Armenia is a mountainous country of the Caucasus region, located in the north of Mesopotamia between the old Byzantine and Persian Empires. It lies in the highlands surrounding the Biblical mountains of Ararat where, according to the Bible, Noah's Ark came to rest after the flood. The legendary patriarch of Armenia is said to have been a great-great-grandson of Noah, who defeated a Babylonian king before establishing his nation.
Christianity spread into Armenia as early as AD 40; it became the state religion in AD 301, becoming the first officially Christian state, even before the Roman Empire started tolerating Christianity.
In the 5th century most of Armenia was incorporated within the Sassanid Empire, in which Christians fought for their religious freedom and obtained it.
The history of Armenia is ancient, eventful, and reached truly tragic heights in the early 20th century, with the Armenian Genocide.
Situated in a predominantly Muslim region, shrines are few; they are mainly steles, always accessible from the fact that they are outdoors in plain view.
The Armenian Church has its own specific liturgy and organization, with a patriarchate in Jerusalem.
Armenia has had great poets, among whom we find Saint Nerses the Gracious and Saint Gregory of Narek.