Sunday, 13 January 2019

Czech artists completing St Gregory of Narek statue for Vatican

16 February 2018

Horni Kalna, East Bohemia, Feb 15 (CTK) - The art foundry in Horni Kalna is completing a statue of St Gregory of Narek, a 10th-century priest from the historical area of Armenia, now eastern Turkey, which is a gift for Pope Francis and is to be unveiled in the Vatican on April 5, its author David Babayan told CTK on Thursday.

Babayan, 77, is a French national with Armenian roots, whose statues can be found in many countries.

The bronze statue, with an impressive beard, a face turned upwards and complementing motifs of a book, pomegranates and Armenian churches, is about two metres tall.

"Despite its size, it features detailed [motifs] as if on a jewel. This makes the statue exceptional," Pavel Horak, co-owner of the art foundry, told CTK.

Current Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan previously gave a small statue of St Gregory to Pope Francis, who liked it very much, so the president offered to give him a bigger one on behalf of Armenia, Babayan said.

He said the most difficult for him was to express St Gregory's spirit.

Horak said the statue is to be transferred to the Vatican on March 7.

The Horni Kalna foundry uses the lost wax casting method. The craftsmen make a wax model of the statue, according to a plaster model made by the artist. They cover it with an outer form and warm it to make the wax leak out and pour bronze in its stead. Finally, the form is removed from the bronze statue.

On February 23, 2015, which was the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire, Pope Francis confirmed a decree declaring St Gregory of Narek a Doctor of the Church, a title going to selected saints whose teaching and life have a special importance for the Catholic Church.

Gregory of Narek was a priest, monk, theologian and also a significant poet and scholar. He is considered one of the greatest Armenian literary authors.

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