The First Christian Country, Armenia
Armenia, Caucasus, Southwest Asia
posted more than a month ago
What comes up to your mind when you hear the word “Armenia”? The Armenian genocide in 1915? Monasteries? It is for sure that you will see a lot of temples and monasteries in Armenia as it is the first state in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion (the official date of adoption of Christianity is 301 AD). Although you might think that Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, is quite old, it has a lot of interesting history.
So why did Armenia adopt Christianity? Gregory, the son of Anak, who was brought up as a Christian, felt guilty for his own father’s sin, joined the Armenian army and worked as a secretary to the king (Tiridates III), who worshipped various ancient gods. Once during a pagan religious ceremony, Gregory refused to worship the goddess Anahit as he proclaimed Christianity as his religion, which infuriated the king. Gregory was then tortured and thrown into a deep underground dungeon in Khor Virap.
While Gregory was imprisoned, a group of virgin nuns came to Armenia. Among them, Rhipsime, the legendary beauty, attracted Tiridates that he wanted to marry her. However, Rhipsime refused and the king tortured and killed the whole group of nuns and from then the King fell ill. When it had been 13 years of imprisonment for Gregory, Khosrovidukht, the sister of Tiridates, had a dream that Gregory was still alive in the dungeon and he was the only one able to cure the king. They took Gregory out from the dungeon, who is still alive, and brought Tiridates to him. Miracally, Tiridates was cured of his illness and immediately proclaimed Christianity as the official state religion.
Another incident that you cannot miss is the Armenian Genocide. To understand more about the genocide, I would suggest you visit the Armenian Genocide Museum in Yerevan as, in my view, the museum is quite neutral although the exhibition narrates from the perspective of an Armenian. One thing that I liked most about the museum is that they did not exhibit too many disturbing photos. A famous Armenian female author, Aurora Mardiganian, who experienced the Armenian genocide, wrote and acted in a documentary “Auction of souls” which narrated her own experience. However, the documentary was destroyed by the Turkish government that there are no more copies of the “Auction of souls” left in the world.
Tags: Caucasus, Armenia, Southwest Asia