- Armenian Literature, History, Religion in in Russian

Grigor Narekatsi


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Prayer 95  Colophon

Prayer 78

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart


And now, fallen down upon my face with my
earthly nature, humbly on my knees in worship,
I kiss the life-giving feet of your mercifulness,
doer of good.1
Offering this to your majesty,
I pray you, my sole keeper, who loves mankind,
compassionate, giver of life, mighty God, who rescues and protects us.

May your suffering for our salvation not be in vain,
God, who became man for my sake.
May the sweat mixed with blood on the night of your
betrayal not be without purpose.2
May the gifts of your light not be eclipsed, gifts
that you have given freely and without compensation to
a wretch like me.
May the good news of your grace renewed by the blood
drops from your side not be erased.3
May the fruit of your suffering, offered for my neediness,
not be senseless.
May the banished Deceiver not dare
to possess me, whom you have made.


Indeed, you vanquish the desires of the Evil One
by your will.
You confound anew the one whom you once cast out
and again defeat completely the one condemned.4
Do not hold back your words of salvation,
which being offered to you
return your own creatures to you.

You have done good works beyond telling
at the unexpected moment of despair,
when all movement of life had ceased and disappeared,
you who are immortal died and brought the dead
back to life.5
If you changed the Old Testament rule of
“an eye for an eye,” 6 do not now block the easier,
more flexible and yet more
feasible rule,
O source of mercy, compassionate, blessed and
forbearing King.
Say the word, by which with almighty force,
you brought light into existence on the first day,7
and I will immediately be made well.8
And though I have failed to follow your light,
may you visit me anyway in the form of your Father’s
radiant dawn,9 and may I, an unworthy servant, be su
moned before you for your mercy and grace.
The time has run out for paying my debts,
so turn your face toward me, when I am in pain,
you who lighten the darkness for the disheartened.10

Block and seal the escape routes
through which your good things drain away
from my memory.
Preserve in me the grace of your permanently
sparkling treasure by which I might be found worthy
to be called yours
and be protected by your boundless goodness.


Have mercy upon me, compassionate Lord, I pray you.
Have mercy upon me, almighty Lord, again have mercy.
Do not repay my wrongdoing with pain, O Lord who is good in all ways.
Do not take from me the grace you have given.
Do not snatch away the breath of the all-blessed
Holy Spirit.
Do not erase the venerable stamp of your majestic image.
Do not raise the thorns of sin in the purity of my mind.11
Do not cut the tie that binds me to you with
steadfast love.
Do not deprive me of the powerful art of speech.
Do not weaken the ability of my right hand
to distribute the parcels of your light.12
Do not enter my death sentence in your book of life.13
Do not record my sins and assess them to me.
Do not recollect them and do not embarrass
me with them.
Do not blame me and do not trample me.
Do not register my infirmity.
Do not gather my destructive acts.
Do not accuse me like some criminal.
Do not let the tree of damnation grow within me.
Do not unleash in me the branches of destruction.
Do not let the buds of my sins blossom.
Do not demand payment on my debt note.
Do not permit these sins to mature into evil fruits.
Do not count my prolific misdeeds on the tree branches,
the fingers of the earth you created.
Do not pronounce your awesome word to confront me with my iniquity.14
Do not permit my willfulness to betray my soul
into slavery.
Do not honor me here, only to condemn me in
the hereafter.
Do not let the lesser, passing things of this world
diminish my eternal good.
Do not measure the endless glory to come by the meager intervals of the here and now.
Do not pawn the incorruptible life for the valley
of sighing grief.
Do not exchange your light beyond words for the
shadows of the darkness here.
Do not drop the reins of my soul to follow my
wayward tracks.
Do not deem the bridge of my passing life as sufficient repose for me.
Do not keep the well of my mind in the shadows
only to be cleared when it is too late in the
life to come.
If you were to add all of my innumerable misdeeds,
I would be the living dead.
If you were to take this all to heart,
I would be spontaneously consumed in flameless fire.
If you were to examine my iniquities,
I would completely melt away, without even coming before you.
If you were to allow the sprouts of sin to grow with me,
I would be choked off by them and waste away.


Always powerful, almighty God,
glance my way, so that
the sins within me might be set to flight,
so that your goodness might come in their stead.

O compassionate God, praiseworthy provider,
inextinguishable light, with unbounded power,
command that the essence of my nature be
established anew under the roof of my body
and its parts, in order
that you might dwell here with happy fervor,
and stay without ever leaving,
uniting my soul with you and
banishing completely the corruption of sin,
immortal king, Lord Jesus Christ, who gives life to all,
blessed forever.

1. Lk. 7:38.
2. Lk. 22:44.
3. Jn. 19:34.
4. Rev. 20:10.
5. Lk. 7:14, Mk. 5:41, Jn. 11:43.
6. Mt. 5:38-43.
7. Gen. 1:3.
8. Mt. 8:2.
9. Heb. 1:3.
10. Jn. 1:5.
11. Is. 5:6, 1 Macc. 4:36.
12. The Eucharist, or perhaps his writings.
13. Rev. 20:12.
14. Mt. 25:41-45.



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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