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St. Gregory of Narek

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Author and Publisher - Catholic Online


Feastday: February 27
Birth: ~950
Death: 1005

Gregory was raised in a monastery and eventually entered the Narek Monastery, known as Narekavank in what is now Turkey, as a monk and lived there for nearly the entirety of his life.

At the time, Armenia was experiencing a literature, painting, architecture, and theological renaissance, in which Gregory participated.

As an Armenian monk, Gregory lived humbly and taught at the monastic school. He wrote his prayers in the encyclopedia of prayer for all nations in hopes the book would one day guide people of all stations around the world to prayer.

He was a leader of the well-developed school of Armenian mysticism at the Monastery and was asked to answer the question, "What can one offer to God, our creator, who already has everything and knows everything better than we could ever express it?"

In his Book of Prayer, also called the Book of Lamentations or the Song of Songs, Gregory wrote that the answer to the question is "the sighs of the heart." The book contains 91 prayers and was completed one year before he died.

Several miracles and traditions have been traced back to Gregory and he is known as "the watchful angel in human form."

Gregory of Narek was venerated as a saint by the Armenian Catholic Church and is also recognized as a saint of the Roman Catholic church. On April 12, 1015, Pope Francis officially proclaimed Gregory of Narek as a Doctor of the Church.

Saint Gregory has been depicted holding his book of prayer in a variety of artwork and a professor of psychiatry was able to develop a unique kind of therapy based on Saint Gregory's Book of Lamentations.

Though he has yet to be proclaimed the patron saint of a particular patronage, his Book of Prayer has been used to treat several diseases including schizophrenia, Hepatitis C, periodic disease, stress symptoms and depression.

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