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« on: January 30, 2010, 10:07:14 PM »

Can someone explain to me who some of the most significant Fathers in the Armenian Apostolic tradition are with respect to doctrinal definition?
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2010, 10:22:18 PM »

St. Gregory of Datev is a big one, but his writings are mostly unavailable in English.  VasnTearn quoted him in another thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,25645.msg404085.html#msg404085

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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2010, 11:09:35 PM »

Is Saint Sahag of great importance in this realm?
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2010, 11:18:22 PM »

He is definitely an important Church Father.  I'm not sure, though, to what extent his writings have survived to the present day.  VasnTearn would know more.
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« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2010, 06:48:18 AM »

Can someone explain to me who some of the most significant Fathers in the Armenian Apostolic tradition are with respect to doctrinal definition?

Quote
Is Saint Sahag of great importance in this realm?

If you mean St Sahak Parthev who translated the Bible, then we have only some dogmatic letters from him (the other extant writings of his are a group of canons in our Nomocanon and some hymns attributed to him). Frankly speaking, I don't fully understand what you mean by "with respect to doctrinal definition". As all notable Fathers of our Church who have left literature that deal with this or that aspect of the general teaching of the Armenian Church, that is, not only Christology, but also other branches of theology, are significant, and it is very difficult to say who is the most significant of them.

I think, first of all, the writings attributed to St Gregory the Illuminator are important, his homilies and the Catechetical writing called "Teaching", but the scholars say they were not written by him, but most probably by St Mesrop Mashtots. The language and the ideas of those writings predate the Council of Ephesus. From the fifth century's Fathers St John Mandakuni is an important father, also Eznik of Kolb for his treatise "Te Deo" or "refutation of the sects": this work deals mainly with the issue of good and evil and is written against dualistic teachings of his time. It's a good source of information about some heresies, of Marcion, Mani etc.
St John of Odzun (VII-VIII centuries) is a great father. Some consider him to be the final stage of the formation of the Armenian Church Christology through the teaching of incorruptibility. From that period, Khosrovik's dogmatic writings are very important, John of Mayravan too. Stepanos of Siunik is a notable father. Vrtanes Kertol, like St John of Odzun and John of Mayragom, defended the veneration of icons, so he is important for that. From later Fathers are notable John the Deacon, Paul of Taron, John of Erznka, Vardan the Eastener (Vardan Areveltsi), St Nerses the Grace-filled, Nerses of Lambron,  Mkhitar Gosh, St John of Orotan (the teacher of St Gregory of Tathev), Mkhitar of Skevra (this father is more known for his treatise “On the 12 Apostles' equality in honour”) etc etc.

St Gregory of Tathev is perhaps the last great vardapet (that is, "teacher") of our Church. He tried to systematize the teachings of the Armenian Church. But in his sacramentology he was influenced by Aquinas, the scholars say. However, he remains a father to whom first of all we turn when trying to find answers to this or that thing. But there are also some of his pupils, Fathers of the Tathev school, that are notable too, for example, Matthew of Julfa and Arakel of Siunik.

Well, it is really very difficult to say who of them is more significant, each may be significant in some aspect. And most of them are not fully examined, not all of their writings were even published. So they may be not well known because of this. I can say only that more often the names of St Nerses the Grace-filled and St Gregory of Tathev are heard only because they were more popularized. But the Christological writings of, say, St John of Odzun, or John the Deacon or Paul of Taron are much more mature and important writings than those written by the aforementioned well-known two Fathers.
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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2010, 07:23:41 AM »

Are you able to provide, or point us to a bibliography of Armenian work in translation?

I can read French or English.

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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2010, 07:27:15 AM »

This looks useful, it is a bibliography of articles on Armenian studies in Western journals, 1869-1995
 By Vrej Nersessian.

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=BoCEiJIKF7cC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_v2_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=&f=false
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« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2010, 08:19:21 AM »

Unfortunately, there are very few writings of the Armenian Fathers that have been translated into English. Mostly histories were translated but not theological writings.

