New Book: ‘The Festal Works of St. Gregory of Narek’

Abraham Terian’s The Festal Works of St. Gregory of Narek: Annotated Translation of the Odes, Litanies, and Encomia (Liturgical Press) is the first translation in any language of the surviving corpus of the festal works of St. Gregory of Narek, a 10th-century Armenian mystic theologian and poet par excellence (d. 1003).

Composed as liturgical works for the various dominical and related feasts, these poetic writings are literary masterpieces in both lyrical verse and narrative. Unlike Gregory’s better-known penitential prayers, these show a jubilant author in a celebratory mood.

In this volume, Abraham Terian, an eminent scholar of medieval Armenian literature, provides the non-specialist reader with an illuminating translation of St. Gregory of Narek’s festal works.

“Terian’s volume is a precious gift, worthy of the learned monk whose work it is no exaggeration to describe as an act of Divine grace,” says Theo Maarten van Lint of the University of Oxford.

Introducing each composition with an explanatory note, Terian places the works under consideration in their author’s thought-world and in their 10th-century landscape.

“Professor Terian’s work elucidates the hymns for the first time and with a precision and insight far beyond any study ever done before; all subsequent work on Narekatsi will be measured by its high standard,” says James R. Russell of Harvard University.

On April 12, 2015, at the historic Mass at the Holy See in the Vatican dedicated to the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide, Pope Francis proclaimed the Armenian Saint Gregory of Narek a Doctor of the Church. “Saint Gregory of Narek, a monk of the 10th century, knew how to express the sentiments of your people more than anyone. He gave voice to the cry, which became a prayer of a sinful and sorrowful humanity, oppressed by the anguish of its powerlessness, but illuminated by the splendor of God’s love and open to the hope of his salvific intervention, which is capable of transforming all things,” said the Pope.

Terian is Professor Emeritus of Armenian Theology and Patristics at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, Armonk, N.Y. A recipient of the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in the Humanities award and a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia, he has extensive publications in the fields of Hellenistic, early Christian, and Armenian religious literature.

The book may be ordered online at

Source: Armenian Weekly
Link: New Book: ‘The Festal Works of St. Gregory of Narek’

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