23 February 2015
Armenian Apostolic sisters garden outside the seventh-century St. Gayane Church in Etchmiadzin. (photo: Armineh Johannes)
St. Gregory of Narek, born in the year 951, is an important figure in the traditions of both the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches — “priest and poet, theologian and philosopher, monk and mystic.”
Earlier today, Pope Francis declared St. Gregory a doctor of the church. (For an explanation of this honor, click here.)
In the Autumn 2013 issue of ONE, Michael La Civita wrote about this saint’s life and works:
Few details of Gregory’s life are known, but hints of the man’s years of pain and suffering suffuse his writings, particularly his Book of Lamentations. Written in the waning years of the first Christian millennium, Lamentations is considered by scholars a metaphor for the preparation and celebration of the Divine Liturgy — an “edifice of faith,” to use the poet’s words.
The 95 Lamentations are grouped together, mirroring the different stages of the liturgy, from the dismissal of the catechumens, the profession of faith and communion to the final prayers in preparation of death and judgment.
For the entire piece — complete with an excerpt from St. Gregory’s Book of Lamentations — click here, or read Staying Power, from the Autumn 2013 issue of ONE.
Tags: Armenia Armenian Apostolic Church Prayers/Hymns/Saints Saints Monasticism