Church Slavonic (/sləˈvɒnɪk/, /slæˈ-/), also known as Old
Church Slavic (/ˈslɑːvɪk, ˈslæv-/; or Ancient/Old Slavonic
often abbreviated to OCS; (autonym словѣ́ньскъ
ѩꙁꙑ́къ, slověnĭskŭ językŭ), not to be confused with the
Proto-Slavic, was the first Slavic literary language.
The 9th-century Byzantine missionaries
Saints Cyril and Methodius
Saints Cyril and Methodius are
credited with standardizing the language and using it in translating
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 (now in Greece).
It 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.
3.4 Morphophonemic alternations
5 Basis and local influences
5.1 Great Moravia
5.1.1 Moravian recension
5.2 First Bulgarian Empire
5.2.1 Bulgarian recension
5.2.2 Macedonian recension
5.3 Later recensions
5.3.1 Serbian recension
5.3.2 Russian recension
5.3.3 Middle Bulgarian
5.3.4 Bosnian recension
5.3.5 Croatian recension
7 Sample text
9.1 Modern Slavic nomenclature
10 See also
13 External links
A page from the Flowery Triod (Triod' cvetnaja) from about 1491, one
of the oldest printed Byzantine-Slavonic books, National Library of
The language was standardized for the mission of the two apostles to
Great Moravia (the territory of today's western Slovakia and Czech
Glagolitic alphabet for details). For that purpose,
Cyril and his brother Methodius started to translate religious
literature to Old Church Slavonic, allegedly based on the Slavic
dialects spoken in the hinterland of their hometown, Thessaloniki,
in today's Greece.
As part of the preparation for the mission, in 862/863, the Glagolitic
alphabet was created and the most important prayers and liturgical
books, including the Aprakos Evangeliar (a
Gospel Book lectionary
containing only feast-day and Sunday readings), the Psalter, and Acts
of the Apostles, were translated. (The Gospels were also translated
early, but it is unclear whether Sts. Cyril or Methodius had a hand in
The language and the alphabet were taught at the Great Moravian
Academy (Slovak: Veľkomoravské učilište) and were used for
government and religious documents and books between 863 and 885. The
texts written during this phase contain characteristics of the Slavic
vernaculars in Great Moravia.
In 885, the use of Old
Church Slavonic in
Great Moravia was prohibited
Pope Stephen V in favour of Latin.
Students of the two apostles, who were expelled from
Great Moravia in
886, brought the
Glagolitic alphabet to the First Bulgarian Empire.
There it was taught at two literary schools: the
School and the
Ohrid Literary School.
Glagolitic alphabet was originally used at both schools, though
Cyrillic script was developed early on at the
School where it superseded Glagolitic.
The texts written during this era exhibit certain linguistic features
of the vernaculars of the First Bulgarian Empire. Old Church Slavonic
spread to other South-Eastern, Central, and Eastern European Slavic
territories, most notably Croatia, Serbia, Bohemia, Lesser Poland, and
principalities of the
Kievan Rus' while retaining characteristically
South Slavic linguistic features.
Later texts written in each of those territories then began to take on
characteristics of the local Slavic vernaculars and, by the mid-11th
Church Slavonic had diversified into a number of regional
varieties (known as recensions). These local varieties are
collectively known as the
Church Slavonic language.
Apart from the Slavic countries, Old
Church Slavonic has been used as
a liturgical language by the Romanian Orthodox Church, as well as a
literary and official language of the princedoms of
Moldavia (see Old
Church Slavonic in Romania), before gradually being
replaced by Romanian during the 16th to 17th centuries.
Church Slavonic maintained a prestigious status, particularly in
Russia, for many centuries – among
Slavs in the East it had a
status analogous to that of
Latin in Western Europe, but had the
advantage of being substantially less divergent from the vernacular
tongues of average parishioners.
Some Orthodox churches, such as the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Russian
Orthodox Church, Serbian Orthodox Church, Ukrainian Orthodox Church
and Macedonian Orthodox Church –
Ohrid Archbishopric, as well as
several Eastern Catholic Churches, still use
Church Slavonic in their
services and chants today.
Church Slavonic was written with the Glagolitic
alphabet, but later Glagolitic was replaced by Cyrillic, which was
developed in the
First Bulgarian Empire
First Bulgarian Empire by a decree of Boris I of
Bulgaria in the 9th century.
Bosnian Cyrillic alphabet, known as Bosančica, was
Bosnia and parts of Croatia, while a variant of the
Glagolitic alphabet was preserved in Croatia. See Early
Cyrillic alphabet for a detailed description of the script and
information about the sounds it originally expressed.
For Old Church Slavonic, the following segments are
reconstructible. A few sounds are given in Slavic transliterated
form rather than in IPA, as the exact realisation is uncertain and
often differs depending on the area that a text originated from.
The letter щ denoted different sounds in different dialects and is
not shown in the table. In Bulgaria, it represented the sequence
/ʃt/, and it is normally transliterated as št for that reason.
