Commemorated on September 30th
Hieromartyr Gregory, Equal of the Apostles and Enlightener of Armenia
Hieromartyr Gregory, Enlightener of Great Armenia, was born in 257 AD. He was descended from the line of the Parthian Arsakid emperors. The father of St Gregory, Anak, in striving after the Armenian throne, had murdered his kinsman, the emperor Kursar, in consequence of which all the line of Anak was marked for destruction.
A certain relative saved Gregory: he carried off the infant from Armenia to Caesarea Cappadocia and raised him in the Christian faith. At maturity, Gregory married, had two sons, but soon was left a widower. Gregory raised his sons in piety. Orthanes became a priest and Arostanes accepted monasticism and went off into the wilderness. In order to atone for the sin of his father, who had murdered the father of Tiridates, Gregory entered into the service of the latter and was a faithful servant to him. Tiridates loved Gregory like a friend, but he was intolerant of the Christian confession of faith. After ascending the Armenian throne, he began to demand that St Gregory renounce the Christian Faith. The steadfastness of the Saint embittered Tiridates, and he gave his faithful servant over to cruel tortures. They suspended the sufferer head downwards with a stone about his neck, for several days they choked him with a stinking smoke, they beat and ridiculed him, and forced him to walk in iron sandals inset with nails.
At the time of this suffering St Gregory sang Psalms. In prison, the Lord healed all his wounds. When Gregory again stood before the emperor cheerful and unharmed, he was astonished and gave orders to repeat the torments. St Gregory endured them, not wavering, with all his former determination and bearing. They then poured hot tin over him and threw him into a pit filled with vipers. The Lord, however, saved His chosen one, and the snakes did him no harm. Pious women fed him with bread, secretly lowering it into the pit. A holy angel, appearing to the martyr, invigorated his powers and encouraged his spirit. Thus, it went on for fourteen years. During this time, the emperor Tiridates wrought yet another evil deed by martyring the holy virgin St Ripsima, the aged Abbess Gaiana, and another 35 virgins from one of the Asia Minor monasteries.
Dismissal Hymn (Third Tone)
You sowed the knowledge of God in the hearts of the faithful, by the example of your life and faith. Made radiant by the wounds of martyrdom, You shed light on all. O Hierarch Gregory, pray to Christ our God to grant us great mercy!
Kontakion (Second Tone)
Let us, the faithful, praise the holy Hierarch Gregory. He is a shepherd, a teacher and an enlightener. He is an athlete for the Truth, and he intercedes with Christ God that our souls may be saved!