"The liturgy for men's chorus is not only the acme of Komitas' creative work, but also quite a new stage in the development of Armenian sacred music". - G. Geodakian

Alongside with folk songs, sacred music equally occupied the attention of the great Armenian composer Komitas. Having grown up in Etchmiadzin, educated at and worked in the seminary, he could not remain indifferent to Armenian sacred music; thus, the creation of the Liturgy ("Patarag") was not accidental from this point of view. The composition named "Polyphonic Sacred Liturgy for Men's Chorus" was first published in 1933 in Paris with the help
of the Komitas Committee. Komitas' student, the composer and conductor Vardan Sargsian, edited the handwriting.
Komitas' Patarag differs from previous settings of the liturgy, including that of Makar Yekmalian. Despite the fact that Komitas criticized the latter in his review "The Music of Sacred Liturgy", he highly appreciated Yekmalian's work and called it "the first polyphonic blossom in the desert of Armenian sacred song". Komitas' Patarag is noted for its unique and boldly innovative features and is even imbued with a secular spirit. That is why the Armenian Church did not accept it and considered it as a work not corresponding to its spirit.
Komitas tried to create a national liturgy. He strove to purify the centuries-old singing of the Armenian Church from foreign or extraneous features, recreate the initial beauty of national genres, their reserved and majestic simplicity, and achieve intonational and stylistic purity. While treating Armenian Church melodies, Komitas avoided excessive decorations and meant to specify the construction of melodies and to create a close connection between musical and speech accents.
It took the composer a long time to choose the melody before the creation of Patarag's score and its harmonization. Intending to pick melodies most original and free from foreign influence, Komitas turned to common village priests who performed those melodies according to their traditions. It is known that the composer had several alternative treatments of the Patarag. He wrote in one of his letters, "I have seven polyphonic treatment variations of an Armenian liturgy, but they are not published yet".
Komitas' Patarag is perfect in its own way. "Khorurd Khorin", "Ter, voghormia" ("O Lord, save us!"), "Gohanamk" are all brilliant examples of polyphony in which the composer aimed to achieve a deep and expressive choral sound by widely applying polyphonic devices. Using polyphonic means, he made an effort to accurately and vibrantly present the spirit and character of the Armenian sacred monody. His superb knowledge of choral nuances, fabulous professional skill, free utilization of polyphonic principles, and ability to reproduce the national character of Armenian sacred music - all of these elements enabled Komitas to create a composition of great value.
Patarag is both a concert and ritual composition bearing a stylistic unity. It is one of the most significant achievements in the polyphonic treatment of Armenian sacred music. According to Vardan Sargsian, "Patarag is the highest peak of Armenian sacred music, where majestic melodies created by our old church musicians once more came out in their clear and characteristic forms, transformed into a polyphony rich in images and colors of authentic melodies with the hand of our great songwriter".