Structure of the Armenian Church

Structure of the Armenian Church

The One Holy Universal Apostolic Orthodox Armenian Church, known also as the "Gregorian Church" (after Gregory the Illuminator who was the first to govern it), is currently divided into four jurisdictions:


  1. The Catholicate of Etchmiadzin has about two million faithful. The traditional title of its leader or catholicos is the "Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians."
  2. The Catholicate of Cilicia, whose see is located in Antelias, Lebanon, since 1921. It has about 11,200,000 faithful. The current Catholicos, His Holiness Aram I Keshishian, has played a major role in the worldwide ecumenical movement and is the president of the Middle East Council of Churches since November 2007.
  3. The Patriarchate of Jerusalem, with jurisdiction over Palestine and Jordania, has about 10,000 faithful. The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem is one of the three custodes of the Holy Land, along with the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church.
  4. The Patriarchate of Constantinople, with jurisdiction over 100,000 faithful. The community attached to this patriarchate was in great part exterminated during the 1915-1917 Armenian Genocide. In 1996, the Catholicos Karekin I and Pope John Paul II signed a declaration in which they chose to proclaim their common faith in Jesus Christ "the Word of God made flesh. Perfect God in his divinity, perfect man in his humanity, his divinity is united to his humanity in the person of the only Son of God, in a union that is real, perfect, without confusion, without alteration, without division, without any form of separation."


There is also a small Armenian Catholic Patriarchate in full communion with Rome and regulated by eastern canon law. Its headquarters are in Bzoummar, Lebanon. It counts about 250,000 faithful half of which were in the Diaspora, principally in Beyrouth, Lebanon, and Alep, Syria.


The Evangelical Church (Protestant) arrived in the middle of the 19th century. It counts about 50 parishes in Armenia and the diaspora. It collaborates with the Apostolic Church and the Catholic Church to form the Armenian Biblical Society.



Le monde de la Bible, special issue « Arménie », spring 2007