The Armenian Apostolic Church (Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin)

The Armenian Apostolic Church is one of the ancient Church in Armenia. The origin of the Armenian Church, according to the tradition was established by St. Bartholomew and St. Thaddeus. In 301 AD the Armenians, Christianity was officially accepted by as the religion of state. Till the 7th century, the Georgian Orthodox Church was part of the Armenian Church. But later they joined Eastern Orthodox group. The Apostolic Church of Armenia (Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin) is headed by the Catholicos Patriarch (At present, the Catholicos of All Armenians is Karekin II). The Catholicos of All Armenians represents the centralized authority of the all Armenian Orthodox Church. The headquarters of Armenian Apostolic Church is in Echmiadzin in Armenia. The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin is the administrative and spiritual headquarters of the worldwide all Armenian Church. Under Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, there are two patriarchates. They are:-

1. Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem (Apostolic Seat of St. James in Jerusalem) in Jerusalem, headed by the Patriarch H. H. Torkom Manoogian.

2. Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul, headed by Patriarch H. H. Mesrob II Mutafyan.

The history of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin is closely related to Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia. (See the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia section). The division between the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia and Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, intensified during the period of USSR and to extent reflected the politics of the Cold War between USA and USSR. The status of the Armenian Orthodox Church within the Armenia is defined in the state's constitution. The constitution of Armenia granted the Church an "exclusive mission" within Republic of Armenia's cultural and spiritual life. 

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