“I Confess with Faith”
St. Nerses IV the Gracious (1102 – 1173)
St. Nerses, illustration of 19th century, Mekhitarists’ printing house, Venice
“Havadov Khosdovanim” in 36 languages
The prayer in its authentic form was first published in 1790 by the printing house of Mekhitarists in San Lazaro, Venice. Within the years 1823 – 1882, Mekhitarists published “Havadov Khosdovanim” translated into several languages. In 1823, the prayer was translated into 24 languages. Whilst, the 1837 edition was enriched with 3 more translations.
In 1862, “Havadov Khosdovanim” was translated into 33 languages. While, the 1882 edition introduced 3 more languages, raising the total number of translations up to 36. The 1882 publication is probably the most comprehensive collection of its kind, on which most of the recent publications are based.
At the first half of 19th century Mekhitarists were concentrated on the translation of the widely known languages of the time. Translations into French, English, German, Italian and Spanish appear in all 1823 – 1882 editions. In the 1823 edition only, a version in Western Armenian is also included. In all editions, the translations into Greek and Latin precede on all other languages, appearing right after the original Armenian text.
There are also translations into Turkish, Georgian, Persian, and Arabic, representing those regions where the Armenians have had a long-standing historical presence. Translations into Hebrew/Aramaic, Assyrian, Chaldean and Ethiopian/Amharic pay a tribute to the history and the significance of the main Oriental Churches.
In 1837 edition, a translation into Chinese appears for the first time. Very interesting also the fact that in the more recent editions appear translations into Malay, Keralam and Sanscrit, referring to regions of very little or no Armenian presence. In the 1862 – 1882 editions appear also translations into several Nordic and Celtic languages. It is astounding that the work of St. Nerses has reached such far distant places, as far as Iceland and Greenland,
Translations into Russian, as well as into most of Eastern European and Balkan languages appear on all 1823 – 1882 editions. Nevertheless, no translations have been recorded into Bulgarian, Czech or Slovakian. On the contrary, several Balkan dialects appear on the 1862 – 1882 editions, such as Wallachian, Illyrian and Albano -Gheghish ! raising the total number of translations up to 36.
Nowadays, many publications can be found from several sources, which are either reproductions of the existing translations, or newer versions worthy to be mentioned here. Apart from the original Armenian script in the classical “grabar” form (in Armenian: Գրաբար), available are also several translations into Modern Armenian, “ashkharabar” form (in Armenian: Աշխարհաբար), in both Western and Eastern Armenian dialects.
By taking into account the total of those published works, main purpose of this site is to honour and highlight the significance and the great impact of St. Nerses’s theological work over the Christian world.
“Havadov Khosdovanim” in Greek
A translation of “Havadov Khosdovanim” into Byzantine Greek was published in 19th century by the Mekhitarists order in Venice. It is one of the 36 languages in which the prayer has been translated. It is included in all 1823 – 1882 editions. The translated text bears the title “Graece” (in latin), and appears first in the series, after the original Armenian text.
Byzantine Greek or “Koine” (in Greek: Ελληνιστική Κοινή) is the literary form of Greek language that prevailed during Byzantine times. It is also the language of the Septuagint (the 3rd century Greek translation of the Bible), and the language of most Orthodox Christian theological writings. It continues to be used as the liturgical language in the Greek Orthodox Church.
A version in “Pure” formal Greek known as “Katharevousa” (in Greek: Καθαρεύουσα) has been included in the 1823 edition only. This is a form of Greek language conceived in the early 19th century as a compromise between Ancient Greek and the Modern Greek of the time. Originally, it was widely used both for literary and official purposes, though rarely used as everyday language.
Modern Greek or “Dimotiki” (in Greek: Δημοτική) is the modern vernacular form of the Greek language. It is the everyday spoken language in Greece. In its contemporary form, it has become the official language of the Greek nation. As long as no translation into Modern Greek has been recorded so far, it was a great opportunity for me to translate “Havadov Khosdovanim” prayer into Modern contemporary Greek. The translation is presented on this site, with the ultimate purpose to make it available to everyone.
St. Nerses, illustration from 19th century