We have a new Doctor of the Church!!
St Gregory of Narek, the 10th Century Armenian saint, has been declared a Doctor of the Church. Radio Vaticana reported today,
Meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints on Saturday ahead of his departure for Aricca on Lenten retreat, the Pope confirmed the proposal put forward by the Plenary Session of the Congregation to confer the title of Doctor of the Universal Church on the 10th Century saint.
St Gregory of Narek, a saint in both the Catholic and Armenian Apostolic Churches, is one of the most important figures of the medieval Armenian renaissance. He was a poet, monk, philosopher, translator, mystic, theologian, and above all, a lover after God’s own Heart.
St Gregory’s most famous work is his Book of Lamentations, also known as The Armenian Prayerbook of St. Gregory of Narek, a series of 95 prayers offered to God. Through these prayers, each jewel-like in their haunting splendor, St Gregory ponders the question: what can man offer up to God?
The voice of a sighing heart, its sobs and mournful cries,
I offer up to you, O Seer of Secrets,
placing the fruits of my wavering mind
as a savory sacrifice on the fire of my grieving soul
to be delivered to you in the censer of my will.
I think my favourite prayer (so far at least!) is Prayer 12 where our new Doctor of the Church prays:
I long not so much for the gifts
as for the giver.
I yearn not so much for the glory
as the glorified.
I burn not so much with the desire for life
as in memory of the giver of life.
I sigh not so much with the rapture of splendor
as with the heartfelt fervor for its maker.
I seek not so much for rest
as for the face of our comforter.
I pine not so much for the bridal feast
as for the distress of the groom,
through whose strength I wait with certain
expectation believing with unwavering hope
that in spite of the weight of my transgressions
I shall be saved by the Lord’s mighty hand and
that I will not only receive remission of sins
but that I will see the Lord himself
in his mercy and compassion.
St Grigor Narekatsi, Doctor of the Universal Church, pray for us!
All you Holy Martyrs and Saints of Armenia, pray for us!