Gregory Narek - Prayers - Prayer 29

Prayer 29

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A You alone are the origin of all goodness,
mercy beyond telling, Son of the one God on high,
who made the whole day a purgatory for our sins,1
and not a house of condemnation.
You are for me the expectation of good news,
instead of a day of dread.
You, physician to the ailing,
shepherd to the lost sheep,
master to the servant under your care,
pure wine for the dejected,
curative ointment for the wounded,
freedom for the captives of sin,
blessing of goodness for the rejected,
seal of grace for the despised,
the calling to anointment for the dispossessed,
restoration to uprightness for the fallen,
a mighty fortress for the stumbling,
a sublime helping hand to the disgraced,
the gate to heaven for the doubting,
stairway to bliss for the depraved,
the straight way for the confused,
forgiving king for the trespasser,
sweet hope for the abandoned,
the outstretched hand of life for the banished.

B You alone are great and generous in everything.
You are the definition of abundant goodness,
who pours forth constantly without measure,
more than we ask or expect,
as Paul said in gratitude.2
For you commanded that we should do good,
from dawn to dusk, in the same day,
nine times fifty, plus three, plus four times ten.3
Always attentive, forgiving with an unfettered heart,
something more than the expectation of men’s prayers.
And if we place my wretchedness and disgrace beside
your glory, omnipotent and awesome power,
God of all, blessed Lord Christ,
by what measure of weight shall the balance between
the creator and the clay be set?
You remain in these things infinite and unexaminable,
good in all things, having no part in the wrath
of darkness; therefore, far less are the number of
stars than your greatness,4
for you called them into existence from nothing
by merely pronouncing their names.
Or take the mass of the earth floating in air,
created from nothing, from which you established the dry land of earth.
These are less than the number I formulated above,
by which you taught us to be like you in forgiveness.

C As the radiant light of your long-suffering will
dispelled all evil without trace,
like a speck of fog in the heat of the sun,
so here, our natural impulses are shown
in our common behavior.
For who among mortals has sinned and not regretted?
Who has been corrupted and not been ashamed?
Who has been base and not been humiliated?
Who has faltered and not repented?
Who has been ruined and not sobbed?
Who has been scandalized and not felt compunction?
Who has been defeated and not closed his mouth?
Who has been cheated and not sighed?
Who has tasted bile and not become bitter?
Who has fallen from the heights and
not been disheartened?
Who has lost greatness and not mourned?
Who has been deprived of happiness and not cried?
Who has been robbed of the grace of glory and
not lamented?
Who has done harm to his soul and
not been embarrassed?
Who has been banished from God’s sight and
not felt the loss of his gaze?
Who has heard God’s warnings and not trembled?
Who has made one mistake and not sighed “alas”
a thousand times?
Who has bared himself on a winter’s day and
not shivered?
Who has done wrong and not pelted himself with
stones in his mind?
Who has seen the high and mighty slave and
not been vexed?
Who has done evil and not cursed himself?
Who has cultivated vices and not condemned his soul?
Who has done shameful things and
not made a mockery of his body?
Who has had hard times and not cursed his life?
Who has remembered his misdeeds and not stewed?
Who has recalled secrets and not become flustered?
Who has seen the dark side and
not sought the perdition of death?
Who has had visions of the invisible and
not hung his head back to earth?
Who has committed sins of ease and not burned with
the inextinguishable flames of the furnace?
Who has violated nature, and not been parched?
Who has acted willfully and not prayed for
his own death?
Who has done the unspeakable and
not become disturbed?
Who has unbearably violated his essence and
not grieved?
Who has become high and mighty and
not been worn down?
Who has committed acts that corrupt innocence and
not burned?
Who has done things condemnable by banishment and not been anguished?
Who has appeared with a grimy face and
not felt deserving of the heaven’s disapproval?
Who has focused on one of his major sins and
not been wounded by sin’s weaponry?
Who has committed a scandalous act and
not woven the discouraging woe into
the sighs of his voice?
Who has been ousted from his chair in heaven and has not fallen down cringing?
Who has placed dirt on his head instead of a splendid halo and not been tortured with a thousand deaths?
Who has put on sack cloth instead of a bright cloak and not been sad?
Who has lost his life and not sweat tears of blood?
Who has clothed himself in darkness instead of light and not fainted?
Who has mourned for a loved one and not wilted?

