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St. Gregory of Narek (951-1003)

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  • Thomas Daniel
    Thousand years ago St. Gregory of Narek (951-1003) set out, with much trepidation, on a sublime mission to translate the pure sighs of the broken and
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 8, 2004
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      Thousand years ago St. Gregory of Narek (951-1003) set out, with much
      trepidation, on a sublime mission to translate the pure sighs of
      the "broken and contrite" heart1 into an offering of words pleasing
      to God. Beginning each prayer with the incantation "speaking with God
      from the depths of the heart," he referred to himself as "a living
      book (Prayer 39b)" and to his book as a compendium of prayers for all
      times and nations2 - "a testament... its letters like my body, its
      message like my soul (Prayer 54e)." Thus, the man equated himself
      with the book, and ever since, the book has been equated with this
      saintly man.3 So the book like the man came to be known
      affectionately as Narek.

      St. Gregory's Book of Prayer is also sometimes called the Book of
      Lamentations.6 The book is known in Armenian as Girk aghotits
      (literally, 'book of prayer') or Matean voghbergutyan
      (literally 'book of tragedy or lamentation'). 'Lamentation' is one
      possible translation of the Armenian word voghbergutyun, which also
      can be translated as `tragedy,' as it has been translated into French.

      Lamentations: Conversations with God" have recently been translated
      into English and are available online:

      http://www.stgregoryofnarek.am/book.php

      St. Gregory was a monk by lake Van in Armenia during the 11th
      century. His sorrowful writings often come near to despair, but
      ultimately he finds comfort in God's mercy. His poems/prayers are
      used extensively in the liturgy of the Armenian church.

      In HIS Love
      Thomas Daniel (Reji)
      St. George Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church
      Cheppaud, Alleppy Dist, Kerala, India.
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