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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

Вєсєлѧщѹ жє сѧ ѡ боѕѣ филосоѳу, пакъі дрѹгаа рѣчь приспѣ и трѹдъ нє мнєи пръвъіхъ | Ростиславъ бо, Моравьскъіи кнѧзь, богомъ ѹстимъ, съвѣтъ сътвори съ кнѧзи своими и с Моравлѧнъі, посла къ царю Михаилѹ, глаголѧ, людємъ нашимъ поганьства сѧ ѡтвръгшимъ, и по христіанєскъ сѧ законъ дръжащимъ, ѹчитєлѧ нє имамъ таковаго, ижє бъі нъі въ свои јазъікъ истѹю вѣрѹ христіаньскѹю сказалъ, да бъіша и инъі странъі того зрѧщє подобилисѧ намъ | То посли намъ, владъікѡ, єпископа и ѹчитєлѧ таковаго | Ѡтъ васъ бо на всѧ странъі въсєгда добръіи законъ исходить | Събравъ жє царь съборъ, призва Коньстантина филосѡѳа, и сътвори и слъішати рѣчь сію и рєчє, филосѡѳє, вѣмь тѧ трѹдна сѹща, но достоить тєбѣ тамо ити | Сіа бо рѣчи нє можєть инъ никтожє исправити, јакожє тъі | Ѡтвѣща филосѡѳъ, и трѹдєнъ съі тѣлѡмъ и болєнъ, радъ идѹ тамо, ащє имѹть бѹкви въ јазъікъ свои | И рєчє царь къ нємѹ, дѣдъ мои, и ѡтьцъ мои, и иніи мноѕи, искавшє того нє обрѣли сѹть | То како азъ могѹ обрѣсти | Филосѡѳъ жє рєчє, то кто можєть на водѣ бєсѣдѹ написати | или єрєтичьско имѧ сєбѣ обрѣсти | Ѡтвѣща ємѹ пакъі царь съ Вардою, ѹємъ свомъ, ащє тъі хощєши, то можєть богъ тєбѣ дати, ижє даєть всѣмъ, ижє просѧть нєсѹмнѣніємъ, и ѡтвръѕаєть тлъкѹщимъ | Шєдъ жє филосѡѳъ, по пръвомѹ объічаю, на молитвѹ сѧ наложи и съ инѣми съпоспѣшникъі | Въскорѣ жє сє ємѹ богъ јави, послѹшајаи молитвъі рабъ своихъ | И тогда сложи писмєна и начѧ бєсѣдѹ писати єваггєльскѹю, искони бѣ слово и слово бѣ ѹ бога, и богъ бѣ слово, и прочѧја |

Translation

(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.