- Armenian Literature, History, Religion in in Russian

Grigor Narekatsi


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Prayer 95  Colophon

Prayer 19

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart


Hear, all-seeing vision of hope and goodness of life,
the profuse sighs of my hurting soul,
unreachable greatness, fearful name, living word,
longed for message, delectable taste,
worshipful calling, confessed beneficence,
sweet perception, professed reality,
glorious essence, blessed existence,
Lord Christ, praised and worshiped with your Father
and exalted and proclaimed with the Holy Spirit,
who alone became human like us for our sakes,
so that you might make us like you for your sake,
light unto all, merciful, almighty and
heavenly in all ways,
I pray that with your divine miracle-working power,
compassionate God, you restore this,
my collapsing broken earthen vessel.
And I pray that you recast the image you gave me,
worn by sin,
in the lightning crucible of your word.
Cleanse the temple of my body,
the vessel of my soul,
the altar of your repose,
as your dwelling place,
I pray you, O doer of good.
Do not repay my evil deeds with evil.
I am drunk, in the words of the prophet,1 but not
with wine. Empty out the dregs of iniquity
from my stupefying cup of death. And by the command
of your salvation, giver of all life,
let me with the last drop of your cup2
be spared on the day of judgment.


You are just in your law
and triumphant in your judgment.3
If you hand down a death sentence,
your action is right.
If you reprimand before giving a stern condemnation,
your decision is just.
If you cast me into the abyss
or still the movement of life,
if you silence my power of speech,
or darken the windows of my eyes,
if you check my joy in life,
or impair my ability to be nourished by ordinary food,
if you reduce the richness of my days,
or make drops of fire fall along with the dew drops,
if you starve me by your silence,4
or shut the doors of my ears,
if you cut off the bounty of your grace,
or make the earth move under my feet,
if you shut off the light of your countenance
for which I yearn, or expel me from
this world completely,
if you terrify me with a lightening bolt,
or condemn me to incurable pain,
if you betray me to the demons of evil,
or chew me up in the jaws of beasts,
if you blow me away in billowing anger,
or invent some new torture,
more evil than Tartaros,
more severe than Gehenna,
more vile than maggots,
more anguishing than darkness,
more terrifying than the abyss,
more pitiful than nakedness,
I will testify against myself that
I deserve these and more.


And since the punishments always match
the sins they are for,
like mirror images, identical,
parallel, emblematic of the wrong,
it is important to confess
and lift the veil from my face
to one who seeks to know me.
For as I did not tend the needs of
my fellow man with warm charity,
it is right that I freeze with fear
at the first sign of danger.

And since I did not check my willful pride,
it is fair that I should be consumed with
unbridled disgrace.

And since I did not love the light
of the good news, it is just
that I should be condemned to grope
in the darkness of ignorance and fog of perdition.

And since I paid no heed to small faults,
considering them harmless, it is fitting
for me to be wounded by the stings of insects.

And since I did not lend a helping hand
to those in danger, it is proper for me
to be cast into a pit of filth.


But evil is not from your Godly bounty,
source of all good, and darkness
is not from your radiant light.
And temptation is not
part of your protection. No, I found these myself
like a destructive child.
And the mounting sins of my iniquity have justified
your anger. As the good book warns5
I became the servant of the prince
of iniquity, giving him your place.


And since the scandal,
the most private secret, has been uncovered6
and its shamefulness leaves a mark
upon my face. I show myself, as in
the parable of the prophet, in complete
offensiveness like a naked prostitute.7

Rekindle your light of atonement in me,
heavenly king, so that
shaking off the dust of sin,
my soul can stand upright like the
people returning from Babylon,
having heard the voice of good tidings.
And I will be able to sit up again,
on the firm foundation of your unshakable hope.
In the words of the prophet Isaiah,8
I shall be clothed in my former purity
by your mighty hand, for the sweetness
of your all-giving divinity and your great glory.
Blessed forever.

1. Is. 29:9, 51:21.
2. Is. 51:22.
3. Ps. 50:6, Rom. 3:4.
4. Am. 8:11.
5. Ec. 10:4.
6. Col. 3:5.
7. Nah. 3:5-6.
8. Is. 52:1.



Source: St. Gregory of Narek
Provided by: Thomas J. Samuelian

© 2002, Thomas J. Samuelian. Published with the permission of the author.

See also:

Biography of Grigor Narekatsi (in Armenian)
The Christ-Child ( translated by Alice Stone Blackwell )

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