500 Years Verses 1600 Years

Armenia, a former Soviet republic located between Europe and Asia, embraced Christianity enthusiastically about 1600 years ago. It became the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion.

There was just one problem. The Armenian language was only a spoken language; it had no written form. So a man by the name of Mesrop Mashtots, who was a devout Christian, took upon himself the job of making up an alphabet for the Armenian language so that the Bible could be translated into that language.

He made the first letter A, which was the first letter in the word Astvats, or God, and the last letter K’, which began the word K’ristos, Christ. Then he added 34 more letters to complete his alphabet, which is still in use today.

In 2005 the Armenian people decided to build a memorial to honor Mashtots’ work. Large stone carvings of every letter in the Armenian alphabet were made and placed in a park near where Mashtots was buried.

This year there has been a lot of talk about the 500-year history of Lutheranism and rightly so. It’s pretty inspiring to be reminded by this story about the Armenian Christians that Christianity itself has been around a lot longer than 500 years and has devoted followers around the world.

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