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Prayer to Christ

εχαί τε στοναχαί τε φίλαι, κα νύκτες ϋπνοι
γγελικοί τε χορο, ψαλμος Θεν ο γρέθουσιν,
στάμενοι ψυχάς τε Θε πέμποντες ν μνοις,
πολλν κ στομάτων ξυνν πα γηρύοντες.

Prayers and dear laments, and sleepless nights,
angelic choirs, and those who raise psalms to God,
They stand and send the souls to God through hymns,
So that they sing joining the sound of many voices.


A. Tuilier & G. Bady (eds.) (2004), Saint Grégoire de Nazianze, Oeuvres poétiques Tome I. 1re partie. Poèmes personnels II, 1, 1–11. Texte établi par André Tuilier et Guillaume Bady. Traduit et annoté par Jean Bernardi (Paris, Les Belles Lettres), II. 1.1. 279-82. English translation by © David Hernández de la Fuente.


A Ηymn to Christ after Silence, at Easter

ργανόν εμι Θεοο, κα εκρέκτοις μελέεσσιν
70 μνον νακτι φέρω, τ πν ποτρομέει.
Μέλπω δ’ ο
Τροίην, οκ επλοον οά τις ργ,
δ συς κεφαλν, ο πολν ρακλέα,
γς ερέα κύκλα πως πελάγεσσιν ρηρεν
κ αγς λιθάκων, ο δρόμον ορανίων.
Οδ πόθων μέλπω μανίην, κα κάλλος φήβων,
σι λύρη μαλακν κρούετ’ π προτέρων.
Μέλπω δ’
ψιμέδοντα Θεν μέγαν, δ φαεινς
ς ν γειρομένης λάμψιν μς Τριάδος,
γγελικν τε χορν μεγάλους ριηχέας μνους
80 Πλησίον
σταότων, ξ πς ντιθέτου
Κόσμου θ’
ρμονίην, κα κρείσσονα τς παρεούσης,
ν δοκέω, πάντων ες ν πειγομένων
Χριστο παθέων κλέος φθιτον, ος μ’ θέωσεν
νδρομέην μορφν ορανί κεράσας.
85 Μέλπω μίξιν
μήν. Ο γρ φατν ργον τύχθην
ργον, πως πλέχθην θνητς πουρανίοις.

I am an instrument of God and with fair-sounding melodies
70 I present a hymn of praise to the King before whom all tremble.
I do not sing of Troy, nor, as some do, of the fair-sailing Argo,
nor of the boar’s head nor of mighty Heracles,
nor of how the wide globe of the earth was joined to the seas,
nor of the brilliance of jewels nor the course of the heavenly bodies.
75 I do not sing of the madness of desire and the beauty of young men
for whom the poets of old gently plucked their lyres.
I sing of the great God who rules on high and the splendour
of my shining Trinity united into one;
of the great hymns of praise sounding forth from the angelic choirs
80 who stand close by; from their antiphonal voices derive
the cosmic harmony and that harmony greater than the present one
for which I hope, when all are eagerly brought together.
I sing of the eternal glory of Christ’s sufferings, by which he made me
divine, combining human form with the heavenly.
85 I sing of this mixture of mine, for I was created in a mysterious manner,
in such a way that I, a mortal being, was combined with the immortal.


A. Tuilier & G. Bady (eds.) (2004), Saint Grégoire de Nazianze, Oeuvres poétiques Tome I. 1re partie. Poèmes personnels II, 1, 1–11. Texte établi par André Tuilier et Guillaume Bady. Traduit et annoté par Jean Bernardi (Paris, Les Belles Lettres), II. 1.34, 70-86. English translation from C.White (ed.) (1997), Gregory of Nazianzus, Autobiographical poems, (New York, Cambridge University Press), 168171.


On Rational Natures

Περ νοερν οσιν.

