Old Church Slavonic Online

Lesson 8

Todd B. Krause and Jonathan Slocum

As the Slavonic liturgy gained a foothold in the Slavic speaking areas, the core ecclesiatical texts such as the Gospels and other books of the Bible came to be supplemented by other spiritual material. By this time, in the East Orthodox tradition many stories of unknown provenance were circulating which provided exemplars of lives lived nobly in the service of God. These stories also served to impress upon the reader or listener certain 'highlights' of Biblical scripture: the stories often contain a discursive section relating tales from the Bible, which generally has no direct relation to the narrative at hand. Rather such a section seemingly was intended more to edify an audience with only a second-hand knowledge of Biblical lore.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The following reading selection comes from the Suffering of the Forty Martyrs of Sebasteia. The original version of the story was in Greek. Its popularity within ecclesiastical settings, however, made it an early choice for translation into the Slavic tongue.

The story is set around the year 313, where, although elsewhere Christians had been given the right to worship alongside those of pagan belief, in the regions controlled by the ruler Licinius Christianity was being stamped out. A certain Agricolaus was in command of a garrison in the Armenian city of Sebasteia, under the control of Licinius. Within his garrison was a company of forty Cappadocians, all of them Christian. When these forty refused to sacrifice to pagan gods, Agricolaus had them put in prison. During the night, they heard a voice bidding them to persevere to the end, that they be saved.

The next day, Agricolaus tried to convert the soldiers with flattery. However they rebuked him and he ordered them put back in prison. Seven days later a judge arrived to preside over their trial. The forty remained steadfast in their refusal to adopta pagan ways, and the judge ordered them stoned. However as the stones were cast, none were able to strike the forty, and they were placed back in prison. During the night they again heard the Lord's voice heartening them and promising them eternal crowns.

Below is an English translation of the continuation of the story up to the point of the following OCS selection.

(75.29) They remained during the night rejoicing in the Lord's instruction. (76.1) But as morning turned to day, he ordered them to be taken from the prison and brought forth; and when they stood before the tyrants they said, 'Do what you will.' (5) And the Devil revealed himself on the right hand holding a sword, and on the left a snake. And he spoke into the ear of Agrikolai: 'You are mine. Move!' And the commander ordered them all, bound by the neck, to be taken in a group to the lake; (10) for there is a lake in Sebasteia having much water. And during this time, when they were torturing the saints, there was great cold. And they led them naked and placed them in the middle of the lake. The air was cold, the hour bitter, (15) for day was turning to evening. They appointed over them guards, soldiers, and two jailers.

On the shore of the lake was a bath, heated so that whoever wanted to rise up and flee would take refuge in the bath. (20) And during the first hour of the night, the saints were pressed by the cold, and their body was torn. One of the forty drifted away and fled to the bath; and as he touched to the warmth, straightaway he melted. (25) And so he gave up his soul. And the saints fell back and spoke as if from one mouth with a great voice:

'Upon the rivers are you angered, Lord; or is your fury upon the rivers; or your wrath upon the sea? (30) For he who separated from us flowed off like water, (77.1) and all his bones were scattered. But we go not from you, as you give us life; and we call upon your name, which all creation praises: (5) the snakes and all the caverns, fire, hail, snow, ice, the storm's spirit -- performing his word; the one who walked on water as if on dry land, taming the roaring waves with the beckoning of your hands. (10) And now you, Lord, are the one who heard also Moses giving signs and wonders upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh and his people, dividing the sea and leading his people into the desert; (15) you are the one who heard Jacob praying, fleeing the threat of Esau; who with Joseph sold himself and his saviour, who heard the holy apostles -- hear also us, Lord: (20) grant the watery storm not sink us, nor the deep swallow us. As we are very poor, help us, God; save us, as we stand in the depth of the sea, and our feet are wet with our blood. (25) Lighten our burdens, and the sharpness of the air, Lord our God -- so also all shall know that we believed in you and were saved; we had faith in you and were not ashamed.'

And as the third hour of the night came on, (30) the sun shone on them warm as in the harvest. (78.1) And the melted ice became warm water. But the guards were held in sleep; one jailer, however, was awake -- as he heard one of them praying, he thought: (5) 'How is it that the one who fled to the bath is not reckoned among the forty, rather he he melted straightaway from the warmth; but these ones, who have endured such great cold, are still alive?' Seeing the light which was upon them, he looked to heaven wishing to see whence came the light. (10) He saw crowns descending upon the heads of the saints, thirty-nine in number, and thought to himself, saying: 'There are forty of them, but how is it that one has no crown?' (15) And he understood that the one who fled to the bath was not reckoned among them. And as he roused all the ones sleeping, he cast off his garments before their faces and jumped into the lake, crying out and saying, 'I too am a Christian!' And he went among them and said, (20) 'Lord God, I have faith in you, in whom these also have faith. Count me among them, and deem me worthy to receive the trial of pain, so that even I may be tortured.'

