Praise and Glory to the Kartuli Language is the first written Kartvelian manuscript discovered on Mount Sinai by Alexandre Tsagareli in 1886. The manuscript exists in four copies: one written in the Kartuli Asomtavruli Alphabet (photo on Homepage) and three in Nuskha-Khutsuri, used only by priests. The text had great religious significance and was recited as a prayer during religious services. Three manuscripts are thought to have been copied by Ioane Zosimein the 10th Century; however, the work itself is dated much earlier, 342 A.D. The mysterious language of the homily provides ample grounds for various views and interpretations which are reflected in the two English translations made by Anna Meskhi (2002) and Zviad Gamsakhurdia (1991), and offered below.
Praise and Glory to the Kartuli Language
Buried is the language of Kartuli
To be tortured until the Second Coming of the Lord,
As God opens all tongues through this language.
And, this language named Lazarus in the Gospel
Is dormant to this day.
And, converted by new Nino and Queen Helen
Who are two sisters like Mary and Martha.
And, the herald spoke of friendship
Since all mysteries are buried in this language.
And, David the Profit said four-days dead since
“A thousand years is to a single day.”
And, Tsili the letter heads the chapter of Mathew in the Kartuli Gospel
Declaring four thousand prophesies.
And, like the four days and the four-days dead
This language was buried and baptized in its own death.
And, this tongue beautified and blessed in the name of the Lord,
Belittled and rejected, awaits the day of the Second Coming of the Lord.
And, its miracle sign is a hundred and four years
Prior to other tongues since the advent of Christ to date.
And, all that’s been written I prophesied, one hundred and four
And letter Tsili of the alphabet.
Ioane Zosime, Copyist, IX c.
Anna Meskhi, Translator, 2002
The translation follows the text published in Old Georgian Poetry V-XII cc., Vol. I,
Nakaduli, Tbilisi, 1979.
* * *
Praise and Glorification of the Georgian Language
- The Georgian language (nation) is preserved until the day of the Second Coming to testify to Him, in order that God judge (expose) all the languages through this language.
- And this language has been dormant to this day, and in the Gospel this language is called Lazarus.
- And the new Nino and Helen the Queen converted; these are two sisters, like Mary and Martha.
- And he said friendship because all mysteries are hidden in this language.
- And David the Prophet said “four days’ dead”, for one thousand years are equal to one day; and in the Georgian Gospel according to Mathew at the beginning there stands the letter w(ts) that speaks of four thousandmaragis (‘prophesies’). And this is four days and four day’s dead, and buried with Him through death with His baptism.
- And this language, adorned and blessed in the name of the Lord, humbled and rejected, is awaiting the day of the Second Coming of the Lord.
- And [the language] has a sign: ninety-four years since the advent of Christ to this day, and in this it [the language] has an advantage over other languages.
- And all this, that is written, will be testified by this letter of the alphabet.
The Spiritual Mission of Georgia.
Tbilisi, 1991. p. 35