Armenian Apostolic Church
The Armenian Apostolic Church is more properly known as the One Holy Universal Apostolic Orthodox Armenian Church and sometimes referred to as the Georgian Church.
Georgian Church is not preferred by the faithful as it holds that the founders are the Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus and St Gregory as the first official head of the church.
The church originated with the missions of Bartholomew and Thaddeus in the 1st century and was recognized by Armenia as the official religion of the state in 301 AD. It was the first country to accept Christianity as a state religion.
The church has in excess of 8,000,000 adherents and the primate is known as the Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II.
Apostolic succession is very important for this church and the martyrdom of these apostles considered as religious truths. Tradition states that both Bartholomew and Thaddeus were martyred.
Gregory was said to have suffered a long term of imprisonment but eventually released to move the church forward.
At the beginning Gregory participated in the greater Catholic world but by 373 AD started to retreat from this.
Armenian at first was a spoken not written language and the bible and liturgy were in Greek. In 406 after the Armenian alphabet was created the bible and liturgy were written down in this new script.
Unlike the bible used in other Eastern Churches, the Armenian Bible originally had 39 books in the Old Testament. What are known as the Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical books were not translated until the 8th century and not read in the churches until the 12th century.
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