And so, conquered, the Devil changed himself to the form of a man; (25) folding his hands and clasping his knees he said: 'Woe to me! Woe to me! I have been conquered by these holy men, and am a mockery for all, with no servant of like mind. For if I had one, I would not have been conquered. (79.1) Now what shall I do? I will pervert the hearts of my two princes, and they will burn the bodies of the saints and cast them into the river. This I will do that their remains be no more.' (5) But the holy Kyrion said, 'What god is great as our God? You are the God performing miracles. For those set against us you placed over us, and you filled the lack of the forty.' (10) And they began to sing: 'Save us, Lord, like the venerable one who dried up.'

But as morning came, two shameless torturers arrived, and they found the jailer sitting with them. And they asked the soldiers, 'What did he see, that he did this?' (15) And the soldiers said, 'We were with sleep as if dead, but he was awake the whole night and suddenly woke us. And we saw a great light upon them. And he straightaway cast off his clothes, (20) and jumped in among them, crying out and saying, "I too am a Christian!" ' And the torturers, vexed, ordered them to be dragged out, bound, and led to the edge of the sea, and their legs to be beaten with clubs.

(25) The mother of one attended them, for her son was youngest among them, and she feared lest he be denied. She constantly looked after him, putting her hands on him and saying, 'My sweet child, (30) endure a little longer, that you be fulfilled. (80.1) Fear not, child, for lo Christ stands near, helping you.' But while they were smashing their shins, they gave up their souls, saying, 'Our soul is freed like a bird from the snares of hunters; (5) the snare is destroyed and we are saved. Our aid is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth', and all together they said, 'Amen.' They gave over their souls. (10) But the son, taught by his mother, Meliton by name, still breathed. And the torturers ordered wagons to be brought, and having loaded the bodies of the saints, they brought them to the bank of the river -- they left the youth, expecting him to remain alive. (15) But his mother, having seen him alone to be left behind, cast off her womanly weakness, and, taking up manly strength and wisdom, placed her son squarely on her shoulder and followed after the wagon. (20) While he was being carried by his mother, rejoiceful, he gave up his soul. And his mother carried him and cast him on top of them. Then they kindled a fire and burned the bodies of the saints. And the torturers took counsel and said: (25) 'If we leave these remains so, the Christians are sure to pick them up and to fill the whole world. Rather come, that we may cast them into the river.' And having gathered the bones of the saints, and having swept together the ashes, they strew them in the river. (30) But the river... (81.1) destroyed no part of them.

Note in the closing section, the giving of dates follows the syntax of the Latin method of dating. In Latin, the common use of formulaic phrases led to an idiosyncratic word order out of sequence (from an English-speaking point of view) for the intended meaning. Thus прѣждє чєтꙑрь каландъ марта is a literal rendering of the Latin ante diem quartum Kalendas Martias. Literally this reads 'before the fourth day of the Kalends of March', which actually means 'the fourth day before the Kalends of March'. Likewise прѣждє ѕ дьнь марта is a compressed rendering of the Latin ante diem septimum Idus Martias 'the seventh day before the Ides of March'.

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  • по -- preposition; <по> after; according to -- after
  • трєхъ -- number adjective; locative plural masculine of <трьє, три, три> three -- three
  • жє -- conjunction; <жє> and, but -- and
  • дьнєхъ -- noun, masculine; locative plural of <дьнь> day -- days
  • ꙗвишѧ сѧ -- reflexive verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <авити, -вл҄ѭ, -виши> reveal -- they revealed themselves
  • єпискѹпѹ -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <єпископъ> bishop -- to the bishop
  • града -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <градъ> city -- of city
  • того -- demonstrative adjective; genitive singular masculine of <тъ> that, that one -- that
  • имєнємь -- noun, neuter; instrumental singular of <имѧ> name -- by name
  • пєтрѹ -- proper noun, masculine; dative singular of <Пєтръ> Peter -- Peter
  • ꙗко -- conjunction; <ꙗко> as, when; in order to; that; because; (introduces quotation) -- that
  • сѫтъ -- verb; 3rd person plural present of <ѥс-, ѥсмь, ѥси> be -- are
  • съхран҄єнꙑ -- verb; past passive participle <съхранити, -н҄ѫ, -ниши> guard, protect, preserve -- protected
  • кости -- noun, feminine; nominative plural of <кость> bone -- bones
  • нашѧ -- possessive adjective; nominative plural feminine of <нашь> our, of us -- our
  • сємь -- demonstrative adjective; locative singular neuter of <сь> this -- in this
  • мѣстѣ -- noun, neuter; locative singular of <мѣсто> place -- place

