Friday, February 19, 2016

Mesrob the Armenian Monk saved Christian history

I was thinking today about the massacre of Mexican Catholics by their own government, called the Cristero War (this is a bigger problem in the world than religious wars) and wondering if the Pope would get an apology.  I think it should be a bigger deal to him than the American primaries. Then I thought about the Turks' genocide of Armenian Christians. You can call it religious wars, but the Turkish government was killing its own citizens. Armenia was the first country to make Christianity its religion, and today (Feb. 19) we memorialize the monk Mesrob, who saved their language by creating an alphabet and also rescued many documents on Christianity. 
 St. Mesrob (known as Mashdots) (438 A.D.) was born in the village of Hatsegats in the province of Daron. In his early years, he learned both Greek and Persian and served in the Armenian Royal Court. Later, he decided to enter the ranks of the clergy and went to preach in the province of Koghtn around 395 A.D. During this period he felt the great need of the Armenian people for an alphabet of their own so he petitioned the Catholicos Sahag and together they requested the aid of King Vramshabouh. 

After much research and many travels, Mesrob was able to come up with the skeleton of an alphabet. However, it did not meet the needs of the Armenian language. According to tradition, while meditating in a cave near the village of Palu, the saint had a vision in which, "the hand of God wrote the alphabet in letters of fire." Immediately after the discovery of the alphabet, the Holy Translators worked to translate the Bible and the first words in the Armenian language were from the Book of Proverbs, "To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the word of understanding." They also opened schools to teach the newly discovered alphabet.

St. Mesrob's life's works have been recorded by one of his famous students, Goriun, in his book, The Life of Mashdots  He was buried in Oshagan in the province of Vaspouragan. Beloved by all, St. Mesrob is a special inspiration to Armenian writers and poets.  Link to July 6, 2014 e-bulletin.
 For Greater Glory poster.jpg

"Lauren Markoe, discussing the film [about the Cristero War] for the Religion News Service, wrote: For Catholics enraged by the Obama administration’s proposed contraception mandate, the film about the Mexican church’s fight in the 1920s is a heartening and timely cinematic boost in the American church’s battle to preserve "religious freedom" in 2012." 

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