The Armenian Church collectively remembers the sons and grandsons of St. Gregory the Illuminator this Saturday, July 29, namely, Saints Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris, as well as Daniel, who was not related, but was a distinguished and beloved student. All of them continued the work of St. Gregory, preaching the word of Christ at great personal peril.
Gregory had two sons, Aristakes and Vrtanes. Aristakes, the younger son, succeeded Gregory as Catholicos. He represented the Armenian Church at the first ecumenical council of Nicaea in 325. It was at this council that the Nicene Creed, recited to this day during the Divine Liturgy, was written and adopted. Aristakes was martyred around 333 and Vrtanes—at this time over 70 years old—was called upon to become Catholicos and served eight years until his death. Vrtanes had two sons, Grigoris and Housik. Grigoris preached in Georgia and Caucasian Albania (now in present-day Azerbaijan), where he was martyred. Housik was called upon to assume the catholicosal throne. He was martyred in 347. Daniel is included with the sons and grandsons because of his special close relationship with the family. He was chosen to succeed Housik as Catholicos, but never actually served as he too was martyred one year later, in 348.
St. Nerses and St. Sahak were the great-grandchildren of St. Gregory the Illuminator, and the Armenian Church observes their feasts on separate occasions.