The assumption is St. Gregory’s poetical odes were composed for public and liturgical use, but how his festal works were employed, if they were used at all, is unknown. The ode begins with a reference to the Trinity, and continues throughout maintaining images of Christ’s crucifixion, burial, harrowing of hell, and ascent to the throne. The ode concludes with praise to the risen Lord.
God is the name of the uncreated Existent;
The Existent is in essence beyond reach, always the same;
Himself is like unto Himself, One and the same.
Any of the Existent Ones is simply of that same number,
A number always defined as the Triad, the Glory.
“My glory extends to the hosts of beings before me,
The myriads of (heavenly) hosts abiding in that unbounded place” –
The place for the youthful assemblies at the river bright as day,
The glittering heavenly river flowing in four streams
With shimmering glitter, in endless light,
Exceptional light, a heavenly highway,
A royal highway for the One who walked over the sea,
Who walked to move the stone and took up his seat,
The royal seat, (after coming) from the hot desert,
From hot, parched land on earth to virgin heaven,
Virgin, pervaded with most-loving love,
Love that is self-giving, willing, (his) perfect will,
Whose will it was to bring about the Lord’s Day
On an ordinary day, (seemingly) wanting, yet a day known to the Lord,
The Lord who had decreed in writing: “I am ascending to my watch(tower),
To my watchtower, to watch the One coming from the south,
Coming from Bozrah, with his robe stained” –
Stained in the color of blood from his pierced side
For the transgression of the one torn from the side, crying out:
“ ‘Cry to the daughters of Zion: Why do you weep?
Why do you weep and moan? I have a crown on my head.
My hair is full of moisture from the dew.
Fully and rightfully did my mother crown me;
So did my mother, following the One who set the appointed day.’
I was placed in the coffin for three days,
Placed to plunder hell with great strength,
With the greatness of the strength of the Mighty One.”
The strength of the Mighty One, his armies in full array,
The least of his armies bringing good news, hope,
The hope by the Giver of Hope: “Go to the mountain, quickly
To the mountain in Galilee. There you will see the Lord.
The Lord is risen! Let the women hurry together,
Hurry to tell about me to Peter’s company.”
May thousands upon thousands pronounce you blessed,
Always pronounce you blessed; for the Lord is risen today!
The Lord is risen today! Glory be to the resurrection of the Lord.
Thanks, glory, and honor be to the Lord always, eternally.
Translated by Abraham Terian
The Festal Works of St. Gregory of Narek: Annotated Translation of the Odes, Litanies, and Encomia
Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, 2016