Church Slavonic, also known as Church Slavic, New Church Slavonic or New Church Slavic, is the conservative Slavic sacred language used by the Orthodox Church in Bulgaria, Russia, Belarus, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia. The language appears also in the services of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese and occasionally in the services of the Orthodox Church in America. It was also used by the Orthodox Churches in Romanian lands until the late 17th and early 18th centuries as well as by Roman Catholic Croats in the Early Middle Ages. It is also co-used by Greek Catholic Churches, which are under Roman communion, in Slavic countries, for example the Croatian, Slovak and Ruthenian Greek Catholics, as well as by the Roman Catholic Church (Croatian and Czech recensions, see below).
In addition, Church Slavonic is used by some churches which consider themselves Orthodox but are not in communion with the Orthodox Church, such as the Macedonian Orthodox Church, the Montenegrin Orthodox Church, the Russian True Orthodox Church and others. The Russian Old Believers and the Co-Believers also use Church Slavonic.
Page from the Spiridon Psalter in Church Slavonic
|Glagolitic (Glag), Cyrillic (Cyrs)|
Church Slavonic represents a later stage of Old Church Slavonic, and is the continuation of the liturgical tradition introduced by the Thessalonian brothers Cyril and Methodius in the late 9th century in Nitra, a principal town and religious and scholarly center of Great Moravia (located in present-day Slovakia). There the first Slavic translations of the Scripture and liturgy from Koine Greek were made.
After the Christianization of Bulgaria in 864, Saint Clement of Ohrid and Saint Naum of Preslav were of great importance to the Orthodox faith and the Old Church Slavonic liturgy in the First Bulgarian Empire. The success of the conversion of the Bulgarians facilitated the conversion of East Slavic peoples, most notably the Rus', predecessors of Belarusians, Russians, and Ukrainians. Major event is the development of the Cyrillic script in Bulgaria at the Preslav Literary School in the 9th century. The Cyrillic script and the liturgy in Old Church Slavonic, also called Old Bulgarian, were declared official in Bulgaria in 893.
By the early 12th century, individual Slavic languages started to emerge, and the liturgical language was modified in pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and orthography according to the local vernacular usage. These modified varieties or recensions (e.g. Serbian Church Slavonic, Russian Church Slavonic, Ukrainian Church Slavonic in Early Cyrillic script, Croatian Church Slavonic in Croatian angular Glagolitic and later in Latin script, Czech Church Slavonic, Slovak Church Slavonic in Latin script, Bulgarian Church Slavonic in Early Cyrillic and Bulgarian Glagolitic scripts, etc.) eventually stabilized and their regularized forms were used by the scribes to produce new translations of liturgical material from Koine Greek, or Latin in the case of Croatian Church Slavonic.
Depending on regional uniqueness, various Church Slavonic recensions (redactions; Russian: извод, izvod) were used as a liturgical and literary language in all Orthodox countries north of the Mediterranean region during the Middle Ages, even in places where the local population was not Slavic (especially in Romania).
In recent centuries, however, Church Slavonic was fully replaced by local languages in the non-Slavic countries. Even in some of the Slavic Orthodox countries, the modern national language is now used for liturgical purposes to a greater or lesser extent.
Nevertheless, the Russian Orthodox Church, which contains around half of all Orthodox believers, still holds its liturgies almost entirely in Church Slavonic. However, there exist parishes which use other languages (and the main problem here is the lack of good translations):
The Church Slavonic language (also known as New Church Slavonic, the name proposed by F. V. Mareš) is actually a set of at least four different dialects (recensions), with essential distinctions between them in dictionary, spelling (even in writing systems), phonetics etc.
The most widespread recension, Russian, has, in turn, several local sub-dialects with slightly different pronunciations.
For the list and descriptions of extinct recensions, see article Old Church Slavonic language.
The Russian recension of New Church Slavonic is the language of books since the second half of the 17th century. It generally uses traditional Cyrillic script (poluustav); however, certain texts (mostly prayers) can be printed in modern alphabets with the spelling adapted to rules of local languages (for example, in Russian/Ukrainian/Bulgarian/Serbian Cyrillic or in Hungarian/Slovak/Polish Latin).
Before the eighteenth century, Church Slavonic was in wide use as a general literary language in Russia. Although it was never spoken per se outside church services, members of the priesthood, poets, and the educated tended to slip its expressions into their speech. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it was gradually replaced by the Russian language in secular literature and was retained for use only in church. Although as late as the 1760s, Lomonosov argued that Church Slavonic was the so-called "high style" of Russian, during the nineteenth century within Russia, this point of view declined. Elements of Church Slavonic style may have survived longest in speech among the Old Believers after the late-seventeenth century schism in the Russian Orthodox Church.
