Above: Map of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, a.k.a. Little Armenia or Lesser Armenia (1198-1375)
SAINT NERSES LAMPRONATS (1153-1198)
Armenian Apostolic Archbishop of Tarsus
A brief tutorial of parts of Armenian history is essential. This is hardly a comprehensive list of Armenian political stages to 1375, but it is what I have cobbled together with the help of the 1962 Encyclopedia Americana, the 1968 Encyclopedia Britannica, and Jeremy Black’s World History Atlas (London, UK: Dorling Kindersley, 1999).
PERTAINING TO THE ARMENIAN HOMELAND
Territory of the Persian Empire (550-331 BCE)
Territory of the Macedonian Empire (331-323 BCE)
Territory of the Seleucid Empire (323-190 BCE)
Kingdom of (Greater) Armenia and states it subsumed (190 BCE-429 CE)
Roman-Sassanid Partition (387)
Territory of the Roman/Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire (387-641)
Territory of the Sassanid (Persian) Empire (387-641)
Territory of the Islamic Empire (641-885)
Kingdom of (Greater) Armenia–Bagratid Dynasty (885-1045)
Kingdom of Vaspurakan–Ardsrunid Dynasty (914-1022)
Territory of the Byzantine Empire (1045-1157)
Territory of the Great Seljuk (Turkish-Persian) Empire (1157-1235)
Mongolian Invasion and Conquest (1235)
PERTAINING TO CILICIA/LITTLE ARMENIA/LESSER ARMENIA
Founded by Refugees from Greater Armenia
Principality of Cilicia (1080-1198)
Kingdom of Cilicia (1198-1375)
Egyptian Mamluk Invasion and Conquest
Our story occurs in Ciclica/Little Armenia/Lesser Armenia.
St. Nerses Lampronats (1153-1198) was born at Lampron, Cilicia. Educated at Skeyra Monastery, he became a noted theologian, biblical scholar, and linguist expert in Greek, Coptic, Latin, and Syriac. Ordained in 1169, after the death of his father, the saint lived as a hermit before becoming Archbishop of Tarsus in 1176. He translated many texts into Armenian. These texts included the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great and the Rule of St. Benedict of Nursia. He also wrote hagiographies of desert saints, texts of hymns, treatises on liturgy, and commentaries on the Bible.
The saint favored the union of the Armenian Apostolic Church with the Roman Catholic Church. He worked for that union for years, and died on July 14, 1198, six months after witnessing its culmination. That union, more theoretical than actual, ended with the Mamluk invasion and the fall of the kingdom in 1375.
I like intellectual saints. I recall one of my father’s parishioners in a rural southern Georgia (U.S.A.) United Methodist church. (Please do not tar The United Methodist Church as a whole; the denomination is more progressive and intellectual than many of its members in the South Georgia Conference.) This gentleman, over lunch at his house one day, criticized intellectuals in general. Such intelligent people, he said, had a type of faith inferior to that of non-intellectuals, such as my host. In other words, dummies have superior faith, according to this gentleman. I said nothing. I disagreed, of course, but I was a courteous lunch guest.
As an Episcopalian, I acknowledge the invaluable role of reason in faith life. It is part of Richard Hooker’s Three-Legged Stool, which is really closer to a tricycle. The human intellect is one element of the image of God. If I am supposed to honor God with my whole being, that mandate includes my intellect. To be blunt, the church is not supposed to be Holy Morons R Us, regardless of which see with whom is in communion.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
JUNE 15, 2012 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINT LANDELINUS OF VAUX, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; SAINT AUBERT OF CAMBRAI, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; SAINT URSMAR OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MISSIONARY BISHOP; AND SAINTS DOMITIAN, HADELIN, AND DODO OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS
THE FEAST OF EVELYN UNDERHILL, ANGLICAN MYSTIC
Almighty God, your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of knowledge,
and to another the insight of wisdom,
and to another the steadfastness of faith.
We praise you for the gifts of grace imparted to your servant Saint Nerses Lampronats,
and we pray that by his teaching we may be led a fuller knowledge of the truth
we have seen in your Son Jesus, our Savior and Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.
Proverbs 3:1-7 or Wisdom of Solomon 7:7-14
1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16 or 1 Corinthians 3:5-11
John 17:18-23 or Matthew 13:47-52
—Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 61