Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Ethiopia: The First Christian Nation?

(Mar 05, 2013,(ibTimes))--For centuries, historians have widely accepted the argument that Armenia was the first Christian nation. This important claim has become a source of national pride for Armenians and has remained virtually undisputed for centuries -- until now.

Armenians will likely be up at arms when they learn that a new book -- “Abyssinian Christianity: The First Christian Nation?” -- is challenging their claim, presenting the possibility that Abyssinia (modern-day Ethiopia and Eritrea) was the first Christian nation.

To be sure, the book doesn't conclusively assert that Ethiopia was the first nation to adopt Christianity as its state religion. However, it will surely challenge the confidence of modern church historians with groundbreaking evidence.

Armenia's claim on this meaningful title is primarily based upon the celebrated fifth-century work of Agathangelos titled “The History of the Armenians.” In it, he says as an eyewitness that after the Armenian King Trdat III was baptized (c. 301/314 A.D.) by St. Gregory the Illuminator, he decreed Christianity was the state religion.

The truth is that we have no solid proof to support this account. We are forced to rely solely on the authenticity of Agathangelos and his contemporaries. These historians try to liken the conversion of Trdat III to that of Constantine’s, even though the baptism of Constantine is questionable, as was his own personal “conversion.” Read more from International Business Times »

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