The Armenian Catholic Church (Armenian: Հայ Կաթողիկէ Եկեղեցի, translit. Hay Kat’ołikē Ekełec’i; Latin: Ecclesia armeno-catholica), also referred to as the Armenian Uniate Church, is one of the Eastern particular churches sui iuris of the Catholic Church. They accept the leadership of the Bishop of Rome, known as the papal primacy, and therefore are in full communion with the Catholic Church, including both the Latin Church and the 22 other Eastern Catholic Churches. The Armenian Catholic Church is regulated by Eastern canon law, namely the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.
The head of the sui iuris Armenian Catholic Church is the Armenian Catholic Patriarch of Cilicia, whose main cathedral and de facto archiepiscopal see is the Cathedral of Saint Elias and Saint Gregory the Illuminator, in Beirut, Lebanon.
Armenian Catholic Church
|Armenian: Հայ Կաթողիկէ Եկեղեցի|
Emblem of the Armenian Catholic Church
|Primate||Armenian Patriarch of Cilicia Krikor Bedros XX Gabroyan|
|Headquarters||Cathedral of St Elias and St Gregory the Illuminator, Beirut, Lebanon|
|Founder||Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus, by Armenian Catholic tradition|
|Members||150,000 (independent estimates)|
757,726 (2017 Annuario Pontificio)
The 451 Council of Chalcedon caused problems for the Armenian Church which formally broke off communion with the Chalcedonian Churches at the 3rd Synod of Dvin, some Armenian bishops and congregations especially the Church of Caucasian Albania made attempts to restore communion with the Chalcedonian Churches. During the Crusades, the Church of the Armenian kingdom of Cilicia entered into a union with the Catholic Church, an attempt that did not last. The union was later re-established during the Council of Florence in 1439, but did not have any real effects for centuries.
Some Armenians converted to Catholicism, and in the absence of any specific Armenian Catholic Church in effect became Latins. In Medieval China, Armenians in China were converted to Catholicism by John of Montecorvino in Beijing and there was also an Armenian Franciscan Catholic community in Quanzhou.
In 1740, Abraham-Pierre I Ardzivian, who had earlier become a Catholic, was elected as the patriarch of Sis. Two years later Pope Benedict XIV formally established the Armenian Catholic Church. In 1749, the Armenian Catholic Church built a convent in Bzoummar, Lebanon. During the Armenian Genocide in 1915–1918 the Church scattered among neighboring countries, mainly Lebanon and Syria.
An Armenian Catholic community was also previously formed by Armenians living in Poland in 1630s the Armenian bishop of Leopolis (see Armenian Catholic Archeparchy of Lviv), Nicholas (Polish: Mikołaj) Torosowicz had entered into union with the Catholic Church. The community which had been historically centered in Galicia as well as in the pre-1939 Polish borderlands in the east, was after World War II expelled to present-day Poland and now has three parishes: in Gdańsk, in Gliwice and in Warsaw.
The church belongs to the group of Eastern Rite Catholic churches and uses the Armenian Rite and the Armenian language in its liturgy. The Armenian Rite is also used by both the Armenian Apostolic Church and by a significant number of Eastern Catholic Christians in the Republic of Georgia. It is patterned after the directives of Saint Gregory the Illuminator, founder and patron saint of the Armenian Church. Unlike the Byzantine Church, churches of the Armenian rite are usually devoid of icons and have a curtain concealing the priest and the altar from the people during parts of the liturgy. The use of bishop's mitre and of unleavened bread is reminiscent of the influence Western missionaries once had upon both the miaphysite Orthodox Armenians as well as upon the Armenian Rite Catholics.
Apart from Armenia, Georgia and Russia, Armenian Catholic Church is found widely in the Armenian diaspora, notably in Lebanon (where the Armenian Catholic Church is headquartered), Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Iran, France, U.S.A., Canada, Argentina, Uruguay, Australia.
Armenian Catholics originated in what is today Armenia, Georgia and Eastern Europe. Beginning in the late 1920s, persecution caused many Armenian Catholics to emigrate. In 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union, the Bishop of Rome, Pope John Paul II merged the communities in Georgia and Russia with those in Armenia, creating a new ordinariate of Armenia and Eastern Europe, with its residence in Gyumri. The city was not chosen by chance: Most Catholic Armenians live in the northern parts of Armenia. This has become a kind of basis for fence-mending with the coreligionists on the other side of the border.