Farther west and north, it was probably /c(ː)/ or /tɕ/ like in
modern Macedonian, Torlakian and Serbian/Croatian.
/dz/ appears mostly in early texts, becoming /z/ later on.
The distinction between l, n and r, on one hand, and palatal l', n'
and r', on the other, is not always indicated in writing. When it is,
it is shown by a palatization diacritic over the letter: л҄ н҄
Accent is not indicated in writing and must be inferred from later
languages and from reconstructions of Proto-Slavic.
The pronunciation of yat (ѣ/ě) differed by area. In
Bulgaria it was
a relatively open vowel, commonly reconstructed as /æ/, but further
north its pronunciation was more closed and it eventually became a
diphthong /je/ (e.g. in modern standard Croatian) or even /i/ in many
areas (e.g. in
dialects or Ukrainian) or /e/ (modern standard Serbian).
The yer (ъ) and (ь) vowels ĭ and ŭ are often called "ultrashort"
and were lower, more centralised and shorter than their counterparts i
and y/u. They disappeared in most positions in the word, already
sporadically in the earliest texts but more frequently later on. They
also tended to merge with other vowels, particularly ĭ with e and ŭ
with o, but differently in different areas.
The exact articulation of the nasal vowels is unclear because
different areas tend to merge them with different vowels. ę /ɛ̃/ is
occasionally seen to merge with e or ě in South Slavic, but becomes
ja early on in East Slavic. ǫ /ɔ̃/ generally merges with u or o,
but in Bulgaria, ǫ was apparently unrounded and eventually merged
Several notable constraints on the distribution of the phonemes can be
identified, mostly resulting from the tendencies occurring within the
Common Slavic period, such as intrasyllabic synharmony and the law of
open syllables. For consonant and vowel clusters and sequences of a
consonant and a vowel, the following constraints can be
Two adjacent consonants tend not to share identical features of manner
No syllable ends in a consonant
Every obstruent agrees in voicing with the following obstruent
Velars do not occur before front vowels
Phonetically palatalized consonants do not occur before certain back
The back vowels /y/ and /ъ/ as well as front vowels other than /i/ do
not occur word-initially: the two back vowels take prothetic /v/ and
the front vowels prothetic /j/. Initial /a/ may take either prothetic
consonant or none at all.
Vowel sequences are attested in only one lexeme (paǫčina 'spider's
web') and in the suffixes /aa/ and /ěa/ of the imperfect
At morpheme boundaries, the following vowel sequences occur: /ai/,
/au/, /ao/, /oi/, /ou/, /oo/, /ěi/, /ěo/
As a result of the first and the second Slavic palatalizations, velars
alternate with dentals and palatals. In addition, as a result of a
process usually termed iotation (or iodization), velars and dentals
alternate with palatals in various inflected forms and in word
Alternations in velar consonants
first palatalization and iotation
Alternations in other consonants
In some forms the alternations of /c/ with /č/ and of /dz/ with /ž/
occur, in which the corresponding velar is missing. The dental
alternants of velars occur regularly before /ě/ and /i/ in the
declension and in the imperative, and somewhat less regularly in
various forms after /i/, /ę/, /ь/ and /rь/. The palatal
alternants of velars occur before front vowels in all other
environments, where dental alternants do not occur, as well as in
various places in inflection and word formation described below.
As a result of earlier alternations between short and long vowels in
roots in Proto-Indo-European, Proto-Balto-Slavic and Proto-Slavic
times, and of the fronting of vowels after palatalized consonants, the
following vowel alternations are attested in OCS: /ь/ :
/i/; /ъ/ : /y/ : /u/; /e/ :
/ě/ : /i/; /o/ : /a/; /o/ :
/e/; /ě/ : /a/; /ъ/ :
/ь/; /y/ : /i/; /ě/ :
/i/; /y/ : /ę/.
Vowel:∅ alternations sometimes occurred as a result of sporadic loss
of weak yer, which later occurred in almost all Slavic dialects. The
phonetic value of the corresponding vocalized strong jer is
Main article: Old
Church Slavonic grammar
As an ancient Indo-European language, OCS has a highly inflective
morphology. Inflected forms are divided in two groups, nominals and
verbs. Nominals are further divided into nouns, adjectives and
pronouns. Numerals inflect either as nouns or pronouns, with 1-4
showing gender agreement as well.
Nominals can be declined in three grammatical genders (masculine,
feminine, neuter), three numbers (singular, plural, dual) and seven
cases: nominative, vocative, accusative, instrumental, dative,
genitive, and locative. There are five basic inflectional classes for
nouns: o/jo-stems, a/ja-stems, i-stems, u-stems and consonant stems.
