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The Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church traces her origins to the apostolic era. Primary sources regarding the history of Armenia relate that the Church of Christ was established in Armenia through the evangelical efforts of two of the twelve apostles of Jesus, St. Thaddeus (Jude) in 66 A.D. and St. Bartholomew in 68 A.D.(1)
This early apostolic evangelization of Armenia took root in a period when a native alphabet did not exist. As a result, much of the first Christian literature produced in Armenia, as well as the rituals and rites of worship, were written and celebrated in Aramaic (Syriac) or Greek--both languages foreign to the ordinary Armenian of that day.
Through the efforts of St. Gregory, a Parthian nobleman of the Pahlavooni family who is honored as the Enlightener or Illuminator of Armenia,(2) a national church was formed sometime between the late third and early fourth centuries. And during this time the need to communicate the Gospel message of Christ in the native tongue gave birth, in 406 A.D., to a native alphabet devised by a monk-priest, the sainted Mesrob.
Saint Gregory was consecrated as the first bishop for the newly established national church in Armenia by Leontius, the Metropolitan of Caesarea. Soon after the national conversion in 301 A.D., Gregory established the Holy Seat of the Armenian Church in the town of Vagharshapat, and with the support of the royal family built the first Christian cathedral in 303 A.D., dedicated to the Mother of God (also known as the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin).
Saint Mesrob (355-439 A.D.) was born and educated in Armenia. He studied also in Antioch, where he learned Greek, Syriac, and Persian. Following service in the royal court, he entered the monastic priesthood. Under the authority of the Catholicos Sahak and King Vramshabouh he was commissioned to devise an alphabet, and succeeded. He also assisted in, the formulation of the Georgian and Caspio-Albanian alphabets. Along with his pupils, known as The Holy Translators, he translated …