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narses the great) (c.326-373. Armenian catholicos. Born perhaps of royal stock, he married a princess and after her death was ordained a priest. In 353 he became catholicos (or patriarch) of Armenia, which marked a new era in Armenian history. Until then the church had been identified with the royal family and the nobility; Nerses brought it closer to the people, promulgating numerous laws on marriage, fast-days, and divine worship. He built schools and hospitals, and sent monks throughout the land preaching the Gospel. Some of his reforms brought him into conflict with King Arshak III, who exiled him to Edessa. On the king's death he returned at the command of King Pap (or Bad) in 369, only to repeat his offense. Tradition says he was poisoned at the instigation of the king.