Russian has borrowed many words from Church Slavonic. While both Russian and Church Slavonic are Slavic languages, some early Slavic sound combinations evolved differently in each branch. As a result, the borrowings into Russian are similar to native Russian words, but with South Slavic variances, e.g. (the first word in each pair is Russian, the second Church Slavonic): золото / злато (zoloto / zlato), город / град (gorod / grad), горячий / горящий (goryačiy / goryaščiy), рожать / рождать (rožat’ / roždat’). Since the Russian Romantic era and the corpus of work of the great Russian authors (from Gogol to Chekhov, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky), the relationship between words in these pairs has become traditional. Where the abstract meaning has not commandeered the Church Slavonic word completely, the two words are often synonyms related to one another, much as Latin and native English words were related in the nineteenth century: one is archaic and characteristic of written high style, while the other is common and found in speech.
In Russia, Church Slavonic is pronounced in the same way as Russian, with some exceptions:
In Serbia, Church Slavonic is generally pronounced according to the Russian model. The medieval Serbian recension of Church Slavonic was gradually replaced by the Russian recension since the early eighteenth century. The differences from the Russian variant are limited to the lack of certain sounds in Serbian phonetics (there are no sounds corresponding to letters ы and щ, and in certain cases the palatalization is impossible to observe, e.g. ть is pronounced as т etc.).
The main difference between Russian and (Western) Ukrainian variants of Church Slavonic lies in the pronunciation of the letter yat (ѣ). The Russian pronunciation is the same as е [je]~[ʲe] whereas the Ukrainian is the same as и [i]. Greek Catholic variants of Church Slavonic books printed in variants of the Latin alphabet (a method used in Austro-Hungary and Czechoslovakia) just contain the letter "i" for yat. Other distinctions reflect differences between palatalization rules of Ukrainian and Russian (for example, ⟨ч⟩ is always "soft" (palatalized) in Russian pronunciation and "hard" in Ukrainian one), different pronunciation of letters ⟨г⟩ and ⟨щ⟩, etc.
Typographically, Serbian and (western) Ukrainian editions (when printed in traditional Cyrillic) are almost identical to the Russian ones. Certain visible distinctions may include:
The Old Moscow recension is in use among Old Believers and Co-Believers. The same traditional Cyrillic alphabet as in Russian Synodal recension; however, there are differences in spelling because the Old Moscow recension reproduces an older state of orthography and grammar in general (before the 1650s). The most easily observable peculiarities of books in this recension are:
This is in limited use among Croatian Catholics. Texts are printed in the Croatian Latin alphabet (with the addition of letter ⟨ě⟩ for yat) or in Glagolitic script. Sample editions include:
Church Slavonic is in very limited use among Czech Catholics. The recension was restored (actually, developed) by Prof. D. Th. Vojtěch Tkadlčík in his editions of the Roman missal:
Although the various recensions of Church Slavonic differ in some points, they share the tendency of approximating the original Old Church Slavonic to the local Slavic vernacular. Inflection tends to follow the ancient patterns with few simplifications. All original six verbal tenses, seven nominal cases, and three numbers are intact in most frequently used traditional texts (but in the newly composed texts, authors avoid most archaic constructions and prefer variants that are closer to modern Russian syntax and are better understood by the Slavic-speaking people).
In Russian recension, the fall of the yers is fully reflected, more or less to the Russian pattern, although the terminal ъ continues to be written. The yuses are often replaced or altered in usage to the sixteenth- or seventeenth-century Russian pattern. The yat continues to be applied with greater attention to the ancient etymology than it was in nineteenth-century Russian. The letters ksi, psi, omega, ot, and izhitsa are kept, as are the letter-based denotation of numerical values, the use of stress accents, and the abbreviations or titla for nomina sacra.
The vocabulary and syntax, whether in scripture, liturgy, or church missives, are generally somewhat modernised in an attempt to increase comprehension. In particular, some of the ancient pronouns have been eliminated from the scripture (such as етеръ /jeter/ "a certain (person, etc.)" → нѣкій in the Russian recension). Many, but not all, occurrences of the imperfect tense have been replaced with the perfect.
Miscellaneous other modernisations of classical formulae have taken place from time to time. For example, the opening of the Gospel of John, by tradition the first words written down by Saints Cyril and Methodius, (искони бѣаше слово) "In the beginning was the Word", were set as "искони бѣ слово" in the Ostrog Bible of Ivan Fedorov (1580/1581) and as въ началѣ бѣ слово in the Elizabethan Bible of 1751, still in use in the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Psalter and the Book of Prophets were adapted or "modernized" with special regard to their use in Bulgarian churches, and it was in this school that glagolitic writing was replaced by the so-called Cyrillic writing, which was more akin to the Greek uncial, simplified matters considerably and is still used by the Orthodox Slavs.
