Pope Francis has declared Armenian poet and
monk, Saint Gregory of Narek, a
Doctor of the Universal Church.
Meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the
Congregation for the Cause of Saints on Saturday ahead of
his departure for Aricca on Lenten retreat, the Pope
confirmed the proposal put forward by the Plenary Session of
the Congregation to confer the title of Doctor of the
Universal Church on the 10th century saint, Vatican
St. Gregory of Narek is widely revered as one of the
greatest figures of medieval Armenian religious thought and
literature. Born in the city of Narek in about 950 A.D., St.
Gregory came from a line of scholars and churchmen.
St. Gregory received his education under the guidance of his
father, Bishop Khosrov, author of the earliest commentary on
the Divine Liturgy, and from Anania Vartabed, abbess of
Narek Monastery. He and his two brothers entered monastic
life at an early age, and St. Gregory soon began to excel in
music, astronomy, geometry, mathematics, literature, and
He became a priest at the age of 25 and dedicated himself to
God. He lived most of his life in the monastery of Narek,
where he taught at the monastic school. St. Gregory began
his writings with a commentary on the “Song of Songs,” which
was commissioned by an Armenian prince. Despite his
reservations that he was too young for the task, the
commentary became famous for its clarity of thought and
language and its excellence of theological presentation.
He also wrote a number of famous letters, sharagans,
treasures, odes, melodies, and discourses. Many of his
prayers are included in the Divine Liturgy celebrated each
Sunday in Armenian Churches around the world.
St. Gregory’s masterpiece is considered to be his Book
of Lamentations. Also known as Narek, it
is comprised of 95 prayers, each of which is titled
“Conversation with God from the depth of the heart.” A
central theme is man’s separation from God, and his quest to
reunite with Him. St. Gregory described the work this way:
“Its letters like my body, its message like my soul.” He
called his book an “encyclopedia of prayer for all
nations.” It was his hope that it would serve as a guide to
prayer for people all over the world. After the advent of
movable type, the book was published in Marseille in 1673,
and has been translated into at least 30 languages.
St. Gregory of Narek is remembered by the Armenian Church in
October of each year.
Public Radio of Armenia 17:38, 23 Feb
2015 Siranush Ghazanchyan
Gregory of Narek
“Doctor of the Church”
On Monday 23rdd February 2015, the official Vatican paper
“Osservatore Romano”, has reported that His Holiness, during
his meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato on 21st of February
2015, has accepted the recommendation of the synod of
cardinals and bishops that Saint Gregory of Narek be
proclaimed Doctor of the Church.
His Holiness Pope Francis, in the very near future, will
officially make this announcement of Honoring Our Saint
Gregory of Narek, according to Vatican sources.
This is not only a great honor for our Church but also for
all Armenians, especially as it will coincide with the
centenary of the Armenian Genocide of 1915.