First Christian Country

First Christian Country

October 25, 2017

The first Armenian Church founders were Apostles Jude and Bartholomew (35-43) whom Armenians call the first Armenian Enlighteners. The Armenian church has an Apostolic origin.

According to the Historian Agatangeghos, when Tiridates(Trdat) 3rd came back to Armenia to get his father’s throne, he sacrificed for the pagan Goddess Anahit on his way. One of his soldiers refused to sacrifice because he was Christian and couldn’t kill innocent people.

Tiridates 3rd knowing about his religion, ordered to take him the underground jail which was a deep hole with a lot of snakes and insects. Besides that Tiridates, King ordered to arrest and take all Christians to jail, and those that hid Christians were also killed.

Trdat 3th

During that time, the three Roman virgins who also worshiped the God came to Armenia and settled in Vagharshapat city. They escaped from the persecution of Diocletian Emperor. When  Trdat 3rd  saw one of the virgins, her name was Hripsime, fell in love with her and wanted to marry her. But soon after, the virgin refused his request and that made Trdat angry and he ordered to torture all of the three virgins and then kill them.

The death of the virgins, especially Hripsime’s death caused Trdat a serious mental shock.  One day the King’s sister saw a dream in which Gregory Enlightener (by Trdat's order Gregory was imprisoned for his religion ) could heal him.

The Adoption of Christianity as a state religion

Gregory Enlightener buried the Virgins, and then 66 days preached Christianity and finally healed the kins. Tiridates 3rd was baptized by Gregory Enlightener and accepted the religion and thus, became the first country to adopt Christianity as a state religion. After the adoption of Christianity, Gregory Enlightener ordered to built Christian churches and monasteries everywhere.  All the pagan temples were destroyed besides Garni’s pagan temple which is still standing.

saint Gregory

On the tombs of the Roman virgins were built three churches in Vagharshapat city (now Echmiadzin) Saint Hripsime Saint Gayane, Saint Shoghakat.