St Nerses

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Bishop and martyr. Nerses lived in fourth-century Armenia. He was an official in the court of King Arshak. After the death of his wife, Nerses was ordained a priest. He became chief bishop of Armenia in 363 and worked with St Basil to evangelise the people of Armenia.

During his life Nerses built many monasteries and hospitals and encouraged the rich to be honest and generous.

When Arshak, the King of Armenia murdered the queen, Olympia, Bishop Nerses publicly condemned the crime. For this he was banished from his diocese.

King Arshak was killed in a battle against the Persians. His son succeeded him and offered to reinstate Bishop Nersus, inviting him for dinner. But the food he served was poisoned and St Nersus died at the king's table. The Armenian Catholic Church call him 'The Great.'

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