The Armenian Rite

Essay by GNUknuprock14Junior High, 8th gradeA+, June 2004

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The Armenian Catholic Church is a very old Eastern Catholic rite. Armenian Catholics are among several other Eastern Catholic rites such as Coptic, Syrian, Chaldean, Maronite, etc. The Armenian is one of the earliest Catholic rites and is similar in many ways to that of the Roman Catholic Church of today. The Armenian Church has changed greatly since it was first founded in 1198. However, some Armenians claim Christianity was brought to them by Thaddeus and Bartholomew, two of Jesus' apostles in the first century A.D. The Armenian Catholic Church, part of the Eastern rites, Was first founded in 1198 by crusaders in Cilicia. Rome and the Armenian Church have first records of contact in the 12th century. Later, in 1742 the Ottoman regime killed hundreds of Armenians because of complications in the empire. Eventually, The Armenians regained some power and reformed the rite in 1439 at the Council of Florence.

In 1928 many Turkish Armenians were killed due to World War 1. The church at that time had lost over 100,000 people including 130 priests and 7 bishops. In 1932 the head of the church, or the Patriarch of Catholic Armenians and Catholicos of Cilicia moved to Beirut. Today the church has about 150,000 members, mostly in the east. Armenian Catholic communities exist in Georgia, Armenia, Poland, Romania, and Hungary. Some Armenian Churches even welcome Latin Catholic priests. Today the Catholicos, or head of the Armenian Church is Karekin II. Karekin is the 132nd Catholicos of the church. A catholicos is chosen by delegates from each diocese. Although the Armenian Church is much like the Roman Church, some aspects do differ. The Armenian Church uses leavened bread unlike the Roman Catholics. Also, Armenian Catholics came up with its own language. It included 36 letters and later added 2.