‘Entreald’ – Sacred

Ode

Ընտրեալդ յԱստուծոյ – Entreald Astutso – Elect of God
Ներսես Շնորհալի` XII դ. – Nerses Shnorhali XII century – Nerses IV the Gracious, XII century
Մշակումը՝ Կոմիտաս Վրդ. – Refined by Komitas Vardapet
Հատված Կոմիտասի պատարագից – Fragment from Komitas’ Divine Liturgy

History

This ode is sung simultaneously with prayer by St. Gregory of Narek to the Holy Spirit. The prayer is said by the celebrant ‘with overflowing tears,’ in two sections. The fist must be repeated ‘until confidence in the upward contemplation of light be wonderfully revealed!’ Hence, the singer cannot predict how many stanzas are needed, thus being ready to sing as many or as few are required by the celebrant. During this recitation, the celebrant and singer both kneel.

Place in the Divine Liturgy

The ode is sung while the celebrant, His Holiness, is a bishop. After His vestment and confession, the following takes place before the singing.

The deacons recite Psalm 99 aloud, urging them to know the Lord and to confess to Him. His Holiness goes up to the Holy Tabernacle, reciting Psalm 42, asking for God’s help and support. His Holiness reads the prayer of Grigor Narekatsi to the Holy Spirit, asking for His help in fulfilling the Holy Mystery.

According to Hovhannes Archishetsi (Հովհաննես Արճիշեցին), in this prayer the Son is sacrificed, the Father gives His will, and the Holy Spirit, as an accomplice of the Father and the Son, cleanses us and prepares us to taste of the Immortal Lamb.

The ode describes the celebrant who is chosen by (Elect of) God and is likened to the prophets Aaron and Moses. Singing this melody, we ask the celebrant to remember our dead in his prayers on the Holy Tabernacle, and we ask Christ to have mercy on us during His second glorious coming.

At this moment, until the end of the melody, which can last more than ten minutes, the believers themselves can kneel and pray St. Nerses Shnorhali’s prayer ‘I Confess in Faith’ («Հավատով խոստովանիմ») or any other prayer. Those present must renew their sense of devotion and vow to submit to God’s will by surrendering their souls to God. They should pray that God will accept their material and spiritual gift and make them worthy of heavenly mercy.

After the prayer, the deacon serves the sacred bread and wine, which are blessed by the celebrant. The bread is placed on a special plate, and the wine is poured into a bowl in a cross-like manner. Then they are covered with a special veil.

Music

The earliest found manuscript of this hymn has no musical notation, but another found during a similar period has the Armenian neumes. According to these, the melody appears simple and the meter seems to be a 5/4 pattern.

This ode has been cultivated by the Armenian musicologist Komitas Vardapet, musician Makar Yekmalyan, as well as the Venetian composer Pietro Bianchini. The version below is that of Komitas.

Interestingly, the 10th and 11th lines of this ode are actually a hymn of their own, called Horjam, sung during ordinary Sundays during the Liturgy.

Full Text and Translation

(Ասա՛ նախ քան զմեղեդին, յորժամ եպիսկոպոս պատարագէ)

Ընտրեա՛լդ յԱստուծոյ, ո՛վ երջանիկ սուրբ քահանայ,
Elect of God, thous pure and blessed priest,
Նմանեալ Ահարոնի եւ Մովսէսի մարգարէին:
Like unto Aaron and the prophet Moses.
Այնմ, որ զգեստուցն էր յօրինող, զոր Ահարոն միշտ զգենոյր:
Who ordained the vestments that Aaron always wore,
Յօրինէր զպատմուճանն, զոր ի չորից կազմեալ նիւթոց՝
He ordained the vestments woven of four colors,
Ի կարմրոյ, ի կապուտոյ, ի բեհեզոյ, ի ծիրանւոյ:
Of scarlet, of azure, or byssus and of purple
Թել զթելն յօրինէր. կարգն առաջին էր կարկեհան:
Thread with thread arranged, a carbuncle in the first row.
Եւ օծումն գրապանին՝ շուրջանակի բոլորաշէն:
And in the looping up of the encircling hem.
Եւ յընթացս գարշապարին հնչէր երկիր, ցնծայր խորանն:
At the motion of his feet the ground rang, the sanctuary rejoiced.
Արդ, ի նոյն նմանութիւն՝ Քրիստոս զմեր Տէրս յօրինէ:
Now such similitude doth Christ our minister ordain.
Յորժամ մտցես ի սուրբ խորանն, անդ յիշեսցես զմեր ննջեցեալսն:
When thou enterest the sanctuary, remember them that sleep.
Յորժամ առնես զպատարագս, յիշեա՛ եւ զիս՝ զբազմամեղս:
When thou offerest the oblation, remember me, the great sinner,
Զի եւ մեզ ողորմեսցի ի միւսանգամ Իւր գալստեանն:
That in His advent He may to us be merciful.
Հօրն փառք, Որդւոյն պատիւ, եւ Սուրբ Հոգւոյն, այժմ յաւիտեան:
To the Father glory, to the Son honor and to the Holy Ghost;
Յաւիտեանս յաւիտենից, Քրիստոս օրհնեալ ի համայնից:
Now and always, to all eternity, Christ blessed by all, for evermore.

Դպիրքն եղանակեն «Ընտրեալդ» մինչ պատարագիչն ընթեռնու աղօթք Սրբոյն Գրիգորի Նարեկացւոյ
Sung while Celebrant Bishop prays the prayer of St. Grigor Narekatsi before liturgy.

Translation: Courtesy of Pr. Haig Utidjian.

Score and Text in Armenian available for download below.