Maybe "A bibliography of classical Armenian literature to 1500 AD‎" by Robert W. Thomson may be useful. Though I'm not sure that it can be complete, as after 1995 when that book was published many writings of Armenian Fathers were published in Armenia for the first time.
http://books.google.com/books?id=7xSqQgAACAAJ&dq=Armenian+%3Bliterature&lr=&cd=15

I found on the net very few things:
Eznik of Kolb's De Deo. http://www.nbcindia.com/descriptions.asp?6v6yr_vq=ELIIIJM&Book=Eznik-of-Kolb-on-God

The Cathechetical "Teaching" attributed to St Gregory the Illuminator (unfortunately the collection of the homilies again attributed to him hasn't been translated, as far as I know) and a treatise by St Elishe, "Teaching on the Passion of our Lord" were translated by Robert W. Thomson.  

http://www.stnersess.edu/classroom/pubs/avant/index.php
http://www.flipkart.com/homily-passion-christ-attributed-elishe/9042908416-4j33fjfm0b

An epic poem, called "Book of Adam" was translated by Michael Stone.
http://books.google.com/books?id=N0bGS7fMhv8C&pg=PP5&dq=Arakel+of+Siwnik+Adamgirk+Michael+Stone&cd=1#v=onepage&q=Arakel%20of%20Siwnik%20Adamgirk%20Michael%20Stone&f=false

There is an article about a treatise by John the Deacon (Hovhannes Sarkawag) in the 4th number of St Nersess theological review -
http://www.stnersess.edu/classroom/pubs/sntr/volume4.php

The small but important writing on the veneration of icons by Vrtanes Kertol which is considered to be the most ancient writing written in favour of icons is here - http://www.looys.net/essays.html

(click on "The Armenian Church and Icons by Vartabed Sharsalar Vertanes Kertogh (7th C.))

Well, I don't know French, so I don't know what can be found in French.
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« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2010, 08:27:22 AM »

It seems, nothing from the pure dogmatic writings was translated into English. If I'm not mistaken, St John of Odzun's writings were translated into Latin and published in the 19th century.
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« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2010, 08:35:31 AM »

It would be a great service for some Armenian faithful to start translating these works into English. Even small snippets would be better than nothing and could be published on the erkohet website.

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« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2010, 08:43:08 AM »

Yes, Father, you are right. However, my English is not perfect and my translations need to be edited. Besides, I'm busy translating from Classical Armenian into modern Armenian, again for the benefit of our faithful, and almost no time remains for translation into English.
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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2010, 08:50:37 AM »

http://books.google.am/books?id=riNIXZzr_NcC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Matthews+Sanjian+Armenian+Gospel+Iconography&source=bl&ots=0UbAZAdV-t&sig=Vm664b8r7ZQkfcXHfZZHi23Ex8c&hl=hy&ei=4MpmS_fxJ5SXsQaK_bzTAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=&f=false

On the page shown above one can find the English translations of two treatises dealing with art theory: they explain the symbolic meanings of the colours and images of the Eusebian canon-tables that open the Gospel codices. There are 13 such commentaries the critical texts of which were published in 1994 together with the Russian translations of them. So those 2 English translations were not done from the critical edition; however they are interesting. As far as I know, there aren't other medieval writings which deal with art theory in other Christian traditions.
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« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2010, 09:15:44 AM »

Sorry, the link I've provided doesn't take to the correct place. Those translations start on the page 206.
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« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2010, 09:56:03 AM »

Dear vasnTearn,

I have been browsing around a little, and an old aquaintance of mine is searching for material by Eusebius which might have been preserved in Armenian. He hopes that there might be Gospel catenas in Classical Armenian.

[a catena is a book of commentary excerpts for Gospel passages]

Do you know if there are any such catalogued in any ancient Classical Armenian manuscripts?

How hard is it to learn Classical Armenian? I nearly considered trying so that I could study the major work by St Timothy of Alexandria which is preserved in that language, but fortunately a German PhD student is translating it.

As ever

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« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2010, 10:15:06 AM »

Dear Fr Peter

There are many Biblical catenas in Armenian but I haven't seen in them anything from Eusebius of Caesarea. His Chronicles have reached in Armenian.

As for learning Classical Armenian, it would be wonderful if many foreigners, especially those who understand theology and are themselves believers, would learn this language and translate from it, because there aren't many specialists of Classical Armenian who do translations and are believers, which, I think, is very important.

