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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

Veselęštu že sę ō bodzě filosoθu, paky drugaa rěčĭ prispě i trudŭ ne mnei prŭvyxŭ | Rostislavŭ bo, Moravĭskyi knęzĭ, bogomŭ ustimŭ, sŭvětŭ sŭtvori sŭ knęzi svoimi i s Moravlęny, posla kŭ carju Mixailu, glagolę, ljudemŭ našimŭ poganĭstva sę ōtvrŭgšimŭ, i po xristianeskŭ sę zakonŭ drŭžaštimŭ, učitelę ne imamŭ takovago, iže by ny vŭ svoi jazykŭ istuju věru xristianĭskuju skazalŭ, da byša i iny strany togo zręšte podobilisę namŭ | To posli namŭ, vladykō, episkopa i učitelę takovago | Ōtŭ vasŭ bo na vsę strany vŭsegda dobryi zakonŭ isxoditĭ | Sŭbravŭ že carĭ sŭborŭ, prizva Konĭstantina filosōθa, i sŭtvori i slyšati rěčĭ siju i reče, filosōθe, věmĭ tę trudna sušta, no dostoitĭ tebě tamo iti | Sia bo rěči ne možetĭ inŭ niktože ispraviti, jakože ty | Ōtvěšta filosōθŭ, i trudenŭ sy tělōmŭ i bolenŭ, radŭ idu tamo, ašte imutĭ bukvi vŭ jazykŭ svoi | I reče carĭ kŭ nemu, dědŭ moi, i ōtĭcŭ moi, i inii mnodzi, iskavše togo ne obrěli sutĭ | To kako azŭ mogu obrěsti | Filosōθŭ že reče, to kto možetĭ na vodě besědu napisati | ili eretičĭsko imę sebě obrěsti | Ōtvěšta emu paky carĭ sŭ Vardoju, uemŭ svomŭ, ašte ty xošteši, to možetĭ bogŭ tebě dati, iže daetĭ vsěmŭ, iže prosętĭ nesumněniemŭ, i ōtvrŭdzaetĭ tlŭkuštimŭ | Šedŭ že filosōθŭ, po prŭvomu obyčaju, na molitvu sę naloži i sŭ iněmi sŭpospěšniky | Vŭskorě že se emu bogŭ javi, poslušajai molitvy rabŭ svoixŭ | I togda složi pismena i načę besědu pisati evaggelĭskuju, iskoni bě slovo i slovo bě u boga, i bogŭ bě slovo, i pročęja |

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.