St. Gregory the Illuminator

Main Story: St. Gregory the Illuminator was the first Catholicos–basically Armenian Pope. His dad was supposed to murder the Armenian King which he did. St. Gregory’s dad was then put to death. St. Gregory was also supposed to be put to death but some people snuck him out of the country where he was raised by a Christian and became a devout Christian. Then, he met his wife Miriam and together they had two kids. St. Gregory leaves his wife so he can go back to Armenia and make up for his father’s crime. He rolls into the country to preach to the Armenia people and the King (who is the son of the one St. Gregory’s dad murdered) sticks St. Gregory in a pit for twelve years. But then the Romans come and take a bunch of the King’s land and the King goes nuts. So, they drag Gregory out of the pit and he baptizes the King and he is healed. And so, the King allows Gregory to preach and Armenia becomes the first country in the entire world to become officially Christian and Gregory becomes the first Catholicos. His son becomes the second Catholicos.

Background Information: Alex Chinian’s family is originally from Armenia. He heard this story from his grandmother.

Context of the Performance: The story was performed in my dorm room at USC.

My Thoughts on the Piece: This was a very interesting piece of folklore because it is based in history but has probably been heightened in order to help create more excitement around it. This is true with many religious tales like the story of St. Patrick driving all the snakes out of Ireland. Apparently, there never were any snakes in Ireland but it makes a better story to say St. Patrick drove them out.