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  • приди -- verb; 2nd person singular imperative of <прити, -идѫ, -идєши> come, arrive -- come
  • ѹбо -- conjunction; <ѹбо> but, even, now, therefore -- therefore
  • вь -- preposition; <въ> in, into -- during
  • ношти -- noun, feminine; locative singular of <ношть> night -- the night
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and -- and
  • ꙇзнєси -- verb; 2nd person singular imperative of <ꙇзнєсти, -сѫ, -сєши> carry out -- carry out
  • нꙑ -- pronoun; accusative plural of <азъ> I -- us
  • издрѣкꙑ -- preposition; <из> out of + noun, feminine; genitive singular of <рѣка> river -- out of the river
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and -- and
  • поимъ -- verb; past active participle <поѧти, -имѫ, -имєши> take -- took
  • єпископъ -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <єпископъ> bishop -- the bishop
  • клирикꙑ -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <клирикъ> cleric, priest -- the clerics
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and -- and
  • мѫжѧ -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <мѫжь> man, husband -- men
  • вѣрьнꙑ -- adjective; accusative plural masculine of <вѣрьнъ> true, real; of faith -- of faith
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and -- and
  • пришєдъ -- verb; past active participle <прити, -идѫ, -идєши> come, arrive -- came
  • ста -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <стати, станѫ, станєши> stand -- to stand
  • на -- preposition; <на> in, on; at, against; for -- on
  • брѣзѣ -- noun, masculine; locative singular of <брѣгъ> bank, bluff -- the bank
  • рѣкꙑ -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <рѣка> river -- of the river

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  • и -- conjunction; <и> and -- and
  • сє -- interjection; <сє> lo, behold -- lo
  • просвьтѣшѧ сѧ -- reflexive verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <просвьтѣти, -штѫ, -тиши> shine -- shone forth
  • кости -- noun, feminine; nominative plural of <кость> bone -- the bones
  • свѧтꙑихъ -- adjective used as substantive; genitive plural masculine of <свѧтъ> holy, blessed -- of the saints
  • вь -- preposition; <въ> in, into -- in
  • водѣ -- noun, feminine; locative singular of <вода> water -- the water
  • акꙑ -- conjunction; <акꙑ> as, like -- like
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and -- ...
  • свѣтильници -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <свѣтильникъ> lamp, light -- lanterns
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and -- and
  • аштє кдє -- relative adverb; <къдє аштє> wherever, whenever -- wherever
  • оставьєна -- verb; past passive participle <оставити, -вл҄ѭ, -виши> let, leave, neglect, forget -- left
  • бꙑваашє -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <бꙑвати, -ваѭ, -ваѥши> be -- was
  • кость -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <кость> bone -- a bone
  • свѣтомъ -- noun, masculine; instrumental singular of <свѣтъ> light -- with light
  • ꙗвьꙗшє сѧ -- reflexive verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <авити, -вл҄ѭ, -виши> reveal -- it would shine forth

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  • и -- conjunction; <и> and -- and
  • тако -- adverb; <тако> thus, in this way -- in this way
  • събъравъшє -- verb; past active participle <събьрати, -бєрѫ, -бєрєши> collect, gather -- having collected
  • кости -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <кость> bone -- the bones
  • свѧтꙑихъ -- adjective; genitive plural masculine of <свѧтъ> holy, blessed -- of the holy
  • мѫчєникъ -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <мѫчєникъ> martyr -- martyrs
  • положишѧ -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <положити, -жѫ, -жиши> lay down, set down -- they commended
  • ѧ -- pronoun; accusative plural feminine of <*и> he -- them
  • въ -- preposition; <въ> in, into -- to
  • ракахъ -- noun, feminine; locative plural of <рака> sepulchre, coffin -- coffins
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and -- and
  • сицє -- adverb; <сицє> thus, so -- so
  • пострадавъшє -- verb; past active participle <пострадати, -ждѫ, -ждєши> suffer -- those who suffered
  • вѣньчани -- verb; past passive participle <вѣньчати, -чаѭ, -чаѥши> crown -- crowned
  • бꙑшѧ -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <бꙑти, бѫдѫ, бѫдєши> be, become -- were