Οη δ’ ετίοιο κατ’ έρος εδιόωντος,
ντομένη νεφέεσσιν ποκρούστοις περιωγας,
κτς ελίοιο πολύχροον ριν λίσσει,
μφ δέ μιν πάντη σελαγίζεται γγύθεν αθρ,
Κύκλοισιν πυκινο
σι κα κτοθε λυομένοισι·
Τοίη κα
φαέων πέλεται φύσις, κροτάτοιο
ς ποστίλβοντος ε νόας σσονας αγας.
τοι μν πηγ φαέων, φάος οτ’ νομαστν,
θ’ λετν, φεγόν τε νόου τάχος γγς όντος,
ἰὲν πεκπροθέον πάντων φρένας, ς κε πόθοισι
Τεινώμεσθα πρ
ς ψος ε νέον. Ο δέ τε φτα
κ Τριάδος βασιλήϊον εχος χούσης,
γγελοι αγλήεντες, ειδέες, ο α θόωκον
μφ μέγαν βεβατες, πε νόες εσν λαφρο,
(440) Π
ρ κα πνεύματα θεα δι’ έρος κα θέοντες
σσυμένως μεγάλσιν ποδρήσσουσιν φετμας,
πλο τε, νοεροί τε, διαυγέες, οτ’ π σαρκν
ρχόμενοι (σάρκες γρ πε πάγεν αθις λονται),
τ’ π σάρκας όντες, περ δ’ γένοντο μένοντες.
θελον επεν πάμπαν τειρέες· λλ’ νεχ’ ππον
μάλα θερμν όντα, νόου ψαλίοισιν έργων.
’ ο μν μεγάλοιο παραστάται εσ Θεοο·
δ’ ρα κόσμον παντα ας κρατέουσιν ρωγας,
λλην λλος χοντες πιστασίην παρ’ νακτος,
νδρας τε, πτόλιάς τε, κα θνεα πάνθ’ ρόωντες,
λογικν θυέων πιίστορες μερίοισι.
, τί κα έξεις; τρομέει λόγος ορανίοισι
(441) Κάλλεσιν
μβεβαώς· χλς δέ μοι ντεβόλησεν,
δ’ χω προτέρω θεναι λόγον ναδναι.
ς δ’ τε τρηχαλέ ποταμ περάων τις δίτης
ξαπίνης νέπαλτο, κα σχεται έμενός περ,
δέ ο κραδίη πορφύρεται μφ εέθρ·
θάρσος πηξε, φόβος δ’ πέδησεν ρωήν·
Πολλάκι ταρσ
ν ειρεν φ’ δατι, πολλάκι δ’ ατε
Χάσσατο, μαρναμένων δ
, φόβον νίκησεν νάγκη.
ς κα μο θεότητος ειδέος γγς όντι,
Τάρβος μ
ν καθαροο παραστάτας ψιμέδοντος
ναι π’ μπλακί, φωτς κεκορημένον εδος,
Μή πω κα
πλεόνεσσιν δν κακίης στορέσαιμι.
Τάρβος δ’
τροπον σθλν μος πέεσσι χαράξαι,
(442) Μέσφ’
τε κα σκολιόν τιν’ ρ κακίης μεδέοντα.
τε γρ ν γαθοο, κακο φύσιν μμι φυτεσαι,
Ἠὲ μόθον προφέρειν κα χθεα οσι φίλοισιν·
τε μν ντιθόωκον ναστναι κακότητα
στατον, κα ναρχον χειν φύσιν σπερ νακτα.
δέ μοι σχαλόωντι Θες νόον μβαλε τοον.