Forms throughout the inflectional paradigm usually exhibit
Fronting of vowels after palatals and j yielded dual inflectional
class o : jo and a : ja, whereas palatalizations affected
stem as a synchronic process (N sg. vlьkъ, V sg. vlьče; L sg.
vlьcě). Productive classes are o/jo-, a/ja- and i-stems. Sample
paradigms are given in the table below:
Sample declensional classes for nouns
Adjectives are inflected as o/jo-stems (masculine and neuter) and
a/ja-stems (feminine), in three genders. They could have short
(indefinite) or long (definite) variants, the latter being formed by
suffixing to the indefinite form the anaphoric third-person pronoun
Synthetic verbal conjugation is expressed in present, aorist and
imperfect tenses while perfect, pluperfect, future and conditional
tenses/moods are made by combining auxiliary verbs with participles or
synthetic tense forms. Sample conjugation for the verb vesti "to lead"
(underlyingly ved-ti) is given in the table below.
Sample conjugation of the verb vesti "to lead"
Asigmatic (simple, root) aorist
Sigmatic (s-) aorist
New (ox) aorist
Basis and local influences
Part of a series on the
Eastern Orthodox Church
Mosaic of Christ Pantocrator, Hagia Sophia
Theology (History of theology)
View of salvation
View of Mary
View of icons
Crucifixion / Resurrection / Ascension
Four Marks of the Church
Degrees of monasticism
Czech lands and Slovakia
Seven Ecumenical Councils:
Other important councils:
Christianization of Bulgaria
Christianization of Kievan Rus'
History of Orthodox Theology
(20th century (Neo-Palamism))
Essence vs. Energies
Differences from the Catholic Church
Opposition to the Filioque
Opposition to papal supremacy
Liturgy and worship
Russian bell ringing
Sign of the cross
Use of incense
12 Great Feasts
Feast of Orthodoxy
Intercession of the Theotokos
The four fasting periods:
Athanasius of Alexandria
Ephrem the Syrian
Basil of Caesarea
Cyril of Jerusalem
Gregory of Nazianzus
Gregory of Nyssa
Cyril of Alexandria
Maximus the Confessor
John of Damascus
Theodore the Studite
Cyril and Methodius
Photios I of Constantinople
Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs
Statistics by country
Written evidence of Old
Church Slavonic survives in a relatively small
body of manuscripts, most of them written in First Bulgarian Empire
during the late 10th and the early 11th centuries. The language has a
Southern Slavic basis with an admixture of Western Slavic features
inherited during the mission of
Saints Cyril and Methodius
Saints Cyril and Methodius to Great
The only well-preserved manuscript of the Moravian recension, the Kiev
Folia, is characterised by the replacement of some Southern Slavic
phonetic and lexical features with Western Slavic ones. Manuscripts
written in the
Second Bulgarian Empire
Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396) have, on the other
hand, few Western Slavic features.
Church Slavonic is valuable to historical linguists since it
preserves archaic features believed to have once been common to all
Slavic languages such as these:
Most significantly, the yer (extra-short) vowels: /ĭ/ and /ŭ/
Nasal vowels: /ɛ̃/ and /ɔ̃/
Near-open articulation of the yat vowel (/æ/)
Palatal consonants /ɲ/ and /ʎ/ from
Proto-Slavic *ň and *ľ
Proto-Slavic declension system based on stem endings, including those
that later disappeared in attested languages (such as u-stems)
Dual as a distinct grammatical number from singular and plural
Proto-Slavic paradigms for participles
Church Slavonic is also likely to have preserved an extremely
archaic type of accentuation (probably close to the
Chakavian dialect of modern Serbo-Croatian), but unfortunately, no
accent marks appear in the written manuscripts.
The Southern Slavic nature of the language is evident from the
ra > /la/ by means of liquid metathesis of
Proto-Slavic *or, *ol
Proto-Slavic *xě < *xai
cv, (d)zv from
Proto-Slavic *kvě, *gvě < *kvai, *gvai
morphosyntactic use of the dative possessive case in personal pronouns
and nouns: 'рѫка ти' (rǫka ti, "your hand"),
'отъпоущенье грѣхомъ' (otŭpuštenĭje grěxomŭ,
"remission of sins"); periphrastic future tense using the verb
'хотѣти' (xotěti, "to want"); use of the comparative form
'мьнии' (mĭniji, "smaller") to denote "younger".
morphosyntactic use of suffixed demonstrative pronouns 'тъ, та,
то' (tŭ, ta, to). In Bulgarian and Macedonian these developed into
suffixed definite articles.
Church Slavonic has some extra features in common with Bulgarian:
Near-open articulation [æ] of the
Yat vowel (ě); still preserved in
Bulgarian dialects of the Rhodope mountains;
The existence of /ʃt/ and /ʒd/ as reflexes of
Proto-Slavic *ť (<
*tj and *gt, *kt) and *ď (< *dj).
Use of possessive dative for personal pronouns and nouns, as in
'братъ ми' (bratŭ mi, "my brother"), 'рѫка ти' (rǫka
ti, "your hand"), 'отъпоущенье грѣхомъ'
(otŭpuštenĭje grěxomŭ, "remission of sins"), 'храмъ
молитвѣ' (xramŭ molitvě, 'house of prayer'), etc.
