- Armenian Literature, History, Religion in in Russian

Grigor Narekatsi


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Prayer 95  Colophon

Prayer 56

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart


As for the agents of death,
the roots of the bitter fruit of the tree of damnation,
hostile kin, intimate adversaries, traitorous sons, I now
shall describe them in detail by name.
They are
my sinister heart,
my gossiping mouth,
my lustful eyes,
my wanton ears,
my murderous hands,1
my weak kidneys,
my wayward feet,
my swaggering gait,
crooked footprints,
polluted breath,
dark inclinations,
dried innards,
mushy mind,
inconstant will,
incorrigible depravity,
wavering virtue,
banished soul,
dissipated legacy,
wounded beast,
arrow-struck bird,
fugitive on the precipice,
apprehended criminal,
drowning pirate,
treasonous soldier,
reluctant fighter,
undisciplined warrior,
slovenly laborer,
faithless worshiper,
worldly cleric,
impious priest,
officious minister,
haughty clerk,
deranged sage,
grotesque rhetorician,
immodest manner,
shameless countenance,
insolent grimace,
repulsive tone,
subhuman mold,
lurid beauty,
rotting meat,
sickening flavor,
weed-choked orchard,
worm-eaten vine,2
garden of briars,
rusted ear of corn,
mouse-infested honey,
threadbare outcast,
haughty desperado,
closed-minded heretic,
irreconcilable sectarian,
fast-talking charlatan,
herd mentality blowhard,
brutishly wicked, hellishly greedy,
unashamedly arrogant,
frenzied atheist, assassin ready to strike,
sower of thorns, woeful contentment,
debased majesty, defiled splendor, wasted ability,
humbled greatness, trampled glory,
persistent disobedience, willful error,
negligent steward, treacherous adviser, alienated friend,
corrupt official, covetous associate,
stingy boss, crooked supervisor,
soul without compassion, wish without charity,
hateful habit, insatiable appetite,3
imprudent actions, invisible damage,
secret curses, antagonizing events,
careless merchant, gluttonous exploiter,
drunken official, duplicitous treasure warden,4
dissension sowing emissary, sleeping doorman,
proud beggar, rich ingrate,5
dishonest secretary, untrustworthy custodian,
back-biting relatives,6
tardy messenger, wayward courier,
vexing envoy, foolish mediator,7
banished ruler, feeble king, broken-spirited emperor,
rogue prince, plundering general,
biased judge, capricious rabble,
for enemies – cause for snickering,
for friends – cause for tears,
for writers – cause for reproach,
for adversaries – cause for accusation.
For though I was indeed called by the highest names,
by my works I earned the worst of these descriptions.8
Thus, these are the multitude of seductive devices,
which I allowed to deceive me in my naivet? or
I allowed to prevail over me in my weakness,
condemning myself willfully to death.


Now, which of the things listed above,
abhorrent to you and devastating for me,
shall I offer in service to you?
Which of these things wrapped in corruption
shall I present before your holy majesty?
For how long will your patience
bear this many sins?
How much will you forgive?
How will you remain silent?
How will you even bear to listen?
How can you spare the rod
when I am worthy of being beaten to death?
But you visit the mercy of your light
in the pitch blackness of the dark side of the soul,
to cure, pardon and give us life.
O force that cannot be deterred,
to you glory in all things,

1. Is. 1:15.
2. Dt. 28:39.
3. Pr. 12:10; Rom. 1:30.
4. Lk. 12:45.
5. Sir. 25:2.
6. Ps. 50 (Arm 49):20.
7. Acts 15:24.
8. From the General Confession, “I was called to the profession of Christianity, but was found unworthy of it by my deeds.”



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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