Saint Nerses I of Armenia
Jul 23, 2015 / Written by: America Needs Fatima
Feast November 19
Born of royal descent, Nerses was the son of At'anagenes and his mother was the sister of King Tigranes VII and a daughter of King Khosrov III.
His paternal grandfather was St. Husik I whose paternal grandfather was St. Gregory the Illuminator, who converted the Armenian king to Christianity and became the first Patriarch of Armenia.
Nerses spent his youth in Caesarea and married a Mamikonian princess named Sanducht, who bore him a son, St. Isaac the Great. After his wife's death, he was appointed chamberlain to King Arshak of Armenia, but entered the ecclesiastical state a few years later.
In 363, despite his protest of unworthiness, Nerses was consecrated Bishop of Armenia.
He was greatly influenced by St. Basil and, in effort to bring better discipline and efficiency to his diocese convened the first national synod in 365.
He encouraged the growth of monasticism and established hospitals. His good deeds and promotion of religion angered the King, who was later condemned by Nerses for murdering his wife Olympia. It is said that Arshak mixed poison with the Lord's holy and divine Body, the Bread of Communion, and administered it to her, killing the queen in church.
Arshak died in battle against the Persians shortly thereafter. Nerses discovered that Pap, the king’s successor, was more ungodly than his predecessor.
On account of his sinfulness, the holy man forbade Pap from entering the church until he repented of his ways. Angered, Pap feigned repentance and invited Nerses to dine at the royal table where he poisoned and killed him in 337.
Photo by: Adelchi