For almost 2,000 years, the Armenian Church has grown in the mystery of the Gospel as the person of Jesus Christ, the “Good News” who can be known, loved, and celebrated. Tradition tells us that among the twelve Apostles, Sts. Thaddeus and Bartholomew brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Armenia.
Following the evangelistic efforts of these “First Illuminators,” the faith in Armenia grew due to the early presence of other Christians. Eventually it was the evangelization efforts of St. Gregory the Illuminator that established Christianity as the official religion of Armenia around the year 301 with the baptizing of King Drtad, the royal household, and the princely families. Prior to being chosen as the first Catholicos, St. Gregory had a vision where he saw Christ descend and strike the earth with a golden hammer. It was on that very place St. Gregory had the mother cathedral built and named after the Mother of God. The site was named “Etchmiadzin,” meaning “descent of the Only-Begotten,” referring to Christ as the Son of God.
Among the many things we believe and practice in the Armenian Church, it is the Nicene Creed that summarizes our Christian faith regarding who God is and who we are in relation to him. It unites Christians in common faith as a single worshipping body ensuring we grow together in the true and right knowledge of God. In Armenian, the Creed is called Havadamk, referring to its first word meaning, “we believe.”
We believe in one God, the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth, of things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
begotten of God the Father, only-begotten, that is of the substance of the Father.
God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten and not made;
of the same nature of the Father, by whom all things came into being in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible;
Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, took body, became man,
was born perfectly of the holy virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit.
By whom he took body, soul and mind and everything that is in man, truly and not in semblance.
He suffered and was crucified and was buried and rose again on the third day
and ascended into heaven with the same body and sat at the right hand of the Father.
He is to come with the same body and with the glory of the Father
to judge the living and the dead; of His kingdom there is no end.
We believe also in the Holy Spirit, the uncreate and the perfect;
who spoke through the Law and through the Prophets and through the Gospels;
Who came down upon the Jordan, preached through the apostles and dwelled in the saints.
We believe also in only one catholic and apostolic [holy] Church;
In one baptism with repentance for the remission and forgiveness of sins;
In the resurrection of the dead, in the everlasting judgment of souls and
bodies, in the kingdom of heaven and in the life eternal.
St. James Armenian Church - 834 Pepper Ave., Richmond, VA , 23226