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Biography

Nerses IV the Gracious (Armenian: Սուրբ Ներսէս Դ. Կլայեցի (Շնորհալի); also Nerses Shnorhali, Nerses of Kla or Saint Nerses the Graceful; 1102 – 13 August 1173) was Catholicos of Armenia from 1166 to 1173. A more precise translation of his epithet Shnorhali is "filled with Grace". He received the appellation Shnorhali from his contemporaries because of the very irenic quality of his writing.

During his time as a bishop and, later, as Catholicos of the Armenian Church, Nerses worked to bring about reconciliation with the Eastern Orthodox Church, and convened a council with emissaries selected by the Byzantine Emperor himself to discuss how they might be able to reunite the two churches. The terms the emperor offered were, however, unacceptable to both Nerses and the Armenian Church, and the negotiations collapsed.

Nerses is remembered as a theologian, poet, writer and hymn composer. He has been called "the Fénelon of Armenia" for his efforts to draw the Armenian church out of isolation, and has been recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church, who hold his feast on August 13, and by the Armenian Apostolic Church, who celebrate him in mid-October on the Saturday of the Fourth Week of the Holy Cross.

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