“Book of Sorrowful Chants” Narekatsi in brief summary

Vardapet Grigor, the learned monk of the Narek monastery, the poet and mystic, the author of the interpretation of the biblical “Song of Songs”, as well as the hymnographic works and praiseworthy words of the Cross, the Virgin Mary and the saint, humbly turn to God “in the Book of Mournful Songs… together with oppressed – and those who have become stronger, along with those who have stumbled – and those who have risen, together with the rejected – and perceived. ” In the book of 95 chapters, each of which is described as “The Word to God from the depths of the heart”. Narekatsi intends his poetic creation, inspired by the deepest Christian faith all: “… to slaves and slaves, noble and noble, middle and noblemen, peasants and gentlemen, men and women.”

A poet, a “repentant” and a scourging “sinner” is a person with high ideals, advocating for the perfection of the individual, bearing the burden of responsibility for the human race, which is inherent in anxiety and many contradictions. What does the poet grieve about? About his spiritual weakness, about impotence before worldly vanity.

He feels himself bound to humanity by the circular guilt of guilt and conscience and asks God for forgiveness not for one himself, but with himself – for all people.

Turning to God with prayer and opening the caches of his heart before him, the poet draws inspiration in the aspiration of his soul to its creator and tirelessly asks the Creator for help in writing the book: “Grant, oh trustee, … the burning coal of the immaterial power of your word to my lips speaking, that they may become the cause of the purification of all the instruments of feeling distributed in me. “

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

Therefore, his entreaties are imbued with humility: “Do not take from me, the ill-fated, bestowed by you mercy, do not forbid the breath of your blessed Spirit, … do not deprive me of the art of omnipotence, so that the language can say the right thing.”

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

In the “Memorable Record”, which ends the book, Narekatsi says that he, “Priest and black Grigor, the last among the writers and the youngest among the mentors, <…> laid the foundations, built, erected on them and composed this useful book, connecting the constellation of chapters into a single wondrous creation. “

The Lord of all things created is merciful to his creatures: “If they sin, they are all yours, they are on your lists.” Counting himself as a sinner, Narekatsi does not condemn anyone.

Everything human serves the poet as a reminder of God,...

even if a person is immersed in the chaos of worldly life and does not think about the earthly in cares about the earthly: “In everything that has ever been reflected in our feelings – whether pleasantly or unpleasantly, <…> and even on the stage spectacular, as well as in crowded gatherings of the common people, or in dances unworthy of your will, O Almighty, You will not forget. “

Feeling in the soul of the endless struggle of conflicting aspirations and passions, which carry into the abyss of doubt, sin and despair, the poet does not cease to hope for the healing effect of the grace of God and the mercy of the Creator.

Complaining that his soul, contrary to what he took the tonsure, has not yet completely died for the world and has not become truly alive for God, Narekatsi resorts to the intercession of the good mother of Jesus and prays her for deliverance from spiritual and carnal sorrows.

The poet does not tire of blaming himself for “revealing the embrace of love for the world, and not facing you, but turning his back… and in the house of prayer he surrounded himself with the cares of life on earth.”

Tortured by bodily illnesses, which he believes are the inevitable and legitimate retribution for spiritual infirmity and lack of faith, the poet feels his soul and body as a tournament of irreconcilable struggle.

He describes his dark and painful condition as a cruel battle: “… the whole multitude of particles that make up my nature, how the enemies entered into battle with each other, they are threatened with doubts, everywhere there is a threat.”

However, the very consciousness of one’s own sinfulness becomes for the one who is suffering the source of hope: sincere repentance will not be rejected, all the sins of the penitent will be let off by the Lord of Mercy, Christ the King, for His mercies “exceed the measure of the possibilities of human thoughts.”

Reflecting on the “divine pledge of a certain symbol of faith in Nicaea” and condemning the heresy of the Tudraquites, these “new Manichaeans”, Narekatsi is singing the Church, which “is above the man, as a victorious rod above the chosen one of Moses.”

The Church of Christ, being built by the command of the Creator, will save from death “not only a multitude of dumb hosts of beasts and a small number of people, but together with the earth will gather to themselves and the inhabitants of the highest.” The church is not a house of earthly matter, but “the heavenly body is from the light of God.”

Without it, it is impossible for a monk or a layman to follow the path of perfection. The same one who will boldly consider it “some fiction real, or human cunning,” the Father Almighty “will reject from his face through the medium of a word consubstantial with Him.”


“Book of Sorrowful Chants” Narekatsi in brief summary