By Vatican News staff writer
On Saturday, the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to the Holy See, is organizing a celebration, in Vatican City, to mark the first liturgical commemoration of Saint Gregory of Narek in the Latin rite.
The celebration comes following a decree of Pope Francis to inscribe 27 February as the liturgical commemoration of Saint Gregory of Narek, Abbot and Doctor of the Church, in the General Roman Calendar.
Holy Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica
A statement from the Congregation for the Eastern Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity on Friday notes that Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, will celebrate Holy Mass for the feast in St. Peter’s Basilica at 10:30 am (local time) on Saturday.
The Pontifical Delegate for the Mekhitarist Congregation, Archbishop Lévon Bogos Zékyian of Istanbul for the Armenian Catholic faithful; as well as Bishop Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity will concelebrate with Cardinal Sandri.
The Mass will be followed by an Ecumenical Prayer at the statue of St. Gregory of Narek, which was blessed by Pope Francis in the Vatican Gardens in 2018.
Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, the Representative of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Rome, will preside at the ecumenical ceremony, in the presence of Cardinal Kurt Koch, the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
St. Gregory of Narek
Saint Gregory of Narek was a 10th-century Armenian monk, poet, and mystical writer and composer. His most well-known literary work is a book of prayers, known as the “Book of Lamentations”. It is considered a masterpiece of Armenian literature. St Gregory himself defined the work as an “encyclopedia of prayer for all nations,” and hoped that it would provide guidance in prayer for people of all walks of life.
On 2 February, 2021, Pope Francis inscribed Saint Gregory of Narek, Abbot and Doctor of the Church on 27 February, as an Optional Memorial in the Roman Calendar.
St Gregory of Narek is recognized as a Saint in both the Catholic Church and in the Armenian Apostolic Church, being venerated in a particular way among Catholics of the Armenian Rite.