"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Gregory of Narek's Festal Works

Pope Francis, the pope of surprises, last year declared the Armenian saint Gregory of Narek a "doctor of the Church," a unique category in the Western Church, as I was trying to explain to my students only last week, that elevates certain saints and Fathers to an even more exalted rank. Now Gregory's works are getting some attention thanks to an English translation that Liturgical Press has just alerted me to. Forthcoming later this month is Abraham Terian, trans., The Festal Works of St. Gregory of Narek (Liturgical Press, 2016), 464pp.

About this book we are told:
This is the first translation in any language of the surviving corpus of the festal works of St. Gregory of Narek, a tenth-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 nonspecialist reader with an illuminating translation of St. Gregory of Narek’s festal works. Introducing each composition with an explanatory note, Terian places the works under consideration in their author’s thought-world and in their tenth-century landscape.

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