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  • и -- conjunction; <и> and -- and
  • сиꙗѭтъ -- verb; 3rd person plural present of <сиꙗти, -аѭ, -аѥши> shine, make shine -- shine
  • ꙗко -- conjunction; <ꙗко> as, when; in order to; that; because; (introduces quotation) -- as
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and -- ...
  • звѣздꙑ -- noun, feminine; nominative plural of <звѣзда> star -- stars
  • вь -- preposition; <въ> in, into -- over
  • вьсємь -- adjective; locative singular masculine of <вьсь> all, every; whole -- the whole
  • мирѣ -- noun, masculine; locative singular of <миръ> world; peace -- world
  • богѹ -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <богъ> god -- in God
  • вѣровавъшє -- verb; past active participle <вѣровати, -ѹѭ, -ѹѥши> believe -- having had faith
  • христа -- proper noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Христъ> Christ -- Christ
  • исповѣдавьшє -- verb; past active participle <исповѣдати, -аѭ, -аѥши> announce, make known -- having confessed
  • свѧтааго -- adjective; genitive singular masculine of <свѧтъ> holy, blessed -- the Holy
  • дѹха -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <дѹхъ> spirit -- spirit
  • нє -- adverb; <нє> not, nor -- nor
  • отъврьгъшє сѧ -- verb; reflexive past active participle <отъврѣшти, -врьгѫ, -врьгєши> throw away, renounce -- did they reject
  • прославьѥни -- verb; past passive participle <прославити, -вл҄ѭ, -виши> praise, glorify -- glorified
  • бꙑвъшє -- verb; past active participle <бꙑвати, -ваѭ, -ваѥши> be -- ...
  • о -- preposition; <о> around, concerning; against -- in
  • христѣ -- proper noun, masculine; locative singular of <Христъ> Christ -- Christ

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  • памѧть -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <памѧть> memory -- the memory
  • вь -- preposition; <въ> in, into -- of
  • житии -- noun, neuter; locative singular of <житьѥ> life -- life
  • сємь -- demonstrative adjective; locative singular neuter of <сь> this -- this
  • оставишѧ -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <оставити, -вл҄ѭ, -виши> let, leave, neglect, forget -- they cast off
  • на -- preposition; <на> in, on; at, against; for -- for
  • съпасєниѥ -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <съпасєньѥ> salvation -- salvation
  • вьсѥмъ -- adjective; dative plural masculine of <вьсь> all, every; whole -- for all
  • вѣрѹѭштиꙇмъ -- verb; present active participle <вѣровати, -ѹѭ, -ѹѥши> believe -- those believing
  • въ -- preposition; <въ> in, into -- in
  • отьцъ -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <отьць> father -- the Father
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and -- ...
  • сꙑнъ -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <сꙑнъ> son -- son
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and -- and
  • свѧтꙑи -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <свѧтъ> holy, blessed -- holy
  • дѹхъ -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <дѹхъ> spirit -- spirit

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  • ѧти -- verb; past passive participle <ѩти, имѫ, имєши> take, seize -- held
  • жє -- conjunction; <жє> and, but -- ...
  • бꙑшѧ -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <бꙑти, бѫдѫ, бѫдєши> be, become -- were
  • свѧтии -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <свѧтъ> holy, blessed -- the saints
  • мѫчєници -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <мѫчєникъ> martyr -- martyrs
  • на -- preposition; <на> in, on; at, against; for -- in
  • мѫчєниѥ -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <мѫчєньѥ> martyrdom -- martyrdom
  • о -- preposition; <о> around, concerning; against -- of
  • христѣ -- proper noun, masculine; locative singular of <Христъ> Christ -- Christ
  • прѣждє -- preposition; <прѣждє> before -- before
  • чєтꙑрь -- adjective; genitive plural masculine of <чєтꙑрє, чєтꙑри> four -- four (days)
  • каландъ -- noun, feminine; genitive plural of <каландꙑ> kalends, first day of the month -- the Kalends
  • марта -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <мартъ> March -- of March
  • цир'чь -- adverb; <цир'чь> that is, i.e. -- that is
  • въ -- preposition; <въ> in, into -- on
  • кѕ -- number; accusative plural masculine of <дъвадєсѧтьнꙑи и шєстꙑи, -оѥ, -аꙗ> the twenty-sixth -- the 26th
  • фєѵроара -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <фєѵроар҄ь> February -- of February

