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  ABRAHAM TERIAN: The Festal Works of St. Gregory of Narek: Annotated Translation of the Odes, Litanies, and Encomia, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 2016, 407pp.

  The volume The Festal Works of St. Gregory of Narek has been published by the Liturgical Press(Order of Saint Benedict), Collegeville, Minnesota, USA. 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 non-specialist reader with an illuminating translation of St. Gregory of Narek’s festal works. Introducing each composition with explanatory notes, Terian places the works under consideration in their author’s thought-world and in their tenth-century landscape.In the words of Prof. Peter Cowe, Terian “unlocks the essence of these poems“, exposing the manner in which Narekatsi “weaves a kaleidoscopic texture of verbal images pointing beyond themselves to the spiritual prototype.“ Indeed, the translations are copiously annotated, and much that may have hitherto been considered to be obscure, if not incomprehensible, has now been clarified by Terian’s consummate scholarship and keen eye for latent allusions.
  On April 12, 2015, Pope Francis officially declared St. Gregory of Narek a Doctor of the Universal Church. Western followers of the papal declaration are understandably interesting in learning more about the tenth-century Armenian saint and his works. Popular as well as scholarly appreciation of St. Gregory of Narek has hitherto hinged on his book of penitential prayersentitled „Book of Lamentation“ (Matean Ołbergut’ean). This work has long been available in several translations into Western languages translation. In contrast,this new volume is the first complete translation of the Saint’s jubilant writings into any language, comprising his entire extant output of odes, litanies and encomia. The volume is certain to lead to a reappraisal of the saint’s oeuvre as a whole, and stimulate future research in the area.