Old Church Slavonic grammar


Old Church Slavonic grammar

Old Church Slavonic is an inflectional language with moderately complex verbal and nominal systems.

Contents

Phonology

For Old Church Slavonic the following segments are reconstructible:[1]

Old Church Slavonic vowel segments
Front unrounded Back unrounded Back rounded
Oral Nasal Oral Oral Nasal
i y u
ь ъ
e ę o ǫ
ě a
Old Church Slavonic consonant segments
Labial Dental Palatal Velar
Plosive p b t d k g
Affricate c dz č
Fricative v s z š ž x
Nasal m n n'
Lateral l l'
Trill r r'
Semi-vowel j

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 for sequences of a consonant and a vowel, the following constraints can be ascertained:[2]

  • two adjacent consonants tend not to share identical features of manner of articulation
  • no syllable ends in a consonant
  • every obstruent other than /v/ agrees in voicing with the following obstruent
  • velars do not occur before front vowels
  • phonetically palatalized consonants do not occur before certain back vowels
  • 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/
  • vowel sequences are attested in only one lexeme (paǫčina 'spider's web') and in the suffixes /aa/ and /aě/ of the imperfect
  • at morpheme boundaries, the following vowel sequences occur: /ai/, /au/, /ao/, /oi/, /ou/, /oo/, /ěi/, /ěo/

Morphophonemic alternations

As a result of the first and the second Slavic palatalizations, velars alternate with dentals and palatals:

Consonant alternations resulting from Proto-Slavic palatalizations
Velar    /k/       /g/       /x/       /sk/       /zg/       /sx/   
Dental    /c/       /dz/       /s/       /sc/, /st/       /zd/       /sc/   
Palatal    /č/       /ž/       /š/       /št/       /žd/       /š/   

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/.[3] 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.[4]

Consonant alternations resulting from Proto-Slavic */j/
Dental   /d/     /zd/     /t/     /st/     /z/     /s/     /r/     /tr/     /dr/     /n/     /sn/     /zn/     /l/     /sl/  
Palatal   /žd/     /žd/     /št/     /št/     /ž/     /š/     /r'/     /štr'/     /ždr'/     /n'/     /šn'/     /žn'/     /l'/     /šl'/  

As a result of a process usually termed Common Slavic iotation (or iodization), dentals alternate with palatals in various inflected forms and in word formation.

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/.[4]

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 dialect-specific.

Morphology

Nouns

o-stems

Masculine gender
- Singular Dual Plural
N grad-ъ grad-a grad-i
G grad-a grad-u grad-ъ
D grad-u grad-oma grad-omъ
A grad-ъ grad-a grad-y
V grad-e grad-a grad-i
L grad-ě grad-u grad-ěxъ
I grad-omь grad-oma grad-y

Nouns belonging to this declension class are generally masculines ending in in the nominative singular (bogъ, gradъ, rodъ). The only exception are the nouns in that inflect as u-stem masculines.

Sometimes in the accusative singular the difference between animate and inanimate subgender can be seen, the accusative exhibiting the ending of the genitive for animate objects (raba).


Nouns with the suffix -(j)an-in-ъ (graždaninъ) also belong to this declension class in the singular, but in the plural they lose the -in- interfix and conform to the consonantal paradigm (graždane, graždanъ, graždanem, graždany, graždane, graždanexъ, graždany).

Neuter gender
- Singular Dual Plural
N vin-o vin-ě vin-a
G vin-a vin-u vin-ъ
D vin-u vin-oma vin-omъ
A vin-o vin-ě vin-a
V vin-o vin-ě vin-a
L vin-ě vin-u vin-ěxъ
I vin-omь vin-oma vin-y

Nouns belonging to this declension class are neuters ending in -o in the nominative singular (selo, lěto, město). The only exception are the few neuters that are inflected as s-stems.

jo-stems

Masculine gender
- Singular Dual Plural
N nož-ь nož-a nož-i
G nož-a nož-u nož-ь
D nož-u nož-ema nož-emь
A nož-ь nož-a nož-ę
V nož-u nož-a nož-i
L nož-i nož-u nož-ixъ
I nož-emь nož-ema nož-i

Nouns belonging to this declension class are masculines ending in preceded by a palatal in the nominative singular (vračь, kralь, košь).

This paradigm encompasses nouns such as krai that don't appear to be ending in a palatal, but are in fact underlyingly combinations like krajь and so undergo this declension (kraj -ь, kraj -a).

Nouns ending in agentive suffixes -tel-ь and -ar-ь also belong to this class (učitelь, učitelja, učitelju..., mytarь, mytarja, mytarju...).

