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Armenians on the Internet

Pateel Mekhitarian
Staff Writer


The Christianization of Armenia was a long and hard process, which was finally achieved officially in 301 AD. The story of the Armenian people and their faith is a very interesting one, which began with two main characters—King Trdat and St. Gregory the Illuminator. According to Agatangelos, a fifth-century Armenian historian, Khosrov was a very powerful king who defended Armenia. The Persians enlisted Anak to assassinate King Khosrov. He was murdered, and his infant son Trdat was sent to the Roman Empire to be raised by the emperor Diocletian. At the same time, Anak’s family was captured and executed, except for an infant boy, Gregory.

Emperor Diocletian was known for his dislike and persecution of Christians, and raised the future King Trdat as a pagan. Once Trdat was old enough, he was sent back to Armenia to begin his reign.

Gregory and King Trdat crossed paths and Trdat employed Gregory to serve in his kingdom. King Trdat loved Gregory so much that others in the kingdom got jealous. The king learned that Gregory was a Christian and that he did not believe in the pagan religion of Armenia. When Gregory  admitted to being a devout believer in Christianity he was thrown in a pit, known as Khor Virap.

King Trdat failed in his efforts to marry a beautiful Roman Christian nun, Hripsime. He put Hripsime to death, but as a consequence he began to act like a wild animal. After being in the deep pit for many years, St. Gregory was brought out of the prison in order to heal the King. King Trdat accepted Christianity, was baptized, and made Christianity the state religion of Armenia, the first country in the world to do so.

The Christianization of the Armenians was one of the most important events in Armenian history.