06 November 2015

Armenian Apostolic Priestly Vesting Prayers


The Badarak (the Divine Liturgy or Holy Mass) of the Armenian Church is one of the most beautiful of all Christian liturgies.   Likewise, the vesting prayers of the Priest before the singing of "O Profound Mystery" at the beginning of the Liturgy are some of the most beautiful one may find among the ancient Churches.  

Below you will find two prayers which normally do not follow each other; I have plucked them out of the vesting rite as examples indicating the enormous power and beauty of the Armenian body of prayer. The translations into English which follow are from the Armenian Apostolic Church.

The Priest: 
O Jesus Christ our Lord, clothed with light as with a garment, you appeared upon earth in unspeakable humility and walked with men. You became eternal high priest after the order of Melchizedek and have adorned your holy church. Lord almighty, having granted us to put on the same heavenly garment, make me, your useless servant, also worthy at this hour when I make bold to approach the same spiritual service of your glory, so that I may divest myself of all ungodliness, which is a vile garment, and that I may be adorned with your light. Cast away my wickedness from me and shake me out of my transgressions that I may be made worthy of the light prepared by you in the world to come. Grant me to enter with priestly glory upon the ministry of your holy things together with those who have kept your commandments without sinning, so that I also may be found prepared for the heavenly nuptial chamber with the wise virgins to glorify you, Christ, who bore the sins of all. For you are the holiness of our souls and to you, beneficent God, is befitting glory, dominion and honour, now and always and unto the ages of ages. Amen. 

• • •

After putting on the sacred vestments, he says:
My soul will rejoice in the Lord, for he has clothed me with a raiment of salvation and with a robe of gladness. He has put upon me a crown as upon a bridegroom and has adorned me like a bride with jewels, by the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to whom is befitting glory, dominion and honour, now and always and unto the ages of ages. Amen

An Armenian priest in full vestments
choosing the bread for the Badarak