The book of sorrowful chants - Grigor Narekatsi (the second half of the X century)

Literature of antiquity and the Middle Ages - Summary - 2019

The book of sorrowful chants
Grigor Narekatsi (the second half of the X century)

Vardapet Grigor, a learned monk of the Nareks monastery, a poet and mystic, author of the interpretation of the Biblical "Song of the Songs", as well as the hymnographic works and praise words of the Cross, Virgin Mary and the saints, in the Book of Sorrowful Chants humblely appeals to God "... together with the oppressed - and with the fortified ones, along with the stooped ones - and those who have risen, along with the rejected ones, and those who are perceived. " The book contains 95 chapters, each of which is described as "A Word to God from the depths of the heart." Narekatsi is destined for his poetic creation, inspired by the deepest Christian faith to all: "... slaves and slaves, noble and high, middle and noblemen, peasants and gentlemen, men and women."

The poet, "penitent" and self-defeating "sinner" is a person with high ideals, advocating for the perfection of the person, bearing the burden of responsibility for the human race, which is characterized by anxiety and many contradictions.

What is the poet grumbling about? About his spiritual weakness, powerlessness before worldly fuss.

He feels himself bound to humanity with a circular commitment of guilt and conscience, and asks God forgiveness not for himself alone, but with himself-for all people.

By appealing to God through prayer and revealing the mysteries of heart in front of Him, the poet derives inspiration from the aspiration of his soul to its creator and relentlessly asks the Creator for help in writing the book: "Grant, oh, the trustee, <...> the burning coal of the unreal power of your word speaking to my lips, so that they become the cause of the cleansing of all the instruments of the feelings distributed in me."

However, Narekatsy realizes that he, with his poetic gift, is only a perfect instrument in the hands of the Creator, an executor of His divine will.

Therefore, his prayers are imbued with humility: "Do not take away from me the ill-fated, blessed with you, do not forsake the blessing of your blessed Spirit, ... do not deprive me of the art of omnipotence, so that the tongue could speak."

But the Christian humility of the poet does not mean for him the humiliation of his creative abilities and his talent, whose source is God and the Creator of all things.

In the Memorable Records, which ends the book, Narekatsi says that he, "the priest and monk Grigor, the last among the writers and the youngest among the mentors, <...> laid the foundations, built, raised them and wrote this useful book , joining the constellation of heads into one wonderful creation."

The Master of the whole created is merciful to his creatures: "Whoso will sin, yet they are thy, they are poured out in thy lists." Applying himself to sinners, Narekatsi does not condemn anyone.

All human beings serve the poet as a reminder of God, even if a person is immersed in the chaos of worldly life and in the care of the earth he does not think about heaven: "In everything that at least once felt in the feelings of us - whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, <...> and even in the stage of spectacular, as well as in crowded gatherings of common people, or in dances that are displeasing with your will, O Almighty, You will not forget."

Feeling in the soul of the never-ending struggle of confrontational aspirations and passions, which enthrall into the abyss of doubt, sin and despair, the poet does not cease to hope for the healing action of the grace of God and the mercy of the Creator.

Relying that his soul, despite the fact that he took the tonsure, had not yet completely died for the world and did not become truly alive to God, Narekatsi resorted to the intercession of the good mother of Jesus and prayed for her release from the emotional and carnal sorrows.

The poet does not tire of blaming himself that "he opened the embrace of love for the world, but did not face you, but turned his back ... and surrounded himself in the house of prayer with the care of the life of the earth."

The tormentor of the bodily ailments, which, he convinced, is an inevitable and legitimate retribution for spiritual weakness and lack of faith, the poet feels his soul and body as a rite of an irreconcilable struggle.

He describes his darkened and painful condition as a fierce struggle: "... all the many particles that make up my nature, as enemies entered into battle with each other, they were obsessed with fear of doubt, the threat was everywhere."

However, the very consciousness of its own sinfulness becomes a source of hope for the suffering one: sincere repentance will not be rejected; all sins of the penite will be released by the Lord of the blessings, Christ the King, for His mercy "surpasses the measure of the possibilities of human thoughts."

Reflecting on the "divine bond in Nicaea a certain symbol of faith," and condemning the heresies of the Tondracts, these "new Manichaeans," Narekatsi celebrates the Church, which "exceeds man than the winner of the womb above the elect Moses."

The Church of Christ, built by the Creator's commandment, will save from destruction "not only the abundance of wordless sins of the beasts and a small number of people, but will bring together the inhabitants of the highest with the earth".

The church is not a house of earthly substance, but a "heavenly body from the light of God."

Without it, it is impossible for either the monk or the layman to follow the path of perfection. The same one who will boldly consider it "a kind of fictitious thing, or a cunning of man," the Father in the Almighty "will receive from his face, through the mediation of a word that is united with Him."