Saint Days: Gregory the Illuminator, Missionary
St. Gregory the Illuminator (257-331) is the patron saint of the Armenian Apostolic Church who is credited with converting Armenia from paganism in 301. Interesting fact: on account of St. Gregory's work, Armenia became the first nation to make Christianity its official religion.
Born to Armenian nobility, Gregory was educated and brought up as a devout Christian. He married a Christian woman named Miriam with whom he had two sons. At some point, he and his wife separated so he could live a monastic lifestyle which catalyzed his evangelization of his homeland. Upon returning there, the ruler, Tiridates III had him imprisoned because Gregory's father had assassinated Khosrov II, Tiridates' father. After 12 years of imprisonment, however, Gregory was brought to Tiridates III to restore his sanity. In 301, Gregory baptized the king and Armenia adopted Christianity as its national religion.
Here is what The Armenian Church: The Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America says about the life of St. Gregory the Illuminator:
"St. Gregory's early life teaches us to listen to our conscience and dedicate ourselves to carrying out good deeds, no matter what kind of a burden we carry. Faith in God, a Christian spirit of love and good works will relieve us of our sins, as well as the sins of our fathers. We must take every step in life with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, whose wisdom will make us act according to God's will. Like Gregory, we can begin to do this with our own immediate surroundings, especially with younger family members and friends. St. Gregory and all the martyrs of the church set a wonderful example for us, teaching us not to be ashamed of our Christian identity."
Let us remember St. Gregory the Illuminator today in our prayers:
Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Gregory the Illuminator, whom you called to preach the Gospel to the Armenian people; raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom, that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.