The Armenian Apostolic Oriental Orthodox Church, is one of the original Oriental Orthodox churches. The Armenian Church recognizes the Ecumenical Councils of Nicaea (325), Constantinople (381), and Ephesus (431).
St. Gregory the Illuminator is the Patron Saint of the Armenian Church. He is referred to as "St. Gregory the Illuminator," or "Soorp Krikor Lousavorich" because he spread the light of Christ and converted the Armenian people to Christianity.
While Christianity was practiced in secret by a growing number of people in Armenia during the first and second centuries, it was St. Gregory (302-325) and King Trdat III (287-330) who in 301 A.D. officially proclaimed Christianity as the official religion of Armenia and thus made Armenia the first nation in world history to adopt Christianity as the state religion.
One of the most significant events in Armenian Christianity is the battle of Avarair. Toward the middle of the fifth century, Armenia faced growing pressures from the Persian King Yazdegert II, who had issued an edict bidding the Armenians to renounce Christ and embrace Zoroastrianism . The Armenians remained loyal to their faith, repeatedly refused to disavow Christ. In 451, headed by the commander-in-chief Vartan Mamikonian, Armenians fought against the Persians to preserve their faith.
St. Vartan fell in the battle field of Avarair, and while Armenians were physically defeated, spiritually they were eventually victorious in preserving their faith in Chirst.
Today, the Armenian Church is dispersed throughout every continent of the world. Scattered about from centuries of attempting to escape persecution and most recently the Genocide of 1915 - 1923, Armenians have established communities and built churches wherever their fate delivered them. As the balance of the Armenian population has shifted throughout time, the Church has strived to meet the needs of her people. She has a distinct hierarchy, which maintains a balance within the Church herself. The center of this balance has always been the Catholicosate of All Armenians, and the heart of the Church, where She receives her lifeblood, is the global headquarters of the Armenian Church, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.