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  • прѣдашѧ -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <прѣдати, -дамь, -даси> hand over, commend -- they commended
  • жє -- conjunction; <жє> and, but -- ...
  • своѧ -- reflexive adjective; accusative plural feminine of <свои, своє, своꙗ> own, one's own -- their
  • дѹшѧ -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <дѹша> soul -- souls
  • господєви -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <господь> lord, master -- to the Lord
  • прѣждє -- preposition; <прѣждє> before -- before
  • ѕ -- number; genitive plural masculine of <сєдмꙑи, -оѥ, -аꙗ> seventh -- seven
  • дьнь -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <дьнь> day -- days
  • марта -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <мартъ> March -- (the Ides) of March
  • при -- preposition; <при> near; at the time of -- during the time of
  • лик҄инии -- proper noun, masculine; locative singular of <Ликинии> Licinius -- Licinius
  • самовладастьци -- noun, masculine; locative singular of <самовладастьць> monarch, autocrat -- the ruler
  • нам -- pronoun; dative plural of <азъ> I -- us
  • жє -- conjunction; <жє> and, but -- ...
  • цѣсарьствѹѭштѹ -- verb; present active participle <цѣсар҄ьствовати, -вѹѭ, -вѹѥши> rule, be emperor -- having power over
  • господѹ -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <господь> lord, master -- Lord
  • нашємѹ -- possessive adjective; dative singular masculine of <нашь> our, of us -- our
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and -- and
  • богѹ -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <богъ> god -- God
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and -- and
  • съпасѹ -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <съпасъ> savior -- savior
  • владꙑцѣ -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <владꙑка> lord, master; leader -- ruler
  • нашємѹ -- possessive adjective; dative singular masculine of <нашь> our, of us -- our
  • иисѹсѹ -- proper noun, masculine; dative singular of <Иисѹсъ> Jesus -- Jesus
  • христѹ -- proper noun, masculine; dative singular of <Христъ> Christ -- Christ
  • ѥмѹжє -- relative pronoun; dative singular masculine of <ижє> who, which -- whose
  • ѥстъ -- verb; 3rd person singular present of <ѥс-, ѥсмь, ѥси> be -- is
  • слава -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <слава> fame, glory -- the glory
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and -- and
  • дръжава -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <дръжава> power, rule -- power
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and -- and
  • чєсть -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <чьсть> honor, rank, reverence, feast, device, pattern -- honor
  • нꙑн҄ѣ -- adverb; <нꙑн҄ѣ> now -- now
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and -- and
  • присно -- adverb; <присно> always -- always
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and -- ...
  • вь -- preposition; <въ> in, into -- for
  • вѣкꙑ -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <вѣкъ> age -- ever
  • вѣкомь -- noun, masculine; dative plural of <вѣкъ> age -- (and) ever
  • аминъ -- adverb; <аминъ> amen -- amen

Lesson Text

по трєхъ жє дьнєхъ ꙗвишѧ сѧ єпискѹпѹ града того имєнємь пєтрѹ ꙗко сѫтъ съхран҄єнꙑ кости нашѧ сємь мѣстѣ | приди ѹбо вь ношти и ꙇзнєси нꙑ издрѣкꙑ | и поимъ єпископъ клирикꙑ и мѫжѧ вѣрьнꙑ и пришєдъ ста на брѣзѣ рѣкꙑ | и сє просвьтѣшѧ сѧ кости свѧтꙑихъ вь водѣ акꙑ и свѣтильници | и аштє кдє оставьєна бꙑваашє кость свѣтомъ ꙗвьꙗшє сѧ | и тако събъравъшє кости свѧтꙑихъ мѫчєникъ положишѧ ѧ въ ракахъ | и сицє пострадавъшє вѣньчани бꙑшѧ | и сиꙗѭтъ ꙗко и звѣздꙑ вь вьсємь мирѣ богѹ вѣровавъшє христа исповѣдавьшє свѧтааго дѹха нє отъврьгъшє сѧ прославьѥни бꙑвъшє о христѣ | памѧть вь житии сємь оставишѧ на съпасєниѥ вьсѥмъ вѣрѹѭштиꙇмъ въ отьцъ и сꙑнъ и свѧтꙑи дѹхъ | ѧти жє бꙑшѧ свѧтии мѫчєници на мѫчєниѥ о христѣ прѣждє чєтꙑрь каландъ марта цир'чь въ кѕ фєѵроара | прѣдашѧ жє своѧ дѹшѧ господєви прѣждє ѕ дьнь марта при лик҄инии самовладастьци | нам жє цѣсарьствѹѭштѹ господѹ нашємѹ и богѹ и съпасѹ владꙑцѣ нашємѹ иисѹсѹ христѹ ѥмѹжє ѥстъ слава и дръжава и чєсть нꙑн҄ѣ и присно и вь вѣкꙑ вѣкомь аминъ |


