Representing His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese, and the Very Reverend Fr. Shahe Ananyan, Ecumenical Relations director of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, traveled to the Vatican this week to discuss an upcoming ceremony that will honor an Armenian saint.
On Thursday, April 5, 2018, the Vatican will unveil a statue of St. Gregory of Narek, in the presence of Pope Francis, His Holiness Karekin II, and Armenia’s President Serge Sargsyan.
The 10th-century Armenian monk and mystical poet was approved by the Pope as a Doctor of the Church in 2015. The Roman Catholic Church recognizes only 36 doctors of the church, including Augustine of Hippo, John Chrysostom, Thomas Aquinas, and Narek—who is remembered by Catholics every February 27.
Armenians have long revered Narek as the author of the collection known as the “Book of Lamentations,” among other spiritual treasures.
In Rome this week, Archbishop Barsamian and Fr. Ananyan met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, to discuss details of the April 5 ceremony. They also met with Cardinal Leonardo Saudri, Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Orthodox Churches, and Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, to discuss various inter-church matters.