- Armenian Literature, History, Religion in in Russian

Grigor Narekatsi


Tenets of Prayer  Prayer 1  Prayer 2  Prayer 3  Prayer 4  Prayer 5  Prayer 6
Prayer 7  Prayer 8  Prayer 9  Prayer 10  Prayer 11  Prayer 12  Prayer 13  Prayer 14
Prayer 15  Prayer 16  Prayer 17  Prayer 18  Prayer 19  Prayer 20  Prayer 21  Prayer 22
Prayer 23  Prayer 24  Prayer 25  Prayer 26  Prayer 27  Prayer 28  Prayer 29  Prayer 30
Prayer 31  Prayer 32  Prayer 33  Prayer 34  Prayer 35  Prayer 36  Prayer 37  Prayer 38
Prayer 39  Prayer 40  Prayer 41  Prayer 42  Prayer 43  Prayer 44  Prayer 45  Prayer 46
Prayer 47  Prayer 48  Prayer 49  Prayer 50  Prayer 51  Prayer 52  Prayer 53  Prayer 54
Prayer 55  Prayer 56  Prayer 57  Prayer 58  Prayer 59  Prayer 60  Prayer 61  Prayer 62
Prayer 63  Prayer 64  Prayer 65  Prayer 66  Prayer 67  Prayer 68  Prayer 69  Prayer 70
Prayer 71  Prayer 72  Prayer 73  Prayer 74  Prayer 75  Prayer 76  Prayer 77  Prayer 78
Prayer 79  Prayer 80  Prayer 81  Prayer 82  Prayer 83  Prayer 84  Prayer 85  Prayer 86
Prayer 87  Prayer 88  Prayer 89  Prayer 90  Prayer 91  Prayer 92  Prayer 93  Prayer 94
Prayer 95  Colophon

Prayer 6

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart


What use, what good is it to me
to exhaust myself with this stream of words, the voice of my sighing heart?
Would it not be better to lance the accumulated words, like deadly pus,
or with fingers in the throat, to vomit up the heaviness of my heart, weighed down with
the wounds of my soul?


And since I was not found worthy of sharing
in the glory of the saints with their blissful
laughter and smiles, as described by the proverb teller1
and psalmist,2 I shall be granted the second rank,
the rank where people like me are assigned.
But in view of the error of my ways,
even they are superior to me just as the penitent is
superior to the impenitent.
Manasseh should be celebrated,
when compared with the excess of my transgressions.3
The Pharisee should be honored when compared with my foul baseness.4
The Prodigal Son should be praised
when compared to the betrayal of my vows.5
The deceit of the Amasseh’s son should be commended,
when compared with my thankless ingratitude.6
More blessed is the thief who was prosecutor
of the faithless.7
More honorable is the prostitute, the example and the mother of all repentant.8


No less than Pharaoh have I hardened my heart.
No less blameworthy than the frenzied Israelite mob,
have I rebelled against my creator.
No less than the enemies of God have I
taken the battlefield,
and I did not refrain from denying the creator of
all from nothing.
I make waves like the turbulent sea during a storm,
but I do not tremble, humbled by your
severe commandment,
like the waves of the sea against the shore.9
My countless misdeeds are measured like
mounds of sand.
The boundless accumulation is less than the
mass of my lawlessness.


For although small things mount up
as sands on the shore,
nevertheless, they are unique and distinct in their
origin and increase,
and like my transgressions, so countless that
they are impossible to comprehend:
one with its kith,
the other with its kin,

one with its defects,
the other with its dangers,
one with its thorns,
the other with its roots,
one with its stem,
the other with its fruits,
one with its limbs,
the other with its branches,
one with its shoots,
the other with its joints,
one with its claws,
the other with its fingers,
one with its shakiness,
the other with its sturdiness,
one with its causes,
the other with its effects,
one with its imprint,
the other with its traces,
one with its shadow,
the other with its darkness,
one with its tactics,
the other with its strategy,
one with its guile,
the other with its intent,
one with its trajectory,
the other with its size,
one with its depth,
the other with its baseness,
one with its spark,
the other with its passion,
one with its goods,
the other with its treasures,
one with its pipes,
the other with its fountain,
one with its torrents,
the other with its lightening,
one with its flames,
the other with its shame,
one with its pits,
the other with its abysses,
one with its embers,
the other with its dullness,
one with its thunder,
the other with its raindrops,
one with its currents,
the other with its floods and frost,
one with its gates,
the other with its roadways,
the furnace and its heat,
the fire and its fumes,
the melting tallow and its scent,
the wormwood tree and its bitter sap,
the destroyer and its victim,
the thief and his assassins,
the bully and his accomplices,
the master and his servants,
the beast and its whelps,
the biter and the bitten,
the corrupter and its imitator.


And these are but the main categories
of the soul’s common afflictions.
They are further divided into smaller classes,
each of which has thousands upon
thousands of subclasses,
but the total number can be comprehended
only by the one who sees as done
that which is scripted in us.10
If a person does not indulge in self-deception nor
put on a mask,
and is not tricked by lack of faith,
but has self-knowledge,
and senses our common human nature,
and is cognizant of being earth born and knows our proper place and limitations,
then he shall understand this list of attributes,
not as some meaningless scribble,
nor as a complete description of even the essential types and kinds of imperfections whirling in our nature.
Rather, he will know that I have identified certain seeds of the thousands of evils,
and even if through these he learns of others,
he realizes that even these categories are not enough.

1. Job 8:21.
2. Ps. 149:5.
3. 2 Kg. 21:1-18, 2 Chr. 33:1-20.
4. Lk. 18:11-14.
5. Lk. 15:11,31.
6. 2 Chr. 26:16-19.
7. Lk. 23:43.
8. Lk. 7:35-50.
9. Job 38:11, Ps. 104 (Arm. 103):6-9.
10. Rom. 8:29-30, 2 Cor. 3:2-3.



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 )

Design & Content © Anna & Karen Vrtanesyan, unless otherwise stated.  Legal Notice