On Saturday, August 2, the Armenian Church will observe the Feast of St. Thaddeus the Apostle and St. Sandukht the Virgin. The story of these two saints sheds light on the early days of Christianity in Armenia. Imagine a time of great political and military struggle, a pagan kingdom ruled by a powerful royal family—this was once Armenia. The kingdom strongly clung to its inherited pagan practices until a strange man ventured to Armenia. His name was Thaddeus, and he was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ.
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He preached in people’s homes, in hidden underground chambers, in marketplaces, and in the streets. People listened intently, and moved by the Good News, many converted to Christianity.
Rumors of this unusual man reached a young girl named Sandukht, the daughter of Armenia’s king Sanatrouk. The Christian faith made such an impact on Sandukht’s life that she declared her belief in Christ and was baptized. But when the king’s spies reported the news to her father, Sandukht was sentenced to jail.
The king asked his daughter to choose between the crown and the sword—either she would renounce Christianity and serve as a pagan princess or face death. Sandukht chose the sword, and became Armenia’s first Christian martyr. Shortly after Sandukht’s death, Thaddeus was also executed by the king. Their sacrifice planted the seeds of the Christian faith in Armenia—a faith that 300 years later would become the foundation on which Christian Armenia was to be built.
Click here http://www.armenianchurch-ed.net/wpblog/2014/07/between-crown-and-sword/
to read more about these saints on our blog.