Periphrastic compound future tense formed with the auxiliary verb
'хотѣти' (xotěti, "to want"), for example 'хоштѫ
писати' (xoštǫ pisati, "I will write").
The language was standardized for the first time by the mission of the
two apostles to
Great Moravia from 863. The manuscripts of the
Moravian recension are therefore the earliest dated of the OCS
recensions.[clarification needed] The recension takes its name from
the Slavic state of
Great Moravia which existed in Central Europe
during the 9th century on the territory of today's western Slovakia
and Czech Republic.
In the Prague fragments the only Moravian influence is replacing /ʃt/
with /ts/ and /ʒd/ with /z/. This recension is exemplified by the
Kiev Folia. Certain other linguistic characteristics include:
Confusion between the letters Big yus (Ѫ) and Uk (оу) - this occurs
once in the Kiev Folia, when the expected form въсоудъ vъsudъ
is spelled въсѫдъ vъsǫdъ
Proto-Slavic *tj, use of /dz/ from *dj, /ʃtʃ/ *skj
Use of the words mьša, cirky, papežь, prěfacija, klepati, piskati
Preservation of the consonant cluster /dl/ (e.g. modlitvami)
Use of the ending –ъmь instead of –omь in the
masculine singular instrumental, use of the pronoun čьso
First Bulgarian Empire
Church Slavonic language is developed in the First Bulgarian
Empire and was taught in
Preslav (Bulgarian capital between 893 and
972), and in
Ohrid (Bulgarian capital between 991/997 and
1015). It did not represent one regional dialect but a
generalized form of early eastern South Slavic, which cannot be
localized. The existence of two major literary centres in the
Empire led in the period from the 9th to the 11th centuries to the
emergence of two recensions (otherwise called "redactions"), termed
"Bulgarian" and "Macedonian" respectively. Some researchers do
not differentiate between manuscripts of the two recensions,
preferring to group them together in a "Macedo-Bulgarian" or
simply "Bulgarian" recension. Others, as Horace Lunt, have
changed their opinion with time. In the mid-1970s, Lunt held that the
differences in the initial OCS were neither great enough nor
consistent enough to grant a distinction between a 'Macedonian'
recension and a 'Bulgarian' one. A decade later, however, Lunt argued
in favour of such a distinction, illustrating his point with
paleographic, phonological and other differences. The development
Church Slavonic literacy had the effect of preventing the
assimilation of the
South Slavs into neighboring cultures, which
promoted the formation of a distinct Bulgarian identity.
The manuscripts of the Bulgarian recension or "Eastern"
variant are among the oldest[clarification needed] of the Old
Church Slavonic language. This recension was centred around the
Preslav Literary School. Since the earliest datable Cyrillic
inscriptions were found in the area of Preslav, it is this school
which is credited with the development of the Cyrillic alphabet which
gradually replaced the Glagolic one. A number of prominent
Bulgarian writers and scholars worked at the
Preslav Literary School,
including Naum of
Preslav (until 893), Constantine of Preslav, John
Exarch, Chernorizets Hrabar, etc. The main linguistic features of this
recension are the following:
The Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets were used concurrently.
In some documents the original supershort vowels ъ and ь merged with
one letter taking the place of the other.
The original ascending reflex (rь, lь) of syllabic /r/ and /l/ was
sometimes metathesized to ьr, ьl; or a combination of the ordering
The central vowel ы y merged with ъи ъi.
Sometimes the use of letter ⟨Ѕ⟩ (/dz/) was merged with that of
The verb forms нарицаѭ, нарицаѥши (naricajǫ,
naricaješi) were substituted or alternated with наричꙗѭ,
наричꙗеши (naričjajǫ, naričjaješi).
The manuscripts of the Macedonian recension or "Western" variant
are among the oldest[clarification needed] of the Old Church Slavonic
language. The recension is sometimes named Macedonian because its
literary centre, Ohrid, lies in the historical region of Macedonia. At
that period, administratively
Ohrid formed part of the province of
Kutmichevitsa in the
First Bulgarian Empire
First Bulgarian Empire until the Byzantine
conquest. The main literary centre of this dialect was the Ohrid
Literary School, whose most prominent member and most likely founder,
was Saint Clement of
Ohrid who was commissioned by Boris I of Bulgaria
to teach and instruct the future clergy of the state in the Slavonic
language. The language variety that was used in the area started
shaping the modern Macedonian
dialects.[page needed][page needed] This recension
is represented by the
Codex Zographensis and Marianus, among others.
