ARMENIAN CHURCH. Christianity ap pears to have been introduced in Armenia as early as the Second Century. It was for the first time firmly established, however, when Bishop Gregory the Illuminator baptized Tiridates, the King (301), and a great party of the people. became immediately baptized Christians. (See ARMENIA.) The Bible was translated into the Armenian language in the Fifth Century, by 3lesrob and Sahak. After this period great ani mation prevailed in the Armenian Church. Num bers flocked to the colleges at Athens and Con stantinople. In the ecclesiastical controversy concerning the twofold nature of Christ. the Armenian Christians held with the Monophys Res (q.v.) ; refused to at-knowledge the authority of the Council of Chalcedon; and constituted themselves a separate Church. which took the title of Gregorian from Gregory himself. For several centuries a spirit of scientific inquiry, especially in theology, manifested itself among them to a far wider extent than in the other Eastern churches. Their greatest divine is Nerses I V., Patriarch of Armenia. and Catholicos, from 1166 to 1173. whose works have been repeatedly published (Latin translation, Ven ice. 1833. 2 vols.) ; his Prayers in thirty-six lan guages (1852). The Gregorians have continued to entertain a deeply rooted aversion to the so called Orthodox Church. The Roman Catholic Popes at various times, especially (1145, 1341, 1440) when the Armenians accepted the help of the West against the Mohammedans, tried to per suade them to recognize the Papal supremacy; but for the most part only the nobles consented to do so, while the mass of the people clung to their peculiar opinons, as we see from the com plaint of Pope Benedict X11., who accuses the Armenian Church of 117 errors of doctrine. There is a sect of United or Roman Catholic Armenians in Italy, Galicia, Persia, Russia, and Marseilles, who accept the Papal suprem acy. It dates from 1439. Seventeen dioceses are now subject to their patriarch, but he has no authority over Armenians in Russia and Austria. The attempt of Pius IX., in 1867, to Romanize the sect still further, led to a split, and the rebellious fraternized with the Old Catholics in 1872. The congregation of the Mechitarists
founded by the Abbot Mechitar in 1701 at Venice, have done much to spread the Roman faith among their people. In theology the orthodox Armenian Church attributes only one nature to Christ, and holds that the Spirit proceeds from the Father alone, this doctrine, however, being held by it in common with the Orthodox Greek Church, although contrary to the theology of the Western churches. With respect to the "seven sacraments," it entertains the peculiar notion that at baptism one must be sprinkled three times and as often dipped; that confirma tion is to be conjoined with baptism; that the Lord's Supper must be celebrated with wine and leavened bread; that the latter, before being handed round, must be dipped in the former; and that extreme unction is to be administered to ecclesiastics alone, and that immediately after (and not before) their death. It believes in the worship of saints, hut not in purgatory. It exceeds the Greek Church in the number of its fasts, but has fewer religious festivals. These, however, are more enthusiastically kept. Divine service is held in Turkey chiefly by night. Mass is celebrated in the old Armenian language; preaching is carried on in the new. The sacer dotal constitution differs little from the Greek. The head of the Armenian Church is called the Catholicos. He resides at Etchmniadzin, in Rus sian Armenia. Under him are bishops. The Russian Government claims the right of ap pointing him. But of more consequence are the patriarchs of Jerusalem and Constantinople, who are nominally under the Catholicos. The monks of this Church follow the rule of Saint Basil. The wartabieds (vartabeds) form a peculiar class of ecelesiastics;. they live like monks, but are devoted exclusively to learning and preach ing. Secular priests must marry once, but none is at liberty to take a second wife. Since 1830 very successful Protestant missions have been carried on among the Armenians.
Consult Malan. Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Church (London, 1870).