Pope Francis and Archbishop Khajag Barsamian

Commemoration of St. Gregory of Narek and Presentation of English Translation of His Prayers in Rome


ROME — On February 28, on the occasion of the day of remembrance of St. Gregory of Narek (or Grigor Narekatsi in Armenian), in accordance to the Roman Catholic Church calendar, an ecumenical prayer service and a special presentation took place at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome.

The ecumenical service was presided over by Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Representative of the Armenian Church to the Holy See and the Pontifical Legate of the Western Europe.

At the beginning of the ecumenical service Archbishop Barsamian welcomed everyone present and expressed his gratitude to both Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and Cardinal Koch for their patronage and thanked the Ecumenical Section of the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas University  and the Armenian Embassy to the Holy See for organizing these events with the Representation of the Armenian Church to the Holy See. Archbishop Barsamian concluded his remarks asking everyone to pray to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, through the intercession of St. Gregory of Narek, for the peace in the world and, given the present circumstances, particularly in Ukraine.

Cardinal Koch in his remarks indicated that this year again St. Gregory of Narek — the great Armenian Saint and Doctor of the Universal Church — has brought all of us together to this ecumenical service. “We ask his intercession in our walk for the full communion. We ask Saint Gregory of Narek, who is also known as the Saint of Peace, for the peace in Ukraine”, Cardinal Koch said.

3Pope Francis and Archbishop Khajag Barsamian with Prof. Abraham Terian and his wife Dr. Sara Terian

The homily was delivered by Cardinal Sandri who asked everyone to pray with the words of St. Gregory of Narek asking the Lord to grant everyone the profound faith of St. Gregory. His Eminence continued saying “Dear Armenian friends, this great Armenian mystical and lyrical poet, monk, theologian has become a Doctor of the Universal Church.”

Besides the high ranking Catholic clergy, this ecumenical service brought together also Armenian Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican clergy, diplomats, academics and the faithful.

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Following the ecumenical service a special program followed, during which the new publication of the English translation of the prayers of St. Gregory of Narek by Prof. Abraham Terian, titled From the Depths of the Heart: Annotated Translation of St. Gregory of Narek, was presented.

In the beginning of the program, Father Thomas Joseph White, the rector of the university, welcomed everyone, followed by Cardinal Koch speaking about St. Gregory of Narek and the unity of Christians. Prof. Marco Bais, an Armenologist and professor at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome made the presentation of this new publication. Afterwards, Prof. Abraham Terian spoke about the sacramental theology of St. Gregory of Narek. The program was concluded with the closing remarks by Ambassador Garen Nazarian, Ambassador of Armenia to the Holy See.

On March 2, at the Papal General Audience in Vatican, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian presented Prof. Abraham Terian to His Holiness Pope Francis. Prof. Terian had the opportunity to present to Pope Francis his three new publications including From the Depth of the Heart: Annotated Translations of the Prayers of St. Gregory of Narek. The Pope expressed his appreciation to Terian and gave his blessings to him and to his wife, Dr. Sara Terian.




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