Founded in the first century by two of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, Saints Thaddeus and Bartholomew, we are one of the five ancient Eastern Oriental Orthodox churches. Saints Thaddeus and Bartholomew were ordained the first Armenian bishops. At the beginning of the fourth century, Armenia became the first nation in the world to declare Christianity as our state religion through the work of our patron saint, St. Gregory the Illuminator, and the decree of King Trdat III. As one of the oldest autocephalous national christian churches, for more than 1,700 years we have steadfastly and devotedly followed Our Lord Jesus Christ, His teachings, the teachings of His Holy Apostles, our sacred church traditions, and the teachings of our graceful saints and church fathers.
Having been founded by the one Lord Jesus Christ, the Church has one faith, one liturgy, one hierarchy. The Armenian Church is one in herself and one with the great Church of our Lord, since she accepts and keeps the Church’s faith, teachings and practices, “as once delivered to the Saints” and as defined by the first three Ecumenical councils of Nicaea in 325 A.D, of Constantinople in 381 and of Ephesus in 431.
Our Church is Apostolic, because it was founded directly by two of the twelve apostles. Our Church is Orthodox, because it has the true faith of Christ. We are a Church with over nine million faithful dispersed in every continent throughout the world. The head of the Church is Jesus Christ. The Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians is the worldwide spiritual leader of the Nation, for Armenians both in Armenia and in the Dispersion. The spiritual and administrative headquarters of the Church, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, established in 301 AD in the city of Vagharshapat, Armenia, seventeen centuries later continues to guide our devoted nation and people on the luminous paths of fulfilling the primary mission of our Church – leading people to God.