D These then faithfully describe me,
the sinner deserving reprimand,
a sad face, an extinguished ray, dried up liquid,
shriveled lips,
a deformed mould, a dispirited soul, a distorted voice,
a twisted neck.
It would not be wrong to classify me as
a mind stripped of arrogance, a heart stripped of pride,
a wretch afraid to ask for help, too parched to pray,
self-scolding wanderer,
starved by self-denial, hungry because of
duly earned torment,
struck down by just condemnation, condemned to death by self-incrimination,
deservedly exiled, self-cursed outcast,
like the Pharisee who was rejected
and the sinful tax collector who was pleasing to God.5

E And now, if the Slanderer takes credit
as part of his day’s work,
for planting his bad seeds
and using his evil devices on us, the wayward,
why should you not count one by one the good things
that by your will and saving care
are planted in us to fortify our souls,
Lord of merciful kindness, mighty and victorious,
you who atone for our sins,
who are salvation in all things for everything?
If you can exchange the abyss for heaven,
or bring the dark of night into the light,
if you can turn the bitter bile into sweet manna,
or the groans of extreme grief
into the dancing circles at a joyful wedding,
if for you these are easy and possible,
then you can do more than these,
you who reign over all in awesome power.
To you glory forever and ever.

1. Lc 17,4.
2. Ep 3,20.
3. Mt 18,21-22. The total, 493, is greater than the forgiveness - 7 times 70, required by Jesus’ commandment. Some mss. leave the “three” out. However, it has been interpreted to be a mystical number – which when factored and written in Armenian numerical notation spells out the word “five,” which is the number of daily church services. Critical Edition, p. 1032-33, n. 5.
4. Ps 146,4
5. Lc 18,9-14.

Prayer 30

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A Now, let us see the truth of your words,
O merciful God of all,
who forgives and blesses the sinner,
even the sinner faltering many times a day,
if he turns back repentant,
even if the choice to turn back is made
with his last breath,
or in the very midst of sinning,1
especially since our cruel companion,
as we try to govern ourselves,
is the always contrary, lying, cheating,
flattering Instigator,
the same who, in the words of the Proverbs, grazes on the wind.2
My wayward body, which has been an unruly fugitive
from you, my creator, and easy prey for the Predator,
is like the thorns among the wheat3 endlessly wavering
on any excuse, so often only you can keep track.
And then comes the pitiful wail,
which follows the sinning,
hopeless and tormented, hear me sighing, “alas”
as I come before you, Lord,
with pleas for mercy and wretched groans,
written with tears, humbled by pangs of guilt caused
by the distress of boundless evil.

B So that the repetition does not add up
to mere wordiness,
I will make my plea even more pathetic
because a sinner does not dare ask for paradise
but only reduced torment.
He does not ask to be among the immortals,
who live in the light,
but only among the feeling, breathing beings destined for
the dark grave,
not among the resurrected,
but among broken hearted and contrite,4
justly deserving in death, restrained in their merriment,
with a smiling face but an anguished mind,
cheerful demeanor but mournful eyes,
composed appearance but bitterly tearful heart.

C Two cups in two hands
one filled with blood, the other with milk,
two censers flickering
one with incense, the other with crisp fat,
two platters piled with delicacies,
one sweet, the other tart,
two goblets overflowing
one with tears, the other with brimstone,
two bowls at the finger tips
one with wine, the other with bile,
two windows of sight
one crying, the other erring,
two refiner’s cauldrons
one heating, one cooling,
two outlooks on one face
one mildly affectionate, the other fiercely raging,
two lifted hands
one to strike, the other to shield,
two grimaces
one dejected, the other angry,
two rebukes at a time
one for now, the other for later,
two hideouts for doubt
one “at least,” the other “perhaps,”
two sighs in one mouth,
one for misfortune, the other for confusion,
two impulses in one heart,
one of doubtful hope, the other of certain doom,
two downpours from one dark cloud,
one of arrows, one of stones,
two thunderous downpours
one of hail, the other of fire,5
two sorrows of a painful night,
one disease, the other death,6
two insults to sad mourning,
one of rebuke, the other threat,
two suns on opposite horizons
one dark, the other blazing.7

