Gregory of Narek

Pope Francis has named a new Doctor of the Church, Gregory of Narek is the first Doctor to be named by Francis and the first since Hildegard and John of Avila back in 2012.

Gregory of Narek was a monk and poet who is widely revered as one of the greatest figures of medieval Armenian religious thought and literature. Gregory was born into a family of writers and scholarly churchmen. His father was a bishop and his mother died when he was young  So Gregory and his two brothers join the monastery where it seems they spent the rest of their lives. In the monastery Gregory excelled at many things and eventually became a teacher. At 25 he became a priest and dedicated his life to God. Gregory is best known for his writing. He was first commissioned to write a commentary on the Song of Songs by a Armenian prince and although Gregory though he was too young to write it the commentary became famous.

Gregory’s most famous work is the Book of Prayers or Book of Lamentations also known as Narek. This work has long been viewed as a gem in Christian literature. Gregory himself called it an “encyclopedia of prayer for all nations” as it was his hope that it would serve as a guide for prayer for people around the world. The book consists of 95 prayers and the central theme of the prayers is man’s separation from God and quest to be reunited. These prayer are really great as well. Take some time to read the prayers or look for the choral versions on YouTube they are in like Russian but they are awesome. He is an interesting Saint and I hope that people are inspired to follow the advice of Gregory and take the Book of Lamentation and use it as a guide in their own prayer lives.



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