Neuter gender
- Singular Dual Plural
N mor-e mor-i mor-a
G mor-a mor-u mor-ь
D mor-u mor-ema mor-emь
A mor-e mor-i mor-a
V mor-e mor-i mor-a
L mor-i mor-u mor-ixъ
I mor-emь mor-ema mor-i

The jo-stem declension class encompasses neuters ending in -e (lože, polje, molenьe).

a-stems

Feminine gender
- Singular Dual Plural
N rǫk-a rǫk-ě rǫk-y
G rǫk-y rǫk-u rǫk-ъ
D c-ě rǫk-ama rǫk-amь
A rǫk-ǫ rǫk-ě rǫk-i
V rǫk-o rǫk-ě rǫk-y
L c-ě rǫk-u c-ěxъ
I rǫk-ojǫ rǫk-ama rǫk-ami

Nouns belonging to this declension class are feminines ending in -a preceded by a hard, non-palatal consonant (žena).

Also belonging to this paradigm are the rare masculines ending in -a (sluga, vojevoda).

ja-stems

Feminine gender
- Singular Dual Plural
N duš-a duš-i duš-ę
G duš-ę duš-u duš-ь
D duš-i duš-ama duš-amъ
A duš-ǫ duš-i duš-ę
V duš-e duš-i duš-ę
L duš-i duš-u duš-axъ
I duš-ejǫ duš-ama duš-ami

Noun belonging to this declension class are feminines ending in -a preceded by a soft, palatal consonant (straža, svešta, mrěža).

This paradigm also encompasses feminines ending in -i (rabyni, bogyni), -ica (děvica) and -ьni- (rizьnica), and also masculines ending in -a preceded by a palatal (junoša).

i-stems

Masculine gender
- Singular Dual Plural
N gost-ь gost-i gost-ьje
G gost-i gost-ьju gost-ьi
D gost-i gost-ьma gost-ьmъ
A gost-ь gost-i gost-i
V gost-i gost-i gost-ьje
L gost-i gost-ьju gost-ьxъ
I gost-ьmь gost-ьma gost-ьmi

Nouns belonging to this declension class are masculines ending in preceded by a hard, non-palatal consonant (črьvь, gospodь, pǫtь). The only exception are a limited number of such nouns belonging to the n-stem paradigm.

Feminine gender
- Singular Dual Plural
N kost-ь kost-i kost-i
G kost-i kost-ьju kost-ьi
D kost-i kost-ьma kost-ьmъ
A kost-ь kost-i kost-i
V kost-i kost-i kost-i
L kost-i kost-ьju kost-ьxъ
I kost-ьjǫ kost-ьma kost-ьmi

Nouns belonging to the i-stem feminine declension are feminines ending in in the nominative singular (rěčь, noštь, tvarь).

The only exception is the noun krъvь which undergoes ъv-stem (ū-stem) declension.

u-stems

Masculine gender
- Singular Dual Plural
N dom-ъ dom-y dom-ove
G dom-u dom-ovu dom-ovь
D dom-ovi dom-ъma dom-ъmъ
A dom-ъ dom-y dom-y
V dom-u dom-y dom-ove
L dom-u dom-ovu dom-ъxъ
I dom-ъmь dom-ъma dom-ъmi

Nouns belonging to this declension are a rather small group of masculines: činъ, domъ, ledъ, medъ, mirъ, polъ, sanъ, synъ, volъ, vrъxъ.

ū-stems

Feminine gender
- Singular Dual Plural
N tik-y tikъv-i tikъv-i
G tikъv-e tikъv-u tikъv-ъ
D tikъv-i tikъv-ama tikъv-amъ
A tikъv-ь tikъv-i tikъv-i
V tikъv-y tikъv-i tikъv-i
L tikъv-e tikъv-u tikъv-axъ
I tikъv-ьjǫ tikъv-ama tikъv-ami

Nouns belonging to the ū-stem declension (also known as -ъv- declension, or v-stem declension) are: buky, brady, cěly, crьky, horǫgy, loky, ljuby, neplody, prěljuby, smoky, svekry, žrьny, kry (this last form is attested in Psalterium Sinaiticum; older sources list the accusative form krъvь as a lemma).

n-stems

Masculine gender
- Singular Dual Plural
N kam-y kamen-i kamen-e
G kamen-e kamen-u kamen-ъ
D kamen-i kamen-ьma kamen-ьmъ
A kamen-ь kamen-i kamen-i
V kamen-y kamen-i kamen-e
L kamen-e kamen-u kamen-ьxъ
I kamen-ьmь kamen-ьma kamen-ьmi

Nouns belonging to this declension class are the following masculines: dьnь, jelenь, jęčьmenь, kamy, korenь, plamy, remenь, sęženь, stepenь.

