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Mysteries of Armenia

Tolerance

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Medieval Armenia was one of the hearths of formation of tolerance. While the Western Church was developing the ideological plan of Inquisition, the Armenians were lecturing on the Earth being round. This was due to the efforts of one of the well-educated representatives of the era, Gregory the Master, who had convinced the Catholicos of the need of acknowledging Anania Shirakatsi’s teaching. The analysis of Law Book, dating from the 13th century, ascertains that all non-Christians who lived in Armenia were under the protection and patronage of law. Public tolerance towards representatives of other religions was also reflected in art. The Armenian frescos are perhaps the only samples of Christian painting comprising images of Muslims. Similar mural paintings are represented on the territory of Akhtala Complex in the historic Lori Region. In 1045, Gregory the Master, who often visited these places, committed to paper the Bible in verse, thus forcing the Arab poet Manuche to convert to Christianity (the celebrated author had boasted about the privileges of “the Koran being written in verse form” and had declared readiness to convert his religion if a similar version of the Bible ever appeared). Such sketches are fairly common among the Armenian frescos.

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