The Right Hand of Saint Gregory the Illuminator

In 302 AD, Gregory the Parthian was elected as Catholicos of Christian Armenia and started leading the Apostolic See founded by two Apostles - St. Thaddeus and St. Bartholomew, Armenia’s first illuminators.For leading a righteous life and bearing horrendous torments for the Christian faith, Gregory the Parthian Catholicos of Armenia was canonized during his lifetime by the Armenian people. The title "Illuminator" was given to him in great appreciation of the Pontifical mission, preaching and education.After the death of St. Gregory the Illuminator, his relics were hidden in the village Tordan, Daranagheats province of Greater Armenia, while his right hand was taken to Catholicosate and placed in a special reliquary (today’s silver reliquary for the Illuminator’s Right Hand was made in 1657).From 330s on, the Right Hand of St. Gregory the Illuminator has become a symbol of the highest spiritual authority of Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians: “as the seal and guarantee of legitimate and true Pontificate.” The Right Hand has always been under the sole supervision of catholicoi of all Armenians, and since 1441, it has been maintained in the Holy See of Etchmiadzin.The Right Hand of St. Gregory the Illuminator is one of the main sanctities to bless the Holy Chrism of the Armenian Apostolic Church.St. Gregory the Illuminator is a saint recognized by all traditional Christian Churches. For centuries his venerated relics were spread all over the Christian world.The design of the coin and the information booklet are developed with the support of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.

Rectangle 27,0 x 47,0 mm

Armenia 2014 The Right Hand of Saint Gregory the Illuminator
In the center – the coat of arms of the Republic of Armenia with the nominal value underneath; "REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA" in Armenian and English is inscribed at the bottom and on the right. 
St. Gregory the Illuminator and his Right Hand, partially pad-printed; at the top – inscriptions "HOLY ETCHMIADZIN" in Armenian and English and the Holy Etchmiadzin’s symbol – the Armenian letter "Է" standing for "essence"; at the bottom – the year of issue in digital and ecclesiastical marking "2014 ՌՆԿԳ"; "RIGHT HAND OF SAINT GREGORY THE ILLUMINATOR" in Armenian and English is inscribed on the left.
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