In Catholicism, the cantor, sometimes called the precentor or the protopsaltes (Greek: πρωτοψάλτης, lit. 'first singer'; from Greek: ψάλτης, romanized: psaltes, lit. 'singer') is the chief singer, and usually instructor, employed at a church, a cathedral or monastery with responsibilities for the ecclesiastical choir and the preparation of liturgy.
The cantor's duties and qualifications have varied considerably according to time, place, and rite, and often its prestige was so high that it came close to the highest offices in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, for instance monastic cantors promoted to the office of an abbot or abbess. Sometimes the office was connected with administrative, militaric, and governmental duties (the "Maestro di Capella" at San Marco di Venezia), even with those of a schoolteacher, as in case of the Thomaskantor in charge of the Thomasschule zu Leipzig, educating a boys' choir that served four churches.
Generally a cantor must be competent to choose and to conduct the vocals for the choir, to start any chant on demand, and to be able to identify and correct the missteps of singers placed under him. He may be held accountable for the immediate rendering of the music, showing the course of the melody by movements of the hand(s) (cheironomia), similar to a conductor.Crossed O
Crossed O (Ꚛ ꚛ; italics: Ꚛ ꚛ) is a letter of the Cyrillic script, similar to the Cyrillic letter O but with the addition of a cross.
Crossed O is used in the Old Church Slavonic language. The crossed o is primarily used in the word окрест (around, in the region of) in early Slavonic manuscripts, whose component крест means 'cross'.Jovan
Jovan (Serbian Cyrillic: Јован, Church Slavonic: Їωан) is a Serbian male given name equivalent to English "John" or Slavic Ivan, from Hebrew: יהוחנן.Kontakion
The kontakion (Greek: κοντάκιον, also transliterated as kondakion and kontakio; plural Greek: κοντάκια, kontakia) is a form of hymn performed in the Orthodox and the Eastern Catholic liturgical traditions. The kontakion originated in the Byzantine Empire around the sixth century CE. It is divided into strophes (oikoi, stanzas) and begins with a prologue (the prooimoion or koukoulion). The kontakion usually has a biblical theme, and often features dialogue between biblical characters. By far the most important writer of kontakia is Romanos the Melodist. The only kontakion that is regularly performed in full today is the Akathist to the Theotokos.Krajina
Krajina (pronounced [krâjina]) is a Slavic toponym, meaning 'frontier' or 'march'. The term is related with kraj or krai, originally meaning "edge" and today denoting a region or province, usually distant from the metropole.Mattock
A mattock is a hand tool used for digging, prying, and chopping. Similar to the pickaxe, it has a long handle and a stout head which combines either a vertical axe blade with a horizontal adze (cutter mattock) or a pick and an adze (pick mattock). A cutter mattock is similar to a Pulaski.Memory Eternal
Memory Eternal is an exclamation, an encomium like the polychronion, used at the end of an Eastern Orthodox funeral or memorial service. The same exclamation is used by those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite. It is the liturgical counterpart to the Western Rite prayer "Eternal Rest". The "eternal memory" mentioned in the prayer refers to remembrance by God, rather than by the living, and is another way of praying that the soul has entered heaven and enjoys eternal life.
This chant is parallel to "Many years" which is chanted for living members of the Church (and occasionally for national or local authorities, even though they may not be Orthodox). "Memory eternal" is not chanted for those who have been officially glorified (canonized) as saints. As part of the glorification process for new saints, on the eve of the day before their glorification, "Memory eternal" will be chanted for them at the end of a solemn service known as the "Last Requiem". The chanting of "Memory eternal" is introduced by a deacon, as follows:
Deacon: In a blessed falling asleep, grant, O Lord, eternal rest unto Thy departed servant (Name) and make his/her memory to be eternal!Choir: Memory eternal! Memory eternal! Memory eternal!It concludes with the line "with the saints, grant her/him rest o Christ, memory eternal!"Octoechos
Oktōēchos (here transcribed "Octoechos"; Greek: ὁ Ὀκτώηχος Greek pronunciation: [okˈtóixos]; from ὀκτώ "eight" and ἦχος "sound, mode" called echos; Slavonic: Осмогласие, Osmoglasie from о́смь "eight" and гласъ, Glagolitic: ⰳⰾⰰⱄⱏ, "voice, sound") is the eight-mode system used for the composition of religious chant in Byzantine, Syriac, Armenian, Georgian, Latin and Slavic churches since the Middle Ages. In a modified form the octoechos is still regarded as the foundation of the tradition of monodic chant in the Byzantine Rite today.Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic or Old Slavonic (, ), also known as Old Church Slavic or Old Slavic (), was the first Slavic literary language (autonym словѣ́ньскъ ѩꙁꙑ́къ, slověnĭskŭ językŭ). It is also referred to as Paleo-Slavic (Paleoslavic) or Palaeo-Slavic (Palaeoslavic), not to be confused with Proto-Slavic. It is often abbreviated to OCS.
