Gregory the Illuminator
GREGORY THE ILLUMINATOR
GREGORY THE ILLUMINATOR was the chief bishop of Armenia from circa 314 to 325, one of the major saints of the Armenian church, and author of the conversion of the Armenian people to Christianity. Information about him derives mainly from two fifth-century sources, Agathangelos's History of the Armenians and the Greek Life of Gregory.
According to Agathangelos's legendary account, Gregory was the son of the Parthian prince Anak who killed his kinsman King Khosrov of Armenia. The Armenians retaliated by killing Anak's family, Gregory being the sole survivor. He was taken to Caesarea Mazaca (modern Kayseri, Turkey), where he was raised a Christian. There he married a Christian woman with whom he had two sons. He entered the service of King Tiridates III of Armenia (298–330), accompanying him to Greater Armenia in 298 when the Romans restored the king to the throne of his ancestors. Gregory's refusal to offer sacrifice to the idol of the goddess Anahita provoked the king to torture him and condemn him to imprisonment in the Khor Virap ("deep pit") of Artashat. There Gregory miraculously survived for thirteen years until he was released to cure the king of a severe ailment. Succeeding in his mission, Gregory converted the king, the royal family, and the army, and set out to proselytize the Armenian nation. He destroyed six major shrines of the prevailing deities of ancient Armenia, erected crosses throughout the country, and built baldachins over the graves of the forty Christian virgins martyred by Tiridates III.
About 314 Gregory received episcopal ordination in Caesarea. Returning to Armenia, he destroyed the pagan shrine at Ashtishat and founded the first church in Armenia. Tradition reports that he baptized the entire Armenian nation in the waters of the Arsenias River, built several churches, founded monasteries, and ordained bishops. Finally, after handing over his episcopal duties to his younger son, Aristakes, he retired to a solitary life. The office of the chief bishop of Armenia became intermittently hereditary in his family until 439. The cult of Gregory and the veneration of his relics became popular in the second half of the fifth and especially in the sixth and seventh centuries.
The Armenian tradition ascribes to Gregory the authorship of canons, a book of homilies (the Yachakhapatum ), and the liturgical books that are used in the Armenian church. Modern scholarship, however, has shown that none of these works could have been composed before the fifth century.
Agathangelos. History of the Armenians. Translated with commentary by Robert W. Thomson. Albany, N.Y., 1976.
Ananian, Paulo. "La data e le circostanze della consecrazione di S. Gregorio Illuminatore." Le Muséon 74 (1961): 43–73, 319–360.
Garitte, Gérard. Documents pour l'étude du livre d'Agathange. Studi e Testi, vol. 127. Vatican City, 1946. Includes the Life of Gregory.
Thomson, Robert W., et al., trans. The Teaching of Saint Gregory: An Early Armenian Catechism. Cambridge, Mass., 1970.
Krikor H. Maksoudian (1987)
"Gregory the Illuminator." Encyclopedia of Religion. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gregory-illuminator
"Gregory the Illuminator." Encyclopedia of Religion. . Retrieved October 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gregory-illuminator
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.