Population, religion and language
Despite having a wide variety of people groups in the geographically compact Caucasus region, Armenia was viewed as an unusually homogeneous state in the days of the Soviet Union and still is today. Around 98% of the population are ethnic Armenians. Most of them consider themselves as belonging to the autocephalic, independent Armenian Apostolic church. This has grown strongly in influence since the end of the Soviet Regime and the establishment of independence in Armenia, especially since belonging to the Christian confession for Armenians has always been part of their national identity. Even greater than the size of the Armenian population is the number of Armenians scattered around the world, which is currently estimated to be 7 million. The Armenian language, a branch of the Indo-European language family, falls into two distinct forms: Eastern and Western Armenian. The Eastern Armenian language is spoken in the Republic of Armenia, while most of the diaspora speak Eastern Armenian. Both forms are derived from old German which has served as the language for liturgy and literature since the 5th century AD.