D And if a fist is raised, he cringes as if it is for him.
If a hand bearing gifts is extended, he thinks
it is for someone else.
If someone swaggers, he cowers.
If another’s head is high, his hangs low.
If evil is recalled, he sighs.
If the saintly are remembered, he is ashamed.
If the next life is mentioned, he trembles.
If someone blesses him, he curses the blesser.
If someone praises him, he puts himself down.
If he is criticized, he agrees.
If viciously ridiculed, he considers it just.
If someone wishes his death, he seconds it.
If death thunders in, he barely raises his head.
His book of rights slammed shut,
his hope of being heard abandoned,
his path of action checked,
he would not hesitate at suicide
to gain release from this dead end,
if that did not foreclose salvation.
In the words of the soulful wise man,
truly, woeful is the sinner
standing in doubt at the fork in the road.8

E Why don’t you take pity, benevolent God,
upon my wailing and sighing,
you, whose name is exalted for saying,
“I am the merciful Lord”?9
Grant your goodness in the face of
my slavish wickedness,
your sweetness before my bitterness at being
condemned to death,
your beacon for my lost self, found again,
your mercy upon my brazen waywardness,
your humility before my destructive impudence,
your right arm to protect me from peril,
your hand to save me from drowning,
your finger to mend my incurable wounds,10
your spirit to defend my traumatized soul,
your patience for my insolent ingratitude,
your strength upon anointing a scoundrel like me,
your commandments as atonement for my sins,
your foot as a refuge for a runaway like me,
your arm protecting a fugitive like me,
your light guiding a wayward soul like me,
your wisdom reassuring a doubter like me,
your blessedness for accepting the cursed like me,
your goad as encouragement for the
disheartened like me,
your cup as comfort for the grieving like me,
your will as relief for the anguished like me,
your love calling even those despised like me,
your word to steady those wavering like me,
your bloodshed for wounded souls like me,
your care for my ever increasing, unseen pains,
your mentorship for choosing me in my despair,
your communion rejoining those cut off like me,11
your spark of life under death’s shadow like me,
your serenity for those troubled like me,
your welcome for those harshly persecuted like me,
your beckoning voice to those who have strayed like me,
for you rule all with mercy.
With you there is no darkness,
and without you no goodness,
and yours is the glory forever.

1. Mt 18,21.
2. Pr 9,12.
3. Mt 13,24.
4. Ps 51,19
5. Ex 9,23-24.
6. Lm 1,2, 2Co 7,10.
7. Ap 6,12 Ap 7,16.
8. Si 2,14.
9. Ex 22,27.
10. Mc 7,33.
11. Rm 11,23.

Prayer 31

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A And now, since I have increased
the distress of my sighing voice
with great cries and inconsolable grief,
so that you, merciful forefather
of confession of invisible secrets,1
Son of the living God, Lord Jesus Christ,2
might look with kindness and grant atonement,
for you are indeed able and truly sufficient.
If you want, you have the means;
as much as you want, you can do,3
you, who are more enriched by giving than receiving.4
Your treasure increases more by sharing than gathering.
Your estate grows more by disbursing than collecting.
Your stores pile up more by distributing than hoarding.
All this gives me faith that through you
I might find the path to salvation.
I, the disgraced, believe along with the honorable.
I hope with Abraham and Anna,
one of whom believed your word,5
and the other listened to the words
of the high priest—and for that, in old age,
became the father of countless sons.6
He hoped to see the barren womb of Sarah
as the fertile and blessed field of many peoples:
saints, prophets, and chosen kings.
And the other, Anna,
with the untilled field of her womb,7
abounded with fruit of seven children,
a mystical number symbolizing the eternity of
Him, who is, and the unexaminable bonds of
the eternity of the Godhead and the unending
abundance of children of the baptismal font,
the glorious number which is unpunctuated,
an infinite decimal,
rather it is a prime number, inherently unique
and eternal,
whose nature is eternally beyond telling
and difficult for our minds to comprehend.

