This week in Christian history: Battle of Avarayr, John Calvin dies, Antipope deposed

The Battle of Avarayr – May 26, 451

A 15th century depiction of the 451 battle of Avarayr.
A 15th century depiction of the 451 battle of Avarayr. | Wikimedia Commons

This week marks the anniversary of when the Armenians fought a battle with the Persian Empire to defend their Christian beliefs from being destroyed by an imperial order.

When Persian King Yazdigerd II issued a decree demanding that Armenia convert to Zoroastrianism, the Armenians refused to do so, instead raising an army to defend their churches.

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Led by a prince named St. Vartan, the Christian Armenian forces met a much larger Persian army at Avarayr, a plain located in modern day Armenia.

“The battle has been described as bloody and horrendous,” recounted The Armenian Church. “Although St. Vartan, along with many of his comrades, suffered defeat and died, their fight to defend their faith was not in vain. The Persians eventually stopped their efforts to convert Armenia to Zoroastrianism.”

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