The Corner

St. Gregory The Enlightener

On Saturday, the Armenian Church commemorates one of the feasts concerning St. Gregory the Enlightener, or Illuminator, who converted Armenia to Christianity in 301, making it the first Christian nation. He plays a similar role to St. Patrick for the Irish, Sts. Cyril and Methodius for the Slavs, et al. Saturday’s feast mark’s St. Gregory’s being thrown into a pit for his Christian faith — there’s a monastery over the pit now (you can climb down into the pit, though it seems unlikely it’s actually the same one). A picture of the monastery used to be on Near East brand rice pilaf mixes, until the Armenian family that owned the company sold it to Quaker Oats, which promptly scrubbed the cover clean of any religious imagery.

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