B And now count this small confession of faith in prayer
toward the justification and salvation of
my hopeless soul.
Hear the quivering voice of the cries of my sighing heart,
and rank me with those blessed souls just described,
so that I too might live with them and share in their bliss.
Trusting more in your grace than my works,8
since grace is far more exalted and glorious,
far greater than anything that can be
measured by words–
a comfort to my distress and atonement for my sins,
beyond the feeble reach of our minds,
for with your awe-inspiring blood
and the mother of your incarnation, worthy of adoration,
the circle of the apostles, ranks of prophets,
host of martyrs, both cavalry and foot soldiers,
armed only with courage, wrestlers with fate,
platoons of hermits, orders of learned teachers,
assemblies of the pious, legions of heavenly
spirits on earth,
the heavenly patrol of guards, the offering of
the first fruits,
sacrifice of bulls, lighting of lanterns,
the aroma of incense, the fragrance of scented oils,
the victorious sign of salvation,
the erection of altars where God dwells,
the hands of the priests that rest with grace.9

C The soul’s every movement
is a reminder of God,
the taking of a step,
the extension of the right hand,
the raising of the arm,
with thanks for good works,
with shame for bad,
for familiar conversation
and public addresses,
in rational discourse,
in works of success,
in the fervor of virtue,
day and night,
we are guided by you
in the useful movements for our spirit,
asleep or awake,
in mortal battles or combat with demons,
in large and small struggles with heretics,
while drinking or eating,
in all that once stirred feelings,
whether pleasant or unpleasant,
with the pleasant we pray to remain,
and from the unpleasing, through your
miraculous intercession,
we pray to be free.
For you are capable of all things, as we all believe,
the suckling infants, rash youths,
immoral men, haughty outlaws,
even the actor and the motley mob,
even in the dancing
and clapping of hands that do not please
your will, Almighty,
you are not forgotten.

D You have created all and all is yours,
you who are all-compassionate, take mercy on all,
and even those who sin are yours,
for they are in your accounting,
for they know your strength,
even as the Proverb teller said,10
whose prayer I echo with my wretched words,
testifying like a criminal,
I dare to say
that whoever praises your name
recognizes your existence, and though he be
tainted by the sevenfold sins,11
deserving of double punishment
to set a good example, yet,
he is yours, is he not?
For sometimes in the midst of black crows
one sees a flock of white doves,
and in the middle of wild, unkempt horses,
will be a tame sheep,
in the midst of beastly dogs, a sacrificial lamb,
and mildness amid harshness,
perfection amid defects,
humility amid haughtiness,
truth amid lies,
simplicity amid cunning,
purity amid perversity,
kindness amid wickedness,
honesty amid depravity,
mercy amid cruelty,
repentance amid despair,
sweetness amid anger,
reconciliation amid hostility,
forbearance amid sarcasm,
encouragement amid insults,
blessings amid slings and arrows,
that being why I could never understand,
who among us earthly born is destined
for your inheritance, for
you alone judge fairly
and distinguish
the impious who thinks himself pure,
and the prostitute who is repentant,12
O only king and benefactor of all,
blessed in the highest and in all things forever.

1. Is 1,18 Is 43,25, Mt 9,2.
2. Jn 8,10 Jn 20,23.
3. Mt 8,2.
4. Ac 20,35.
5. Gn 17,16.
6. 1R 1,17.
7. 1R 2,5.
8. Rm 11,6.
9. Priests were often buried under altars with hands folded in prayer. Thanks to Prof. Abraham Terian of St. Nersess Seminary for this insight.
10. Sg 15,2.
11. Gn 4,15-24.
12. Lc 18,10 Jn 8,11.

Prayer 32

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A And now, being bereft of all the virtues mentioned
and seeing myself among those who
should be punished, I pray for mercy
with the prayers of all others,
with the defeated and timid,
the weak and small,
the fallen and despised,
the banished and returned,
the doubter and the true believer,
the disgraced and the exalted,
the repressed and the upright,
the stumbling and the standing,
the rejected and the accepted,
the hated and the called,
the stupefied and the sober,
the wayward and the restrained,
the exiled and the invited,
the disowned and the beloved,
the dejected and the cheerful,
the somber and the joyful.

B But here I will not recount again the sins of Jerusalem,
as Micah commanded concerning his forefathers,1
or as Isaiah told of Jacob’s iniquity,2
rather I will reveal my own transgressions,
for with the peril of death upon me, I utter, “Alas,” like the prophet Micah,3
and reproach myself like the Psalmist,
so that my full confession might find favor,
and I will not need to say “alas” again,
but might be at once cleansed completely by your blessed command.
Now, again upon my knees, before your
sweet beneficence,
I open my soul before you,
showing how I sink like an image of death,
like the crawling beasts
lowered to the ground and covered in dust,
I, who nailed myself on the path of destruction in
this fleeting life.
Let me lean upon you, Lord, staff of life,
body springing from the root of David,
inexplicably joined to your uncreated divinity.
I stand bowed and humbled before you, good Lord,
with my face turned to the ground
and my eyes raised to you on high,
gazing pathetically upon you
who hears our sighing,
perfectly compassionate, thoroughly sweet,
a lake filled with tears of light,
I offer prayers of hope to your majesty.

