WE CONFESS

catechesis –
the transmission of faith

By faith may Christ dwell in your hearts,
rooted in and founded on love.
Ephesians 3:17

From century to century to the present day, the faith of the Church has been handed down in writing and orally. The common belief in the triune God, who strengthens us, makes us alive and gives us hope, is the basis of our community. This faith revealed to us through Christ and proclaimed through the Holy Apostles (Romans 2:18; 1 Cor 14:19; Gal 6:6; Luke 1:4), we must preserve it unadulterated and pass it on to our descendants. For this reason, preparation before baptism was provided for from the beginning of Christianity. The candidates were taught principles of faith. This instruction is called catechesis.

When preparing for our own baptism or the baptism of our children, when accepting a godparenthood or at a certain stage of life - we always question our own faith. How important is my belief in God to me? Why am I or will I become an Armenian Apostolic Christian? What is the faith of my church? These and other questions of faith are discussed in catechesis.

On this page we have put together some important information and tips for you. But our clergy are always at your disposal if you need help or have questions about your faith.

Basics for teaching
of the Armenian Apostolic Church:

  • The Old and the New Testament

  • The decisions of the three ecumenical councils

  • The decisions of the local councils of the Armenian Church

  • The Traditions of the Church Fathers

The Holy Mysteries of the Church

MYSTERIES

MYSTERIES

MYSTERIES

MYSTERIES

MYSTERIES

MYSTERIES

MYSTERIES

MYSTERIES

OUR BELIEF IN A FEW SENTENCES

Before we talk about what we believe, we would like to point out the word BELIEVE... We believe. St. Paul the Apostle explains it beautifully in these words: “Faith is the foundation of that which is hoped for: in trust, what is not yet seen is revealed. Our ancestors lived this belief. That is why God set them up as examples for us. Through our faith we understand that the whole world was created by God's Word; that everything visible arose from the invisible.” (Hebrew 11, 1-3). So it is also trust and love for God that is higher than human understanding. To believe in God is to recognize that one's small mind cannot fully comprehend the Absolute of God... We believe, and this belief shows us that He, the one God, is Triune. One God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father is the Creator, the Almighty. He created both the visible and the invisible. It is the father of the son who is born of the father. And this process is not unique, but something that is outside of time. And the Same Father is the source from which the Holy Spirit emanates, and this is also an extra-temporal process. The Father then, the source of life and love: we believe in Him, in the First Person of the Holy Trinity, in the Father...

Jesus Christ is the Incarnate Logos, the only begotten Son. Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer, the Messiah. The second divine person unites his perfect divine nature with our human nature in an unspeakable way. He is fully God and fully human. God himself comes into the world in the birth of Christ. The closest relationship between creator and creation develops. A relationship that proves again and again the great and unlimited love of God for his creation and especially for human beings. It is true that God repeatedly intervened in history in the Old Testament - but the climax of his healing work was only reached with the incarnation. All meaning is preserved in his name: Jesus Christ. Jesus the Savior, the Anointed of God, who is a gift of God's love for our salvation's sake. Whoever believes in him and praises him as the Lord is redeemed. We believe in Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son who is our Lord.

Maria was a young and humble woman from Nazareth. Her life was to be turned upside down in one fell swoop. When the Archangel Gabriel announced to her that she would give birth to the Son of God, things aren't the same as they used to be. The "Mother of God" obeys God humbly and full of trust. Mary becomes pregnant, but felt not by a man but by the Holy Spirit. We believe that the Virgin Mary was and remained a virgin forever. Thus, Jesus assumed all human nature without sin. The Catholic Church claims that Mary was also born without sin. This claim is heresy from the point of view of the Ancient Near Eastern and Orthodox Churches. Why? If She were born without sin, we wouldn't need Jesus Christ, She would save us all. This does not change the fact that we worship the Holy Theotokos Virgin Mary as the purest of men and have her intercede for us in our prayers.

