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Slavish it

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Slavish it

A selection of notes by Hegumen Siluan (Tumanov) on the translation of divine services into Russian.


There is a strange and vulgar prejudice that a translation into Church Russian must necessarily differ from Church Slavonic in the direction of maximum “chewing”. Say, “I open my mouth” should be translated as “I will open my mouth”, “blessed is the fruit of Your womb” as “how good it is that You are pregnant”, etc.

I think this is not the case. All sublime archaisms, vocatives, etc., do not need to be translated. They are fully understood by an educated Russian person. And this is just what a not-so-educated Russian should learn.

After all, who told you that the Russian language is the language of swindlers and gopniks? This is the language of the sermons of the outstanding preachers of our time: patriarchs, metropolitans, priests, lay people. These are precious pages of centuries-old Russian literature, more than one generation of our compatriots accustoming to good and justice. It is the language of theological works and beautiful poetry and prose by contemporary authors.

It is usually said that the ancient language is deeper. Not true. He just has other ways of expressing. But without the interpretation (!) Of this depth in a language accessible to the contemporary, the majority would not have guessed about it!

Think for yourself. What works are written in Church Slavonic, which can be compared with the philosophical and theological works of our compatriots in the late XIX – early XX centuries? What was written in Church Slavonic deeper than that of Losev, Lossky, Florensky, Florovsky, Schmemann, Meyendorf, Klyuchevsky and others? (By the way, “The Word about the Law and Grace” is written in Old Russian, which differs markedly from the modern language of Church Slavonic worship.)

We translate all the creations of the Holy Fathers from ancient languages ​​into … correctly, Russian. And somehow we do without a mat.

In general, what is right in the idea of ​​a “special language for God”? Where did this idea come from? Where did Christ demand that He be addressed in a “special language”? Or does he require reading our Father in Aramaic?

Many, having read not literary but technical (for example, Father Ambrose (Timrotha)) interlaced translations from Greek to Russian, are indignant at the unpleasantness of such reading aloud, inconvenience for singing. One priest even declared that it was "vulgarity." (In Russian Of course, he said, not in Church Slavonic, which few can speak, except for a handful of specialists.)

But, firstly, it is only a matter of style and taste. And secondly, this is, in fact, the sentence of our prayer itself: if it loses something reverently retold in a language that is clear to us, then there are problems with us and with our perception of prayers.

But the important one. My deep conviction is that you cannot repeat the mistake of Patriarch Nikon: categorically you can’t force everyone to switch to other charters, ranks and translations. It is only necessary to give an opportunity of a qualitative choice to those who want it.


They say that it is necessary to study CFJ in Sunday schools, to analyze difficult places of service. Once at home, and not everyone has the talent to engage without a teacher.

But does Sunday school really exist only in order to learn again and again with new people who are wandering in search of God for these endless “birds singing on the ground”, “skymns of roaring admiration”, “nightly vranas for diving” and other medieval zoo?

There is not a single comprehensible and serious argument against the translation / retelling of worship in church Russian. It's just that people are afraid of the shocking clarity of worship, the paradigm shift in the perception of prayer itself. That is, they do not want to break the sweet habits that are not related to Christianity for the sake of seeking meaning.

In addition, they feel distrust of the “innovations” and their organizers, not being shy and insults to them. And when you indicate that it is simply from ignorance of the history of Orthodoxy, that is, from ignorance, they are offended.

P. S. I VERY LIKE Church Slavonic. I myself use it both in worship and in home prayer. I see in him only one drawback – he is no longer able to teach the people the gospel through additional worship without additional sermons and conversations. And this is his ONLY task.


Once the Church Slavonic language appeared to enable the Slavs to preach and pray in their native language.

Our native language, unlike Greek, at that time was not distinguished by the creation of rich literature of various directions. It was the language of war and love, simple tales and commerce. He only began to grow from the grain planted by the saints.

Relatively late, Slavic languages ​​give birth to their literature, contributing to the creation of a modern language that is different from Slavic speech, but is directly dependent on it. Initially near-religious, it becomes very diverse. While CSJA remains only the language of worship. NO ONE independent BOOK on theology, dogmatics, liturgics in the "sacred" and "church" language has not been created. This is the destiny of the "vulgar" dialect. Think it over!

It is important to emphasize: our Russian language is not degradation, but a worthy son of a worthy father, who now has something to say.

The Russian language is not only swearing sailors and the Crooked Mirror.

This and many books on dogma, liturgy, etc., etc.

These are the works of beautiful authors of fiction, poets and poets, including those living today.

This is the language of the preaching of the Russian Church.

This is a language of discussion about the need for CSJ.

This is the language that explains to us the incomprehensible places of the Central Jewish Church.

This is the language of the Church, its lively communication: disputes and conversations, confessions and discoveries.

This is the language of the theological (in the most practical sense) insights of many people, without which we can no longer imagine the teachings of the Church:

– Christ-centeredness.

– Eucharistic.

– World-supranationalism.

– Liturgy after the liturgy: social, catechetical activities.

– Internal and external missionary work.

– Equality of spiritual experience of those who seek God, regardless of the type of service.

– Awareness of the importance of removing any masks in front of the Face of God.

And much more, of course.

This was in previous centuries, but crystallized in the twentieth century, and it was in Russian. That is why conversations were revived not only about partial translation, but also about retelling liturgical texts, which were only timidly spoken at the Council of 1917-18.

People in the Church realized that they can not only retell the Greek samples in a beautiful language one and a half thousand years ago, but they have something to say new, completely gospel, and express this in their prayers.

Special period, special opportunities. Which we, of course, will miss, making new interlocutors and entrusting all the indifferent academies.