C O totally generous God, whose patience never ends,
hear me though I cause you bitterness.
You alone are the means of our salvation,
God of all, great beyond telling,
nature beyond comprehension,
truth beyond examination,
mighty power, able benefactor, unending calm,
indescribable inheritance, fitting fortune,4
abundant preparation, unobscured wisdom,
fervent gift, desirable offering,
longed-for bliss, peace unspoiled by sadness,
discovery beyond doubt, life that cannot be
wrenched away,
estate that cannot be sold, exaltation that
cannot be exchanged,
doctor of all arts, unshakable foundation,
who turns back the wayward, finds the lost,
gives hope to those who seek refuge, light for
those in darkness,
forgiveness for sinners, a sanctuary for runaways,
calm for the troubled, salvation for the dead,
who liberates the captive, frees the betrayed,
steadies the slipping,
grieves with the scandalized,
suffers the doubters,
O vision of light, sign of rejoicing, rain of blessing,
breath of our nostrils, strength of our visage,
covering of our head.5
O mover of lips, inspirer of speech,
helmsman of the soul, lifter of hands, extender of arms, who holds the reins of the heart,
O voice of a friend, called like one of the family,
genuine antiphon, fatherly minister of care,
name given in confession, worshiped image,
boundless stamp for communion wafers,6
lordship before which we bow, eulogized memory,
gateway to joy, unfailing path, door to glory,
way of truth, ladder to heaven,
worthy of a multitude of other praises,7
of infinite forms and verses without end,
which an earthbound mouth cannot pronounce
and the body lacks the stamina to say
and the soul’s yearnings cannot sustain.

D All eyes turn to you, O God of all.
Incline your ear toward the prayers of
the weeping voices of your servants and handmaidens.
Accept the dew of my woeful song, the tears of my sore
eyes, upon the immaculate feet of your humanity, Christ,
as you did when the sinner Mary washed your feet with her hair and tears.8
Let me return to you professing faith with
the kiss of my lips upon tasting the communion of
life’s salvation, beneficent God,
mercifully having received union with the same spirit
and the same compassion as the sinful woman.
I hope for the pledge of your great gifts
in exchange for my meager faith.
And through the compassion of your love for me,
your servant who proclaims your cherished name,
may the severe winter winds become tranquil air,
the gusty storm become a pleasant breeze,
the misgivings of fear become great confidence,
the meting out of punishment turn into bliss,
the perils of grief become spiritual rejoicing,
the tossing waves calm into placid water,
the arm-wrenching helm turn toward a safe harbor,
the harvest of heavy sin be transformed into
a stipend of grace.

E And for the myriad of good things from you,
may your mighty name be magnified, proclaimed and honored with incense.
May the instigator of evil be embarrassed,
rejected and persecuted.
May the mortgage of sin be annulled,
may the snares be cut loose, the traps removed,
may the ties be undone, the abyss eliminated,
may perils be lifted, deceit torn away,
may the mortgage of sin be annuled,
may yokes fall off, ploughs unhitched,
and instead of the gloomy darkness of
evil transgressions,
and the siege of the armies of demons,
may the sun of your glory shine forth,
giving life, salvation and light,
from the right and the left, the front and the back.
And may the morning rays of the soul’s springtime shine
upon those who await your coming.
For you are charitable and comforting in all things,
and all things are possible for you,
you who want life and salvation for all.9

F O hand of Jesus Christ, giver of all gifts,
turn also toward me extending your grace.
Dwell in me, become a part of me and do not leave
my anguished soul, the chamber of love.
And may your incorruptible image,
a token of the brilliant light beckoning us
to Christian salvation,
stay with me to intercede for my entry
in the book of your legacy of eternal life,
Holy Spirit of the Gospel and heavenly creator.
And to you who are your own sole cause,
and to you, the only begotten of the sole cause,
and to you who bear the sole cause,
three persons in one Godhead,
worthy of glory from the greatest of mortals
and the ranks of saints,

1. Mi 1,1-7.
2. Is 58,1.
3. Mi 7,1 Jl 1,15.
4. Ps 16,5-6.
5. Gn 2,7 Lm 4,20.
6. Ap 3,5.
7. Jn 14,6.
8. Lc 7,37-50.
9. Jn 10,10.

