Mihr is the deity of light, harmony and the god of Truth in ancient Armenian mythology, related to Mithras and perhaps a local variant of the deity. The worship of Mihr was centered in a region named Derjan, a district in Upper Armenia, currently located in eastern Turkish territories. The temple dedicated to Mihr was edified in the village of Bagaritch, but was destroyed when King Trdat III converted to Christianity. The temple of Garni, today the last pagan temple in Armenia that remains standing, was originally dedicated to Mihr before Armenian neopagans reconsecrated it to Vahagn. Another temple to Mihr was more recently excavated at Artashat, right on the border with Turkey. Despite of the fact that the Armenian Mihr was less prominent in Armenia than Mithra in Persia, Mihr is the root of many Armenian proper names such as Mihran, Mihrdat and Mehruzhan. Furthermore, the Armenian Mehian, a pagan temple, has the same source. The month of February was dedicated to Mihr and it was called Mehekan, or Meheki. In 301 A.D. Christianity became the official religion of Armenia. Thus, the Armenian church adopted many pagan rites and ceremonies. For example, the Christian fire-festival Drentez ,which has pagan roots, is still celebrated in February, the month dedicated to Mihr.
The birth of Mihr was celebrated on December 22, the day after the Winter Solstice, when the days begin to lengthen. This day is still honored today at Garni.
Triad in Armenian paganism Edit
According to Vahan Kurkjian, the ideology behind the Armenian paganism has no avestan trait, because the notion of the ideal did not exist in Mazdeism. The ideology of the latter was based on the struggle between light and dark. However, the Armenians erected statues to honor the sun and the moon. Furthermore, the Armenian paganism is characterized by the worship of Triad. The Urartians worshipped three great gods-Haldi, Thiespas and Shivini. The same notion existed in Armenian Zoroastrianism. Thus, the Triad consisted of Aramazd, Anahit and Mihr.