This penitential hymn, composed by St. Mesrob Mashdots, is the ԱԿ Օրհնութիւն շարական sung during our Night Service (Գիշերային Ժամ) on penitential/fasting days. There are a total of eight Penitential Hymns of Exodus 15, one for each of the eight tones. In this particular hymn, St. Mesrob employs the analogy of life as a boat on the sea, with the Lord as a “Good Captain.”
The sea of my life ever tosses me about. The enemy rises up against me like violent waves. Good Captain, be a refuge for my soul.
I am about to go under; help me, good Captain. For the burden of sin has grown heavy upon me.
God, hurry to help me! For the depths of evil are pulling me down the abyss. But you, be my Captain and stretch out your hand to me.
Save me from danger, from shipwreck in the waves of the sea. For I am perishing from the error of my sins.
I beseech you, Lord, grant me in penance, to be washed of my sins and have mercy on me.
Accept the tears and groans of my heart through your love, and have mercy on me.
Let my requests come near you. Through your intercession, spare me and have mercy on me.
I beseech you, heavenly Father, do not turn your face from me, for I am in trouble. Lord, hear me right away!
My soul has gone astray through lawlessness. Do not let me perish, Lord, because of my lawlessness, O searcher of this lost sheep.
My soul is going under from the weight of sin. Receive me, as once [you reached out for] Peter, for I am perishing in the turbulence of my errors.
I have sinned, Lord, most merciful God, I have sinned. Have mercy on me. I have sinned, Lord, and I fall down before you. I have sinned. Have mercy on me. I have sinned, Lord, I confess my errors. Have mercy on me. I have sinned against you, Lord, vindicate me.
We have sinned, we have transgressed, all of us. We have not kept your commandments, I have sinned against you Lord, vindicate me.
Turn back from your anger, Lord. Dispel from us your wrath. I have sinned against you Lord, vindicate me.
Ineffably you gave birth to the uncreated Word in the flesh, the Being of existent beings, for the salvation of us created ones. Intercede with Him always for our souls.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
You consigned to dead Adam the fruit of your life, by Whose forty-day fast, He made expiation for eating the [forbidden] fruit. And He elevated him to never-ending life. Intercede with Him always for our souls.
Now and always and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
At your second coming, when this holy sign appears, make this servant of yours worthy of the renewal. For you alone are the King of glory, blessed forever.
Translated by V. Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan
- What is the cause of the turbulent sea that tosses about? How often do we attribute sin, that which draws us away from communion with God, as the source for our turbulent lives? To what do we usually identify as the root?
- What Scriptures are you reminded of that St. Mesrob might have had in mind when he composed this hymn?
- Using his analogy of life as a boat on the sea, how, specifically, has Jesus been your Good Captain? How has He, specifically, been a Good Captain of your parish, the global Armenian Church throughout history?