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The Armenian Apostolic Church (Armenian: Հայ Առաքելական Եկեղեցի, romanizedHay Aṙak'elakan Yekeghetsi)[note 1] is the national church of the Armenian people. Part of Oriental Orthodoxy, it is one of the most ancient Christian institutions.[5] The Kingdom of Armenia was the first state to adopt Christianity as its official religion under the rule of King Tiridates III of the Arsacid dynasty in the early 4th century.[6][7] According to tradition, the church originated in the missions of Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus of Edessa in the 1st century.

It is sometimes referred to as the Armenian Orthodox Church, Gregorian Church or Etchmiadzin Church.[8] The term Gregorian Church is not preferred by the church itself, as it views the Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus as its founders, and St. Gregory the Illuminator as merely the first official governor of the church. It is also known simply as the Armenian Church.

In recent years, several high-profile leaders of the church have been involved in controversies.[67] In 2013 Navasard Ktchoyan, the Archbishop of the Araratian Diocese and Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan were alleged to have been partners with a businessman charged with laundering US$10.7 million bank loan and then depositing most of it in accounts he controlled in Cyprus.[69] In 2011 it was revealed that Ktchoyan drives a Bentley (valued at $180,000-$280,000). Pointing out the 34% poverty rate in Armenia, Asbarez editor Ara Khachatourian called it "nothing but blasphemy". He added "Archbishop Kchoyan's reckless disregard and attitude is even more unacceptable due to his position in the Armenian Church."[70]

In October 2013 Father Asoghik Karapetyan, the director of the Museum of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, stated on television that an atheist Armenian is not a "true Armenian". A spokesperson for the Armenian Apostolic Church stated that it is his personal view.[71] The statement received considerable criticism,[72] though Asoghik did not retract his statement

In recent years, several high-profile leaders of the church have been involved in controversies.[67] In 2013 Navasard Ktchoyan, the Archbishop of the Araratian Diocese and Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan were alleged to have been partners with a businessman charged with laundering US$10.7 million bank loan and then depositing most of it in accounts he controlled in Cyprus.[69] In 2011 it was revealed that Ktchoyan drives a Bentley (valued at $180,000-$280,000). Pointing out the 34% poverty rate in Armenia, Asbarez editor Ara Khachatourian called it "nothing but blasphemy". He added "Archbishop Kchoyan's reckless disregard and attitude is even more unacceptable due to his position in the Armenian Church."[70]

In Oc

In October 2013 Father Asoghik Karapetyan, the director of the Museum of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, stated on television that an atheist Armenian is not a "true Armenian". A spokesperson for the Armenian Apostolic Church stated that it is his personal view.[71] The statement received considerable criticism,[72] though Asoghik did not retract his statement.[73] In an editorial in the liberal Aravot daily Aram Abrahamyan suggested that religious identity should not be equated with national (ethnic) identity and it is up to every individual to decide whether they are Armenian or not, regardless of religion.[74]

In 2016 Agos published a report about child abuse during the 90s at the Jarankavorats Armenian School in Jerusalem. According to the report several of the clergymen raped a young male student. This story first aired in a documentary aired on Israeli television.[75]

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