Commemoration of the fathers of the Armenian Church

Panorama, Armenia

On March 23. The Armenia Church marks the commemoration of the fathers of the Armenian Church – St. John the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Armenian Patriarch St. John of Otzoon, St. John of Vorotan and St. Gregory of Datev. reports that According to hagiographers, St. John (Hovhannes) of Otzoon possessed both spiritual and mental brilliance. During the 11 years of his reign (717-728), Catholicos Hovhannes managed to withstand Byzantine and Arab pressures and incursions, while struggling mightily against sects. Hovhannes of Otzoon endowed to us a rich and priceless literary legacy. His work entitled “Canons of the Armenians” is the first voluminous collection in Armenian history, which contains ecclesiastical canons and laws. He is also famous as the author of numerous sermons and church hymns.

The names of Vartabeds (church divine or archimandrite) St John (Hovhan) of Vorotan (1315-1388) and St. Gregory of Datev (1346-1410) are closely interrelated. Gregory of Datev, the greatest Vartabed and theologian of the Armenian Church, studied under Hovhan of Vorotan, and later raised the famous school founded by his teacher in the Monastery of Datev. Gregory of Datev authored numerous significant theological works. Included in his literary legacy are the “Book of Questions” and the collections of his sermons.

Finally, the blessed memory of St. John the Patriarch of Jerusalem is commemorated on the same day, along with the aforementioned three fathers of the Armenian Church. St. John was Patriarch of Jerusalem in the 4th Century. He is remembered to this day as being a great orator and a defender of Christianity through his sermons.