Today Catholic Armenians of Samtskhe-Javakheti live together in Akhaltsikhe and in the nearby villages, as well as in the regions of Akhalkalaki and Ninotsminda. The communities in the last two regions, which are mainly rural, are in rather distant areas, but the most important link is the historical memory of Catholicism.
A small seminary was established in Gyumri, Armenia, in 1994; there candidates for the priesthood engage in basic studies before moving to the Pontifical College of the Armenians (established 1885) in Rome, where they pursue philosophy and theology.
There are also tens of thousands of Armenian Catholics in Russia, due to the large amount of migration from Armenia to Russia that has occurred since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In the 19th century Catholic Armenians from Western Armenia, mainly from the towns and cities of Karin (Erzurum), Constantinople, Mardin etc., came to the United States seeking employment. At the end of the same century, many survivors of the Hamidian Massacres had concentrated in several U.S. cities, chiefly in New York. Catholic Armenian communities were also founded in New Jersey, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, and other cities of California.
Catholic Armenian educational organizations were also founded in many cities. In Philadelphia and Boston Colleges of Armenian sisters were founded, educating hundreds of children. Later, a similar college was founded in Los Angeles. Mechitarists were preoccupied with the problem of preserving Armenian identity. By the effort of Mekhitarists in Venice and Vienna, the Mkhitarian College was founded in Los Angeles.
Many Armenians came to the United States and Canada from the Middle Eastern countries of Lebanon and Syria in the 1970s and in later years. Also many Armenians immigrated from Argentina, because of the economic crisis. At the same time, many Catholic Armenians inside the United States moved to San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Miami and Indianapolis.
In 2005, by Pope Benedict XVI's decision, the Catholic Exarchate of the USA and Canada was advanced to the status of a diocese. It serviced 35,000 Catholic Armenians in the United States and some 10,000 in Canada. The bishop, or eparch, of the diocese, which has jurisdiction over Canadian and American Catholics who are members of the Armenian Catholic Church, became Manuel Batakian. According to a Monday, May 23, 2011 news release by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Pope Benedict XVI, named Archpriest Mikaël Antoine Mouradian, superior of the Convent of Notre Dame in Bzommar, Lebanon, as the new bishop of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Nareg in New York for Armenian Catholics. The appointment of Lebanon-born Bishop Mouradian was publicized in Washington, May 21, by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.
Next to North America, France holds the largest number of Armenian Catholics outside of the areas of the Middle East and Oriental Europe. The Eparchy of Sainte-Croix-de-Paris was established in 1960 with Bishop Garabed Armadouni as exarch. Since 1977, the eparchy has been led by Bishop Krikor Gabroyan.
There are some 30,000 Armenian Catholics in the eparchy, the headquarters of which is in Paris. The eparchy has six churches apart from the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Paris: Arnouville-lès-Gonesse, Lyon, Marseille, Saint-Chamond, Sèvres and Valence. A community of Mekhitarist Fathers resides in Sèvres and a convent of Armenian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception runs a school in Marseille.
According to an 1842 article by C. W. Russell in The Dublin Review there were 150,000 Armenian Catholics worldwide. However, another source, the Society for the Propagation of the Faith estimated some 40,000 Catholic Armenians in 1847. In 1871 Roswell Dwight Hitchcock estimated 100,000 Catholic Armenians of the total 3-5 million Armenians.
Malachia Ormanian, a historian and an Armenian Apostolic Patriarch of Constantinople, estimated 136,400 Armenian Catholics worldwide in his 1911 book: 83,500 (61%) in the Ottoman Empire, 30,000 in the Russian Empire, 15,000 in Europe (Poland, Italy, Austria), 5,000 in Bukovina and Hungary, 1,500 in Egypt and 1,400 in Persia. The 1897 imperial census in Russia found 38,840 Catholic Armenians, while 1914 Ottoman government statistics provided 67,838 as the number of Catholic Armenians.
According to Annuario Pontificio, the annual directory of the Holy See, the church had 142,853 followers worldwide in 1990. The number rose to 736,956 in 2015 according to the same source. However, the number is inflated due to overestimation of Catholics in Eastern Europe and Armenia (supposedly at 600,000). According to the 2011 census in Armenia there were 13,247 Catholics (of any ethnicity) in the country, far bellow the 600,000 figure.
The Armenian Catholic Church is broken into Archdioceses, Eparchies, Apostolic Exarchates, Ordinariates for the Faithful of the Eastern Rite and Patriarchal Exarchates, each of which have functions similar to a diocese.