The main linguistic features of this recension include:
Continuous usage of the
Glagolitic alphabet instead of Cyrillic
A feature called "mixing (confusion) of the nasals" in which /ɔ̃/
became [ɛ̃] after /rʲ lʲ nʲ/, and in a cluster of a labial
consonant and /lʲ/. /ɛ̃/ became [ɔ̃] after sibilant consonants
Wide use of the soft consonant clusters /ʃt/ and /ʒd/; in the later
stages, these developed into the modern Macedonian phonemes /c/ /ɟ/
Strict distinction in the articulation of the yers and their
vocalisation in strong position (ъ > /o/ and ь > /e/) or
deletion in weak position
Confusion of /ɛ̃/ with yat and yat with /e/
Denasalization in the latter stages: /ɛ̃/ > /e/ and /ɔ̃/ >
/a/, оу, ъ
Wider usage and retention of the phoneme /dz/ (which in most other
Slavic languages has dеaffricated to /z/);
Main article: Church Slavonic
Later use of the language in a number of medieval Slavic polities
resulted in the adjustment of Old
Church Slavonic to the local
vernacular, though a number of Southern Slavic, Moravian or Bulgarian
features also survived. Significant later recensions of Old Church
Slavonic (referred to as Church Slavonic) in the present time include:
Slovene, Croatian, Serbian and Russian. In all cases, denasalization
of the yuses occurred; so that only Old Church Slavonic, modern Polish
and some isolated
Bulgarian dialects retained the old Slavonic nasal
The Serbian recension was written mostly in Cyrillic, but also in
Glagolitic alphabet (depending on region); by the 12th century the
Serbs used exclusively the Cyrillic alphabet (and
Latin script in
coastal areas). The 1186
Miroslav Gospels belong to the Serbian
recension. They feature the following linguistic characteristics:
Nasal vowels were denasalised and in one case closed: *ę > e, *ǫ
> u, e.g. OCS rǫka > Sr. ruka ("hand"), OCS językъ > Sr.
jezik ("tongue, language")
Extensive use of diacritical signs by the Resava dialect
Use of letters i, y for the sound /i/ in other manuscripts of the
Due to the Ottoman conquest of
Bulgaria in 1396,
Serbia saw an influx
of educated scribes and clergy who re-introduced a more classical
form, closer resembling the Bulgarian recension.
The Russian recension emerged after the 10th century on the basis of
the earlier Bulgarian recension, from which it differed slightly. Its
main features are:
Substitution of [u] for the nasal sound /õ/
Merging of letters ę and ja
The line between OCS and post-OCS manuscripts is arbitrary, and
terminology varies. The common term "Middle Bulgarian" is usually
contrasted to "Old Bulgarian" (an alternative name for Old Church
Slavonic), and loosely used for manuscripts whose language
demonstrates a broad spectrum of regional and temporal dialect
features after the 11th century.
The Bosnian recension used the
Bosnian Cyrillic alphabet (better known
as Bosančica) and the Glagolitic alphabet.
Use of letters i, y, ě for the sound /i/ in Bosnian manuscripts
The Croatian recension of Old
Church Slavonic used only the Glagolitic
alphabet of angular Croatian type. It shows the development of the
Denasalisation of PSl. *ę > e, PSl. *ǫ > u, e.g. Cr.
ruka : OCS rǫka ("hand"), Cr. jezik : OCS językъ
PSl. *y > i, e.g. Cr. biti : OCS byti ("to be")
PSl. weak-positioned yers *ъ and *ь in merged, probably representing
some schwa-like sound, and only one of the letters was used (usually
'ъ'). Evident in earliest documents like Baška tablet.
PSl. strong-positioned yers *ъ and *ь were vocalized into a in most
Štokavian and Čakavian speeches, e.g. Cr. pas : OCS pьsъ
PSl. hard and soft syllabic liquids *r and r′ retained syllabicity
and were written as simply r, as opposed to OCS sequences of mostly
rь and rъ, e.g. krstъ and trgъ as opposed to OCS krьstъ and
trъgъ ("cross", "market")
PSl. #vьC and #vъC > #uC, e.g. Cr. udova : OCS. vъdova
The core corpus of Old
Church Slavonic manuscripts is usually referred
to as canon.
