Armenian Church

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The Armenian Church usually refers to the Armenian Apostolic Church, named because of its establishment by two of the Apostles, Bartholomew and Thaddeus. The Armenian Church is an Eastern or Oriental Church, which is a different branch from the Eastern Orthodox Churches. The split was over the nature of Christ, and the Armenian Church decided he only has one divine nature, rather than separate divine and human natures, which the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches believe.

The Armenian Church itself has four major divisions. The highest rank is called Catholicos (which sounds confusingly like Catholic - which Armenians are not), and is equivalent to the position of the Pope. The small Armenian nation has two Catholicos', due to the turmoil of Armenian history. One, based in Echmiadzin, calls himself the Catholicos of All Armenians. The other, called the Catholicos of Cilicia, is has been based in Antelias, a suburb of Beirut ever since Armenian Genocide. Before that it had been in charge of it's own domain in the Cilicia, or Little Armenia region.

Two other jurisdictions of large importance had their own leaders called Patriarchs. These Patriarchs fall under the Catholicosate of Echmiadzin, but are virtually independent. The Patriarch of Constantinople is based in Istanbul and is in charge of the now drastically diminished Armenian population of Turkey, and their large religious inventory of churches in various condition. The second Patriarch is the Patriarch of Jerusalem. This Patriarch oversees the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem, and the large cultural, church and real estate holdings in the Holy Lands as well as Jordan.


The Supreme Spiritual and Administrative leader of the Armenian Church is His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. The spiritual and administrative headquarters of the Armenian Church, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, located in the city of Vagharshapat, Republic of Armenia, was established in 301 AD.

The Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia located in Antelias, Lebanon, is a regional See with current jurisdiction of the Dioceses of Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus as temporarily granted to her by the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem in 1929, led by His Holiness Catholicos Aram I.

The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem which has jurisdiction over all of the Holy Lands and the Diocese of Jordan, led by His Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian.

The Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople and All of Turkey, which has jurisdiction in the modern day Republic of Turkey led by His Beatitude Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan.

The three historic aforementioned hierarchal sees administer to the Dioceses under their jurisdiction as they see fit, however, the supremacy of the Catholicosate of All Armenians in all spiritual matters remains pre-eminent.

In addition to the responsibilities of overseeing their respective Dioceses, each hierarchical See, including the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, has a Monastic Brotherhood.

There are also Armenian Catholic and Protestant Churches, which are well established in the Armenian Diaspora.

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