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Church History, Culture and Arts, Liturgical Life

Odes of St. Nersess the Graceful A Conversation with Jesse Arlen and Matthew Sarkisian

Published on: May 6, 2024
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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” (Havatov Khostovanim), 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.

This conversation with Jesse Arlen and Matthew Sarkisian is moderated by George Demacopoulos.

Odes of Saint Nersess the Graceful: Annotated Translation can be purchased on Amazon

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Public Orthodoxy seeks to promote conversation by providing a forum for diverse perspectives on contemporary issues related to Orthodox Christianity. The positions expressed in this essay are solely the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors or the Orthodox Christian Studies Center.

About authors

  • Jesse S. Arlen

    Jesse S. Arlen

    Director of the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center

    Jesse S. Arlen is the director of the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center at the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America in New York and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University. He has published a number of studies on medieval Christian ...

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  • Matthew J. Sarkisian

    Matthew J. Sarkisian

    Translator of Classical Armenian

    Matthew J. Sarkisian is a self-taught translator of Classical Armenian who lives in the Binghamton, New York area. He previously collaborated with Jesse Arlen on an annotated translation of an Armenian prayer scroll (hmayil), published in 2022 by the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center.

    Read author's full bio and see articles by this author
  • George Demacopoulos

    Fr. John Meyendorff & Patterson Family Chair, Co-Director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center, Fordham University

    George Demacopoulos is the Fr. John Meyendorff & Patterson Family Chair of Orthodox Christian Studies, co-director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center, and a Professor of Historical Theology at Fordham University. Professor Demacopoulos’ research and teaching interests are in the fields of ...

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Disclaimer

Public Orthodoxy seeks to promote conversation by providing a forum for diverse perspectives on contemporary issues related to Orthodox Christianity. The positions expressed in the articles on this website are solely the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors or the Orthodox Christian Studies Center.

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Public Orthodoxy is a publication of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University