St. John the Baptist Parish, A Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church, Canberra, Australia

30 September / 13 October

St Gregory the Enlightener, Bishop of Armenia

Gregory was of a noble family, kin to the imperial house of Persia (to King Artaban) and Armenia (King Khosrov). When these two houses made war between themselves, Gregory withdrew to Caesarea in Cappadocia, where he first came into contact with the Christian faith, received baptism and married. He had two sons of this marriage, Rostanes and Aristanes, and dedicated them both to the service of the Church. After his wife's death, he returned to Armenia and entered the service of King Tiridates. Gregory served his king faithfully, and the king loved him, but, when he discovered that Gregory was a Christian, he was greatly enraged and put pressure on him to reject the Christian faith and worship idols. Having no success whatever in this, Tiridates put Gregory to harsh torture and, after cruel torment, threw him into a deep pit filled with every kind of poisonous reptile, meaning thus to kill him. But God, who is all- seeing, preserved Gregory alive in that pit for four- teen whole years. Tiridates continued the persecution of Christians in his kingdom, and attacked a women's monastery of thirty-seven nuns with their abbess, Gaiane. When he had slain them with terrible tortures, Tiridates went mad and was like a monstrous wild boar. A man appeared to the king's sister in a dream and told her that her mad brother would not be restored to sanity until Gregory was taken out of the pit. This being done, Gregory healed and baptised Tiridates. Then Gregory, at the king's desire, became Bishop of Armenia and, with the king's help and, above all, God's help, enlightened the whole of Armenia and the surrounding area with the Christian faith. St Gregory finished his life of great toil in old age, in about 335. In his place, his son Aristanes was consecrated bishop, and he continued his father's work. Aristanes was one of the 318 fathers at the First Ecumenical Council.

On the same day: The Holy Martyrs Gaiane, Rhipsimia and 35 other nuns; St. Michael, First Metropolitan of Kiev; St. Honorius, archbishop of Canterbury (653)

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