Armenian Apostolic Church

13.12.2009, 12:02

The Armenian Apostolic Church is one of the branches of the Oriental Orthodox Churches and its roots reach back to apostolic times. In the second half of the first century the apostles Sts. Thaddeus and Bartholomew preached Christianity in Armenia and established the first Christian communities there. Because of these activities both apostles were martyred. Since these apostles, disciples of Jesus Christ, brought Christianity to the Armenian nation, the Armenian Church is called Apostolic.

Today the Armenian Church includes over 30 dioceses: 9 in Armenia and the others in various countries of the world, from Iran to America, from Ukraine to Australia.

Armenians were present in Ukraine long before the creation of the Kyivan state. Then in the 11th Century there was a mass exodus of Armenians from their native land to the Kyivan state, generally to its western part.

The Armenian Church became an important bearer of national identity in the conditions of the diaspora. In 1364 the Armenian Catholicos, Mesrob the First, established an Armenian diocese in Lviv, and in three years the Polish King Casimir the Great confirmed this with his decree. In this way the Armenian Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God in Lviv (dedicated in 1363) became the cathedral parish and diocesan center of all the Armenians of Rus.

The life of the Armenian Church in Ukraine, though it was complex, stormy and sometimes controversial, continued without a break. It was only beginning in the 1930s that the Armenian Church in Ukraine ceased its activities.

On 28 November, 1991 the diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church was officially restored and registered in Ukraine, and now there are communities active in Lviv, Kyiv, Odessa, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk and a few cities in Crimea.