Although Armenia is a small country with a population of only 3 million people. But it has a sizable place in spiritual history. Today, around 95% of Armenians are Christian, and the country’s pious history can be traced back through some of its ancient sites and monuments.
Armenia was the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion in 301 A.D. Christianity has played an immensely important role in the shaping of the Armenian people for over 1,700 years.
This branch of the Orthodox Church has derived its faith directly from the apostles, Thaddeus and Bartholomew, who preached in Armenia during the first century. The Christian faith has shaped the Armenian culture so intimately that it permeates the very landscape of the country, with khachkars (cross stone carvings) strewn across even the most remote valleys, and ancient monasteries nestled on the peaks of mountains surrounded by breathtaking nature.
It is also interesting to mention that the churches are mainly situated on the mountains as if to make it easier to reach to the sky, to the heavens and to the purity.
Armenia is a perfect place for pilgrimage. Note that in 2016 Pope Francis himself visited the country and called his visit a ‘pilgrimage’.
On June 24, 2016, Pope Francis arrived in Armenia with the motto “Visit to the First Christian Nation”.
At Zvartnots International Airport in Yerevan, Pope Francis was greeted by the President of the Republic of Armenia, the First Lady, Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II and others. During that period, there were many people gathered near the cathedral of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and the nearby area. Everyone was waiting to see the Pope and receive his blessing.
The people greeted the Pope with great excitement at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Everyone wanted to see the Pope from afar for at least one minute. The “Hrashapar” (Glory of God) Welcoming Ceremony was held at the Mother Cathedral.
His Holiness Karekin II welcomed the Pope and attached importance to the unified prayer and partnership of the sister churches. “We pray for the glory of the Holy Church of Christ, the dissemination of the love and spirit of favor Our Lord and the strengthening of peace and solidarity around the world.”
Pope Francis also expressed gratitude for being hosted in Armenia. “On this grand occasion, I express satisfaction to the Lord for the light of faith lit in your country-faith that gave Armenia its unique identity and ordered it to be the messenger of Christ to nations.”
Armenia, a mountainous country in the South Caucasus, that lies at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. To the North the country neighbors with Georgia, to the North-East and the South-West with Azerbaijan, to the East with the Republic of Artsakh (unrecognized state), to the West with Turkey, and to the South with Iran. The longest length from the North-West to the South-East is 360 km, from the West to the East is 200 km.
Armenia has an astounding array of landscapes within its borders, including seven geographic zones, from deserts and semi-deserts to alpine and subalpine meadows. The largely volcanic mountains and the tectonic activity has pushed Armenia up above the clouds, stimulating the true range of the four seasons; hot and sunny summers, cold and icy winters, and the beautiful flora of spring and fall. Average summer temperatures exceed 25ºC; while in the winter, the average temperature is -5ºC, although in some places it known to go as low as -36ºC! The best time to visit the country is from April to October when it is not too cold, the snow has melted, and the fields are ripe with fruits and flowers.
Local time in Armenia is four hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT + 4), eight hours ahead of Eastern Time (EST +8) and eleven hours ahead of Pacific Time (PST +11). There is no daylight saving time in Armenia.
Explore Armenia… The majestic beauty of its towering mountains, beautiful topography, rich heritage and culture, delicious food, historic sites dating back thousands of years, adventures…
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