Gregorian Church” was approved in 1836 by the emperor of all the Russias, Nicholas I, in order to conceal the evangelization of Armenia by the apostles, to challenge his autocephaly and thus facilitate his attachment to the Church of Russia. It was largely taken up by the Roman Catholic Church to deny the Armenian Apostolic Church the durability of its apostolic succession and confer it to the Armenian Catholic Church, born in 1742. In the Armenian Apostolic Church itself, some The faithful, unaware of the semantic subtleties, adopted this denomination, which they rendered in Armenian by “Church of the Illuminator”. It would be all the more desirable to abandon its use, since neither the Russian Church nor the Catholic Church contests the apostolicity of the Armenian Church.

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