Classical Armenian grammar is much easier than that of Greek and of some other Indo-european languages. Because, like English, it doesn't have grammatical gender (masculine, feminine etc). So this makes it somewhat easier. But I can imagine that learning the Armenian alphabet may be not so easy. But the reading rules are again easier than that of, say, French. I think, if one has learned reading Armenian, all other difficulties will be overcome more easily.

 
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« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2010, 10:20:21 AM »

Instead of saying, "There are many Biblical catenas in Armenian but I haven't seen in them anything from Eusebius of Caesarea", it would be more correct to say, "Nowhere I have read that anything from Eusebius commentaries have reached us in Armenian." So, I think, I'd not be wrong to state they don't exist in Armenian.   
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« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2010, 12:56:58 PM »

I remembered: St Nerses the Grace-filled's 'Jesus, Son only-begotten of the Father' was translated both into English, and French. That's a wonderful writing in 3 books, written in verse and like a prayer to the Lord but has in itself perhaps all the important teachings of our Church. 
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« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2010, 01:22:10 PM »

Do you have a reference for the translation of the work by St Nerses?

Thanks

Father Peter
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« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2010, 01:59:19 PM »

Do you have a reference for the translation of the work by St Nerses?

Thanks

Father Peter

Jesus, Son only-begotten of the Father, a Prayer by Nerses the Grace-filled, rendered into English by Jane S. Wingate. The Delphic Press, New York, 1947

Nerses Shnorhali, Jesus fils unique du Pere. Introduction, traduction de l'armenien et notes par Isaac Kechichian. L'edition du Cerf. Paris 1973.

I took these details from a book, but I myself haven't seen those translations.
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« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2010, 02:19:12 PM »

Dear Fr Peter

There are many Biblical catenas in Armenian but I haven't seen in them anything from Eusebius of Caesarea. His Chronicles have reached in Armenian.

As for learning Classical Armenian, it would be wonderful if many foreigners, especially those who understand theology and are themselves believers, would learn this language and translate from it, because there aren't many specialists of Classical Armenian who do translations and are believers, which, I think, is very important.

Classical Armenian grammar is much easier than that of Greek and of some other Indo-european languages. Because, like English, it doesn't have grammatical gender (masculine, feminine etc). So this makes it somewhat easier. But I can imagine that learning the Armenian alphabet may be not so easy. But the reading rules are again easier than that of, say, French. I think, if one has learned reading Armenian, all other difficulties will be overcome more easily.

 
An introduction to classical Armenian By Robert W. Thomson
http://books.google.com/books?id=WgxkAAAAMAAJ&q=classical+armenian+grammar+Thompson&dq=classical+armenian+grammar+Thompson&cd=2
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« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2010, 09:06:07 PM »

I remembered: St Nerses the Grace-filled's 'Jesus, Son only-begotten of the Father' was translated both into English, and French. That's a wonderful writing in 3 books, written in verse and like a prayer to the Lord but has in itself perhaps all the important teachings of our Church. 

In 1986, it was translated into English by Mischa Kudian and published by Mashtots Press, in London.  I don't have an address on Mashtots Press, but it's probably connected to one of the Armenian Churches there, perhaps St. Sarkis Church?  The title of the book is Jesus, The Son, but I'm pretty sure it's the same writing you are describing above.
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« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2010, 03:33:02 AM »

I'll contact Father Shnork and see if he can help me.

Thanks for the reference.

Father Peter
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« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2010, 05:46:33 AM »

There are many Biblical catenas in Armenian but I haven't seen in them anything from Eusebius of Caesarea.

Where can one find these catenas?  Are they published, or in manuscript?

All the best,

Roger Pearse
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« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2010, 06:48:29 AM »

There are many Biblical catenas in Armenian but I haven't seen in them anything from Eusebius of Caesarea.

Where can one find these catenas?  Are they published, or in manuscript?

