On Saturday, July 8, the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of the Twelve Apostles of Christ and Saint Paul, who is considered the “thirteenth apostle.”
Jesus selected twelve apostles to carry on His work and instructed them to preach and to baptize converts all over the world (Mt. 28:19-20). He gave the title “apostle” to the twelve (Luke 6:13; Mark 3:14). The word apostle derives from the Greek word apostellein (arakyal in Armenian). The apostles dedicated their lives to spreading the Word and fulfilling the sacred mission entrusted to them. Their mission was not just to transmit the message but to put it into practice.
Paul was initially an enemy of Christians and persecuted them. He had a vision on the road to Damascus and became a fervent Christian convert and was subsequently responsible in large measure for the rapid spread of the new religion. Most of the New Testament (aside from the four Gospels) is from the writings of Paul.
The Armenian Church has its roots in the apostolic ministry of the apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew) and is therefore known as “apostolic” (arakelagan).
“Seer of the ineffable paradise, the third heaven, you who contemplated the higher things and interpreted profound mysteries, thirteenth holy Apostle Paul, universal father, intercede for us to the Lord.”
From the Sharagan (hymn) of the Twelve Apostles