The Armenian church of Atlanta belongs to the orthodox family of churches, known as the oriental orthodox, or lesser orthodox churches because they are the smallest and the easternmost group of the orthodox family.
The origin of the Armenian Church dates back to the apostolic age. The apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew established the church in Armenia during the second half of the first century. The Armenian church of Atlanta is a mission parish of the eastern diocese of the Armenian church of America under the jurisdiction of the mother see, the holy see of Etchmiadzin, Armenia.
Established by Catholicos Mkrtich Khrimian in 1898, the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America flourished, later separating into three distinct dioceses, Eastern, Western and Canada.
The Eastern Diocese is comprised of sixtyeight parishes throughout the Eastern half of the United States, from Texas to New England.
Full parishes generally have their own sanctuary and a fulltime pastor or assigned visiting pastor and celebrate the Divine Liturgy regularly. They are allowed to send voting delegates to the annual
Diocesan Assembly to set the Diocesan budget and establish priorities.
Mission parishes are generally newer, smaller communities served by a roster of visiting pastors.
Generally they do not have their own sanctuary and hold services less than weekly.
The Armenian Church is an ancient Apostolic Church that finds its roots in Saints Thaddeus and Bartholomew who brought the Gospel to the region. Its head is the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians His Holiness Karekin II who resides in Holy Etchmiadzin, near Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. His Holiness Karekin II is the 132nd Catholicos of All Armenians, the first being St.Gregory the Illuminator in 301 A.D.
Holy Etchmiadzin, the Mother See, is the primary spiritual seat of authority for the 7 million Armenian Christians living in Armenia and in Diasporan communities around the world. Overt expressions of the Church’s activity in Armenia were severely hampered during the country’s 70year period of Soviet
rule; however, since the demise of the Soviet Union, the independent Republic of Armenia has experienced a vigorous revival of religious spirit. Through the pastoral leadership of the Catholicoi, the Church has resumed its traditional public role as spiritual guide of the Armenian people.