Manuscripts must satisfy certain linguistic,
chronological and cultural criteria to be incorporated into the canon:
they must not significantly depart from the language and tradition of
Sts. Cyril and Methodius, usually known as the Cyrillo-Methodian
For example, the Freising Fragments, dating from the 10th century,
show some linguistic and cultural traits of Old Church Slavonic, but
they are usually not included in the canon, as some of the
phonological features of the writings appear to belong to certain
Pannonian Slavic dialect of the period. Similarly, the Ostromir
Gospels exhibits dialectal features that classify it as East Slavic,
rather than South Slavic so it is not included in the canon either. On
the other hand, the
Kiev Missal is included in the canon even though
it manifests some West Slavic features and contains Western liturgy
because of the Bulgarian linguistic layer and connection to the
Manuscripts are usually classified in two groups, depending on the
alphabet used, Cyrillic or Glagolitic. With the exception of the Kiev
Missal and Glagolita Clozianus, which exhibit West Slavic and Croatian
features respectively, all Glagolitic texts are assumed to be of the
Kiev Missal (Ki, KM), seven folios, late 10th century
Codex Zographensis, (Zo), 288 folios, 10th or 11th century
Codex Marianus (Mar), 173 folios, early 11th century
Codex Assemanius (Ass), 158 folios, early 11th century
Psalterium Sinaiticum (Pas, Ps. sin.), 177 folios, 11th century
Euchologium Sinaiticum (Eu, Euch), 109 folios, 11th century
Glagolita Clozianus (Clo, Cloz), 14 folios, 11th century
Ohrid Folios (Ohr), 2 folios, 11th century
Rila Folios (Ri, Ril), 2 folios and 5 fragments, 11th century
All Cyrillic manuscripts are of the Bulgarian recension and date from
the 11th century except for the Zographos, which is of the Macedonian
Sava's book (Sa, Sav), 126 folios
Codex Suprasliensis, (Supr), 284 folios
Enina Apostle (En, Enin), 39 folios
Hilandar Folios (Hds, Hil), 2 folios
Undol'skij's Fragments (Und), 2 folios
Macedonian Folio (Mac), 1 folio
Zographos Fragments (Zogr. Fr.), 2 folios
Psalter (Ps. Sl., Sl), 5 folios
Here is the
Lord's Prayer in Old Church Slavonic:
ижє ѥси на нєбєсѣхъ:
да свѧтитъ сѧ имѧ твоѥ·
да придєтъ цѣсар҄ьствиѥ твоѥ·
да бѫдєтъ волꙗ твоꙗ
ꙗко на нєбєси и на ꙁємл҄и:
хлѣбъ нашь насѫщьнꙑи
даждь намъ дьньсь·
и отъпоусти намъ длъгꙑ нашѧ
ꙗко и мꙑ отъпоущаѥмъ
и нє въвєди насъ въ искоушєниѥ·
нъ иꙁбави нꙑ отъ нєприꙗꙁни:
ꙗко твоѥ ѥстъ цѣсар҄ьствиѥ
и сила и слава въ вѣкꙑ вѣкомъ
Iže jesi na nebesěxŭ.
Da svętitŭ sę imę tvoje
da pridetŭ cěsar'ĭstvije tvoje
da bǫdetŭ volja tvoja
jako na nebesi i na zeml'i.
hlěbŭ našĭ nasǫštĭnyi
daždĭ namŭ dĭnĭsĭ
i otŭpusti namŭ dlŭgy našę
jako i my otŭpuštajemŭ
i ne vŭvedi nasŭ vŭ iskušenije
nŭ izbavi ny otŭ neprijazni.
jako tvoje jestŭ cěsar'ĭstvije
i sila i slava vŭ věky věkomŭ.
Thou Who art in heaven.
May hallowed be Thy Name
may come Thy empire
may become Thy will
as in heaven, also on Earth.
Our supersubstantial bread
give us this day
and release us of our debts
as we also release
and do not lead us to temptation
but free us from the evil.
As Thine is the empire
and the power and the glory unto the ages of ages.
The history of Old
Church Slavonic writing includes a northern
tradition begun by the mission to Great Moravia, including a short
mission in the Balaton principality, and a Bulgarian tradition begun
by some of the missionaries who relocated to
Bulgaria after the
expulsion from Great Moravia.
Old Church Slavonic's first writings, translations of Christian
liturgical and Biblical texts, were produced by Byzantine missionaries
Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius, mostly during their mission to Great
The most important authors in Old
Church Slavonic after the death of
Methodius and the dissolution of the Great Moravian academy were
Ohrid (active also in Great Moravia), Constantine of
Chernorizetz Hrabar and John Exarch, all of whom worked in
Bulgaria at the end of the 9th and the beginning of the 10th
Second Book of Enoch was only preserved in Old Church
Slavonic, although the original most certainly had been Greek or even
Hebrew or Aramaic.
The name of the language in Old
Church Slavonic texts was simply
Slavic (словѣ́ньскъ ѩꙁꙑ́къ, slověnĭskŭ
językŭ), derived from the word for
slověne), the self-designation of the compilers of the texts. This
name is preserved in the modern names of the Slovak and Slovene
languages. The language is sometimes called Old Slavic, which may be
confused with the distinct
Proto-Slavic language. Different strains of
nationalists have tried to 'claim' Old Church Slavonic; thus OCS has
also been variously called "Old Bulgarian", "Old Croatian", "Old
Macedonian", or "Old Serbian", or even "Old Slovak", "Old
Slovenian". The commonly accepted terms in modern English-language
Slavic studies are Old
Church Slavonic and Old Church Slavic.
The term Old Bulgarian (German: Altbulgarisch) is the only
designation used by Bulgarian-language writers. It was used in
numerous 19th-century sources, e.g. by August Schleicher, Martin
Hattala, Leopold Geitler and August Leskien, who noted
similarities between the first literary Slavic works and the modern
Bulgarian language. For similar reasons, Russian linguist Aleksandr
Vostokov used the term Slav-Bulgarian. The term is still used by some
writers but nowadays normally avoided in favor of Old Church Slavonic.
