Initially tolerant of the Armenians’ Christian faith, the Sassanid rulers, for political reasons, tried to persuade them to untie themselves from orthodox Christianity, which was then centered in Rome and Byzantium. But they were not successful in their intentions. So they tried to suppress Christianity by using force, destroying churches, and radically enforcing Zoroastrianism.
For their surprise, the Armenians hadn’t accepted this pacifically. Soon after the decree, conflagrations and insurrections exploded throughout the region. When hearing about the religious freedom of his comrades being restricted, Vardan Mamikonian, a respected general, asked for the Byzantine Empire’s military assistance, which was conceded, but unfortunately, haven’t arrived at the expected time. The Sassanid army had already prepared an attack.
With experienced veterans and army officials, reinforced by an enormous contingent of the population, the Armenians were able to gather an effective offensive. They were deeply committed to fight for their right to practice Christianity – which was, by then, their cultural and historic religion – as well as to maintain their customs and principles, that the Sassanid dynasty was deeply committed to modify, extinguish and subvert.
Nevertheless, despite the respectable and consistent contingent the Armenians had organized in their behalf, the Sassanid army was simply too superior to be subdued. The Armenians inevitably suffered tragic losses, and expired at the battlefield. Vardan Mamikonian perished in the conflict, along with his war entourage.
Always tough and determined in their resistance, the Armenians never accepted their fate. The general dissatisfactions and the aggressive rebellion against the religious suppression progressed in the years to come. Vahan Mamikonian, nephew of Vardan Mamikonian, led a continuation of the turmoil against the Sassanid dynasty, that eventually resulted in the Treaty of Nvarsak, that guaranteed and restored religious freedom to the Armenians. A testimony that exposes the value of perseverance, persistence and faith.