Collier’s New Encyclopedia – Saint Gregory the Illuminator

statue of Saint Gregory the Illuminator; date unknown, artist unknown; facade of Saint Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Rome, Italy; photographed on 4 May 2010 by Lars Curfs; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Saint Gregory, surnamed Illuminator, the founder of the Armenian Church; born in Valarshabad, Armenia, about 257. He was of the royal Parthian race of the Arsacidae, and son of Anak, murderer of Chosrov I, King of Armenia. For this crime the whole family was slain save himself. He owed his escape to a Christian nurse, who secretly conveyed him, when he was 2 years old, to Cæsarea, in Cappadocia, her native town. He there married a Christian, who bore him two sons, and soon afterward became a nun. Gregory proceeded to Rome, and entered the service of Terdat, Chosrov’s son. After Terdat (Tiridates III) had, with the help of the Romans, recovered his father’s kingdom (286), Gregory, for his refusal to crown with garlands the statue of Anahit, tutelary goddess of Armenia, was thrown by Terdat into a deep pit, where a pious widow nourished him for 14 years. About the end of that time Terdat was visited with the punishment of Nebuchadnezzar. Healed and baptized by Gregory, he became a zealous Christian, and established Christianity by force throughout his dominions. Gregory was consecrated bishop and head of the Armenian Church by Leontius, Archbishop of Cæsarea. Having resigned the patriarchate in favor of his second son Aristaces, Gregory in 331 retired to a cave at the foot of Mount Sebuh in Upper Armenia, where he died in 332.

Source

  • Collier’s New Encyclopedia, 1921