The Armenian Catholic Patriarchate of the See of Cilicia is the supreme authority of the Armenian Catholic Church. Krikor Bedros XX Gabroyan is the current Catholicos-Patriarch.
Following is a list of the jurisdictions with their number of adherents.
|Patriarchate of Cilicia, also sole Metropolitanate as Armenian Catholic Archeparchy of Beirut, Lebanon (Patriarchal proper archdiocese)||15,000||12,000||12,500|
|Archeparchy of Aleppo (Halab, Beroa), Syria||15,000||17,000||7,000|
|Archeparchy of Baghdad, Iraq||2,200||2,000||2,400|
|Archeparchy of Istanbul (Constantinople), Turkey||3,700||3,680||2,500|
|Archeparchy of Lviv, Ukraine||N/A||N/A||0|
|Suffragan Eparchies in the Patriarch's Metropolitan Province of Cilicia|
|Alexandria (Iskanderiya) actually in Cairo, Egypt||1,500||1,287||6,500|
|Kameshli ((Al-)Qamishli), Syria||4,303||4,000||3,500|
|Other Eparchies (dioceses), in the diaspora|
|Eparchy of Our Lady of Nareg in the United States of America and Canada||34,000||36,000||36,000|
|Eparchy of Sainte-Croix-de-Paris, France||30,000||30,000||35,000|
|Eparchy of Saint Gregory of Narek, Buenos Aires||established in 1989||16,000||16,350|
|Apostolic Exarchates (missionary, directly dependent on the Holy See)|
|Armenian Catholic Apostolic Exarchate of Latin America and Mexico||30,000||12,000||12,000|
|Ordinariates for the Faithful of the Eastern Rites|
|Ordinariate for Romania (Gherla)||N/A||1,000||626|
|Eastern Europe (except Romania) (Gyumri, Armenia)||established in 1991||220,000||618,000|
|Damascus, part of Syria||9,000||8,000||4,500|
|Jerusalem and Amman (Jordan & Holy Land)||N/A||280||500|
TO BE ELABORATED
Achrida (Ohrid), Pessinus, Traianopolis in Rhodope
Chalcedon, Colonia in Armenia, Mardin, Nisibis of the Armenians, Sebaste, Tarsus
Adana, Amida, Anazarbus, Ancyra, Artvin, Cesarea in Cappadocia, Garin, Kharput, Marasc, Melitene, Mush, Prusa, Tokat, Trapezus
The Armenian Catholic Church produces a number of publications:
The Armenian Catholic Church has presses that publish many liturgical, spiritual books, publications, pamphlets and translations from general Catholic publications.
According to Vatican sources, some 250,000 Armenians are members of the “Armenian Rite” of the Catholic Church (others put the number closer to 150,000) with communities in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, Jerusalem and the US.
In order to strengthen their argument that the Armenian Uniate Church is the descendant of the "Ancient Orthodox and Catholic" Armenian Church...
Latterly the Armenian uniate church, which is in communion with the Holy See...
The Armenian Catholic Apostolic Exarchate of Latin America and Mexico (América Latina e México) is a pre-diocesan missionary jurisdiction of the Armenian Catholic Church sui iuris (Armenian Rite in Armenian language) in parts of Latin America.
It is exempt, i.e. directly dependent on Rome (notably the Roman Congregation for the Oriental Churches), not part of any ecclesiastical province.
It has a cathedral episcopal see Catedral Armênia São Gregório Iluminador, in São Paulo, Brazil and a Co-cathedral Nuestra Señora de Bzommar, in Montevideo, Uruguay.Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate of Damascus
The Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate of Damascus is a pre-diocesan missionary jurisdiction of the Armenian Catholic Church sui iuris (Eastern Catholic, Armenian Rite in Armenian language) in part of Syria.
It depends directly on the Armenian Catholic Patriarch of Cilicia, without belonging to his or any other ecclesiastical province.
Its see is the Marian Church of the Queen of the Universe, in the Syrian national capital Damascus.Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate of Syria
The Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate of Syria (Syria of the Armenians) was a short-lived (1983-1997) pre-diocesan jurisdiction of the Armenian Catholic Church (Armenian Rite in Armenian language) in Syria.Bavra
Bavra (Armenian: Բավրա; Georgian: ბავრა; formerly, Titoy-Kharabase), is a village and rural community (municipality) in the Shirak Province of Armenia. The National Statistical Service of the Republic of Armenia (ARMSTAT) reported its population was 490 as per the 2011 census, down from 538 reported at the 2001 census.The inhabitants of the village are mainly followers of the Armenian Catholic Church. The Surp Nshan Armenian Catholic church of the village was consecrated in December 2012, following a construction period of 5 years.
