I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
As a young man Nerses was a soldier in Caesarea, Cappadocia (modern day Turkey). Following the death of his wife he then became an official at the court of King Arshak of Armenia. In about 363 Nerses became bishop of the Armenian Church and attempted to spread Christianity among the people. The king however opposed this and banished him from Armenia.
When Nerses heard that Arshak had died, he returned to his former position. But the succeeding king, Pap, was a greater tyrant than Arshak and some of his contemporaries believed he was possessed by the devil. Pap invited Nerses to a dinner, at which he poisoned him.
O God of all power, you called from death the great pastor of the sheep, our Lord Jesus: comfort and defend the flock which He has redeemed through the blood of the everlasting covenant. Increase the number of true preachers; enlighten the hearts of the ignorant; relieve the pain of the afflicted, especially of those who suffer for the testimony of the truth; by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.
John Knox (c. 1515-72)