All the best,

Roger Pearse

The Classical Armenian texts of some catenas have been published (under the names of those Armenian Fathers who compiled them), but still many are in manuscripts.
I can now recall 3 catenas that have been published by the Publishing house of Holy Etchmiadzin recently: Sargis Kund's Commentary of the Gospel of Luke, Kund's Commentary on the Catholic Epistles. Already 3 or 4 Commentaries on the Book of Isaiah are published, one of which is again a catena. Unfortunately, the compilers, as Sargis Kund, for example, not always mention their sources, but sometimes one can see in the left margin abbreviations like Eph., Chris., Ath. etc which mean those parts are the commentaries of Ephrem the Syrian, Chrysostom, Athanasius  etc. I'm going to make brief annotations for the books published by the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and put them on a website. I have done this only for few books so far. But they are all in Armenian, Classical or modern. You may PM me, if you need more information.
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« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2010, 08:17:59 AM »

I remembered: St Nerses the Grace-filled's 'Jesus, Son only-begotten of the Father' was translated both into English, and French. That's a wonderful writing in 3 books, written in verse and like a prayer to the Lord but has in itself perhaps all the important teachings of our Church. 

In 1986, it was translated into English by Mischa Kudian and published by Mashtots Press, in London.  I don't have an address on Mashtots Press, but it's probably connected to one of the Armenian Churches there, perhaps St. Sarkis Church?  The title of the book is Jesus, The Son, but I'm pretty sure it's the same writing you are describing above.

Dear Salpy

Do you have that edition? Could you type here some excerpt from that translation that I might see what kind of translation it is: free in verses, or more literal. Because I looked in the Internet, Kudian's translations are mainly of Armenian poets. So it is possible that a book written in verses, like that of Nerses, is translated in a way that it sounds well in English but does not render the senses correctly, that is, there is much from the translator.
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« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2010, 09:14:17 PM »


Could you type here some excerpt from that translation that I might see what kind of translation it is?

That might be helpful.  Kudian seems to be translating it as poetry.  Among other things, he is using "thou, thee and thy," instead of "you and your."  Also, when St. Nerses quotes from the Bible, he uses the King James (Authorized) Version of 1611, instead of directly translating from the Classical Armenian.  When I am able to, I will type some of it here, and you can compare it to the original Classical Armenian to see how faithful it is.
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« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2010, 09:58:51 PM »

Here we go, from the beginning of Book One:

Jesus, the only-begotten Son of the Father,
And the splendour of His countenance;
Thou, ineffable offspring of the Archetype,
Inseperable from thy Begetter;
Thou, by whom all beings are created:
The conceivable, that can be seen;
The disembodied, and the embodied;
The irrational, as with the rational;
The living things, that grow;
And the lifeless, that do not move:
All these offer thanksgiving
Unto thy loving Father and unto thee;
And unto thy coexistent Spirit
Are proffered exaltations on high
From the elect ones most pure
That are admitted unto thine abode.
Receive me also with them, O Lord,
I who have disobeyed the commandment;
I who am like unto the prodigal son,
And the waster of thy Father's goods;
Who ignored the honour that came from thee,
And became the equal unto the brainless one
That put the whole herd of swine
To graze in the very field of demons;
I who am famished, not of hunger for bread,
But to hear thy word, O Lord,
Being ardent with the desire for carobs,
In the bitterness from the delight of sins.
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« Reply #27 on: February 04, 2010, 07:17:09 AM »

Here we go, from the beginning of Book One:

Jesus, the only-begotten Son of the Father,
And the splendour of His countenance;
Thou, ineffable offspring of the Archetype,
Inseperable from thy Begetter;
Thou, by whom all beings are created:
The conceivable, that can be seen;
The disembodied, and the embodied;
The irrational, as with the rational;
The living things, that grow;
And the lifeless, that do not move:
All these offer thanksgiving
Unto thy loving Father and unto thee;
And unto thy coexistent Spirit
Are proffered exaltations on high
From the elect ones most pure
That are admitted unto thine abode.
Receive me also with them, O Lord,
I who have disobeyed the commandment;
I who am like unto the prodigal son,
And the waster of thy Father's goods;
Who ignored the honour that came from thee,
And became the equal unto the brainless one
That put the whole herd of swine
To graze in the very field of demons;

I who am famished, not of hunger for bread,
But to hear thy word, O Lord,
Being ardent with the desire for carobs,
In the bitterness from the delight of sins.



