Odes of Saint Nersess the Graceful
Annotated Translation

Սբ. Ներսիսի Շնորհալւոյ Տաղք

Nerses Shnorhali (Author) Ներսէս Շնորհալի (Հեղինակ) Matthew J. Sarkisian (Author, Translator) Մատթէոս Ճ. Սարգիսեան (Հեղինակ, Թարգմանիչ) Jesse S. Arlen (Author, Translator) Ճեսի Ս. Արլեն (Հեղինակ, Թարգմանիչ)
(ISBN: 979-8-9898845-1-3)
(ISBN: 979-8-9898845-0-6)
Tarkmaneal Press (Publisher)
2024 New York
259 pages
Size: 6 1/4" x 9 1/4"
Language(s): English, Classical Armenian

Foreword by Bishop M. Daniel Findikyan.

St. Nersess the Graceful (Nersēs Shnorhali, 1102–1173 A.D.), catholicos from 1166 until his death in 1173, was one of the great figures of the medieval Armenian Church. His most popular work is the prayer of twenty-four stanzas commonly known as “With Faith I Confess” (Havadov Khosdovanim), which has been translated into more than thirty languages. He was also a prolific author and composer of hymns and other poetic works, many of which remain little known today. This volume presents the Armenian text and an English translation of sixty of St. Nersess’s liturgical odes (tagh), fifty-eight of which have never been previously translated into English. These profound songs of praise were composed to enhance the celebration and reflect on the mystery of the various feasts and commemorations that make up the Christian liturgical year. The translation is accompanied by an introduction and extensive annotation, which brings to light the Biblical, theological, and poetic features of these literary treasures, making them accessible to the general reader in the twenty-first century.

Praise for the Volume

“St. Nersess Shnorhali, Nersess the Graceful, belongs to the rank of those Church Fathers and Doctors who rightfully can be declared “the lyre of the Holy Spirit.” One of the earliest European Armenologists, the Jesuit Fr. Jacques Villote, admiring the sublime touches of heavenly inspiration emanating from Shnorhali’s verses, called his poetic masterpiece — named in Armenian Յիսուս, Որդի (Jesus, Son) from its incipit — “The Divine Elegy.” Nersess Shnorhali is one of the most exceptional figures in the history of the universal Church for more than one reason, but above all for his passionate search for the unity of the Church, and for his deep understanding, in the wake of St. Gregory of Narek, of the fragility, the conventionality, the inadequacy of human language in speaking of Divine mystery. The Odes in this volume, masterfully translated and commented upon by Matthew J. Sarkisian and Jesse S. Arlen, are among the most vibrant, genuine, and touching expressions of Shnorhali’s spirituality.” Abp. Levon Zekiyan, Emeritus Professor of Armenian Studies, Ca’ Foscari, Venice, and the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome

“St. Nersess Shnorhali’s hymns are known for their literary beauty and spiritual sublimity. Sarkisian and Arlen convey both aspects in their mellifluous translation. The substantial annotation they provide further defines their mastery of the classical text.” Abraham Terian, Emeritus Professor of Armenian Patristics and Theology, St. Nersess Armenian Seminary

“Thanks to Jesse Arlen and Matthew Sarkisian for this carefully prepared labor of love and learning. They have curated for us a trove of lesser-known, spiritual gems from the vast storehouse of St. Nersess Shnorhali’s writings.”  Roberta Ervine, Professor of Armenian Christian Studies, St. Nersess Armenian Seminary

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