Departure of Abba Gregory, Patriarch of the Armenians

Archangel Michael

On this day, we commemorate the departure of Abba Gregory, Patriarch of the Armenians, a martyr without bloodshed. This Saint's departure is also commemorated on Tute 19th. He was tortured by Tiridates, King of the Armenians, in the year 272 A.D. because he disobeyed the King by not worshipping idols. The King cast the saint into an empty pit where he lived for fifteen years, during which God took care of him. Near the pit lived an old widow who saw in a vision someone telling her to make bread regularly and cast it into the pit, she continued to do so for fifteen years. No one of the folk of the saint knew if he was dead or alive because of the length of time.

It happened that the King killed Arbsima the virgin and her virgin companions and ordered their bodies be cast on the mountain. Later he regretted what he did because he had wanted to marry her but she had refused. When the King's advisors saw how sad he was for killing her they suggested that he should go on a hunting trip in order for him to regain himself.

As he was riding on his horse the devil jumped on him and kept torturing him. The Lord changed the King's appearance and manners to those of a wild pig, to the extent that no one was able to go near him. What happened to him had happened to many of his people and great fear and crying was heard all over the place because of what he did to the virgins.

The King's sister saw in a vision on three consecutive nights a man telling her that unless she brought Gregory out of the pit her brother would not be saved nor would he be cured. The people were surprised, since they believed that St. Gregory was dead.

They went to the pit, dropped a rope and called his name.

When the saint moved the rope, they knew that he was still alive and they pulled him out. They washed him, dressed him in new clothes and brought him riding to the palace. There he enquired about the bodies of the virgins. They found the bodies in tact, they collected them and put them in a suitable place.

The people asked the saint to heal the King from his ills. The saint asked the King if he would go back to his evil deeds. When the King expressed no intention of doing so the saint prayed for him and the evil spirit departed from him. His personality and his mind were restored, but he was not completely cured. His hand nails and feet nails remained like those of a wild pig, as a punishment and as a reminder to him in order for him not to go back to his evil deeds. The Patriarch healed those who were afflicted and cast away evil spirits from many.

The King and all the people within his region believed. St. Gregory instructed them, baptized them and built for them many churches. He also ordained for them bishops and priests and he instituted laws for them to follow and instructed them to fast. When he completed his striving, he departed in peace.