Religion, having ancient roots, is very important in Armenia and has remained strong up to present days. The Armenian Apostolic Church is considered to be one of the most ancient Christian churches in the world. Christianity was first introduced in Armenia by the apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus in the 1st century AD. Armenia became the first country to establish Christianity as its state religion when, in an event traditionally dated to 301 AD, St. Gregory the Illuminator convinced Tiridates III, the king of Armenia, to convert to Christianity. Before this, the dominant religion was Zoroastrianism and to a smaller degree paganism. Thanks to the sermons of Gregory the Illuminator, Armenian king Tiridates (287-330 A.D.) and his family were the first to be baptized, after which Christianity was announced as the state religion of the country.