Jesus eliminates death and rises from the dead! 33 years Christ lived among us. With his sermons and performances, the man from Nazareth is a thorn in the side of the mighty of Israel. Jesus is accused of high treason and blasphemy by the leaders of the Jews. The Roman governor Pontius Pilate initially refused to sentence Jesus to death. But the people who cheered him just a few days ago wanted his death. Finally, Pilate bows to public pressure – Jesus dies an agonizing death on the cross on Good Friday. The disfigured body is placed in a grave. But on the third day he rose from the dead. We celebrate this day at Easter. Jesus appears to his disciples and encourages them to follow him. All this happens for the salvation of man. The prophecies of the Old Testament are fulfilled in the life work of Christ. Death is defeated. Christ is alive and giving life to all mankind through his resurrection!

So, after Jesus has completed his mission on earth, he returns to heaven. He sits at the right hand of the Father, that is, he partakes in the glory of God. But Christ will come again: Then the “World Judgment” will begin. that sounds threatening... But in reality we Christians can wait with confidence for the coming of Jesus and since we don't know when that is supposed to take place, we can always prepare ourselves. On the last day, our salvation will be completed through Jesus' resurrection. only then will justice be restored. That's why we pray: "Thy kingdom come". With the coming of Christ the new era begins...

The Holy Spirit is pure love. The third person of the Holy Trinity is the Comforter promised by Christ to mankind. He renews creation from within, making everything new. Whoever believes in the power of this spirit and asks for his coming calls forth the divine abundance of grace.

The Nicean Creed, which we use during the Holy Liturgy in our church, says: We believe in the Holy Spirit, the uncreated and the perfect, who spoke in the laws, through the prophets and the gospels. He descended into the Jordan, preached to the apostles and dwelt in the saints. He fills us and comforts and gives strength on the way to Christ, and through him to the Holy Trinity.

The catholicity of the Church does not point to the Catholic denomination, but to the communion of saints, of believers, throughout the world.

CONFESSIONS OF FAITH OF THE ARMENIAN CHURCH

The Armenian Apostolic Church uses the Armenian translation of the Creed of Nicea and Constantinople, a lengthy Creed of Saint Grigor of Tatev, and a short Baptismal Creed.

The creed has several functions. On the one hand, it is an acknowledgment and expression of the community that is given by faith. On the other hand, a creed summarizes the essential points of our church's faith. If the creed is read publicly at a service, e.g. B. at a priestly ordination, baptism or wedding, it means, among other things, a self-commitment to live according to this faith. In this respect it is important that the Armenian Apostolic Christians know the creed of their church by heart.

The Armenian Apostolic Church uses the Armenian translation of the Creed of Nicea and Constantinople, a lengthy Creed of Saint Grigor of Tatev, and a short Baptismal Creed.

The creed has several functions. On the one hand, it is an acknowledgment and expression of the community that is given by faith. On the other hand, a creed summarizes the essential points of our church's faith. If the creed is read publicly at a service, e.g. B. at a priestly ordination, baptism or wedding, it means, among other things, a self-commitment to live according to this faith. In this respect it is important that the Armenian Apostolic Christians know the creed of their church by heart.

The professio fidei takes place during baptism in the Armenian Church in a declaratory form and does not begin with "I believe" but with "We believe". This can be explained by the rubric before the abrenuntiatio, which is then immediately followed by the professio fidei, which assumes an infant's baptism and indicates that the godfather takes the baptized child into his lap and, together with the priest, first the abrenuntiatio and then the baptismal creed should pronounce. The text of the baptismal symbol reads:

We believe in the Holy Trinity:
to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
to the proclamation of Gabriel, the birth of Christ, the baptism,
the suffering, the crucifixion, the three-day burial,
the resurrection, the divine ascension, sitting at the right hand of the Father,
to the terrible and glorious second coming,
this is what we confess and believe.

Another detailed creed of the Armenian Apostolic Church was written by Saint Grigor of Tatev (1346-1409) or by his disciples (in the 15th century). The text says:

We confess and we believe with a perfect heart in the Father God, the uncreated, not born and beginningless, but also the bringer ("bearer") of the Son and the pouring-out of the Holy Spirit. (Red. God the Father is the one from whom the Son is born and the Holy Spirit emanates).

We believe in the Logos, God, uncreated, born and beginning from the Father before eternity, neither later nor less, but whatever the Father-Father [is], so also [is] with him the Son-Son .

We believe in the Holy Spirit, God, uncreated, timeless, not born, but emanating from the Father, consubstantial with the Father, and co-glorified with the Son.

