VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis consecrated the bronze statue of St. Gregory of Narek (Grigor Narekatsi), a 10th century poet and monk famed hero of the Armenian culture and Doctor of the Universal Church. The historic event was attended by President Serzh Sargsyan, Catholicos of all Armenians, Karekin II, and Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, Aram I. The two church patriarchs delivered special prayers at the ceremony.
President Sargsyan, who traveled to Vatican City, met with the Pontiff in his residence earlier. The bronze statue, signed by David Yerevantsi was melted in the Czech Republic under the joint sponsorship of Mikael Minasyan. Armenia’s ambassador to the Holy See, and Artur Janibekyan, the director of Gazprom Media Holding (Moscow).
The opening ceremony of Doctor of the Church, Gospel, Saint Gregory of Narek took place in the Vatican on Thursday, April 5th 2018. At the end of the ceremony, Pope Francis bowed in front of the statue.
The Vatican is at the center of the attention of the whole Christian world and the blessing of Narekatsi’s stature in the Gardens of the Vatican by the Pope is an important event. It is important not only from the point of view of the relations between Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches, which by the way, became even stronger after the visit of Pope Francis to the first Christian country. The statue is also important in the sense of introducing the world St. Gregory of Narek and the Armenian cultural heritage.
A reminder that on April 12, 2015, during the liturgy on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in the Papal Basilica of St. Peter, Pope Francis declared Gregory of Narek the Doctor of the Church. During the visit of Pope Francis to Armenia, the President of Armenian Serzh Sargsyan presented the head of the Catholic Church, a miniature of Gregory of Narek as a symbol of the Pope’s pilgrimage to the first Christian country, expressing his hope that its larger version will stand in the Vatican. The Pope of Rome agreed.
Attorney Joseph Karimian and his wife Karin, were the only guests from the U.S West Coast, invited to the historic event.