- Armenian Literature, History, Religion in in Russian

Grigor Narekatsi


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Prayer 95  Colophon

Prayer 82

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart


Lord God, doer of good, generous king,
refuge of life, form of light,
spacious place of repose,
who for the sake of sinners like me
came, took the form of man
accomplishing things beyond telling
and performed miracles,
even perfecting our humanity1
with the fullness of your divinity.

Now for the holy apostles,
whom you ordained with your heavenly hand,2
and anointed by your Holy Spirit,3
whose deserving praises I have sung
as much as I could
for your glory, Lord of all, in another work.4
Have mercy upon me in the memory of your chosen.

Through them prepare for me a way to the
most desired bliss.
May the voice of these good shepherds
be heard beckoning me sweetly to eternal life.
May I partake of the jubilant hope
of everlasting salvation
with the lives of our leaders, the first to be graced with this honor,
the glorified choir, the spiritual rivers,
the sublime evangelists, the illustrious princes,
those with sparkling crowns,
and those adorned in the untarnished
brilliant radiance of the strength of grace, yes,
those who have been made perfect with
the oil of gladness, your lordly light.


Together with your disciples,
Christ God on high,
and the self-sacrifice of your chosen martyrs,
who through mortification and torments of the flesh,
and peril to life and limb and all manner of suffering,
and who despite their earthly nature
struggled against every element of material existence to
win halos, transcending and reborn in spirit,
courageously. They departed this world, as
the prophets said,
as true witnesses to the trials and tribulations of death.
They comprehended the unequivocal good,
unseen and hidden,
even in this world with the hope of things seen.5
The disciples of the apostles and their
companions in suffering
are also equal to them in their works
and in their consummate and utter perfection
are jubilant with endless bliss.
By their pleasing and acceptable pleading,
honoring their prayers as a blood-drenched sacrifice of dedicated service
offered with the incense of sweat,
accept me again to share their lot
and be established in you with everlasting salvation.


Though a sinner deserving of punishment,
accept me,
together with those who fight with fire and sword,
covered in blood, and together with the holy ascetics,
hermit fathers, and your other followers, Son of God,
all who with invincible bravery and
undistracted vigilance, have courageously struggled
against the baseness of the body
and fended off the bodiless Satan.
In the perpetual battlefield of our earthly life
without being worn down
upon the waves of this expansive worldly sea,
despite the heaviness of their bodily ark,
they sent their souls soaring in lightness,
reaching the safe haven of eternal life.
And like those who love the celestial realm,
truly and boldly, without reservations,
they have crowned themselves with
the tiara of victory, adorned with brilliant gems.6
By grace of their worthy prayers and
dedicated supplications,
accept me too.


Mixing my impure words
with the glorious prayers of the blessed,
who for my sake call out to you in a pleasing manner,
I too call out with them,
sour notes amidst the sweet,
thorns amidst the smoothness,
ugliness amidst splendor,
filth amidst glistening diamonds,
impurities amidst pure gold,
worthless rocks amidst silver,
contradictions amidst the truth,
grains of sand amidst the soft bread.

Listen, mighty, ingenious, praised, Lord,
to their prayers for me and mine for them,
for their praise, my salvation, and for your glory,
O Lord, all-compassionate, doer of good, blessed,
long-suffering, potent, beyond understanding,
beyond words, incorruptible and uncreated.
Yours are the gifts, and yours is grace.
You are the beginning and cause of all good.


You are not the accuser, but the liberator,7
not the destroyer, but the rescuer,
not the executioner, but the savior,8
not the scatterer, but the gatherer,9
not the traitor, but the deliverer.
You do not pull down, but lift up.
You do not knock down, but stand upright.
You do not curse, but bless.
You do not take revenge, but give grace.
You do not torment, but comfort.
You do not erase, but write.
You do not shake, but steady.
You do not trample, but console.
You do not invent the causes of death,
but seek the means to preserve life.
You do not forget to help.
You do not abandon the good.
You do not withhold compassion.
You do not bring the sentence of death, but
the legacy of life.
You are not opposed for your generosity.
You are not blasphemed for your grace.
You are not cursed for your bounty.
You are not insulted for your free gifts.
You are not mocked for your patience.
You are not blamed for your pardon.
You are not accused for your goodness.
You are not dishonored for your sweetness.
You are not despised for your meekness.
For these, we send not complaints,
but gratitude that cannot be silenced.
Take away my sins, Almighty.
Remove the curse from me, blessed.
Pardon my debts, merciful.
Erase my transgressions, compassionate.
Extend your hand of deliverance
and I will instantly be made perfect.
What is easier than this for you Lord,
and what is more important to you?
Thus, providential Lord, revive me
made in your image and brought to life by your breath10
in order to renew the breath of your pure
enlightening grace,
protecting my sinful soul.


Do not dispatch me, merciful Lord, before my time.
Do not let me depart this life empty-handed, before my journey is accomplished.
Do not offer me the cup of bitterness in my time of thirst.
Do not block me, compassionate Lord, from the
path of doing good,
and do not permit the nightfall of death to overtake me
like a band of thieves in a sudden ambush.11
May the feverish heat of the sun at an
unexpected moment
not cut off and dry up my roots forever.12
And may the lunacy of the moon, arriving in secret,
not cause harm.13
May rest not bring death
and slumber not lead to slaughter.
May sleep not destroy me
and may drowsiness not corrupt me.
May my death not strike me at an
inappropriate moment.
And may the release of my spirit upward not
be cast down.


You are the Lord, you are compassionate, you are the doer of good.
You are patient and almighty.
In all things you are strong beyond comprehension
and words14
to pardon, to save, to grant life,
to enlighten, to establish anew,
to snatch from the jaws of ferocious beasts,
or from the teeth of dragons and restore life,
to lead from the depths of the abyss to the light of bliss,15
and from drowning in the waves of sin
to be seated among the righteous with the glory
of the blessed.
Every soul awaits you with hope and expectation,
longing for your grace,16
whether heavenly or earthly,
whether fallen in sin or exalted with righteousness,
whether master or servant,
whether lady or maid.
And in your hand is the life breath of every creature.17
To you with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
glory forever and ever.

1. Heb. 5:9; 12:2.
2. Lk. 24:50.
3. Acts 2:3-4.
4. St. Gregory appears to be referring to his Ode to the Apostles and the sixty-six disciples in his Ode to the Cross and the Holy Virgin, dated between 984 and 1000. Critical Edition, p. 1100, n. 4.
5. Heb. 11:1.
6. Phil. 3:13.
7. Jn. 8:11, Lk. 9:56.
8. Jn. 10:10.
9. Lk. 15:4.
10. Gen 1:26, 2:7.
11. Lk. 12:39.
12. Ps. 121 (Arm. 120), 6, Mt. 13:6.
13. Ps. 121 (Arm. 120):6.
14. Gen. 18:14; Lk. 1:37.
15. Jonah.
16. Rom. 8:18-25.
17. Job 12:10.



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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