Nerses lived in fourth-century Armenia. He was an official in the court of King Arshak. After Nerses' wife died, he was ordained a priest. He became chief bishop of Armenia in 363. He and St. Basil worked to help the people become more fervent Catholics. They called a meeting of all the Armenian bishops. They wanted to help the priests and people grow in holiness.
Bishop Nerses appreciated the vocation of monks. He wanted new monasteries to begin. He started hospitals and encouraged the rich to be honest and generous. King Arshak was not living a good life. When he murdered his wife, Olympia, Bishop Nerses publicly condemned this terrible crime. The king banished Bishop Nerses from his diocese and appointed another bishop.
King Arshak was killed in battle against the Persians. His son became king. Unfortunately, the son did more evil than his father. Bishop Nerses corrected him. The new king pretended to be sorry. He invited the bishop to his palace for supper to show his good will. But the food was poisoned and Nerses died right there at the king's table. He is considered a martyr and the Armenians call him "the great."
As a leader, St. Nerses took seriously his responsibility to speak up for the truth.