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 1st Christian Nation
Orthodox Christians maintain ancient expressions of Christianity.  Armenians, for example, 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 people in the world.  Armenia's Mount Ararat is the place where Noah's Ark rested, making this
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 Holy Apostles
Thaddaeus & Bartholomew, Armenia became the first nation on earth 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 our father among the saints, Gregory the Enlightener, who established the Orthodox One, Holy, Catholic
and Apostolic Church in Armenia.

This pattern of evangelization, conversion and Apostolic Succession has been repeated in all 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 both Sts. Peter and Paul 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 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 the Holy Orthodox Faith was brought to America by the North American Saints who helped establish the
Orthodox Church in America.  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 Russian Orthodox Church, the Orthodox
Church in America is comprised of Americans of all ethnic backgrounds and its services are typically entirely in
English.  These distinct qualities make the Orthodox Church in America unique, offering an indigenous expression of
Orthodox Christianity in America, and providing a firm foundation for reaching our nation with the truth of Jesus
Together with the other historic Orthodox Churches we comprise the Orthodox One, Holy, Catholic, and
Apostolic Church of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ (
Eph. 4:4-6).

Today western secular influences have greatly impacted the various churches and Christians.  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 in the world 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" (Jude 1:3) was entrusted to the
Orthodox Church which Christ established (St. Mt. 16:16-18) and does not change (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."  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 we as Orthodox Christians are
called to share the 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.
Thanks for visiting.
The following pages
are for your perusal
Sub-Deacon Lazarus W. L.  Der-Ghazarian, M.Th.
was ordained in the Armenian Orthodox Church, underwent diaconal formation in the
Armenian and Byzantine Traditions, and now is blessed to serve in the Orthodox Church in America.
St. Thaddaeus the Apostle
One of the 1st to Enlighten
Armenia: Martyred
c. AD 50
St. Bartholomew the Apostle
One of the 1st to Enlighten
Armenia: Martyred
c. AD 68
This is a personal web-site.  The views expressed herein are those of the author(s).  To the best of my
knowledge the information is in full accord with the authentic Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church.  
You may
contact me with any questions or concerns (St. Mt. 18:15-17).

(c) Copyright: 2001-2020, Lazarus Der-Ghazarian,, All Rights Reserved
Soorp Neeshan
Khatchkar: 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 and evangelized Armenia

Seasonal Highlighted Page:

The Great Fast