Sunday, March 22, 2009

Monday in Lent 4

The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. (Acts 17:24-25)

This is the from the first lesson for the feast of Gregory the Illuminator, apostle to Armenia, the first Christian nation.

I honor all the love, joy, and beauty given to me by Armenian friends and their cultural and religious heritage by celebrating his feast this Monday.

Saint Krikor the Illuminator (alternate: Armenia: Գրիգոր Լուսաւորիչ translit. Grigor Lusavorich, Greek: Γρηγόριος Φωστήρ or Φωτιστής, Gregorios Phoster or Photistes), was born about 257, the founder and patron saint of the Armenia Apostolic Church (Armenian: Հայ Արաքելական Եկեղեցի), sometimes called the Armenian Orthodox Church or the Gregorian Church, is the world's oldest national church and one of the most ancient Christian communities.

Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion, in 301, when St. Krikor the Illuminator converted Tiridates III (the King of Armenia) and members of his court.

You may read (and see photos) of a celebration of Sourp Krikor's feast in 2006 here.

Almighty God, whose will it is to be glorified in your saints, and who raised up your servant Gregory the Illuminator to be a light in the world, and to preach the Gospel to the people of Armenia: Shine, we pray, in our hearts, that we also in our generation may show forth your praise, who called us out of darkness into your marvelous light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

O Lord our God, in your holy Sacraments you have given us a foretaste of the good things of your kingdom: Direct us, we pray, in the way that leads to eternal life, that we may come to appear before you in that place of light where you dwell for ever with your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

--the BB

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