Hundreds of Armenians attended the Holy Mass performed by the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church Garegin II in Echmiadzin, which is the seat of the Catholicos of All Armenians, to celebrate Christmas Friday.
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan, Attorney General Aghvan Housepyan and some other high-ranking officials attended the spiritual ceremony. Representatives of foreign embassies in Armenia were also invited to the event.
The Kingdom of Armenia became the first nation to adopt Christianity as its state religion in 301 AD and has been celebrating Christmas annually on Jan. 6 since then.
After the two-hour Holy Mass in the Holy Mother of God Cathedral in Echmiadzin, 35 km to the west of the capital Yerevan, crowds of Christian believers surrounded the Catholicos of All Armenians, to be touched by the hand of the Supreme Patriarch.
The Catholicos of All Armenians, which is also called the Armenians Apostolic Church, is one of the most ancient Christian communities.
Leading a religious life was not welcomed by the Armenian government during 70 years of its existence within the former Soviet Union. However, after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, principal holidays of the Christian year and other religious celebrations have once again become popular.