Saturday, September 5, 2015

Vatican 2015
Ignatius Maloyan and Saint Gregory of Narek

The Philatelic and Numismatic Office celebrates this year two prominent figures of the Armenian Church, Blessed Ignatius Maloyan and Saint Gregory of Narek. This year marks the centenary of the martyrdom of Blessed Ignatius Maloyan, who was Archbishop of Mardin, Turkey, and known for his closeness to the faithful of his diocese and attentiveness to their material, social and spiritual needs. He encouraged devotion to the Sacred Heart and to the Mother of God in all the parishes. He left us his witness of faith in the Risen Christ when he called on his priests to pray and remain strong in the faith, given the tragic news and threats against the Armenian people in 1915 which deeply marked not only Turkey, but all of Europe. His testimony is also remembered when shortly before his martyrdom he told his executioner, who was trying to make him renounce his faith in order to save his life, "I’ve told you I shall live and die for the sake of my faith and religion. I take pride in the Cross of my Lord and God". In April this year, Pope Francis declared Saint Gregory of Narek a Doctor of the Church. He lived most of his life in the monasteries of Narek, Armenia, where he led an existence marked by great humility and charity. He cultivated his knowledge of the literary arts, also coming from a family of writers, and studied theology. He is celebrated as one of the greatest poets of Armenian literature. After his death, his tomb immediately became a place of pilgrimage of the Armenian people who called upon him in their prayers from the years of the first persecutions.