Priest and Martyr (ca. 1656-1707)
+ Gomidas (or Cosma) was born in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul, Turkey) around the year 1656.
+ After being married at the age of 20, he was ordained a priest for the Armenian Church.
+ Gomidas was assigned to a parish south of Constantinople and became a leader in the movement which sought to reunite the Armenian Church with the Church of Rome. He and his family were officially received into communion with the Roman Catholic Church in 1696.
+ Soon, other priests and faithful followed the example of Gomidas and his family, which made him an object of scorn and derision among those who continued to maintain the independence of the Armenian Church.
+ The patriarch of the Armenian Orthodox Church accused Gomidas of being a “Frank” (a term that could mean either a Roman Catholic Christian or foreigner) and an enemy of the state. After being imprisoned for several months—after which friends were able to purchase his freedom—he was rearrested and executed on November 5, 1707.
+ Because no Catholic priest came forward to bury him, he was buried by Orthodox priests. As one account of his life notes: “His courage had a profound effect in the longer term, and a century later there were so many Catholic Armenians in Constantinople that ‘Catholic’ was understood to mean one of the Armenian rite.”
+ Blessed Gomidas Keumurgian was beatified in 1929.
For prayer and reflection
“I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.”—1 Corinthians 1:10
On this day, we also remember Saints Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of Saint John the Baptist.
O God, who were pleased to give light to your Church by adorning blessed Gomidas with the victory of martyrdom, graciously grant that, as he imitated the Lord’s Passion, so we may, by following in his footsteps, be worthy to attain eternal joys. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For One Marytr)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.