Bavra is one of three border gates between Armenia and neighboring Georgia. The new border checkpoint complex in Bavra was opened on 1 October 2017, with the presence of president Serzh Sargsyan.Catholic Church in Armenia
The Catholic Church in Armenia is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome. The 2011 census counted 13,843 Catholics in Armenia, representing about 0.46% of the total population. Catholics in Armenia belong to two particular churches, the Latin Rite or Western Rite (which includes the vast majority of Catholics worldwide) and the Armenian Catholic Church.Catholic Church in Ukraine
The Catholic Church in Ukraine (Ukrainian: Католицька церква в Україні) is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome.
The majority of Catholics in Ukraine belong to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, while significant numbers of others belong to the Latin Church (known as Roman Catholic), Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church, or Armenian Catholic Church.Catholicos
Catholicos, plural Catholicoi, is a title used for the head of certain churches in some Eastern Christian traditions. The title implies autocephaly and in some cases it is the title of the head of an autonomous church. The word comes from ancient Greek καθολικός, pl. καθολικοί, derived from καθ' ὅλου (kath'olou, "generally") from κατά (kata, "down") and ὅλος (holos, "whole"), meaning "concerning the whole, universal, general"; it originally designated a financial or civil office in the Roman Empire. The name of the Catholic Church comes from the same word.
The Church of the East, some Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox churches, and some Eastern Catholic Churches historically use this title; for example the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Georgian Orthodox Church. In the Church of the East, the title was given to the church's head, the Patriarch of the Church of the East. It is still used in two successor churches, the Assyrian Church of the East and the Ancient Church of the East, the heads of which are known as Catholicos-Patriarchs. In the Armenian Church there are two catholicoi: the supreme catholicos of Ejmiadzin and the catholicos of Cilicia. The title Catholicos-Patriarch is also used by the primate of the Armenian Catholic Church. In India, head of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox Church; and regional head of Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church, an autonomous Church within Syriac Orthodox Church, use this title. The first is known as Catholicos of the East and the latter as Catholicos of India.Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, Jerusalem
The Church of Our Lady of Sorrows (Hebrew: כנסיית גבירתנו הדואבת), or the Church of Sorrows of Mary also called the Armenian Chapel of Our Lady of the Spasm, is an Armenian Catholic church building in the Old City of Jerusalem erected in 1881.Located at the fourth station on the Via Dolorosa, under the Arc Ecce Homo, not far from the Austrian Hospice in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, it commemorates Jesus' encounter on the way to his crucifixion with his mother. The building includes a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and is thus named in dedicated to her under the title Our Lady of Sorrows.
As the seat of the Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate of Jerusalem and Amman of the Armenian Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic particular church sui iuris in full communion with the Pope in Rome, and the Catholic Church, the church building holds the status of cathedral. The facility is also the Armenian hospice in Jerusalem.
It is a World Heritage Site of UNESCO since 1981.Holy Cross Church, Aleppo
Church of the Holy Cross (Armenian:Սուրբ Խաչ ; Sourp khach, Arabic: كنيسة الصليب المقدس) is an Armenian Catholic Church in the Ouroubeh district of Aleppo, Syria.Holy Trinity Church, Aleppo
Holy Trinity Church (Armenian: Սուրբ Երրորդութիւն Եկեղեցի; Sourp Yerrortutyun, Arabic: كنيسة الثالوث الأقدس), also called Zvartnots, is an Armenian Catholic church in al-Midan district of Aleppo, Syria.List of Armenian Catholic Patriarchs of Cilicia
This is a list of the Armenian Catholic Catholicos Patriarchs of Cilicia, officially the Catholicos Patriarch of Cilicia of Armenian Catholics. The Armenian Catholic Patriarchate of Cilicia was established in 1740 following a schism within the Armenian Patriarchate based in Cilicia and was recognized by the Pope on 26 November 1742. The Catholicos-Patriarch is the head of the Armenian Catholic Church, one of the Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the Holy See and therefore part of the broader Catholic Church.Mekhitarists
The Mekhitarists (Armenian: Մխիթարեաններ, Mkhit'areanner, also spelled Mechitarists) are a congregation of Benedictine monks of the Armenian Catholic Church founded in 1717 by Abbot Mekhitar of Sebaste. They are best known for their series of scholarly publications of ancient Armenian versions of otherwise lost ancient Greek texts and their research on classical and modern Armenian language.
