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Early Indo-European Texts

Old Church Slavonic

Todd B. Krause and Jonathan Slocum

This page contains a text in Old Church Slavonic with a modern English translation. This particular text and its translation are extracted from a lesson in the Early Indo-European Online series, where one may find detailed information about this text (see the Table of Contents page for Old Church Slavonic Online in EIEOL), and general information about the Old Church Slavonic language and its speakers' culture.

from the Life of Constantine

Vesele^shtu zhe se^ o bodzje' filosothu, paky drugaa rje'tchi' prispje' i trudu' ne mnei pru'vykhu' | Rostislavu' bo, Moravi'skyi kne^zi', bogomu' ustimu', su'vje'tu' su'tvori su' kne^zi svoimi i s Moravle^ny, posla ku' tsarju Mikhailu, glagole^, ljudemu' nashimu' pogani'stva se^ otvru'gshimu', i po khristianesku' se^ zakonu' dru'zhashtimu', utchitele^ ne imamu' takovago, izhe by ny vu' svoi jazyku' istuju vje'ru khristiani'skuju skazalu', da bysha i iny strany togo zre^shte podobilise^ namu' | To posli namu', vladyko, episkopa i utchitele^ takovago | Otu' vasu' bo na vse^ strany vu'segda dobryi zakonu' iskhoditi' | Su'bravu' zhe tsari' su'boru', prizva Koni'stantina filosotha, i su'tvori i slyshati rje'tchi' siju i retche, filosothe, vje'mi' te^ trudna sushta, no dostoiti' tebje' tamo iti | Sia bo rje'tchi ne mozheti' inu' niktozhe ispraviti, jakozhe ty | Otvje'shta filosothu', i trudenu' sy tje'lomu' i bolenu', radu' idu tamo, ashte imuti' bukvi vu' jazyku' svoi | I retche tsari' ku' nemu, dje'du' moi, i oti'tsu' moi, i inii mnodzi, iskavshe togo ne obrje'li suti' | To kako azu' mogu obrje'sti | Filosothu' zhe retche, to kto mozheti' na vodje' besje'du napisati | ili eretitchi'sko ime^ sebje' obrje'sti | Otvje'shta emu paky tsari' su' Vardoju, uemu' svomu', ashte ty khoshteshi, to mozheti' bogu' tebje' dati, izhe daeti' vsje'mu', izhe prose^ti' nesumnje'niemu', i otvru'dzaeti' tlu'kushtimu' | Shedu' zhe filosothu', po pru'vomu obytchaju, na molitvu se^ nalozhi i su' inje'mi su'pospje'shniky | Vu'skorje' zhe se emu bogu' javi, poslushajai molitvy rabu' svoikhu' | I togda slozhi pismena i natche^ besje'du pisati evaggeli'skuju, iskoni bje' slovo i slovo bje' u boga, i bogu' bje' slovo, i protche^ja |


(XIV.1) And while the Philosopher was rejoicing in God, another request came, and a task no lesser than the previous. (2) For Rostislav, the Moravian prince, roused by God, took counsel with his princes and with the Moravians, and sent to Tsar Michael, saying: 'Our people, having cast off paganism and conducting themselves according to Christian law, have no such teacher who would explain the true Christian faith to us in our own tongue, so that even the countries here, seeing this, might emulate us. (3) So send us, Master, such a bishop and teacher. (4) For always, into all countries, the good law flows from you.' (5) The Tsar, convening a counsel, summoned Constantine the Philosopher, and bade him hear this request, and said: 'Philosopher, I see that you are weary, and it does not suit you to go there. (6) But there is no one so able to fulfil this request as you.' (7) The Philosopher answered: 'Though tired and feeble in body, I will gladly go there if they have letters for their tongue.' (8) And the Tsar said to him: 'My grandfather, my father, and those many others, though they sought, could not produce this. (9) Then how could I produce it?' (10) But the Philosopher said: 'Then who is able to write speech in water? (11) or to produce for himself the name of a heretic?' (12) The Tsar replied to him, along with Varda, his uncle: 'If you wish it, then God may grant it to you, God who gives to all who ask with confidence and opens the door to those who knock.' (13) And the Philosopher went and, according to the old custom, set himself to prayer with his other companions. (14) And lo God soon appeared to him, heeding the prayers of his servants. (15) And thereupon he created letters and immediately began to write the word of the Evangel: (16) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and so forth.