Grigor Narekatsi

Born in 951 to a family of writers, monk and poet Grigor Narekatsi is a canonized saint whose life was deeply influenced by the church. His father, Koshrov, was an archbishop, and having lost his mother at a very early age, Narekatsi was educated by his cousin, Anani of Narek, who was the founder of the village’s monastery and school. He lived most of his life in the Narek Monastery, on the south-east shore of Lake Van, and eventually taught at the monastic school. The Monastery was considered a thriving center of learning, and enjoyed a peaceful and creative period before the Turkish and Mongol invasions. It was eventually destroyed in the 20th century after the Armenian Genocide.

Narekatsi published many works as a poet and writer, including a mystical interpretation on the Song of Songs (977), and the mystical poem Book of Lamentations (published 1673 in Marseille), which has been translated into a number of languages, and has a central place in the development of the Armenian literary language. His poetry is deeply biblical and is penetrated with images, themes and realities of sacred history, distinguished with intimate, personal character. St. Gregory of Narek, leading figure of the Armenian renaissance of the time, called Narek’s Book of Lamentations (also known as the Book of Prayers) an “encyclopedia of prayer for all nations.”

A number of miracles and traditions have been attributed to Narekatsi, and is referred to as “the watchful angel in human form.” In 2015, Pope Francis declared Grigor Narekatsi as a Doctor of the Church, recognizing his contributions to theology.


Grigor Narekatsi Poetry