And after three days they revealed themselves to the bishop of that city, Peter by name, that 'our bones are protected in this place. Come, therefore, during the night and carry us out of the river.' (5) And the bishop took the clerics and men of faith and came to stand on the bank of the river. And lo the bones of the saints shone forth in the water like lanterns. And wherever a bone was left, it would shine forth with light. (10) And in this way having collected the bones of the holy martyrs, they commended them to coffins, and so those who suffered were crowned and shine as stars over the whole world, having had faith in God and having confessed Christ. (15) Nor did they reject the Holy Spirit; glorified in Christ, they cast off the memory of this world for salvation for all those believing in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The saints were held martyrs in martyrdom of Christ (20) four days before the Kalends of March, that is, on the 26th of February. They commended their souls to the Lord seven days before the Ides of March, during the time of the ruler Licinius; having power over us, however, our Lord and God and Savior, our ruler Jesus Christ, (25) whose is the glory and power and honor, now and always, for ever and ever. Amen.


36 The Verbal Noun

The verbal noun or verbal substantive is formed from the past passive participle by addition of the suffix -ĭj-. Because the jer is tense, this often becomes -ij-. The noun is declined as a soft neuter -jo- stem, like the noun знамєньѥ (cf. Section 3.1 in Lesson 1). Though intransitive verbs have no actual past passive participle, the verbal noun is formed by the same procedure as for transitive verbs. Where a verb has different formations as a result of -t- / -n- alternation, or as a result of forms with or without -v-, the shades of meaning may differ. The following are some common examples.

Infinitive   Translation   Past Pass. Part.   Verbal Noun   Translation
знати   'to know'   знанъ   знаньѥ   'knowledge'
съпасти   'to save'   съпасєнъ   съпасєньѥ   'salvation'
исцѣлити   'to cure'   исцѣл҄єнъ   исцѣл҄єньѥ   '(the) healing'
пропѧти   'to crucify'   пропѧтъ   пропѧтьѥ   'crucifixion'
ѹмрѣти   'to die'   -   ѹмрътьє   'death'
забꙑти   'to forget'   забъвєнъ   забъвєньѥ   '(the) forgetting'
        забꙑтъ   забꙑтьѥ   'oblivion'
ити   'to go'   -   сън-ꙇтьѥ   'descent'
        -   шьстьѥ   '(the) going'
        -   шьствьѥ   'march'
37 The Third Conjugation

The third conjugation comprises verbs whose present stem is in -je-, the -j- palatalizing a preceding consonant. These verbs fall into three categories.

In the first category, the infinitive-aorist stem is identical to the root. For example, зна-ти 'to know' has second person singular form зна-ѥ-ши; грѣ-ти 'to warm' has грѣ-ѥ-ши. This category includes roots ending in a liquid diphthong, e.g. кла-ти < *kol-ti 'to stab', which has second person singular кол҄ѥши. The metathesis of the liquid comes about from the tendency to prefer open syllables, i.e. syllables ending in a vowel. Thus kol'ješi avoids metathesis because the syllable division is ko-l'je-ši, while the syllables *kol-ti require metathesis. This also includes verbs with root syllables ending in -ĭ + nasal, which becomes -ę- in the infinitive-aorist stem, e.g. жѧ-ти 'to harvest' with second singular жьн҄ѥши.

In the second category, the infinitive-aorist stem ends in a consonant, to which is added the suffix -a- or -ov-a-. The final -a- is dropped in the present stem. Thus пьс-а-ти 'to write' yields the second singular form пишєши, where the jot of the -je- suffix palatalizes the preceding consonant. When -a- is dropped from -ov-a-, -ov- becomes -u-. For example, кѹп-ова-ти 'to buy' forms the second singular кѹпѹѥши.

In the third category, the root contains the suffix -a- or -ě- which remains in both the present and infinitive-aorist stems. For example, дѣл-а-ти 'to do' forms the second singular дѣл-а-ѥши. In practice, these verbs follow the same conjugational pattern as знати and грѣти.

