Mar Narsai (V-VI  Century)

Mar Narsai was one of  the greatest of the Assyrian (Nestorian) writers, "Nestorian is the misnomer  imposed by the Western Church on the Church of the East". He was born about  the beginning of the 5th century. He went to Edessa where, after completing his  studies in Greek and in Biblical and theological subjects, he became the rector  of the Edessan school (437-459). In the controversy between the Nestorians and  the Monophysites, he sided with the Nestorians who enjoyed the patronage of  Ibas, bishop of Edessa. After the death of Ibas, Narsai and his Nestorians  colleagues were expelled from Edessa. They went to Nisibis. With the support of  Barsauma, bishop of Nisibis, Narsai founded the Nestorian school of Nisibis. He  was its rector for about 50 years. He died in 502 A.D.

Mar Narsai was a copious writer,  both in prose and verse. He dealt with Biblical, theological, liturgical and  moral subjects. His works comprise commentaries on the Bible, explanation of the  Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and Baptism, a book on the corruption of morals, a  number of consolatory poems, expositions, canticles, hymns,sermons, and  instructions. His style if polished, elegant, rich in elaborate similes, and  occasionally decked with rhymes, either in the beginning or at the end of the  verses.

Many of his works perished. No  complete edition of his extant works has been made. Different works were edited  by different scholars. The biggest edition is that of Dr. Mingana ("Narsai,  homiliae et Carmina", 2 Vols. Mosul  1905)


An Exposition of The  Mysteries

He was laid in a  manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes, as Man;
and the watchers extolled  Him with their praises, as God.
He offered sacrifices according to the Law,  as Man;
and He received worship from the Persians, as God.
Simeon bore Him  upon his arms, as Man;
and he named Him 'the Mercy' who showth mercy to all,  as God.
He kept the Law completely, as Man;
and He gave His own new Law,  as God.

He was  baptized in Jordan by John, as Man;
and the heaven was opened in honour of  His baptism, as God.
He went in to the marriage-feast of the city of Canna,  as Man;
and He changed the water that it became wine, as God.
He fasted in  the wilderness forty days, as Man;
and watchers descended to minister unto  Him, as God.
He slept in the boat with His disciples, as Man;
and He  rebuked the wind and calmed the sea, as God.

He set out and departed to a desert place, as  Man;
and He multiplied the bread and satisfied thousands, as God.
He ate  and drank and walked and was weary, as Man;
and He put devils to flight by  the word of His mouth, as God.
He prayed and watched and gave thanks and  worshipped, as Man;
and He forgave debts and pardoned sins, as God.
He  asked water of the Samaritan woman, as Man;
and He revealed and declared her  secrets, as God.

He sat  at meat in the Pharisee's house, as Man;
and He forgave the sinful woman her  sins, as God.
He went up into the mountain of Tabor with His disciples, as  Man;
and He revealed His glory in their sight, as God.
He shed tears and  wept over Lazarus, as Man;
and He called him that he came forth by His mighty  power, as God.
He rode upon a colt and entered Jerusalem, as Man;
and the  boys applauded Him with their Hosannas, as God.

He drew nigh to the fig-tree and shewed  that He was hungered, as Man;
and His mighty power caused it to wither on a  sudden, as God.
He washed the feet of His twelve, as Man;
and He called  Himself Lord and Master, as God.
He ate the legal passover, as Man;
and He  exposed the treachery of Iscariot, as God.
He prayed and sweated at the time  of His passion, as Man;
and He scared and terrified them that took Him, as  God.

the  attendants seized Him and bound His hands, as Man;
and He healed the ear that  Simon cut off, as God.
He stood in the place of judgement and bore insult, as  Man;
and He declared that He is about to come in glory, as God.
He bore  His Cross upon His shoulder, as Man;
and He revealed and announced the  destruction of Zion, as God.
He was hanged upon the wood and endured the  passion, as Man;
and He shook the earth and darkened the sun, as God.

Nails were driven into  His body, as Man;
and He opened the graves and quickened the dead, as  God.
He cried out upon the Cross 'My God, My God,' as Man;
and promised  Paradise to the thief, as God.
His side was pierced with a spear, as  Man;
and His nod rent the temple veil, as God.
They embalmed His body and  He was buried in the earth, as Man;
and He raised up His temple by His mighty  power, as God.

He  remained in the tomb three days, as Man;
and the watchers glorified Him with  their praises, as God.
He said that He had received all authority, as  Man;
and He promised to be with us for ever, as God.
He commanded Thomas  to feel His side, as Man;
and He gave them the Spirit for an earnest, as  God.
He ate and drank after His resurrection, as Man;
and He ascended to  the height and sent the Spirit, as God.


[] [The Nestorian Church (General)] [Nestorian Documents] [Nestorian History] [The Nestorian Controversy] [Famous Individuals in Nestorian History] [Theodore of Mopsuestia] [Nestorius] [Mar Narsai] [Diodorus of Tarsus] [Bar Sauma] [The Nestorians in India] [The Nestorians in Arabia/Middle East] [The Nestorians & Arab Knowledge] [The Nestorians in Central Asia] [The Nestorians in China & The Far East] [The Syriac/Aramaic/Assyrian Language] [Modern Day Assyrians]