King Tiran Trdat (Helios) *the Great* of /Armenia/

  • Born about 260 - Armenia
  • Deceased about 330 - Armenia , age at death: possibly 70 years old


 Spouses and children


Individual Note

Tiridates III of Armenia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tiridates III (or Trdat III) was a king of Armenia (286-330), and is also known as Tiridates the Great. (Some scholars incorrectly refer to him as Trdat IV as a result of the fact that Tiridates I of Armenia reigned twice.) In 301, Tiridates proclaimed Christianity as the sole religion in Armenia, making that country the first Christian state in the world.

  • 1 Early Childhood
  • 2 Kingship
  • 3 Conversion and Rest of Reign
  • 4 References
  • 5 See also

    [edit] Early Childhood

    Tiridates III was the son of Chosroes I of Armenia , the latter being assassinated in 287 by a Parthian agent named Anak under orders from Ardashir I. Anak was captured and executed along with most of his family, while two of his sons one of whom was Saint Gregory the Illuminator were sheltered in Ceasaria. Being the only surviving heir to the throne, Tiridates was quickly taken away to Rome soon after his fathers assassination, while still an infant. He was educated in Rome and was well learned in languages and military tactics; in addition, he firmly understood and appreciated Roman law.
    Baptism of Tiridates III.
    Baptism of Tiridates III.

    [edit] Kingship

    In 270 AD the Roman emperor Aurelian reengaged the Sassanids on the eastern front and he was able the drive them back. Tiridates, as the true heir to the Parthian-occupied Armenian throne, came to Armenia and quickly raised an army and drove the enemy out in 287 AD. The Roman-Armenian relationship grew stronger, especially while Diocletian ruled the empire. This can be attributed to the upbringing of Tiridates III, to the consistent Parthian aggressions and to the murder of his father by Anak. Diocletian left the Armenian state in a quasi-independent and protectorate status possibly to use it as a buffer in case of a Parthian attack.

    [edit] Conversion and Rest of Reign

    The story of the conversion of the king and the nation is historically true, but the actual details could possibly be rooted in legend. Gregory the Illuminator, the son of Anak, was a Christian convert who, feeling guilt for the fathers sin, joined the Armenian army and worked as a secretary. Christianity in Armenia had a strong footing by the end of the 3rd century AD but the nation by and large still followed Armenian pagan beliefs. Tiridates III was no exception as he too worshipped various gods. During a pagan religious ceremony Tiridates III ordered Gregory to place a flower reef at the foot of the statue of the goddess Anahit in Eriza. Gregory refused, proclaiming his Christian faith. This act infuriated the king. His fury was only exacerbated when several individuals declared that Gregory was the son of Anak; the traitor who had killed Tiridatess father. Gregory was tortured and finally thrown in Khor Virap, a deep underground dungeon.

    During the years of Gregorys imprisonment, a group of virgins, lead by Gayane, came to Armenia as they fled the Roman persecution of their Christian faith. Tiridates III heard about the group and the legendary beauty of one of its members, Hripsime. He brought them to the palace and demanded to marry the beautiful virgin; she refused. The king had the whole group tortured and killed. After this event, he fell ill and according to legend, he adopted a pig-like behavior and was aimlessly wandering around in the forest. The kings sister, Xosroviduxt, had a dream wherein Gregory was still alive in the dungeon and he was the only one able to cure the king. At this point it had been 13 years since his imprisonment, and the odds of him being alive were slim. But they retrieved him and despite being incredibly malnourished he was still alive. He was kept alive by a kindhearted woman that threw a loaf of bread down in Khor Virap everyday for him.

    Tiridates III was brought to Gregory, and was miraculously cured of his illness in 301 AD. Tiridates III immediately proclaimed Christianity the official state religion. And so, Armenia became the first nation to officially adopt Christianity. Tiridates III appointed Gregory as the first Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church. From 301 to 428 the Episcopal office was hereditary.

    The switch from the traditional pagan Armenian religion to Christianity was not an easy one. Tiridates III often used force to impose this new faith upon the people and many battles ensued, because polytheism was deeply rooted in the Armenian people. An actual battle between the king's forces and the polytheists took place, which resulted in their subjugation. Tiridates thus spent the rest of his life trying to eliminate all old beliefs and in doing so destroyed countless statues, temples and texts. As a result, Armenians don't know much about their ancient history and culture. He worked feverously to spread the faith and died in 330 AD.

    [edit] References

  • Translated from the Armenian: Mihran Kurdoghlian, Badmoutioun Hayots, A. hador [Armenian History, volume I], Athens, Greece, 1994, pg. 96-105.
  • The Library of Congress - Armenia - A Country Study
  • Yuri Babayan - Tiridates the Great

  Photos and archival records

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 Family Tree Preview

King Khusraw I of Armenia *The Brave* 165-261   ? ?            

King Tiridat II Of Armenia ca 194-ca 253   ? ?    

King Khusraw II *the Valient* of West Armenia ca 236-ca 297   ? ?

King Tiridates IV Of Armenia ca 260-ca 330

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