Raised from the Pit: St. Gregory the Illuminator
Gregory (Grigor Lusavorich), born in the third century AD in Armenia, was raised as a Christian in Caesarea in Cappadocia. After he returned to Armenia, while a loyal servant to Armenian King Tiridates III, Gregory refused to participate in pagan worship, declaring he would worship only the true Creator God. Furious, King Tiridates had Gregory brutally tortured and thrown into a deep pit. He spent thirteen long years there. It is said a beastly affliction struck Tiridates, who had mercilessly persecuted Christians. The king’s sister had visions Gregory could heal him, so Gregory was raised from the pit. When Gregory prayed over Tiridates, God miraculously healed him. Gregory continued preaching Jesus Christ and teaching Scripture, seeing God change hearts as many Armenians turned to Christ. In faith, King Tiridates, his family, and thousands of Armenians were baptized. King Tiridates, who had once persecuted Gregory, in gratitude and sincerity declared Christianity to be the national religion of Armenia. Tiridates and Gregory traveled together, sharing the gospel and instructing the people to destroy the altars of false gods. As healing came to the land, the Armenians built chapels in place of their pagan temples. Convents and Christian schools were created, and Gregory became the first bishop (church leader) of the Armenian church. Now he is known as St. Gregory the Illuminator. He brought the light of Christ to the pagan darkness of Armenia, which became the first Christian nation in 301 AD. Declaring a nation to be Christian doesn’t mean everyone in that country suddenly knows Jesus, but, in Gregory’s case, it did provide more opportunities for the people of Armenia to learn about Jesus and embrace the good news of His perfect life, death on the cross for our sins, and victorious resurrection. The light of Jesus is worth sharing. • D. Robin Newman • Has Jesus and His good news brought light to dark places in your life? How? • What opportunities has God given you to share the good news of the gospel? • To learn more about the gospel, check out our "Know Jesus" page. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
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