Armenia: Catholic Churches and Places of Interest
This is an ancient country….one that claims to be the first to embrace Christianity as a state religion….back in 301 AD. The history of Armenia has been one of great hardship, especially the Armenian Genocide of 1915, when 1.5 million Christians were killed by the Ottoman Empire, and many millions more displaced around the world. To this day, it is sore subject in Turkey (head of the Ottoman Empire at that time), where leaders refuse to call it genocide, and many deny it ever happened. Note that in 2015, Pope Francis called this “the first genocide of the 20th Century, prompting Turkey to recall its ambassador to the Holy See.
Nevertheless, the country has emerged from this terrible Century, but not after enduring many hardships, especially under Communist rule after Russia conquered the country in 1920. Armenia re-gained its independence in 1991 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Catholic Churches in Armenia:
Although the country adopted Christianity early, it is comprised of mostly Armenian Apostolic Church, which is not in communion with Rome. The Armenian Catholic Church, however, is in full communion with Rome. A bit confusing we realize.
You will find many Armenian Catholic Churches throughout the word as a result of the diaspora dating from 1915. This would include a large Armenian population in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where Pope Francis was Bishop.
Click here for the official website of the Ordinariate of the Armenian Catholic Church
The city with the largest number of Amenian Catholics is Gyumri. It was most recently visited by Pope Francis in June, 2016. The main Cathedral here is the Cathedral of the Holy Martyrs.