The third conjugation is illustrated by the verbs

  • Category (i) знати, знаѭ, знаѥши 'to know'; клати, кол҄ѭ, кол҄ѥши 'to stab';
  • Category (ii) глаголати, -л҄ѭ, -л҄ѥши 'to speak';
  • Category (iii) ѹмѣти, ѹмѣѭ, ѹмѣѥши 'to understand'.

These verbs do not form the asigmatic or new aorists.

Present   зна-ѥ-   кол҄-ѥ-   глагол҄-ѥ-   ѹмѣ-ѥ-
1st Sg.   знаѭ   кол҄ѭ   глагол҄ѭ   ѹмѣѭ
2   знаѥши   кол҄ѥши   глагол҄ѥши   ѹмѣѥши
3   знаѥтъ   кол҄ѥтъ   глагол҄ѥтъ   ѹмѣѥтъ
1st Du.   знаѥвѣ   кол҄ѥвѣ   глагол҄ѥвѣ   ѹмѣѥвѣ
2   знаѥта   кол҄ѥта   глагол҄ѥта   ѹмѣѥта
3   знаѥтє   кол҄ѥтє   глагол҄ѥтє   ѹмѣѥтє
1st Pl.   знаѥмъ   кол҄ѥмъ   глагол҄ѥмъ   ѹмѣѥмъ
2   знаѥтє   кол҄ѥтє   глагол҄ѥтє   ѹмѣѥтє
3   знаѭтъ   кол҄ѭтъ   глагол҄ѭтъ   ѹмѣѭтъ
1st Sg.   -   -   -   -
2   знаи   кол҄и   глагол҄и   ѹмѣи
3   знаи   кол҄и   глагол҄и   ѹмѣи
1st Du.   знаивѣ   кол҄ивѣ   глагол҄ивѣ   ѹмѣивѣ
2   знаита   кол҄ита   глагол҄ита   ѹмѣита
3   знаитє   кол҄итє   глагол҄итє   ѹмѣитє
1st Pl.   знаимъ   кол҄имъ   глагол҄имъ   ѹмѣимъ
2   знаитє   кол҄итє   глагол҄итє   ѹмѣитє
3   -   -   -   -
Pres. Act. Part.                
Masc./Neut. N   знаѩ   кол҄ѩ   глагол҄ѩ   ѹмѣѩ
Fem. N   знаѭшти   кол҄ѭшти   глагол҄ѭшти   ѹмѣѭшти
Pres. Pass. Part.                
Masc. N   знаѥмъ   кол҄ѥмъ   глагол҄ѥмъ   ѹмѣѥмъ
1st Sg.   знаахъ   колѣахъ   глаголаахъ   ѹмѣахъ
2   знаашє   колѣашє   глаголаашє   ѹмѣашє
3   знаашє   колѣашє   глаголаашє   ѹмѣашє
1st Du.   знааховѣ   колѣаховѣ   глаголааховѣ   ѹмѣаховѣ
2   знаашєта   колѣашєта   глаголаашєта   ѹмѣашєта
3   знаашєтє   колѣашєтє   глаголаашєтє   ѹмѣашєтє
1st Pl.   знаахомъ   колѣахомъ   глаголаахомъ   ѹмѣахомъ
2   знаашєтє   колѣашєтє   глаголаашєтє   ѹмѣашєтє
3   знаахѫ   колѣахѫ   глаголаахѫ   ѹмѣахѫ
Sigmatic Aorist                
1st Sg.   знахъ   клахъ   глаголахъ   ѹмѣхъ
2   зна   кла   глагола   ѹмѣ
3   зна   кла   глагола   ѹмѣ
1st Du.   знаховѣ   клаховѣ   глаголаховѣ   ѹмѣховѣ
2   знаста   класта   глаголаста   ѹмѣста
3   знастє   кластє   глаголастє   ѹмѣстє
1st Pl.   знахомъ   клахомъ   глаголахомъ   ѹмѣхомъ
2   знастє   кластє   глаголастє   ѹмѣстє
3   знашѧ   клашѧ   глаголашѧ   ѹмѣшѧ
Past Act. Part.                
Masc./Neut. N   знавъ   клавъ   глаголавъ   ѹмѣвъ
Fem. N   знавъши   клавъши   глаголавъши   ѹмѣвъши
Resultative Part.                
Masc. N   зналъ   клалъ   глаголалъ   ѹмѣлъ
Past Pass. Part.                
Masc. N   знанъ   -колєнъ   глаголанъ   ѹмѣнъ
Infinitive   знати   клати   глаголати   ѹмѣти
Supine   знатъ   клатъ   глаголатъ   ѹмѣтъ
Verbal Noun   (по)знаньѥ   -колєньѥ   глаголаньѥ   ѹмѣньѥ

There are occurences of forms where the intervocalic -j- seems to have dropped, e.g. знаатє < знаѥтє. Verbs with stems ending in -и or -ѣ may take the ending -тъ in the third person singular aorist: битъ from бити 'to beat', пѣтъ from пѣти 'to sing'.

