ASIA/LEBANON - The Armenian Catholic Bishops: May Saint Nerses "the gracious" be recognized as the Patron saint of unity among the Churches

Wednesday, 24 August 2022 middle east   oriental churches   ecumenicalism   saints   theology   unity  

Bzommar (Agenzia Fides) - Given the current historical processes that are pitting peoples against each other and also endangering unity among Christians, the proposal of the Catholic Armenian Bishops deserves special attention: to use on the anniversary of the death of the Armenian Saint Nerses Schnorhali (the Gracious) to retrace the prophetic paths paved by the humility of this 12th-century saint towards the full restoration of sacramental and doctrinal unity between the Church of Rome, the Church of Armenia and the Church of Constantinople.
The Armenian Catholic Bishops defined and relaunched their proposal on the occasion of their annual synod, held from 17 to 22 August in Lebanon, at the Patriarchal Monastery of Our Lady of Bzommar under the presidency of Patriarch Raphaël Bedros XXI Minassian. During the Synod, the Armenian Catholic Bishops made the commitment to promote in collaboration with the hierarchies of the Armenian Apostolic Church conferences, seminars, editorial works on Saint Nerses, and they also sent Pope Francis the request to celebrate a solemn pontifical liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica, in view of a possible and shared proclamation of the Armenian saint as the Patron saint of unity among the Churches.
Nerses (1102-1173) belonged to the Pahlavuni dynasty and was "Catholicos of the Armenians" based in Hromkla and the most outstanding Armenian theologian and poet of his time. He received his monastic name (after St. Nerses I Parthev) and his education at the Red Monastery (Karmir Vank) at Kessoun (today Çakırhüyük, Besni, Adıyaman Province). Nerses Schnorhali was ordained a priest in 1120 and a bishop in 1125.
His insights remain valuable sources of inspiration for those who today see the ecumenical process in jeopardy, which was enthusiastically and promisingly launched after Vatican II. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 24/8/2022)