Meet the Newest Doctor of the Church

The Church's newest Doctor, St. Gregory of Narek

Fun fact: “doctor”, from Latin, means “teacher” or “learned person.” Medical doctors study a lot so they can cure your body. Doctors of the Church do that but for your soul.

All theologians seek to explain the truths of the faith. Some of them do it so well that the Church gives them the title Doctor “on account of the great advantage the whole Church has derived from their doctrine.” (Catholic Encyclopedia) So far, the Church recognizes 36 Doctors.

Not all the Doctors are brainiacs, though most were. Some were simple souls who received profound insights from God even though they lacked formal education. Some were mystics, experiencing the height and depth of God’s love in prayer, writing about it. Our newest Doctor of the Church was a poet.

Meet St. Gregory of Narek

Born in Armenia in the in the mid-900s, Gregory entered the Narek monastery where he spent the rest of his life. Many consider his poetry as some of the greatest in the Armenian language.

“Because of your willing care, you were called Shepherd, for not only did you care, but you sought, not only did you find, O worker of miracles, but with the goodness of your love, a love that defies description, you rescued me.”

– St. Gregory of Narek, Excerpt from Prayer 15

His brother monks asked him to contemplate the question: What can we truly offer God? God, who is all-knowing and all-powerful, who has given us everything, what can we possibly offer Him in return? His answer: Prayer, the sighs of the heart. And thus he composed his masterwork, the Book of Prayer, to be an encyclopedia of prayer for all nations.

Gregory’s monastery was destroyed in the Armenian Genocide in the early 1900s. On April 12, 2015, at a Mass commemorating the Genocide, Pope Francis declared St. Gregory of Narek a Doctor of the Church.

Want more on the Doctors of the Church? Check out this article highlighting 15 of them on We Dare To Say, highlighting 15 of them, or the whole list on Wikipedia.

Church Doctors: Curing Your Heresy, Not Your Flu | We Dare To Say
Doctors of the Church | Catholic Encyclopedia
Book of Prayer | St. Gregory of Narek
Doctor of the Church | Wikipedia
Gregory of Narek | Wikipedia