Celebrating The Day Of St. Gregory, The Illuminator Of Armenia

Celebrating The Day Of St. Gregory, The Illuminator Of Armenia
Celebrating The Day Of St. Gregory, The Illuminator Of Armenia

Video: Celebrating The Day Of St. Gregory, The Illuminator Of Armenia

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Video: Feast of the Discovery of the Relics of St Gregory the Illuminator 2023, February
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Saint Gregory the Illuminator is one of the most revered historical figures by the Armenian people. He was born into the family of a high-ranking nobleman Anak Partev, close to the court of the Armenian king Khosrov Arshakuni. At the instigation of the Persians, Gregory's father killed the king, after which he tried to escape with his family. But the fugitives were soon overtaken. The regicide and all members of his family, except for the two-year-old Gregory, were executed.

Celebrating the Day of St. Gregory, the Illuminator of Armenia
Celebrating the Day of St. Gregory, the Illuminator of Armenia

How exactly the little boy was saved is not known for certain. Most likely, his father's servants hid him, taking him to Caesarea in Cappadocia. There Gregory grew up and adopted the Christian faith. To atone for the sin of his father, he incognito entered the service of Tsar Trdat III, the son of the murdered Anak. Somehow Trdat learned that Gregory was not only the son of his blood enemy, but also a Christian. In anger, the king ordered to imprison Gregory in prison and not to give him food. But kind people secretly passed food to the prisoner. This went on for 13 long years (according to other sources, even more - 15).

Then Trdat III fell seriously ill, and Gregory was able to cure him with fervent prayers. After that, the healed king believed in the power of the Christian religion and was baptized along with his subjects. Christianity became the dominant religion in Armenia, and Gregory received the rank of bishop - Catholicos. He passed away in 326. It is in his honor that the Armenian Apostolic Church still bears another name - "Gregorian".

Saint Gregory's Day is celebrated in Armenia on September 30. On this day, magnificent services take place in the Yerevan Cathedral and in the Echmiadzin Cathedral, built during his lifetime and at the initiative of St. Gregory. Many people visit the dungeon where Saint Gregory languished. This underground prison Khor Virap (translated from Armenian as “deep pit”, “deep prison”) is located on the territory of the monastery bearing the same name. It is from the high rocky cliff where the monastery is located that a magnificent view of the sacred for Armenians Mount Ararat opens. Believers remember the grievous suffering that Saint Gregory endured during his long years of imprisonment in an underground dungeon, and turn to him with requests to bestow perseverance and courage in overcoming various trials.

Believers also commemorate St. Gregory on this day, making sacrifices ("matah"). The sacrificial animal can be a bull, a ram, a rooster or a dove. According to tradition, the meat of the sacrificial bull is boiled and then distributed to 40 houses, the meat of the ram - at 7, the rooster is divided into 3 houses. The dove is supposed to be set free. The sacrificial animal is boiled only with the addition of salt, no other seasonings are allowed. This custom is still very popular in Armenia, despite the fact that many Christian churches condemn it, seeing it as a relic of paganism.

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