We believe in the Holy Trinity: one nature, one deity, not three gods but one God, one will, one kingship, one dominion, one maker of [things] seen and unseen.

We believe in the Holy Church, in the forgiveness of sins through the communion of saints.

We believe in the One of the Three Persons, in the Word (Logos), in God, who was born of the Father before eternity, descended in time into the Theotokos Virgin Mary, taken of her sex, and thus united [it ] with his divinity, nine months patiently borne in the womb of the spotless Virgin.

And the perfect God became perfect man, with soul and mind and body; one person, one prosopon (face), and nature united. God became man without change or mingling, seedless conception and incorruptible birth, after which neither his divinity begins nor his humanity ends, [for Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday and today and forever].

We believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, who walked the earth; after thirty years came to be baptized, [to whom] the Father testified from above: This is my beloved Son, and the Holy Spirit came down in the form of a dove. He was tempted by Satan and defeated him. He proclaimed salvation to the people. He toiled in body, grew weary, hungered, and thirsted; after that he came willingly to [his] passion, was crucified, died in the body, and lived alive in his divinity; who was buried [with his] body, united with his divinity, and descended into hell with his soul, in [his] divinity inseparable; who preached to the souls, destroyed hell and delivered the souls, rose from the dead after three days and appeared to the disciples.

We believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, who rose up into heaven in the same body and sat down at the right hand of the Father. He will yet come in the same body and in the glory of the Father to judge the living and the dead, which will also be the resurrection of all men.

We believe in the retribution of works, in the eternal life of the righteous and the eternal torment of sinners. Amen.

The church fathers of the entire church drew up a creed at the first ecumenical council in Nicaea in 325, which was expanded at the second ecumenical council of Constantinople in 381. The Nicene Creed is proclaimed not only by the Armenian Apostolic Church but also by the Orthodox Church to this day. The Catholic Church has made changes in the text known as “filioque” which are considered heresy by both the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Orthodox Churches. i.e. the textual changes of the Catholic Church, which were later adopted by the Evangelical Churches, are in contradiction to the dogma of our Church.

The First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea 325, summoned by the Roman Emperor Constantine I the Great, condemned the teaching of the Alexandrian presbyter Arius (Arianism), which conceived of Jesus Christ as essentially a creature intermediate between God and man. It formulated the consubstantiality (Greek homooúsios "consubstantial") of son and father and wrote a first creed. Church law provisions (canons) regulated the basic structures in the church, such as the canonical territory of the local churches (the later patriarchates) and the election of bishops.

The Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople 381, convened by the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius I, condemned the teaching of Macedonian I, the Patriarch of Constantinople, and the Pneumatomace, who disputed the identity of God and the Holy Spirit. It affirmed the divinity of Christ and the Holy Spirit, and finished the drafting of the Creed (the Niceno-Constantinopolitanum since used by the Orthodox and Ancient Near Eastern Churches). The Church of Constantinople, the "New Rome", was given the same honorary status as the Church of Rome and second place after Rome. Both councils are recognized by all Christians.

Here is the text of the Creed that every Armenian Apostolic Christian must know by heart:

We believe in one God
the almighty father,
Creator of heaven and earth, of things seen and unseen.
And in the one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
born of God the Father as an only begotten, that is, of the essence of the Father.
God from God, light from light,
true god of true god,
offspring and not created,
of the same nature of the father,
through whom everything was made in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible [things].
The one who because of us humans
and came down from heaven for our redemption,
Body [and] man, born in a perfect way
from Mary, the Holy Virgin, through the Holy Spirit.
Through Him He took on body, spirit and soul
and all that is of man
truly and not [only] in appearance.
suffered, crucified, buried,
risen on the third day
ascended to heaven in the same body,
He sat down at the right hand of the father.
He will come again in the same body
to in the glory of the Father
to judge the living and the dead.
Whose kingdom will never end!

We also believe in the Holy Spirit
the uncreated and perfect,
who spoke through the law and the prophets and the gospel.
who descended into the Jordan
announced the messenger
and dwelt in the saints.

We also believe in the one
Catholic and Apostolic Holy Church,
to the one baptism, to repentance,
to the forgiveness and remission of sins,
in the resurrection from the dead,
to the eternal judgment of souls and bodies,
in the kingdom of heaven and in eternal life. Amen.

 

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