Sectarian and Heretical Movements in Armenia

As mentioned above, the movements originated from the dualistic teaching of Gnosticism (teaching of mystical knowledge of the universe and human nature, which allowed freeing the immortal spirit from the mortal body and becoming a part of the Supreme Being). Many Gnostic Christians could be found in the early Christian community. The major argumentation went around the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Gnostic Christians stated that Christ was not born as a human, but was only an apparition in the human form. The Gnostic teaching took various forms and stayed influential for long. The remnants of its followers can be found even nowadays in southern Iran. However, it provided the basis for both of the movements discussed in this paper.

Another influential movement coming from Gnosticism and preceding the Manichaeism was the teaching of Marcion, a highly worshipped Christian teacher from Asia Minor, who had settled in Rome, preached that the God of Old Testament was an evil Demiurge of low moral qualities, different in nature from Jesus Christ. Marcion rejected the Old Testament and the Jewish Law (Torah) and, viewing Christianity as a mere gospel of Love, offered a canon of scripture including Gospel of Luke, with eliminated birth narration), Apostle of Paul with edited ten letters highlighting the antithesis between the spirit and law, and Antithesis, a book written by Marcion. In the mid of the second century AD, Marcionites broke from the Roman Church and survived until the fourth century when they became a part of Manichaeism. Unfortunately, Marcion’s writings have not been preserved till our days. We know about this teaching from the written attacks at his sect, the sources showing that Marcionites were very influential.