Armenian Apostolic Church Features

Armenian Apostolic Church Features

To the middle of the 5th century Armenian Apostolic Church was one of the branches of uniform Christian Church. However, aspiring to strengthen the independence of Byzantium and and refusing to recognize the decisions of the 4th (Khalkidon) Ecumenical Council (451), Armenian Apostolic Church actually separated itself from both Oriental and Roman Catholic Church.

Armenian Church differs from Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches. It belongs in the category of the so-called Monophysitic churches. Whereas Orthodox is related to Dyophysitic, Dyophysites recognize Christ in two essences – human and divine; Monophysites - only divine. As of the seven sacraments, Armenian Church adheres to special rules: during christening a baby is water sprayed three times and submerged three times; the anointing is combined with christening; during communion only pure (not diluted) wine and fermented (yeast free) bread soaked in wine is used; only ecclesiastics are anointed right after death.

Armenians believe in saints but do not believe in the purgatory. Armenians observe keep the fast as strictly, but they have fewer holidays. The main prayer accepted by Armenian Church is Khair Mer (Our Father) which is read in ancient Armenian.

The Catholicos is elected by Echmiadzin Synod by the deputies from all Russian and overseas Armenian dioceses, and is approved by special chart of the Sovereign the Emperor.

The Catholicos lives in Echmiadzin in Ararat, where each Armenian should go at least once in his/her life. Armenian archbishops and bishops can be ordained only by the Catholicos. The secular clergy is allowed to marry only once, the second marriage is prohibited.

The related Monophysite churches are Coptic (Egypt), Ethiopian and Jacobit (Syria).