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st.Gregory the Illuminator-National saint and patron of Armenia, the first Christian state

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  st.Gregory the Illuminator

Feast Day : October 1

 

 

Also known as: the Apostle of Armenia

 

 

Gregory was brought up in a Christian family in Caesarea, Cappadocia (in modern Turkey). He married and had two sons. According to tradition, Christianity had been brought to Armenia by the apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus. The Persians overtook the country and destroyed the churches, but eventually were driven out by King Trdat. Trdat, a defender of the old Armenian religion, persecuted Gregory but was converted by him. The two evangelized the country and Trdat made Christianity the national religion. Gregory returned to Caesarea to be ordained, and was made bishop of the Armenians. He went to Ashishat to live, and there preached to the masses. Toward the end of his life, he retired and was succeeded by his son, Aristakes. The date of his death is uncertain, but probably was around 337. His relics were deposed in Thortan. An embellished legend of his life and trials tells of Gregory being thrown into a poisonous pit by Trdat, and coming out alive thanks to prayer. He fasted 70 days, and had many adventures defeating the pagans throughout the land.

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