Until April 23, 2015, when the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide were canonized, Gregory of Datev (Krikor Datevatsi) was the last saint of the Armenian Church.
Krikor Datevatsi was born in 1346 in the district of Vayots Dzor, in the province of Siunik (southern Armenia). At the age of seven, his parents sent him out for education. He later continued his education in the famed University of Datev, where he was a disciple of Hovhan Vorotnetsi (1315-1386), another saint of the Armenian Church commemorated on the twentieth day of the Great Lent.
|Monastery of Datev|
Two years later, teacher and disciple moved to the convent of Aprakunis. After the death of Hovhan Vorotnetsi in 1388, Krikor became the head of the convent and gave courses of philosophy, theology, grammar, musical theory, and other subjects.
In 1390 he returned to Datev and congregated many students coming from various areas of Siunik and Armenia in general to continue his educational activities. His hundreds of students, among them famous writers like Tovma Medzopetsi and Arakel Siunetsi, played a remarkable role in Armenian cultural and religious life.
|St. Gregory's mausoleum in the monastery of Datev|
In 1408, apparently due to the political unrest after the death of Tamerlan in 1403, Datevatsi and his students moved to the monastery of Medzop, near Lake Van, but returned to Datev after a year. The great teacher and writer passed away on December 25, 1409, after a short illness. He is commemorated by the Armenian Church on the Saturday before the fourth Sunday of the Great Lent.
The cultural and religious stature of Datevatsi earned him a place among the twelve statues (the second to the left) surrounding Mesrob Mashdots and his disciple Koriun on the front of the Matenadaran, the library of manuscripts in Yerevan. The St. Gregory of Datev Institute, founded in 1987 by the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC) under the aegis of the Armenian Prelacy, has also preserved the memory of his name.