- Armenian Literature, History, Religion in in Russian

Grigor Narekatsi


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Prayer 95  Colophon

Prayer 65

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart


Now, I foremost among the impious and
chief among sinners, the leader among the unjust,
the first among debtors, the epitome of a criminal,
the Attica of vice, not of virtue,
have dared to say what is unspeakable:
I have boasted of my humiliation,
I have exposed my secrets,
disclosed what I have covered up,
shown what I have hidden,
spread what I have stored up,
splattered the gall of my bitterness,
divulged my collaboration with the evil one,
squeezed my pus-filled wound,
acknowledged the abyss of my sins,
put on the mask of hypocrisy,
lifted the veil from ugliness,
stripped away the clothes from shamefulness,
laid open my baseness,
thrown up the dregs of death,
revealed the abscessed wounds of my soul to you, Christ high priest.

Not sparing my soul from peril,
not conceding to the love of my body,
I examined down to the oldest roots.
Showing no leniency for the human condition,
cutting my tie with the brotherhood,
destroying the castle of my heart,
I struggled with the stalking of my desires, as if
ambushed by death, laying open the storehouse
of secrets,
setting forth before great God this hoarded treasure,
appearing before the judge as a prosecutor,
foreseeing the ominous things to come,
breaking my pact with the Devil,
I recanted my vows to the Deceiver.
I took refuge in you, Lord Jesus, for a victorious end to
this battle, marshalling the troops for war,
placing my hope in the word of God to fend off attacks,
I delivered the forces of darkness to those
armed with light.


And now, Christ, maker of all creation,
Son of God on high,
I have been blamed with these words,
and struck with these blows,
please do not reproach me again at the Last Judgment,
you, who are our immortal, almighty king, who does good in ways we cannot understand or express.
Do not reproach me with my self-abasement and
self-accusatory humiliation,
by which I of my own volition condemned
myself relentlessly,
and through this book of psalms confront the face of Satan with his shame,
and strengthen the stamp of your cross upon my face, wretch that I am.

Let the glow of your seal add luster to my countenance,
the sign of your steadfastness be stamped upon my face,
the shape of your cross be fixed upon my cheeks,
the glory of your miraculous work be marked
upon my forehead,
the luster of your seal not be taken from me,
the radiance of your blessing not fade from the
sight of my eyes,
the token of your assurance not be removed
from my head,
the glory of your scripture not waver upon the firm threshold of my mouth,
your praiseworthy armor shield the sentiments
of my heart,
your four-winged radiance spread through the four
elements of my being,
the power of your cross of salvation come to the aid of my outstretched hand, and
may the sanctity of your valor realize the goodness
of the offering for which my hands were made.


When I depart this life, may holiness not abandon me.
When I am wrapped in shrouds may your honor
not leave me.
May my soul not reject your unwavering salvation.
May your image engraved upon my soul, Giver of life, not be effaced.
May the mark of your blood not be erased from my soul’s altar bearing your seal.
May it dwell with me in my grave.
When my miserable body is worn out may your
anointing grace stay with me,
that I might on the day of renewal meet you,
groom of glory,
that I may be known as one of yours,
that I may be clothed with your accomplishments,
that I may be honored by the assurances of
your greatness,
that I may be adorned with the robe of your baptism and pardoned with mercy.

Give me, O compassionate Lord, your cloak
of incorruptibility,
you who suffer with the sins of my body.
Do not let the Blasphemer gain control over your people.
May the one who wears out my soul waste away.
May the tricks of those who live on the dark side not haunt me.
May the abyss of my final rest be blessed in your name, O merciful Lord.
May the cell of my captivity be filled with your mercy.
May the place of my torture be broken open
through you.
May tranquility reign, my keeper, in my prison of terror.
May that dark womb nourish me toward resurrection.
May your hope preserve me that chamber of anxiety.
May your hand protect me upon the cot of my torment.
May your wings shield me in the house of anguish.
Stay with me, Lord most praised, in my room of peril.
A thousand woes upon me,
for once I was angelic, but now I am in the abyss,
once I was celebrated, but now I am pitiful.


Now again, you who are blessed by all creation,
by the heavenly and the earthly,
and by the denizens of Hades,
you who were banished for me for no reason,
for it was I who strayed and was estranged,
I who was stupid, lost, and found worthless.
I was abandoned, extinguished and destroyed.
I erred, I was caught, I was rejected.
I was alienated, enslaved, and degraded.
I was cursed, I became wretched, drunken and wasted.
I was swallowed up, I was deceived, I rebelled.
I was corrupted, died and destroyed completely.
You had no hand in this evil,
for you are only unchanging good.


Now, when your will is upon me, darkness becomes
light for me.
When your lamp of hope is there, night is like the dawn.
When your body is taken during communion, I live down my shame.
But I do not consider my soul living,
for death is inevitable.
Nor do I consider it dead,
for renewal is not doubted.
And though I see the path to life closed before me
because of my unpardonable sins
still paradise is open before me
because of the good news of salvation.
For the discouragement of bad news makes me
less anxious than the encouragement of your hand
extending salvation.
Therefore, grant mercy, O Lord,
for all those who raise voices in thanks,
Lord blessed forever.



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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