Saint Gregory of Narek

The Thirty Sixth Doctor of the Church


  • James Mathew Pampara Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram, Bengaluru


Saint Gregory of Narek, Armenian Saint, Narek


Saint Gregory of Narek, who was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on 12 April 2015 by Pope Francis is the first Armenian Saint to be elevated to such a special honour. His famous works include his mystical interpretation on the Song of Songs and the mystical poem commonly called the Book of Prayer or the Book of Lamentations or simply “Narek”. It was written towards the end of his life in 1003 AD. It is acclaimed as an “encyclopaedia of prayer for all nations,” consists of 95 prayers on human being’s separation from God and his quest to reunite with him. The Book of Prayer has been compared with Psalms and Saint Augustine’s Confessions, and bears some resemblance to the Hymns of Simeon the New Theologian, and the Hymns of Ephrem the Syrian.


Christopher Rengers, The 22 Doctors of the Church, Washington, D.C.: TAN Books and Publishers, 2000.

Francis, Apostolic Letter quibus sanctus Gregorius Narecensis Doctor Ecclesiae universalis renuntiatur, 12 April 2015. Cf.:

George Nedungatt, Renewal of Life and Law: An Indian Contribution, Dharmaram Canonical Studies 10 (Bangalore: Dharmaram Publications, 2015)

Grégoire de Narek: Tragédie, Matean Olbergut ‘ean, Le Livre de lamentation. Louvain: Peters, 2000 (Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium; vol. 584. Subsidia, t. 106). (Accessed on 13 April 2015). (Accessed on 13 April 2015). (Accessed on 13 April 2015). (Accessed on 14 April 2015). (Accessed on 13 April 2015). (Accessed on 13 April 2015).

Norman P. Tanner, ed. Decrees of Ecumenical Councils (London: Sheed & Ward, 1990), vol. I, p. 536.

Ronald Robertson, The Eastern Christian Churches: A Brief Survey (Bangalore: Theological Publications in India, 2004)

St. Grigor Narekatsi. Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart. Translation and introduction by Thomas Samuelian. Yerevan: Vem, 2001; Annie et Jean-Pierre Mahé, (introd., trad. et notes).