On the 22nd of February, 2008 at noon, and during a brief ceremony attended by His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX, Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenian Catholics, and a group of prelates of the Armenian Catholic Church, the Pope dedicated the north patio of the Vatican Basilica to St. Gregory the Illuminator.
Recalling that, a few months before his death, John Paul II blessed the statue of St. Gregory the Illuminator that is located in that patio, Benedict XVI affirmed that “this great saint has made the Armenians, for more than seveneen centuries, a Christian people, and more, the first officially Christian people”.
“St. Gregory was called the Illuminator”, he continued, “precisely because in him the Lord’s face is reflected in an extraordinary way”.
The Pope asked that the “Armenian people, through the intercession of this illustrious and distinguished son, continue their journey along the paths of faith, letting themselves be guided, as they have for centuries, by Christ and by his Gospel, which has indelibly marked their culture”.