Welcome home to the Orthodox Church!
As I'm sure you know, the Armenian Orthodox (Apostolic) Church is one of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, which means she shares the same Miaphysite Faith as the Syriac, Ethiopian, Coptic, Indian, and Eritrean Churches.
I'm not Armenian, I'm Coptic, but we share the same Faith and my wife and I visit the Armenian Church in our neighborhood and receive Holy Communion every couple of months or so. Especially when they're having some kind of festival and there's khorovadz
to be had.
Here is a link to a website with a basic catechism of the Armenian Orthodox Church. It answers a lot of basic questions about the Church and the Faith. It should be very helpful for you:http://www.armenianorthodoxchurch.org/v07/doc%20catechism/main.htm
I understand a bit about the christology
Basically, what you need to know is that the Armenian Church sticks to the formula of St. Cyril of Alexandria mia physis tou Theo Logou sesarkomene
, which means One (Composite) Nature of God the Incarnate Word
. This means that we believe that Our Lord Jesus Christ has one united nature, both fully human and fully Divine. So we are not
"monophysites" and those who call us such are either misinformed or liars.
If you want to know more, there's more in the catechism I linked to, and some good books on the subject are The Council of Chalcedon and the Armenian Church
by His Holiness Karekin I and The Council of Chalcedon Re-Examined
by Fr. V.C. Samuel. Those are pretty invovled and academic though, so if you want something a little shorter and more straightforward to get started with, I'd recommend The Nature of Christ
by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, which is available online here:http://www.copticchurch.net/topics/theology/nature_of_christ.pdf
Can you give me some advice about converting?
1.) Build a life of prayer and seek God's will.
2.) Find a priest you're comfortable with so they can guide you on your journey.
3.) Attend the badarak
and other services as much as possible.
4.) Study and learn all you can. I'm a history and theology geek, and my wife and I kinda went through this whole process ourselves, so you can feel free to ask me anything at any time, and if I can help, I will.
How long does it take to be official?
There's no set period of time. It's all about when your father of confession (the priest who's guiding you) feels your spiritually ready and have learned all the basics. It's usually somewhere between six months and one year, but for some people, it can be a lot shorter. I've seen people received into the Church after just a couple of months because the priest knew that had been studying and praying and preparing themselves for a long time beforehand, and he judged them to be ready.
Here's a good description of the process from another Orthodox Church:Adults wishing to enter the communion of the Church go through three stages that can be compared to getting married. At the inquirer stage, one enters into a "dating" relationship with the Church. When one's inquiries satisfies one that the Orthodox Church is who she claims to be - the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, the body of Christ, the fullness of him who is all in all - one is welcome to become a catechumen. Becoming a catechumen is like getting engaged. At this stage, one learns not only about Orthodoxy but how to be Orthodox, how to live according to the Orthodox way. One is gently guided in the ascetic and moral disciplines of the Church. When one feels ready to die to the world in order to live for Christ in his holy Church, one is ready to be married to Christ by becoming a member of his bride, the Church, through Holy Baptism and/or Chrismation. http://www.sthermanmpls.org/catechumenate.html
What church fathers should I read?
You don't want to overwhelm yourself at first. Start slow, and make sure you really absorb what you're reading. The Fathers are deep, so if you try to absorb too much too fast, you could burn yourself out. I would recommend St. Cyril of Alexandria One the Unity of Christ
and St. Athanasius On the Incarnation
How much do I need to know before I am officially part of the church
It's not a matter of how much you need to know before you're received. We're all still learning, even after we're in. It's a growing process. But basically, if you have a handle on the stuff in the catechism, you're in good shape.
I hope this helps! Please let me know if there's anything else I can help with at any time. My wife was from a Protestant background, and we were received into the Coptic Orthodox Church together at the same time, so we went down the same road you're walking now. Shoot me a pm anytime, or ask here in the forum.
Take care, God bless, and welcome home!