The congregation was long divided into two branches, with the respective motherhouses being in Venice and Vienna. In July 2000 they united to form one institute.Ordinariate for Catholics of Armenian Rite in Eastern Europe
The Armenian Catholic Ordinariate of Eastern Europe is an Ordinariate (quasi-diocese) of the Armenian Catholic Church (Eastern Catholic, Armenian Rite in Armenian language) for its faithful in certain Eastern European ex-Soviet countries without proper Ordinary for their particular church sui iuris.
It is exempt, i.e. immediately subject to the Holy See (notably the Roman Congregation for the Oriental Churches), not part of any ecclesiastical province.Ordinariate for Catholics of Armenian Rite in Greece
The Ordinariate for Catholics of Armenian Rite in Greece or Armenian Catholic Ordinariate of Greece (informally Greece of the Armenians ) is an Ordinariate for the faithful of eastern rite (Eastern Catholic quasi-diocesan jurisdiction) of the Armenian Catholic Church (Armenian Rite in Armenian language) for its faithful in Greece.
It is exempt, i.e. directly dependent on the Holy See (notably the Roman Congregation for the Oriental Churches); not part of any ecclesiastical province.Ordinariate for Catholics of Armenian Rite in Romania
The Ordinariate for Catholics of Armenian Rite in Romania (Romanian: Ordinariatul Armeano-Catolic), based in Gherla, is an ordinariate for Eastern Catholic faithful that is part of the Armenian Catholic Church, itself under the authority of the Pope. It serves Catholic members of Romania's Armenian community living in Transylvania.Our Lady of Bzommar
Our Lady of Bzommar is a Marian shrine in Bzommar (Arabic: بزمار), Lebanon.
Bzommar is situated 36 km northeast of Beirut at an elevation ranging between 920m and 950m above the Mediterranean. It is part of the Caza of Keserwan. Bzoummar is home to a monastery of the Armenian Catholic Church that was built in 1749, where the image of Our Lady of Bzommar is venerated.Patriarchal Congregation of Bzommar
The Patriarchal Congregation of Bzommar (French: Institut du Clergé Patriarcal de Bzommar) is an Armenian Catholic religious congregation of priests which was founded in 1750. They use the initials I.P.C.B. after their names.
They were established when the Patriarch of Cilicia, head of the Armenian Catholic Church, established a monastery attached to his cathedral in Bzommar, Lebanon. The men who entered formed a religious community dedicated to the service of the Church, providing spiritual support to the Armenian people. They committed themselves to going wherever in the world they might be sent by the Catholicos, who is ex officio the Superior General of the congregation.The congregation has provided a number of bishops to the Church during its history. One example is Jean Pierre XVIII Kasparian, who was a member of the congregation, was Patriarch of Cilicia from 1982-1998.Patriarchate of Cilicia
The Patriarchate of Cilicia (Latin: Patriarchatus Ciliciae Armenorum) is the only patriarchate within the Armenian Catholic Church. The St. Elie and St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Catholic Cathedral in Beirut, Lebanon, is the seat of the Patriarchate. The Patriarchate is headed by Patriarch Krikor Bedros XX Gabroyan elected in July 2015.Vardapet
A vardapet or vartabed (Armenian: վարդապետ, Armenian pronunciation: [vɑɾtʰɑˈbɛd] in Western Armenian or [vaɾda'pεt] in Eastern Armenian) is a highly educated archimandrite in the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Armenian Catholic Church traditions who holds a Doctorate in Theology. Members of this order of ecclesiastics frequently have charge of dioceses, with episcopal functions.In the English-speaking world, one of the best known of the doctor-monks of Armenia is Mekhitar of Sebaste, founder of an Armenian Catholic community of monks, the Mechitarists.
Tsayraguyn vardapet (Armenian: ծայրագույն վարդապետ), on the other hand, is the rank of supreme doctor of Christian dogma in the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Armenian Catholic Church. It is bestowed upon a vardapet, a pastor, who has shown outstanding educational and leadership qualities.
Armenian Catholic Church hierarchy
|Metropolitan archeparchies (archdioceses)|
|Ordinariates for Eastern Catholic faithful|
of the faithful
|Traditional areas of |
|Former Soviet Union|