Historians credit the 9th-century Byzantine missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius with standardizing the language and using it in translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek ecclesiastical texts as part of the Christianization of the Slavs.
It is thought to have been based primarily on the dialect of the 9th-century Byzantine Slavs living in the Province of Thessalonica (in present-day Greece).
Old Church Slavonic played an important role in the history of the Slavic languages and served as a basis and model for later Church Slavonic traditions, and some Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches use this later Church Slavonic as a liturgical language to this day.
As the oldest attested Slavic language, OCS provides important evidence for the features of Proto-Slavic, the reconstructed common ancestor of all Slavic languages.Paschal greeting
The Paschal Greeting, also known as the Easter Acclamation, is an Easter custom among Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Catholic, and Anglican Christians. It is also found among some Christians from liturgical Protestant denominations, such as certain Lutherans. In place of "hello" or its equivalent, one is to greet another person with "Christ is Risen!" or "The Lord is Risen!", and the response is "Truly, He is Risen," "Indeed, He is Risen," or "He is Risen Indeed" (compare Matthew 27:64, Matthew 28:6–7, Mark 16:6, Luke 24:6, Luke 24:34).In some cultures, such as in Russia and Serbia, it is also customary to exchange a triple kiss of peace on the alternating cheeks after the greeting.Similar responses are also used in the liturgies of other Christian churches, but not so much as general greetings.Pokrytie
Pokrytie ( ҇ ) is one of the historic signs of Cyrillic that was used in Old Church Slavonic.Reversed Tse
Reversed Tse (Ꙡ ꙡ; italics: Ꙡ ꙡ) is a letter of the Cyrillic script, a Cyrillic letter such as horizontal reversed the Tse (Ц ц Ц ц).
Reversed Tse is used in the Old Church Slavonic language.Rha (Cyrillic)
Rha (Ԗ ԗ; italics: Ԗ ԗ) is a letter of the Cyrillic script. It looks like a cross-digraph of the Cyrillic letters Er (Р р) and Kha (Х х), but it is not a composable ligature.
Rha is used in the Old Church Slavonic language.Soft De
Soft De (Ꙣ ꙣ; italics: Ꙣ ꙣ) is a letter of the Cyrillic script, which is a ligature of De (Д д Д д) and Ge (Г г Г г).
Soft De was sometimes used in the Old Church Slavonic language to represent the sound [dʲ].Soft El
Soft El (Ꙥ ꙥ; italics: Ꙥ ꙥ) is a letter of the Cyrillic script, a Cyrillic letters such as ligature to El (Л л Л л) and Ge (Г г Г г).
Soft El is used in the Old Church Slavonic language to represent the Dark L sound [lˤ], a sound prevalent in several Slavic languages.Soft Em
Soft Em (Ꙧ ꙧ; italics: Ꙧ ꙧ) is a letter of the Cyrillic script, a Cyrillic letters such as ligature to Em (М м М м) and Ge (Г г Г г).
Soft Em is used in the Old Church Slavonic language.
The font DejaVu has the glyph in Cyrillic Extended-B.Svarog
Svarog (Church Slavonic: Сваро́гъ, Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian and Ukrainian: Сварог, Polish: Swaróg, Slovak and Croatian: Svarog) is a Slavic deity known primarily from the Hypatian Codex, a Slavic translation of the Chronicle of John Malalas. Svarog is there identified with Hephaestus, the god of the blacksmith in ancient Greek religion, and as the father of Dažbog, a Slavic solar deity. On the basis of this text, some researchers conclude that Svarog is the Slavic god of celestial fire and of blacksmithing.Sviatoslav Shevchuk
Sviatoslav Shevchuk (Ukrainian: Святосла́в Шевчу́к; born 5 May 1970 in Stryi, Ukrainian SSR) has been the Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) since 25 March 2011.Zurna
The zurna (also called surnay, birbynė, lettish horn, zurla, surla, sornai, dili tuiduk, zournas, or zurma), is a wind instrument played in central Eurasia, western Asia and parts of North Africa. It is usually accompanied by a davul (bass drum) in Anatolian and Assyrian folk music.
Italics indicate extinct languages.