Prayer 33

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A Let this offering of words, compassionate God,
from the fruits of my soul rise to you with incense,
mixed by you with the sweet oil
used by the pious Mary,1
which you accepted with respect
just as you also accept offerings astonishingly
from prostitutes, fortunate to be making offerings.
May my humble words also praise you and may you
accept their reaching toward
your unreachable head, God on high,
in spite of the reproach of the Psalmist,
“Do not let the leafy boughs of my head
be anointed with the oil of the sinner.”2

B Let the perfume, the bouquet of this book of confessions
be redoubled and affect multitudes.
Let its memory be told everywhere and fill the world
like the fragrant oil in the house of Lazarus.3
For you are the same Lord who brought
the sinful plotting women to their senses.4
And their character you transformed in your true image,
as in the allegory of the prophet.5
By changing them you made me know
the perfection of your grace.
Instead of barley for livestock you provided
the abundant wheat of the bread of life.
Instead of tarnishing silver you presented
your majestic image.
Instead of the oil taken from the wanton women of old,6
you anointed me with your grace.
Instead of shredding burial bindings around the head,
there is an incorruptible cloak.
Instead of elaborate handcuffs, a free soaring toward
perfect virtue according to the law and the Gospels.
Instead of a splendid earring, the unfading memory
of your lordly voice.
Instead of a sparkling necklace, the bountiful inheritance
of the sweet yoke of your righteous faith.

C But am I proud of these writings,
rather than feeling shame again?
Why change my style in this prayer book,
in woeful song, to suit my fancy
and earn punishment as sin’s wages?
Citing briefly the words of the prophet,
I enter this chamber solemnly like a stern prosecutor,
my charges prepared,
and rather than reveling in them,
I enter with weeping, a sighing voice in angry protest,
with bruising insults and grave wailing.
But your lovingkindness, O great God,
that reaches everyone,
awakened in me hope as well,
whence comes my regret, confession,
good news, gifts, visions of light,
divine encouragement, splendid visions,
the source of hope for some,
the source of despair for others,
and for me, who willingly destroyed myself,
my portion of perdition.

D If Ezekiel said that under God’s disguising cloak
many people patch together idols7
and act like harlots –
how much more severe will my punishment be
for cloaking my unclean self in God inside and out?
I am amazed that I am not consumed in flames.
I am astonished that I am not burning up.
I am confounded that I am not taken hostage,
tortured, abandoned, tormented, beaten,
pulverized, cracked, crushed, torn to shreds
in the jaws of the Satan our destroyer
according to Scripture.8
All that is left for me
is the glimmer of a memory of
hope of salvation. For the Gospel of Christ
is truly life revealed where there is
for our sins, forgiveness,
for debts, grace,
for decay, renewal,
for iniquity, atonement,
for wounds, bandages,
for distress, calm,
for punishment, pardon,
for war, peace,
for fire, rain,
for condemnation, rewards,
for the dread of dying, lenience,
for the destruction of death, the salvation of life.

E How can I enumerate so many things here yet neglect
to include what is beyond words? When speaking
of the exalted Father, we must remember our tie
to the Son, the only begotten son of the Father.
And remembering these two we must commune with
the Holy Spirit, remembering also
that with the cross comes salvation,
with the word, comfort,
with God’s all-knowing judgment,
the reward of good will,
with the life-giving font of baptism,
the mediation of reconciliation,
as well as all other countless blessings, bestowed by God:
freedom from compulsion, freedom from the yoke,
freedom to rule oneself and not be ruled.
These are the comforting heralds of the life to come
in the midst the bitterness of death.
For if I did not have these things,
surely I would have perished long ago,
as the Psalmist says.9
I do not glorify the Father by disparaging the Son.
Nor is the Holy Spirit subordinated by
naming the Son first.
I hold the Trinity equal in glory and in creation
co-created, for there are prayers to the Holy Spirit
to be offered before the Divine Liturgy,
when the heavenly lamb is sacrificed I pray this way:

