1. According to a very old tradition of the Armenian Church, Christianity was first introduced in Armenia by Christ’s apostles: Thaddeus (or Jude) (identified in the New Testament as Jude (Judas) son of James) and Bartholomew (identified in the New Testament Nathanael). Their mission took place in the middle of the first century. The Armenian Church recognizes them as the ‘First Illuminators’.
2. In 301, Christianity is adopted as state religion of the Kingdom of Armenia. St. Gregory the Illuminator and King Tiridates III were the two key players in the adoption.
3. 404/5, Mesrop Mashtots develops the Armenian alphabet with 36 letters from “a” (Ա) to “k” (Ք). Letters “o” (O) and “f” (Ֆ) were added at a later date.
Following the creation of the alphabet, Mesrop Mashtots and Sahak Parthev, Catholicos of the time, established schools for the education-loving generation. Many groups from this generation were sent to important educational centres outside of Armenia, which led to the start of great translation and literary projects.
The main goal of the development of the alphabet was the translation of the Holy Bible, which was done with success.
4. In 451, a major ecumenical meeting takes place, known as the Council of Chalcedon. It examined the nature of Christ. During the same time, the Armenian nation was battling the Persians (Battle of Vartanantz) to defend its faith and did not have time to deal with the Council of Chalcedon.
The Armenian Church officially reviewed it at the start of the 6th Century and rejected it.
The Council of Chalcedon was the first major rift in the history of Christianity.
The Armenian Church only recognizes three councils:
a- Council of Nicaea (325), that proclaimed that Christ was divine.
b- Council of Constantinople (381), that proclaimed the divinity of the Holy Spirit.
c- Council of Ephesus (415) that proclaimed that Christ was the son of God, who became flesh and lived among us with two natures, one human, one divine. There were not two separate persons in Christ, one divine, one human, but rather one person. Christ was not separate from his body, but was rather the one and the same person.
5. In 626, establishment of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
6. The Center of the Armenian Church changes its location due to the political uncertainty within Armenia and the military campaigns by external forces. In the middle of the 11th Century, the center of the Armenian Church is transferred to a location situated between historic Armenia and Cilicia. In the 13th Century, the Armenian Church chooses Sis, capital of the Kingdom of Cilicia, as its center.
7. In 1441, a meeting is held in Etchmiazdin and an Armenian Catholicosate is created. It was to be named “Catholicosate of All Armenians”.
8. In 1461, establishment of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople.
9. In the 19th Century, official recognition of the Armenian Catholic and Protestant churches by the Ottoman Sultan.
10. In 1915, the Armenian Church is subjected to the same devastating fate as the Armenian Nation.
11. In 1930, the center of the Armenian Church in Cilicia, that had not ceased its activities since 1441 despite difficult times, is exiled to Antelias, in Lebanon.
12. In 1991, Armenia regains its independence after 70 years of Soviet rule. The Holy See of Etchmiadzin faces new challenges and responsibilities.