The term Old Macedonian is occasionally used by
Western scholars in a regional context.
The obsolete term Old Slovenian was used by early
19th-century scholars who conjectured that the language was based on
the dialect of Pannonia.
Modern Slavic nomenclature
Here are some of the names used by speakers of modern Slavic
Belarusian: стараславянская мова
(starasłavianskaja mova), ‘Old Slavic language’
Bulgarian: старобългарски (starobălgarski), ‘Old
Bulgarian’ and старославянски, (staroslavjanski),
Bosnian: staroslavenski / старослaвенски, ‘Old
Croatian: staroslavenski, ‘Old Slavic’
Czech: staroslověnština, ‘Old Slavic’
Macedonian: старословенски (staroslovenski), ‘Old
Polish: staro-cerkiewno-słowiański, ‘Old Church Slavic’
Russian: старославянский язык (staroslavjánskij
jazýk), ‘Old Slavic language’
Serbian: старословенски / staroslovenski, ‘Old
Slovak: staroslovienčina, ‘Old Slavic’
Slovene: stara cerkvena slovanščina, ‘Old Church Slavic’
Ukrainian: старослов’янська мова
(staroslovjans'ka mova), ‘Old Slavic language’
Church Slavic edition of, the free encyclopedia
Church Slavonic language
List of Glagolitic manuscripts
^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds.
(2017). "Church Slavic".
Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck
Institute for the Science of Human History.
^ a b Wells, John C. (2008), Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd
ed.), Longman, ISBN 9781405881180
^ Jones, Daniel (2003) , Peter Roach, James Hartmann and Jane
Setter, eds., English Pronouncing Dictionary, Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, ISBN 3-12-539683-2 CS1 maint: Uses editors
^ Waldman & Mason 2006, p. 752: "There is disagreement as to
whether Cyril and his brother Methodius were Greek or Slavic, but they
knew the Slavic dialect spoken in Macedonia, adjacent to
^ Cizevskij 2000, p. 27.
^ After the
Slavs invaded it.
Curta 2006, p. 214: "At the emperor's request, Constantine and
his brother started the translation of religious texts into Old Church
Slavonic, a literary language most likely based on the Macedonian
dialect allegedly used in the hinterland of their home-town,
^ Alexander 2005, p. 310.
^ Encyclopedia of the Languages of Europe.
^ The Blackwell Companion to Eastern Christianity.
^ Interaction and Isolation in Late Byzantine Culture.
^ Speech, Memory, and Meaning.
^ Lunt 2001, p. 15–6.
^ Huntley 1993, pp. 126–7.
^ Huntley 1993, pp. 127–8.
^ Syllabic sonorant, written with jer in superscript, as opposed to
the regular sequence of /r/ followed by a /ь/.
^ a b Huntley 1993, p. 133.
^ Toward an Understanding of Europe.
^ Contested Ethnic Identity.
^ The Poetics of Slavdom: Part III: Njego.
^ Lunt 2001, p. ??.
^ Vlasto 1970, p. 174.
^ Indo-European Language and Culture.
^ Ancient Indo-European Dialects.
^ Sussex & Cubberley 2006, p. 43.
^ "Razmyshlenija o makedonskom "sreze"... - I. Kaliganov".
^ See: "American contributions to the Tenth International Congress of
Slavists", Sofia, September 1988, Alexander M. Schenker, Slavica,
1988, ISBN 0-89357-190-3, p. 47.
^ Crampton 2005, p. 15.
^ The Early Versions of the New Testament.
^ Sussex & Cubberley 2006, p. 64.
^ Kamusella 2008, p. ??.
^ Birnbaum 1991, p. 535.
^ Curta 2006, p. ??.
^ The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire.
^ Stolz, Titunik & Doležel 1984, p. 111: "Specific
phonological and lexical differences led Jagić (and many others after
him, notably Vaillant) to distinguish carefully between the Western
(or Macedonian) OCS of the glagolithic manuscripts and the Eastern (or
Bulgarian) OCS of the Suprasliensis…"
^ Vlasto 1970, p. 169.
^ Lunt 2001, p. ??.
^ Macedonian, Victor Friedman, Facts about world's languages, 2001
^ Lunt 2001, p. 4.
^ Cubberley 2002, p. 44.
^ The definite article in contemporary standard Bulgarian, Gerald L.
Mayer, Freie Universität Berlin. Osteuropa-Institut, Otto
Harrassowitz, 1988, p. 108.
^ Marti 2012, p. 275: "[T]he first printed book in Cyrillic (or,
to be more precise, in Bosančica)…"
^ Cleminson, Ralph (2000). Cyrillic books printed before 1701 in
British and Irish collections: a union catalogue. British
^ Nandris 1959, p. 2.