F Almighty, beneficent God of all, who
loves mankind, maker of the visible and invisible,
savior and creator,
defender and peacemaker, spirit of the Father Almighty,
we beseech you with outstretched arms,
tears and prayers,
as we appear before you,
you, who strike terror in our hearts,
judge us as we approach with trembling and fear,
presenting first this sacrificial offering of
words to your power that is beyond understanding.
You share the throne, glory and creatorship of
the undiminishing honor of the Father.
You examine our deepest secrets and mysteries.10
O Emmanuel, who fulfill the will of your Father
who sent you as the Savior, life-giver and creator.
Through you he is made known to us,
three persons in one Godhead,
of which only you, incomprehensibly, can be known.
By you and through you did our forefathers,
the first generation of the patriarchal tribe,
called prophets,
tell of the past and the future,
what has been and what is yet to come,
in plain words and images.
Spirit of God, Moses proclaimed you as the one
who brooded on the water, an unbounded force,11
taking the new-born under your protective
wing with care,
and with lovingkindness revealing the mystery of
the baptismal font.
Likewise, in the pattern of the archetype,
before fashioning the pliable substance with
its final covering,12
you shaped, in lordly manner, all nature,
the full range of existence, all beings from nothing.
Through you all that has been created shall receive
the renewal of the resurrection
on the last day of this life
and the first day in the land of the living.
Christ obeyed you with unity of will as he did his Father,
being of the same family, of the same essence
as the Father.
Being the first born son in our image,
he announced you, true God,
equal and consubstantial with his mighty Father,
He preached against those who blasphemed you,
and, as opponents of God, spoke impiously against you.

He silenced the blasphemous mouths and graced
his own people,13
he, the just and spotless, who finds all,
who was betrayed for our sins,
and rose from the dead to justify us.14
Through you glory to him and praise to you,
with the Father almighty, forever and ever.

G Again, I shall continue in this manner
until the assurance of the miraculous light
heralds the good news of peace.
With all our souls
we pray and beseech you with tearful cries,
glorious creator, incorruptible and uncreated,
timeless Holy Spirit of compassion.
You are the intercessor of our silent sighs to
your merciful Father.15
You, who keep the saints, purify the sinners and
build the temple of the living and life-giving
will of the Father,
free me now from all unclean deeds,
which are not pleasing for your dwelling place.
Do not extinguish the light of grace
in us and in our minds’ eye,
for we have learned that you will join us
through prayer and sumptuous incensing.16
One of the Trinity is sacrificed and the other accepts it,
favoring us with the reconciling blood of his first born
so that you might accept our supplications.
Prepare for us honorable lodgings
for the partaking of your heavenly lamb,
that we might eat life-giving manna of the new salvation
and escape the punishments of condemnation.
Our blasphemy shall be purified in the refiner’s fire,
as the prophet told of the live coal in the tongs of
offering at the altar.17
In all things you spread your mercy through
the Son of God.
Also spread the sweetness of the Father,
as you embraced the prodigal son with
fatherly inheritance,
and led the prostitute to the bliss of
the heavenly kingdom.

H Yes, yes, and I too am one of them.
Receive me with them,
as one who is needy of your great love for mankind,
one who lives only by your grace, redeemed by
the blood of Christ,
so that your divinity might be revealed and in
all ways glorified.
You are honored equally with the Father,
with one will and one rule, worthy of praise.
For yours is compassion, ability and lovingkindness,
might and glory forever and ever.

1. Mt 26,6-13.
2. Ps 141,5.
3. Jn 12,3, Mt 26,13.
4. Gn 38 Jos 2,1-21 Jos 6,22-25.
5. Os 1-2 Os 3,2-3.
6. Gn 38 Jos 2,1-21 Jos 6,22-25.
7. Ez 16,16.
8. Dt 32,24.
9. Ps 119,92.
10. 1Co 2,10.
11. Gn 1,2, Mc 6,48-53.
12. Gn 2,5-6; thanks to Prof. Abraham Terian of St Nersess Seminary for his insightful reading of this passage.
13. Mt 12,31.
14. Rm 4,25.
15. Rm 8,26; 1Co 3,16.
16. Mt 18,20, 1Co 6,17.
17. Is 6,6-25.

Gregory Narek - Prayers - Prayer 29