A Cure For What Ails You

by Timothy Lusch

The Doctor Is In

The Lamentations of St. Gregory of Narek

Who? Exactly. That many are ignorant of this profound mystic, poet, and saint is not surprising. But neither is it an excuse. The holy Gregory was recently made the thirty sixth Doctor of the Catholic Church, a title bestowed not on the basis of academic knowledge, but on the spiritual knowledge of the recipient as evidenced by an exemplary life of holiness. For Gregory of Narek, this was official recognition long overdue.

Mystic, poet, and theologian, St. Gregory lived in 10th century Armenia. The Armenian Church is an ancient church, faithful under the direst conditions. A land between East and West, its people have suffered greatly. This was no less true in Gregory’s time than in our own. Indeed, the Turkish slaughter of Armenians in the renowned city of Ani in 1064, and the later devastation by the Mongols in 1236 are living reminders of Armenia’s suffering. In the 20th century, the Turks, in an undeniable act of genocide, murdered nearly 1.5 million Armenians. They also wrongfully seized the ancient holy city of Ani. That Turkey refuses to acknowledge the genocide, along with dozens of other countries around the world, remains a scandal of our age. St. Gregory of Narek is a guide for the suffering. His Lamentations are the cry of Armenia and the hope for all of us.

I am a living book

Written like the scroll in the vision of Ezekiel,

Inside and out,

Listing lamentations, moaning, and woe.


I lie here on a cot struck down by evil,
sinking in disease and torment,
like the living dead yet able to speak.
O kind Son of God,
have compassion upon my misery.
Hear the sobbing of my agitated voice.
Bring me back to life
with the dew of your blessed eyes
as you brought back your friend from breathless death. 
In a dungeon of infirmities, I am captive, bitter and
in doubt.
Give me your hand, sun that casts no shadows, Son on
high, and lift me into your radiant light.