38 The Locative Case

The locative denotes the spatial or temporal expanse in which or at which a phrase or clause obtains, e.g. прѣбꙑстъ на н҄ємь жє бѣ мѣстѣ дъва дьни 'He remained in the place in which he was for two days'. By the time of the OCS texts, the locative as a stand-alone case was on its way out. Many of the instances in which the bare case was used may also be interpreted as frozen adverbial phrases, such as зимѣ 'in winter' and полѹ ношти 'at midnight'. The locative was more often found with prepositions that strengthened its locational function, such as на 'in' and при 'near'. The locative served as the complement of certain verbs, such as коснѫти сѧ 'to touch'. More frequently it served as the complement of verbs with prefixes already consonant with the basic meaning of the locative: прикоснѫти сѧ 'to touch', прилєжати 'take care of', налєжати 'press upon'.

39 The Dative Case

The dative case performed a wide array of functions. At a fundamental level, the dative was used for a substantive with reference to which the action took place, or to which a concept is relevant. Thus the datiev is regularly the complement of such adjectives as тъчьнъ 'similar (to)' and ѹгодьнъ 'pleasing (to)'. Such a dative may be only tenuously associated with the action at hand, e.g. съмотри жє ми зълодѣиство ихъ 'consider, for me, their crime'. The dative may also indicate that the action happens for the referent's benefit: чловѣкѹ єтєрѹ богатѹ ѹгобьѕи сѧ н҄ива 'a field yielded itself richly for a certain man'. With verbs of giving and saying these notions coalesce in the indirect object: даждь ми... сьдє на мисѣ главѫ иоана крьститєлꙗ 'give me the head of John the Baptist on a platter'; и рєчє отрокомъ своимъ сь єстъ иоанъ крьститєл҄ь 'and he said to his servants: This is John the Baptist'. The dative may have a weak possessive force, akin to the genitive, e.g. дрѹгъ ми 'my friend'. With verbs of motion or statements implying motion, the dative may have a directional meaning: сє цѣсар҄ь твои грѧдєтъ тєбѣ 'behold thy King cometh unto thee'.

39.1 The Dative with Infinitive

A special use of the dative occurs with the infinitive, in which the dative refers to the subject of the action of the infinitive. This usage overlaps with the dative as indirect object: дастъ имъ власть чѧдомь божиємь бꙑти 'he gave to them the power to become God's children'; нє достоитъ ти имѣти єѧ 'it is not fitting for you to have her', 'it is not fitting that you should have her'.

39.2 The Dative Absolute

The dative absolute consists of a substantive and participle in the dative case, representing a situation related to but not directly part of the action. "Absolute" refers to the tendency for the actions described by the phrase in the dative to be grammatically unrelated to the rest of the statement. Thus the subject of a dative ought not to refer to the suject of the main verb. However in OCS this rule is occasionally broken. Examples are дьни жє бꙑвъшѹ рождьства иродова плѧса дъшти 'and with the day of Herod's birth having arrived, the daughter danced'; морє жє вѣтрѹ вєлию дꙑхаѭштѹ въстаашє 'the sea, since a great wind was blowing, kept rising'.

40 Negation

The special relation of the genitive case with negation has been treated in Section 15 of Lesson 3.

The two particles нє and ни expressed negation in OCS. нє denoted simple negation, standing before the item it negated, while ни denoted emphatic or absolute negation. ни was added, along with the relativizing particle жє, to interrogative adverbs and pronouns to create negative adverbs and pronouns: никътожє 'no one'; ничьтожє 'nothing'; никъдєжє 'nowhere'. Clauses containg ни or a negative pronoun often placed нє before the verb, unless sometimes when ни- preceded it in the clause. The effect was one of overall negation, and not double negation as occurs in English: и никтожє нє даѣшє ємѹ 'and no one gave him (anything)'. ни may be repeated in a clause, while нє usually occurs only once: придє иоанъ ни пиѧ ни ꙗдꙑ 'John came, neither drinking nor eating'; положи є въ гробѣ исѣшєнѣ въ нємьжє нє бѣ никътожє никогдажє положєнъ 'he laid it in a hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid'. нєжє was used after comparatives in the sense of 'than'.

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