Sharing the Inextinguishable Light of the Holy Orthodox Faith of Jesus Christ

Re-dedicated on the Feast of St. Gregory the Enlightener, September 30th, 2018
St. Gregory the Enlightener Institute
The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat
in the region and shadow of death, light has dawned...  (St. Matthew 4:16)
by Holy Transfiguration Monastery
by the hand of Hovnatan Hovnatanian 18h cent. -from the walls of Holy Etchmiadzin
by the hand of Hovnatan Hovnatanian 18th cent. -from the walls of Holy Etchmiadzin
St. Gregory the Enlightener
of Armenia ~AD 301~
The first Christian Nation
Orthodox Christians maintain very ancient expressions of Christianity.  For example, Armenians have a recorded
history of over three thousand years and are the bearers of an ethnic and cultural patrimony which distinguishes them as
one of the most ancient, continuous people in the world.  Armenia's majestic Mount Ararat is the place where Noah's
Ark rested, making its historic homeland in eastern Anatolia a cradle of civilization.  But more important than these is
the fact that after two centuries of intense persecution upon those who adhered to the Christian faith brought there by
the Apostles Thaddaeus & Bartholomew, Armenia became the first nation to "turn to God from idols, to serve the
living and true God."  This definitive conversion of the nation, in A.D. 301, was accomplished through the preaching &
sufferings of Saint Gregory the Enlightener who established the one holy catholic and apostolic Church in Armenia.

This pattern of evangelization, conversion and Apostolic Succession has been repeated in Orthodox Churches down
to our day.  For example, St. Peter first went to Antioch and St. Paul evangelized throughout the Near East.  St.
Matthew went to Syria, St. Mark to Egypt, St. Philip to Asia Minor and St. John to Ephesus.  St. Thomas went all the
way to India before undergoing martyrdom.  Finally Sts. Peter and Paul both went to Rome and were martyred there.  
St. Andrew the Apostle, brother of Peter, preached in Scythia, Asia Minor and Greece and was crucified in Achaia.  
Therefore, he is considered a patron of the Church of Constantinople.  Several centuries later in the 9th century, the
bishop of Constantinople, Patriarch
St. Photius the Great, sent Sts. Cyril and Methodius to be "Apostles to the Slavs."  

Eventually some of their descendants immigrated to America and established the Orthodox Church here.  Today this
autocephalous (completely self-governing) Church has its own American hierarchy, headed by His Beatitude
Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada, and is the only Eastern Church in America which is not dependent
upon a foreign hierarch.  Formerly under the jurisdiction of the Russian Church, the Orthodox Church in America is
now comprised of Americans of all ethnic backgrounds and its services are typically entirely in English.  These distinct
qualities make the Orthodox Church in America an unique, indigenous expression of Orthodox Christianity in America,
providing a firm foundation for reaching our nation with the truth of Jesus Christ.  
Together with the other historic
Orthodox Churches, we comprise the one holy catholic and apostolic Church of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ
(
Eph. 4:4-6).

Today western secular influences have impacted various churches and peoples.  Many Christians in western society
are sophisticated in everything except knowledge of their faith and, as a result, are easily swayed by the opinions of the
world.  Others study Christianity like an artifact in a museum or a specimen in a science lab.  But unless the Orthodox
Faith, Liturgy, hymns, feasts and fasts are
internalized in our hearts and actualized in our lives, they do us no good.  
As Orthodox Christians, our Faith and Liturgy are meant to impact and be a meaningful part of our daily lives.  Today
many have lost, drifted away from, or abandoned the Holy Faith which the Apostles once preached, turning again to
the idols of this world:  materialism, secularism and even atheism.

We need to turn, once again, from the darkness of error to the light of the knowledge of God.  To accomplish this
we must return to the very source of our faith:  Jesus Christ -the same Christ preached by the Apostles, St. Gregory
the Enlightener and the Church Fathers.  This "once for all delivered faith" was entrusted to the Orthodox Church which
Christ established (St. Mt. 16:16-18) and does not change (Jude 1:3, Heb 13:8).  St. Cyprian of Carthage once
wrote:  "No one can have God for his Father, who does not have the Church for his mother."  And St. Paul the
Apostle states that the Church is the “pillar and foundation of truth” (1 Tm 3:15).  Just as St. Gregory brought the
Gospel to the Armenians and Sts. Cyril and Methodius brought it to the Slavs, today Orthodox Christians are called to
share this Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ with our fellow Americans.

Mission Statement:  The St. Gregory the Enlightener Institute Website is meant to contribute to the above
stated mission.  Its goal is to be a multi-faceted website which provides valuable information for those interested in
learning more about the ancient Orthodox Faith.  It relates some of the great history and ecclesial tradition of the
Orthodox and Armenian Churches and presents the great Orthodox theological tradition of the Christian East.
The following pages
are for your perusal
:
The web-servant, Sub-Deacon Lazarus W. Der-Ghazarian, M.A., was ordained
in the Armenian Orthodox Church and is now a member of the Orthodox Church in America
Thank you for visiting.
St. Thaddaeus the Apostle
One of the 1st Enlighteners
of Armenia: Martyred
c. AD 50
St. Bartholomew the Apostle
One of the 1st Enlighteners
of Armenia: Martyred
c. AD 68
This is a personal web-site.  The views expressed herein are those of the authors.  To the best of my knowledge
they are in full accord with authentic Holy Tradition and the Orthodox Faith.  
You may
contact me with any questions or concerns (St. Mt. 18:15-17).

(c) Copyright: 2001-2018, Lazarus Der-Ghazarian, looys.net, All Rights Reserved
Soorp Neeshan
Khatchkar:
The Traditional
Armenian Stone
Carving of the
Holy Cross
"As for us, we shall glorify Him who was before the ages, worshipping the All-Holy Trinity and one Godhead,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and always and unto the ages of ages.  Amen."
-The words of St. Gregory the Enlightener upon his acceptance of the 1st Ecumenical Council
Holy Icons of those who first brought
Christ's Light to evangelize Armenia

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