Pope Francis has declared St. Gregory of Narek, a 10th-century mystic and poet revered in particular by Armenian Catholics, a doctor of the church.

Monday's designation of one of the highest church honors on an Armenian monk comes a few weeks before Francis celebrates a Mass to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks that some call the first genocide of the 20th century.

The title of doctor of the church is reserved for people whose writings have greatly served the universal church.

Gregory, who lived around 950 to 1005, is considered one of the most important figures of medieval Armenian religious thought and literature. His Book of Prayers, also called the Book of Lamentations, is his best-known work.