Christianity in Armenia can be traced back to the age of the Apostles. The Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew were the first evangelizers of Armenia and, according to tradition, were martyred there. There is historical evidence of the existence of a Christian community and clergy in Armenia prior to the fourth century. It was at the beginning of the fourth century, in 301, that Christianity was first proclaimed as the official religion of Armenia.
Although Christianity expanded rapidly in Armenia, there remained one barrier to the total integration of Christianity into Armenian life. There could not have been a truly Armenian Christian culture if the Gospel could not be proclaimed to the Armenian people in the Armenian language. Thus, the invention of the Armenian alphabet by St. Mesrob Mashdots (d. 438) in 405 was a decisive and crucial event for Armenian Christianity. Together with the Catholicos St. Sahak I (Catholicos from 387 to 439) and with a number of disciples, St. Mesrob worked on the translation of the Bible into Armenian. The Armenian Bible, one of the earliest translations of the Holy Scriptures, is without doubt an enormous literary achievement.
The mission of the Armenian Church today is the reevangelization of Armenia following its emancipation from coercive atheism as well as the renewal of religious life in a Diaspora that is increasingly threatened by materialistic and secular influences. The mission today to integrate all aspects of Armenian life with the Gospel remains fundamentally the same as that of St. Gregory the Illuminator at the Armenian Church’s beginning.