This Saturday, March 10, the Armenian Church celebrates the lives of the following four saints:
St. John, Patriarch of Jerusalem, succeeded St. Cyril as Patriarch of Jerusalem (386-417). He grew up with the monks at the monastery of Nitria (Egypt) where he learned about Christianity and the teachings of Origen. He was noted for his keen intellect and is said to have delivered inspiring and eloquent sermons.
Hovhan Odznetsi (St. John of Odzoon) was catholicos from 717 to 728, which was a period when Armenia was under Arab rule. He defended Armenians from forced conversion and was successful in securing the right of worship for Armenian Christians. He was also successful in securing tax-exempt status for the church. He was highly admired and respected.
Hovhan Vorodnetsi (St. John of Orodni) was born in 1315. Following his ordination he served at the monasteries of Klatzor and Datev. He dedicated most of his efforts toward the preservation of the orthodox faith, and against the attempt to merge the Armenian Church with the Latin Church. He wrote commentaries on the Gospel of John and the epistles of St. Paul.
Krikor Datevatsi (St. Gregory of Datev), born in 1346 in the province of Vayots Tsor, is perhaps the best known of the four. He was a student of John of Orodni and a great defender of the character of the Armenian Church. He was a brilliant scholar; he knew Latin fluently and had studied the Greek philosophers extensively. He is regarded to be the greatest teacher of the Armenian Church. His most famous work is the Book of Questions (Kirk Hartsmants), which examines questions of faith. He is also credited with setting a high standard for preaching. He is often referred to as “the second Gregory the Illuminator.”