ST. NERSES THE GREAT AND BISHOP KHAT
This Saturday, June 16, the Armenian Church commemorates Catholicos Nerses the Great and Khat the Bishop. Nerses the Great was the father of Catholicos Sahak I. He succeeded two catholicoi whose reigns were unexceptional, and the people were eager to return to the line of their beloved Gregory the Illuminator. Nerses was a student of St. Basil of Caesarea, one of three great Cappadocian Fathers. Nerses’ pontificate was the beginning of a new era. He brought the church closer in service to the people, rather than to royals and nobles. He convened the Council of Ashdishad that resulted in numerous laws on issues related to marriage, worship, and customs. He built many schools, hospitals, and monasteries. He sent monks to preach the Gospel throughout the country. His bold actions resulted in great displeasure by the royal family and in 373 he was reportedly poisoned by the king. His accomplishments for the spiritual and social well-being of the common people earned him the gratitude of the entire nation and the honorific “Great.”
Khat the Bishop worked closely with St. Nerses the Great. Like Nerses he had great passion for social issues, especially helping the poor. Nerses entrusted most of the benevolent work of the church to Khat. He is so closely associated with St. Nerses that the church honors them on the same day.
By the light of unspeakable grace of your divine knowledge you arose on the land of Armenia, merciful heavenly Father; have compassion on us who have sinned. Saint Nerses, pure in soul, from birth you were chosen to inherit the paternal lot of shepherding righteously and lawfully. You adorned the Church with the laws of truth and established good order within it; through his prayers have mercy on us, O Christ.
(Canon to the Holy Patriarch Nerses the Great from the Liturgical Canons of the Armenian Church)
Posted from Eastern Prelacy’s Weekly E-Newsletter