Skip to comments.Mystic, monk and poet – meet the newest Doctor of the Church (Catholic/Armenian Caucus)
Posted on 02/24/2015 10:27:51 AM PST by NYer
.- St. Gregory of Narek – a tenth century priest, monk, mystic, and poet beloved among Armenian Christians – has become the first Armenian to be named a Doctor of the Church.
“It is a great honor for the Armenian Church to contribute to this very important rank of saints who have enriched the Catholic Church with their teachings,” Armenian Catholic priest Father Thomas Garabedian told CNA Feb. 23.
“Certainly this is a big honor for us Armenian-Americans,” said Fr. Garabedian, who is chancellor of the Armenian Catholic Eparchy of Canada and the United States.
The Pope on Feb. 21 confirmed St. Gregory of Narek as the Church’s newest doctor during a private audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Vatican Radio reports.
St. Gregory of Narek is known for his various poetic writings, especially a book of prayers entitled “Book of Lamentations.”
“This saint is very revered in the Armenian Church. It is not uncommon to find his book in every Armenian household throughout the Middle East and also here,” Fr. Garabedian continued.
The saint’s book laments his nature as a great sinner, said the priest, who compared him to mystics like St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.
St. Gregory was born in the ancient Armenian region of Andzevatsik around the year 950, the son of an archbishop named Khosrov. His mother died when he was young, and he was educated by his cousin Anania, who founded the local monastery and school.
Ordained a priest at 25, St. Gregory began his writing career with a commentary on the “Song of Songs.”
He died in Narek in southeast Turkey around the year 1005. The monastery of Narekavank, where the saint passed most of his life, was destroyed in 1951. A mosque has since been erected in its place.
St. Gregory of Narek is venerated as a saint both in the Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church, which is not in full communion with Rome. The Armenian Catholic Church, an Eastern Church in union with Rome, has about 1 million members.
Armenians suffered one of the first genocides of the 20th century, beginning in 1915 under the Ottoman Empire and continuing under the Turkish government which succeeded it. Over 1 million people were killed and many displaced.
Pope Francis particularly spoke about the martyrdom of Armenian Christians at a May 8, 2014 meeting with Patriarch Karekin II of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
The Pope said the “ecumenism of suffering and of the martyrdom of blood are a powerful summons to walk the long path of reconciliation between the Churches, by courageously and decisively abandoning ourselves to the working of the Holy Spirit.”
In a 2001 apostolic letter marking the 1,700th anniversary of Christianity in Armenia, St. John Paul II praised St. Gregory of Narek as one who “probed the dark depths of human desperation and glimpsed the blazing light of grace that shines even there for believers.”
Before Saturday, there were 35 Doctors of the Church recognized for their universal importance to the Catholic Church due to their great learning and sanctity. In October 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named Sts. John of Avila and Hildegard von Bingen as Doctors of the Church.
I don’t want to be nit picky, but are you allowed to put a Catholics Only sign on a discussion when the subject of the article was not Catholic?
Ping the Kardashians!
Unfortunately, the Eastern Orthodox Church doesn’t recognize these Church Father additions. The entire Church needs to be in on decision process
As Ann Barnhardt has recently noted:
Gregory of Narek, while certainly a very holy man, was outside of communion with Rome, and also was a heretic, namely a Miaphysitite...
Miaphysitism holds that Christ has only one nature, which contains both a divine character and a human character. Miaphysitism is the heresy held by what are referred to today as the Oriental Orthodox churches, which includes among others the Armenians and also the Copts in Egypt...
While there have been and are holy people in these Oriental Orthodox churches, and let us certainly put at the head of that list for purposes of this explanation both Gregory of Narek AND the 21 Coptic martyrs who died on the Libyan beach just last week with the Most Holy Name of Jesus on their lips, we cannot permit sentimentality to subvert truth...
Could it be possible that with the Christians in the Middle East under attack from a violent resurgent Islam, this should come as no surprise.
Respectfully, you are mistaken. There was no Armenian Catholic Church until around 700 years after Gregory died. He was a member of the Armenian Apostolic Church which is part of the Oriental Orthodox communion. They have not been in communion with Rome since AD 554. As for the rest of your comment, you need to take that up with the Pope.
I don’t understand. The pope honors a person and you somehow have a problem with that. Why?
On the contrary, I am delighted that Gregory is being honored. My only objection is to efforts being made to pretend he was Catholic.
St. Gregory of Narek is venerated as a saint both in the Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church
That’s fine, and as far as it goes, completely true. Who the Catholic Church chooses to venerate as a saint is its own business. But there is a fine distinction between venerating him, and his actually being Catholic.
Why would anyone not in communion with the Catholic Church be designated a "Doctor of the Church" (a title previously bestowed upon defenders of doctrine)? Isn't it reasonable to wonder why Francis would name a new Doctor who is not in communion with those great defenders of Catholic orthodoxy who have already been designated Doctors of the Church, such as Athanasius, Basil the Great, Aquinas, Augustine and Teresa of Avila?
St. Thomas Aquinas (Doctor of the Church): "Clearly the person who accepts the Church as an infallible guide will believe whatever the Church teaches". Shouldn't believing whatever the Church teaches be a basic prerequisite for the title, "Doctor of the Church"?
St. Gregory was born in 950 AD. IIRC, at that time, there was only one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
I’m sorry, but that’s simply inaccurate. In the tenth century the schism with the non-Chalcedonians was already close to 400 years old. The Armenian Church was, and is, Miaphysite in its doctrine.
When a church enters communion with Rome, as did part of the Armenian church, the Holy See accepts as valid all of its spiritual and theological patrimony, including canonizations, so long as there is no explicit contradiction with Catholic doctrine.
This is what happened when the Armenian Catholic Church was formed, regarding St. Gregory and his work. Also, it appears, St. Gregory was persecuted in life for defending the Council of Chalcedon, which would also count in his favour.
The Definition of Chalcedon:
We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach people to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten God (μονογενῆ Θεὸν), the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.