TYPE: Book
COMPONENTS: 336 pages; many woodcuts
NOTES: Nersessian 218, Voskanian 825
ITEM ID: 219
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The Encyclical General by St. Nersēs the Gracious

DATE
Year: 1788
Decade: 1780s
Century: 18th (1701-1800)

The Encyclical General by St. Nersēs the Gracious (c. 12th Century). in it, he urged clergy that, when they pray, they ought not to be like pipes through which water flows, but rather say those prayers in tears as if they are themselves composing them at the time. Other epistles of his are also included in this book.

According to scholar Sebouh Aslanian, “Yes, printed at the printing press of Grigor Khojamal Khaldarean a shortly after the latter’s death in 1788. I have a very detailed chapter (chapter ten) on the Saint Petersburg press that originated in London in 1780 moved to Saint Petersburg in 1781, Nor Nahijevan in 1789, and finally to Astrakhan in 1795 or 1796 under the guidance of Archbishop Joseph “long armed” Arghuteants a very smart and gifted theologian who was also slightly to the right of Attila the Hun.

Most of the publications of this press were confessional in nature, i.e., they dealt with the doctrinal, theological, and liturgical practices that distinguished the Armenian non-Chalcedonian Church from other Christian churches.”

According to scholar Haig Utidjian, “It seems to include the Encyclical General by St. Nersēs the Gracious (C12). It is the one where he urged clergy that, when they pray, they ought not to be like pipes through which water flows, but rather say those prayers in tears as if they are themselves composing them at the time (I am paraphrasing on the basis of a distant memory – but I have written about it elsewhere). There seem to be other epistles of his also included in this book. I was not aware of the existence of this edition. You did very well to acquire it. The Saint was an ecumenist well ahead of his time, a visionary, a hymnographer and musician, and one of our greatest writers.”

The last page has some very fancy hand-drawn calligraphy which says: ԸՆԴՀԱՆՐԱԿԱՆ or “general,” as in general encyclical, the title of Nerses Shnorhali’s beautiful work.

ARTISTS
Name: Nerses Shnorhali
Type: Author
Artist Information: Nerses,, known as "Shnorkhali" (the Graceful) due to the elegance of his language, "is regarded as one of the greatest Armenian writers" (Cath. Ency.)
Name: Grigor Khojamal Khaldarean
Type: Publisher
Artist Information: Armenian Printed Book, Published in St. Petersburg in Russia.