Pope Francis Declares St. Gregory of Narek Doctor of the Church

VATICAN CITY (A.W.)—Pope Francis has declared celebrated 10th century Armenian mystic and poet, St. Gregory of Narek, a Doctor of the Universal Church. The Vatican said Monday that the Pope had agreed to bestow the honor on St. Gregory after the decision made by the Vatican’s office in charge of saint-making, reported the Vatican Radio.

St. Gregory of Narek,
St. Gregory of Narek,

The title of Doctor of the Universal Church is one of the church’s highest honors—reserved for people whose writings have greatly served the universal church, reports the Associated Press. In all, only 35 people have been given the title over the years. Doctors of the Church include St. Augustine, St. Francis de Sales, and St. Teresa of Avila.

St. Gregory lived around 950 to 1005 and is regarded as one of the most significant figures of medieval Armenian religious thought. The Book of Lamentations, commonly referred to simply as the Narek, is a mystical poem in 95 sections, and is considered his most important work.

The designation comes only a few weeks before the Pope is scheduled to celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.


  1. Thanks to father Sahag Keshishian the jesuit Armenian priest, director of Saintt Gregory College of Beirut, who was the first to ever translate Dr. Saint Nareg from Classic Armenian to french.

    • Saint Gregory of Narek is the first Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church to have lived outside direct communion with the Bishop of Rome; he belonged to the Armenian Apostolic Church, part of Oriental Orthodoxy.

  2. Aida, thank you for forwarding this wonderful news! I share your pride and joy on this recognition of your Armenian saint. I love you. Carol

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