Thank you, dear Salpy!

I compared with the original text and this is the result:

Kudian - And the splendour of His countenance

St Nerses - Եւ ճառագայթ կերպարանին
               "And Ray of the Appearance"
Here the word "appearance" (կերպարան) is the same word used in Phil 2:6 and corresponds to Gr. "morphE". And the "Ray" is used, because in the ancient analogy of the Persons of the Holy Trinity with the sun, ray and heat, the Lord Jesus Christ is the Ray. I think, St Nerses meant just this, that is why I think it would be correct to translate just as he wrote. At least, if it were me, I would do so.


Kudian - That put the whole herd of swine
          To graze in the very field of demons.

St Nerses - Ի դիւացն ագարակին
             Զերամ խոզիցն արածողին.
"[I who] graze the herd of swine
in the field of demons"


Kudian - Being ardent with the desire of carobs,
           In the bitterness from the delight of sins.
 
St Nerses - Ցանկացելոյ ջերմ եղջերին՝
           Քաղցր մեղաց դառնագունին.
"Ardently desiring carob,
the bitterest among the sweet sins"

*** Though "the conceivable, that can be seen" literally corresponds to "Իմանալիք, որք երեւին", however it is not a correct translation, because in this sentence in Armenian comma replaces the word "and", and it would be correct to add it in the translation and translate the whole sentence in a little bit different words, so that it would be clear that St Nerses speaks both about the intelligible (Arm. իմանալի corresponds to Greek "noEtos" and is translated as "conceivable" by Kudian) creatures which are invisible (that is, the angelic hosts), and the visible ones.
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« Reply #28 on: February 04, 2010, 10:04:33 PM »

Thank you for the commentary.  It seems some meaning was sacrificed for the sake of making it poetic.  That's too bad.

Let's hope and pray that good translations of this work and others will someday be available.
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Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,958


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2010, 02:17:38 PM »

So would it be correct to say that the following would be the Nersessian version?

Jesus, the only-begotten Son of the Father,
And the Ray of the Appearance;
Thou, ineffable offspring of the Archetype,
Inseperable from thy Begetter;
Thou, by whom all beings are created:
The intelligible who are unseen;
The disembodied, and the embodied;
The irrational, as with the rational;
The living things, that grow;
And the lifeless, that do not move:
All these offer thanksgiving
Unto thy loving Father and unto thee;
And unto thy coexistent Spirit
Are proffered exaltations on high
From the elect ones most pure
That are admitted unto thine abode.
Receive me also with them, O Lord,
I who have disobeyed the commandment;
I who am like unto the prodigal son,
And the waster of thy Father's goods;
Who ignored the honour that came from thee,
And became the equal unto the brainless one,
I who graze the herd of swine
in the field of demons;
I who am famished, not of hunger for bread,
But to hear thy word, O Lord,
Ardently desiring carob,
the bitterest among the sweet sins.
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Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
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Toumarches
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Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Armenian Church
Posts: 12,890


Pray for the Christians of Iraq and Syria.


« Reply #30 on: February 27, 2010, 12:23:19 PM »

So would it be correct to say that the following would be the Nersessian version?

Jesus, the only-begotten Son of the Father,
And the Ray of the Appearance;
Thou, ineffable offspring of the Archetype,
Inseperable from thy Begetter;
Thou, by whom all beings are created:
The intelligible who are unseen;
The disembodied, and the embodied;
The irrational, as with the rational;
The living things, that grow;
And the lifeless, that do not move:
All these offer thanksgiving
Unto thy loving Father and unto thee;
And unto thy coexistent Spirit
Are proffered exaltations on high
From the elect ones most pure
That are admitted unto thine abode.
Receive me also with them, O Lord,
I who have disobeyed the commandment;
I who am like unto the prodigal son,
And the waster of thy Father's goods;
Who ignored the honour that came from thee,
And became the equal unto the brainless one,
I who graze the herd of swine
in the field of demons;
I who am famished, not of hunger for bread,
But to hear thy word, O Lord,
Ardently desiring carob,
the bitterest among the sweet sins.

Personally, I like this.  If you don't mind, I'm going to add it to the OO Prayer thread.   Smiley
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