A 10th Century Armenian monk, mystical writer and poet, Gregory of Narek is known especially for his “Book of Lamentations,” a book of prayers he wrote, considered to be a masterpiece of Armenian literature.
This morning, April 5, 2018, Pope Francis presided over the inauguration and blessing of the statue of St Gregory of Narek in the Vatican Gardens. Two Patriarchs of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and the Patriarch of the Armenian Catholic Church participated in the blessing, where the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, and a delegation from the country were also present.
In both the Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church, St. Gregory of Narek is recognized as a saint. During a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on April 12, 2015, to mark the centenary of the genocide of some million and a half Armenians, Pope Francis made St Gregory of Narek a Doctor of the Church.
During that Mass, the Pope recalled “that horrific massacre,” which was “a true martyrdom of your people, in which many innocent people died as confessors and martyrs for the name of Christ.”
In June 24-26 2016, Pope Francis visited Armenia. On his first day hours after landing, in the nation’s capital of Yerevan, the Pope deviated from his prepared remarks at the presidential palace and called the massacre of ethnic Armenians by Ottoman Turks a “genocide,” noting it marked “the start of a sad series of great catastrophes of the last century.”
According to Vatican News, there will be an inauguration ceremony at the end of 2018 in the gardens of the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Cathedral of Etchmiadzin, where a copy of the same statue is being produced and will be placed.