While the Armenian Church has never taken the position of claiming sole authority or authenticity as the one “true Church,” we believe that Church universality and unity are ultimately grounded in baptism. When we are baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity, we are not baptized Armenian, Greek, Catholic, or otherwise, but are incorporated into the one Church of Christ, as a sacramental union. As we recite in the Creed, “We believe also in only one universal and apostolic holy Church; In one baptism with repentance for the remission and forgiveness of sins.” St. Gregory the Enlightener, in his catechetical work referred to the as The Teaching, expresses well the global, wide-scope mission of the Armenian Church, of our Diocese, and of Christian ministry:
[The Apostles] preached throughout the world, “to illumine all people who were to come into the world,1” to give repentance of salvation to all, to wash all people and deliver them from the bonds of darkness by baptism 2, to seal all nations as Christ’s inner circle 3, to make the Spirit of God dwell in people’s hearts 4, to unite and join them to the love of the Son of God, that the heart of all might cry as one 5, and to unite all the world in saying: “Abba, Father” 6; that the name of servitude might be taken away, and the name of adoption be placed on them by the grace of Christ 7; to enable them to eat the flesh of the Son of God and drink the life-giving blood 8, that thereby they might bring all the world into the inheritance of Christ, to become “heirs of God and fellow heirs of Christ”9
How is the mission of the Church as St. Gregory describes it, a mission of action and not mere abstract principles? What verbs are chosen to describe our mission?
Our new Primate has been quoting this mission statement frequently. What can our parishes begin to do today to apply this mission and draw our faithful into the early mission of the Church, which is the mission of the Armenian Church?
The Teaching of Saint Gregory, ed. Robert W. Thomson, AVANT: Treasures of the Armenian Christian Tradition 1 (New Rochelle, NY: St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, 2001) 223-224.
- John 1:9
- Matthew 28:19, Acts 2:38, Titus 3:5
- Ephesians 1:13
- Romans 8:11, Ephesians 2:22
- Ephesians 2:14-16
- Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6
- Galatians 4:7, Romans 8:15
- John 6:53
- Romans 8:17