On Rational Natures

Even as a sunbeam, travelling through rain-heavy, calm air, encountering clouds in its refracted, revolving movements,
produces the many-coloured rainbow curve; everywhere around, the upper air gleams brightly with many circles dissolving towards the edges; such is the nature of lights also, the highest light always shining brightly upon minds which are lesser beams. There is one who is the source of lights, a light inexpressible, eluding capture, fleeing the speed of a pursuing mind whenever it approaches, for ever outstripping the minds of all, that we may be drawn by desires to a height which is ever new. There are others who are second lights after the Trinity which holds the royal pride of precedence, shining angels without visible forn, moving around the mighty throne, as they are nimble intelligences. As fire and divine spirits they run swiftly through the air, eagerly obeying God’s great behests, being simple, intellectual, radiant, emanating not from flesh (for flesh when once compacted is afterwards destroyed), nor again coming into relationship with flesh, but rather remaining in their original state. I might have wished them also quite unyielding. But restrain the horse, for all its impetuosity, checking it with the curb of the mind. Some are attendants of the mighty God, while others use their powers to maintain the whole world, holding from the sovereign’s hand varying offices, overseeing men, cities, and all nations, acquainted with the sacrifices reasonable for mortals to make.
My heart, I ask what you will do now. Reason trembles to enter upon the beauties of the heavenly world. A mist has come upon me. I do not know whether to advance my speaking or to withdraw. I am like a traveller attempting to cross a raging stream who is suddenly borne upwards by the current and is held fast for all his eagemess to cross. His heart is in a great swirl because of the current. Necessity stiffens his courage, while fear constrains his urge to go on. Often he raises his foot upon the water and as often he falls back. With emotions in conflict, necessity overcomes fear. This is my case, as I come closer to the Godhead which lies beyond visible form. I fear to ascribe sin to the attendants of the pure one who rules on high, them who are a form of being sated with light, in case I should somehow pave a way to evil for still more beings. I am also afraid to set down in my account the idea of changeless good, as long as I see a crooked being holding sway in the realm of evil. For it was not the way of a good being to plant in us the nature of evil and to produce strife and hatred in creatures he loves.
Nor would he later establish evil upon a rival throne nor allow it an eternal nature, as if it were sovereign.
Such was the thought God planted firmly in my distressed mind.


J.-P. Migne (1857-1866), Patrologiae cursus completus (series Graeca) 37 (Paris), 397-522. English translation from C. Moreschini (1997), St. Gregory of Nazianzus: Poemata Arcana, textual introduction by C. Moreschini, introduction, translation and commentary by D. A. Sykes, English translation of textual introduction by L. Holford-Strevens (Oxford, Clarendon Press), 27-29.


Hymn to God, attributed to Gregory of Nazianzus

πάντων πέκεινα· τι γάρ θέμις λλο σέ μέλπειν;
ς λόγος μνήσει σέ; σύ γάρ λόγω οδενί ρητός.
νος ἐῶν φραστος· επει τέκες σσα λαλεται.
ς νόος θρήσει σέ; σύ γάρ νόω οδενί ληπτός,
νος ἐῶν γνωστος· επει τέκες σσα νοεται.
Πάντα σέ καί λαλέοντα, καί ο
λαλέοντα λιγαίνει.
Πάντα σέ καί νοέοντα καί ο
νοέοντα γεραίρει.
Ξυνοί γάρ τέ πόθοι, ξυναί δ’
δίνες πάντων
μφί σε· σοι δέ τά πάντα προσεύχεται· εις σέ δέ πάντα
Σύνθεμα σόν νοέοντα λαλε
σιγώμενον μνον.
νί πάντα μένει· σοι δ’θρόα πάντα θοάζει.
Καί πάντων τέλος
σσί, καί ες καί πάντα πάρχεις,
χ ν ἐῶν, ο παντα· πανώνυμε, πς σέ καλέσσω,
Τόν μόνον
κλήιστον; περνεφέας δέ καλύπτρας
Τίς νόος ο
ρανίδης εσδύσεται; λαος εης,
πάντων πέκεινα· τι γάρ θέμις λλο σέ μέλπειν;

O you who surpasseth all—for is there another way fit to celebrate you? With what speech to praise you? For no words name you.
Sole unspeakable being, you create all that words can name.
How could intellect contemplate you? For no mind can grasp you.
Sole unthinkable being, you create all that mind perceives.
Those that can speak, and those that cannot, all together proclaim you.
All that mind can conceive, and all that it cannot, glorify you.
All longing desires, all painful aspirations,
Are drawn to you. Every being adores you;
All who know signs of you, sing you silent hymns.
In you all rests; all else is assembled to drive toward you;
You are the end of everything, and the one, and the all, and neither,
Not one nor all. You, who names all things, who can call you,
Who alone cannot be called? Through your covering veils
What celestial mind could penetrate? Find favor with me,
O you who surpasseth all; for is there any other way fit to celebrate you?


J.-P. Migne (1857-1866), Patrologiae cursus completus (series Graeca) 37 (Paris), 507-8. English translation by Joshua Hochschild (