^ Kamusella 2008, p. 34.
^ Ziffer, Giorgio – On the Historicity of Old
Church Slavonic UDK
811.163.1(091) Archived 2008-06-27 at the Wayback Machine.
^ A. Leskien, Handbuch der altbulgarischen (altkirchenslavischen)
Sprache, 6. Aufl., Heidelberg 1922.
^ A. Leskien, Grammatik der altbulgarischen (altkirchenslavischen)
Sprache, 2.-3. Aufl., Heidelberg 1919.
^ J P Mallory, D Q Adams. Encyclopaedia of Indo-European Culture. Pg
^ R. E. Asher, J. M. Y. Simpson. The Encyclopedia of Language and
Linguistics, pg. 429
^ Cizevskij 2000, p. 26.
^ Benjamin W. Fortson. Indo-European Language and Culture: An
Introduction, pg. 374
^ a b On Medieval and Renaissance Slavic Writing.
^ Lunt 2001, p. 4.
^ The Universal Cyclopaedia.
^ Kamusella 2008, p. ??.
^ Иванова-Мирчева 1969: Д.
старославянски и средно-българска
редакция на старославянски.
Константин Кирил Философ. В Юбилеен
сборник по случай 1100 годишнината от
смъртта му, стр. 45-62.
Alexander, June Granatir (2005). "Slovakia". In Richard C. Frucht,
ed., Eastern Europe: An Introduction to the People, Lands, and
Culture, Volume 2: Central Europe, pp. 283–328. Santa Barbara, CA:
ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-576-07800-6.
Birnbaum, Henrik (1991). Aspects of the Slavic Middle Ages and Slavic
Renaissance Culture. New York, NY: Peter Lang.
Cizevskij, Dmitrij (2000) . Comparative History of Slavic
Literatures. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.
Crampton, R. J. (2005). A Concise History of
Bulgaria (2nd ed.).
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Cubberley, Paul (2002). Russian: A Linguistic Introduction. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-79191-5.
Curta, Florin (2006).
Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages,
500–1250. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Huntley, David (1993). "Old Church Slavonic". In Bernard Comrie and
Greville G. Corbett, eds., The Slavonic Languages, pp. 125–187.
London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-04755-5.
Kamusella, Tomasz (2008). The Politics of Language and
Modern Central Europe. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Lunt, Horace G. (2001). Old
Church Slavonic Grammar (7th ed.). Berlin:
Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-110-16284-4.
Marti, Roland (2012). "On the creation of Croatian: The development of
Latin orthography in the 16th century". In Susan Baddeley and
Anja Voeste, eds., Orthographies in Early Modern Europe, pp.269–320.
Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. ISBN 978-3-110-28817-9.
Nandris, Grigore (1959). Old
Church Slavonic Grammar. London: Athlone
Stolz, Benjamin A.; Titunik, I. R.; Doležel, Lubomír, eds. (1984).
Language and Literary Theory: In Honor of Ladislav Matejka. Ann Arbor,
MI: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-930-04259-2.
Sussex, Roland; Cubberley, Paul (2006). The Slavic Languages.
Cambridge Language Surveys. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Vlasto, A. P. (1970). The Entry of the
Slavs into Christendom: An
Introduction to the Medieval History of the Slavs. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-07459-9.
Waldman, Carl; Mason, Catherine (2006). Encyclopedia of European
Peoples, Volume 2: M–Z. Facts On
File Library of World History. New
York, NY: Facts On File. ISBN 978-1-438-12918-1.
Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Old Church Slavonic
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Old Church Slavonic.
Church Slavonic repository of Wikisource, the free library
Church Slavonic Online, a comprehensive tutorial at the A. Richard
Diebold Center for Indo-European Language and Culture, Linguistics
Research Center, University of Texas at Austin
Medieval Slavic Fonts on AATSEEL
Old Slavic data entry application
Corpus Cyrillo-Methodianum Helsingiense: An Electronic Corpus of Old
Church Slavonic Texts
Research Guide to Old Church Slavonic
Church Slavonic and the Macedonian recension of the Church
Slavonic language, Elka Ulchar (in Macedonian)
Vittore Pisani, Old Bulgarian Language, Sofia, Bukvitza, 2012.
English, Bulgarian, Italian.
Philipp Ammon: Tractatus slavonicus. in: Sjani (Thoughts) Georgian
Scientific Journal of Literary Theory and Comparative Literature, N
17, 2016, pp. 248–56
Agafia (Ага́фия). Hermit Surviving in Russian Wilderness for 70
years on YouTube
Up to Proto-Slavic
Old Church Slavonic
Cyril and Methodius
West Slavic languages
East Slavic languages
Old East Slavic
South Slavic languages
Separate Slavic dialects
Slavic dialects of Greece
Slavic first palatalization
Slavic second palatalization
Slavic liquid metathesis and pleophony
Ruki sound law
Italics indicate extinct languages.
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