- Armenian Literature, History, Religion in in Russian

Grigor Narekatsi


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Prayer 95  Colophon

Prayer 36

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart


No matter how great the mounting debt of my sins,
the saving grace of your trials
is greater by far.
You were nailed to the cross, the instrument of death,
on your all-embracing creative hands, which
hold all souls,1
so my disobedient hand might be stilled.
Out of compassion for my wantonness,
you bound the motion of your two life-giving feet,
so they might be pawned for my miserable feet,
always racing toward brutishness.


You did not order the hands of those who beat
your head to shrivel.2
You, who could uproot the fig tree without effort.
This example gives me hope of reprieve.
You did not threaten me with the evil whipping
that was your own lot,
though you are proclaimed God.3
You who darkened the sun4
and grant rest with goodness to me a mortal.
You did not dry the evil mouth of those who cursed you,
you who tinted the image of the moon with
the color of blood,
so you might strengthen my meek tongue to praise you.
You did not rebuke the wanton insultors,
you who shook the very firmament,
so you might anoint my miserable head with
the oil of compassion.

You did not rip the jaws of the God-killer who called you a fanatic, charlatan,5
you who rent the hardness of the rocky tomb,6
so you might mercifully grant my soul,
though it is incapable of goodness,
a respite from the burden of emptiness.

You did not run the swords of the guards through
their bowels,7
you who condemned the snake to slither on the ground,8
so you might preserve the bones of my tormented body,
to be worthy of resurrection.

You flatten and thrust into the abyss,
those who sealed the tomb upon the bearer of life,
in order that you might rest the token of your light
in the tomb of my soul.

You did not absolutely and for all generations
strike down
those who rumored your hand perished and
your body stolen like that of a mortal,
so you might permit me, insignificant as I am,
to partake of that goodness which neither perishes nor can be harmed,
together with those chosen for salvation.

You did not turn into stone, as with Moab in
days of old,9
your frenzied persecutors who twice stole silver bribes
from the offerings in your Father’s sanctuary
to betray and degrade you,10
so that you might set me upon the steadfastness
of your rock.11
Although I waver and am sold to the powers of death,
I am redeemed by your blood.
You are blessed twice over and blessed again,
praised in all things, forever and ever.

1. Job 10:8, 12:10, Wis. 3:1.
2. Mk. 11:13, 20-24.
3. Mt. 27:45.
4. Is. 14:12.
5. Mt. 26:65.
6. Mt. 27:51.
7. Mt. 26:47.
8. Gen. 3:14.
9. Gen. 19:26, 37.
10. Mt. 26:14-15, Mt. 28:12-13.
11. Mt. 7:25.



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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