My position:

– to keep as much as possible understandable TsSYA-words like “tea”, “one” and generally focus on Pushkin’s high literary language in his theological poems (like “Desert Fathers” and “Prophet”);

– it would be necessary to remove tracing paper from Greek, incomprehensible grammar and syntax, they are about as poetic as interlinear translation, and do not elevate anyone, but simply interfere with understanding;

– it is important to preserve and study CSF as a cultural heritage, but not to burden it with meanings in the spirit of a “shamanic conspiracy”;

– a person, when he comes to faith, must first of all understand the Gospel and his faith, and not the Central Jewish Church, he still did not come to a linguistic circle;

– adapting and bringing the language of worship closer to people, we continue the work of Saints Cyril and Methodius.

Arguments of opponents:

– Have you received a blessing from your activity?

– How many times do you go to church?

– CSJ is the most important thing in Orthodoxy, and not a tool for comprehending the gospel.

– nothing can be touched in the Central Church Hall in order not to stir up the “holy source of truth” with this “dirty Russian language”.

– TSSA – the main one! a source! worldview! Orthodox Christian.

– TSSA is a holy language, "you don’t understand, demons understand."

– Well, the passive-aggressive "be careful, I'm worried about you."


People come to the temple different. But only a few from calm and "good life." Only a few have received a serious education and have the habit and ability to constantly read serious literature, classics, and not just Facebook news and newspapers. Yes, and most visitors to the temple simply do not have time to calmly study something. Household chores, family, children, work in three jobs, because there is always not enough money. And time is running out. He opened the book … woke up, closed.

Here comes such a person to God, because God called him / her. And he stands in the service, blinking and crying, experiencing the joy of a simple communion with God.

And the head still works. It’s still curious. I want to hear something in the service, but except for “Lord, have mercy” only some kind of “well-meaning love” and “a crocodile before you”. Unclear!

But what can we offer him / her? Nothing. That is, nothing should just be so clear. Come on, honey, get ready for service. Husband sent to the kitchen to chop potatoes, children on the street to look for adventure, and work hard.

First of all, get the books necessary for worship, and the “Liturgical Instructions” (for this year, do not mix it up!), A dictionary of Church Slavonic and Ancient Greek, a dictionary of paronyms and a biblical dictionary. And yet, about 36 books are needed: the Typicon, the servant, the theologian, the liturgical Gospel and the Apostle with the zachas, the Psalter following, the two books of Oktoih, the four books of Triodi, about 24 books of Mineas and another Minea additional. And before each trip to the temple, sit down, make a worship service according to the tables and translate. Texts of psalms, ten stichera on “Lord's calls”, dogmas, again stichera, litany, dozens of troparia of the canon, troparia, stichera, gospel, again litany and psalms …

What does it mean expensive? Take a loan at a bank or sell a washing machine. Sit 12 hours a day, work hard. Otherwise, you are lazy.

What does incomprehensible language mean? Ten years, you’ll get used to it. I learned English for a comfortable life! Not? You don’t really know a single language from school? Well, be patient, mother. God does not accept Russian.

What else is there? Sit in the service? Yes, you generally only want comfort !!! Maybe you should give tea with lemon?

There, in the fifteenth century, the blessed Evstradikaky stood in the church for ten days and died, and you stood there "only" for two hours, and already grunt: your back hurts, your legs hurt!

Be patient, because the worse, the better. And then you will soon get married with gays …


Christians do not need a “sacred language,” to which the gospel itself is a vivid confirmation.

Firstly, preached all over the world in a human understandable language, and not sacred gibberish.

Secondly, for us, CONSCIOUSLY NOT SAVING, the literal text of the Lord’s prayer, which Jesus clearly instructed the Jewish students to read.

And the apostle Paul develops even brighter the idea that it is better to say a few words in plain language in prayer.


1030 years of the baptism of Russia is a great occasion for reflection and comparison.

The debaters have no arguments. Only spells and ernism. Say, you still "give out jackets instead of cassock, and service for 20 minutes." No, thanks. Leave your fears to yourself. Our Church does not try to be closer to the people, but to the tradition that revealed Christ.

– "Everything is clear to everyone, and there is nothing here." That the saints thought otherwise is not an argument.

“It's beautiful, but ugly in Russian.”

What “Hell, meeting you, the Word of God, filled with bitterness, seeing a man, but deified; wounded by wounds, but Almighty, and perished, fearing His image ”

uglier than

"The hell of the Word, she is disappointed, disappointed / in vain, / wounded by wounds, and the Almighty child, / perished by a terrible sight"?

That is, as always, the question is translation, not language.

– “Print books and stand in them, look and pray” – obviously the person does not imagine how the worship service of each day differs from each other and how many books it takes to compile it.

– “It is necessary to work hard, but how, without labor, into the Kingdom of Heaven?” – and what, in our life there are no sorrows and labor without a far-fetched problem? Well, arguing along this path, you can still somehow intentionally poison your own life, stand in the temple upside down, for example. But where is it written in the Gospel that senseless suffering and difficulties lead to salvation?

And here is the "covenant of Prince Vladimir"? In always doing, as was the case under him?

But a lot has already changed a lot. The iconostasis appeared, the liturgy changed, the remaining services noticeably changed their form. The Church Slavonic language itself has changed.

So, is there something higher than rituals and language (which was easily changed in worship at the baptism of Russia)?

Above this, good beads (that is, it is not ethically and emotionally gifted jewelry, but a precious pearl translated from Slavic) Christ. We find it – we find everything. We lose it – neither the most understandable language, nor the most beautiful rites will help us.

Here, it seems to me, the result of these 1030 years.

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