Religion in Armenia
The main religion in Armenia is Christianity and it is practised through the Armenian Apostolic Church. And, yes, Armenia was the first country to make Christianity its official religion in 301 AD. Holy apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew preached Christianity in Armenia and now the Armenian Apostolic Church honours them as its patron saints.
For more than 1700 years the Armenian Apostolic Church had preserved the nation’s culture and identity in Armenia and abroad, in the Diaspora, serving as ‘the depository of patriotism and faith’. The Armenian Church is still united in all its values, principles, ideas and attitudes although Armenians are scattered all over the world. Interestingly, the Jerusalem Patriarchate and the Constantinople Patriarchate were established based on the Armenian Apostolic Religion.
Armenia was the first kingdom to officially convert to Christianity in 301 AD.
Thousands of old and modern churches, monasteries, and monastic complexes throughout Armenia are among the major tourist attractions in the region. The principal church complex in Armenia is the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, with the Etchmiadzin Cathedral built in 301-303 AD.
The Armenian Apostolic Church is a member of the World Council of Churches and has close relationships with all Christian churches, particularly the Catholic Church.
In 2001, as a token of unity between the Apostolic and Catholic Churches, Pope John Paul II visited Armenia, and in 2016 Armenians were honoured to welcome Pope Francis.
Though Christianity is dominant, a relatively large number of adherents of other different churches live here.
Armenia has always welcomed foreigners and people of other religions. The country's constitution guarantees freedom of religion for all people and protects personal religious rights.
In Armenia today there are the Russian Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches, Jewish Synagogue and Shiite Blue Mosque which opened in 1768 and is one of Armenia's favourite places for Shiite Muslims. During the Persian rule in 1766, Hussein-Ali Khan built the mosque which remained abandoned during the Soviet period. The Iranian Government restored the mosque after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Blue Mosque today includes a library, a museum and offers Persian language classes.