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Tuesday, 24-Oct-2006 06:35 Email | Share | Bookmark
Mary Church - Tehran

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Origins and history
The earliest accounts of the introduction of Christianity into Armenia date from the 1st century, when it was first preached by two Apostles of Jesus, St. Bartholomew and St. Thaddeus. The Armenian Apostolic Church has been around since the days of the apostles and therefore has a rightful claim as one of the oldest denominations in Christianity. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion, in 301, when St. Gregory the Illuminator converted Tiridates III (the King of Armenia) and members of his court.
Christianity was strengthened in Armenia by the translation of the Bible into the Armenian language by the Armenian theologian, monk and scholar Saint Mesrop Mashtots.
Monophysite label
Historically, the Armenian church has been labeled monophysite because it (just as the Coptic Orthodox Church) rejected the decisions of the Council of Chalcedon, which condemned monophysitism. The Armenian Church officially severed ties with the West in 554, during the second Council of Dvin where the dyophysite formula of the Council of Chalcedon was rejected.

However, the Armenian Orthodox Church argue that this is a wrong description of its position, as it considers Monophysitism, as taught by Eutyches and condemned at Chalcedon, a heresy and only disagrees with the formula defined by that council. The Armenian church instead adheres to the doctrine defened by Cyril of Alexandria, considered by as a saint by Chalcedonian churches as well and described Christ as being of one nature of Christ, where both divine and human nature are united. To distinguish this from Eutychian and other versions of Monophysitism this position is called miaphysitismIn recent times, both Chalcedonian and anti-Chalcedonian churches have developed a deeper understanding for each other's positions, recognizing the substantial agreement while maintaining their respective theological language. Hence, the Monophysite label is avoided to describe the Armenians' or Copts' belief regarding the Nature of Christ.
Structure and leadership
The Armenian Apostolic Church is headed by a Catholicos (the plural is Catholicoi). (The Armenian Apostolic Church should not be confused, however, with the Armenian Catholic Church, which is an Eastern Rite Catholic church under the authority of the Pope in Rome.) At present, the Catholicos of All Armenians is his Holiness Karekin II (sometimes spelled as Garegin), who resides in the city of Echmiadzin, west of Yerevan. A second Catholicos, His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of Cilicia, who resides in Antilyas in Lebanon, leads churches belonging to the Holy See of Cilicia. The division stems from frequent relocations of the Church headquarters under Ottoman Rule and was further reinforced during the period in which Armenia was part of the Soviet Union. However, the Catholicos of All Armenians claims theoretical sovereignty over the Catholicos of Cilicia.
Similarities to other churches
Liturgically, the Church has much more in common with the Latin rite, especially as it was at the time of separation, than other Orthodox rites. For example, their bishops wear vestments almost identical to those of Western bishops. They usually do not use a full iconostasis, but rather a curtain (which was also used in the West at the time of separation). The liturgical music is Armenian chant.

Armenian priests of the lower ranks are allowed to marry

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christians_in_Iran ...>>>>Christianity in Iran
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Apostolic_Church




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