An event of overwhelming significance took place in 451, when the Armenians waged the battle of Avarayr against Sassanian Persia. For the first time a Christian nation made a declaration of the principle of the inviolability of freedom of conscience:
From this belief no one can move us, neither angels, nor men, nor sword, nor water, nor any tortures that can be conceived or devised . . . We will, here, below, choose no other lord in thy place [referring to the king of Persia], and in heaven, we will honour no other God than Jesus Christ, for there is no other God save Him. (Eghishe 1982: II, 41)
The Fathers of the Armenian Church accept the canons of the Councils of Nicaea (325), Constantinople (381) and Ephesus (431) as 'the basis of life and guide to the path leading to God'. The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed recited in the Armenian liturgy has the following anathema added to it:
As for those who say there was a time when the Son was not or there was a time when the Holy Spirit was not or that they came into being out of nothing or who say that the Son of God or the Holy Spirit are of different substance and that they are changeable or alterable, such the catholic and apostolic holy church doth anathematize.
This statement refutes Arianism, Macedonianism, Apollinarianism and Nestorianism. Gregory the Illuminator added to the Creed his prayer:
As for us, we glorify Him who was before all ages, adoring the Holy Trinity, and the one Godhead of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, now and ever through ages and ages. Amen.
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