Neuter gender
- Singular Dual Plural
N plem-ę plemen-i plemen-a
G plemen-e plemen-u plemen-ъ
D plemen-i plemen-ьma plemen-ьmъ
A plem-ę plemen-i plemen-a
V plem-ę plemen-i plemen-a
L plemen-e plemen-u plemen-ьxъ
I plemen-ьmь plemen-ьma plemen-y

Nouns belonging to this declension class are the following neuters: brěmę, čismę, imę, pismę, plemę, sěmę, slěmę, těmę, vrěmę.

s-stems

Neuter gender
- Singular Dual Plural
N neb-o nebes-ě nebes-a
G nebes-e nebes-u nebes-ъ
D nebes-i nebes-ьma nebes-ьmъ
A neb-o nebes-ě nebes-a
V neb-o nebes-ě nebes-a
L nebes-e nebes-u nebes-ьxъ
I nebes-ьmь nebes-ьma nebes-y

Nouns belonging to this declension class are the following neuters: čudo, divo, drěvo, kolo, nebo, tělo, slovo and also uxo and oko which have dual forms like i-stems.

t-stems

Neuter gender
- Singular Dual Plural
N tel-ę telęt-ě telęt-e
G telęt-e telęt-u telęt-ъ
D telęt-i telęt-ьma telęt-ьmъ
A tel-ę telęt-ě telęt-a
V tel-ę telęt-ě telęt-a
L telęt-e telęt-u telęt-ьxъ
I telęt-ьmь telęt-ьma telęt-y

The t-stem (also known as nt-stem) paradigm encompasses neuters denoting a young of an animal or human: otročę, agnę, kozьlę, kljusę, osьlę, ovьčę, telę, žrěbę etc.

r-stems

Feminine gender
- Singular Dual Plural
N mat-i mater-i mater-i
G mater-e mater-u mater-ъ
D mater-i mater-ьma mater-ьmъ
A mater-ь mater-i mater-i
V mater-i mater-i mater-i
L mater-i mater-u mater-ьxъ
I mater-ьjǫ mater-ьma mater-ьmi

r-stem feminines are the nouns mati and dъšti.

Pronouns

Personal pronouns

First-person pronoun
- Singular Dual Plural
N azъ my
G mene naju nasъ
D mьně (mi) nama (na) namъ (ny)
A mene (mę) na (ny) ny
L mьně naju nasъ
I mъnojǫ nama nami
Second-person pronoun
- Singular Dual Plural
N ty va (vy) vy
G tebe vaju vasъ
D tebě (ti) vama (va) vamъ
A tebe (tę) va (vy) vasъ (vy)
L tebě vaju vasъ
I tobojǫ vama vami

The nominative forms of the first and second person pronouns are only used for emphasis, and are otherwise unnecessary because the subject is implicit in the verb's inflection. The oblique forms, however, are quite commonly used. The parenthesized forms are enclitic alternatives, usually standing after the first accented word of a clause.

Third-person pronoun
- Singular Dual Plural
- Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
N *i (jь) *ja *je ja i (ji) i (ji) i (ji) ja
G jego jeję jego jeju jeju jeju (j)ixъ (j)ixъ (j)ixъ
D jemu jei jemu (j)ima (j)ima (j)ima (j)imъ (j)imъ (j)imъ
A i (jь), nь je ja ji ji ja
L jemь jei jemь jeju jeju jeju (j)ixъ (j)ixъ (j)ixъ
I imь jejǫ (j)imь (j)ima (j)ima (j)ima (j)imi (j)imi (j)imi

Just as the first and second person pronouns, the third person pronoun is commonly used only in oblique cases. Nominative singular forms are not attested in the OCS corpus, and are reconstructed. In the East South Slavic dialectal area where OCS originated, a suppletive nominative singular stem of the demonstrative ('that') is used, elsewhere onъ ('that one there, yon'), or very rarely ('this').

By attaching the enclitic particle že to the forms of *i one obtains the relative pronoun: iže ('he who'), ježe ('the (female) one to whom'), jejuže ('the two of whom'), etc.

When following prepositions, these pronouns take a prothetic n-, hence kъ n'imъ ('to them') instead of *imъ, na n'emь ('on him'), etc. This is a remnant of final -m/n in the PIE prepositions *kom (cf. Latin cum, Sanskrit kám), *sm̥ (cf. Sanskrit sám) and *h₁n̥ that yielded the OCS prepositions , , and and then spread analogically to all the other prepositions.

Reflexive pronoun
- Singular
N -
G sebe
D sebě (si)
A
L sebě
I sobojǫ

The reflexive pronoun has only singular oblique forms, which is the state of affairs inherited from PIE *swé. The reflexive pronoun refers to the subject as a whole, and can be translated as English -self (myself, yourself, himself etc.)

Relative pronoun

Relative pronoun
- Singular Dual Plural
- Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
N iže jaže ježe jaže iže iže iže jęže jaže
G jegože jejęže jegože jejuže jejuže jejuže ixъže ixъže ixъže
D jemuže jeiže jemuže imaže imaže imaže imъže imъže imъže
A iže jǫže ježe jaže iže iže jęže jęže jaže
L jemьže jeiže jemьže jejuže jejuže jejuže ixъže ixъže ixъže
I imьže jejǫže imьže imaže imaže imaže imiže imiže imiže

As mentioned, the third person pronoun *i participates in the formation of the relative pronoun by appending the indeclinable enclitic že. Unlike the third person pronoun, however, the nominative case forms do occur. Similarly, a prothetic n- occurs when following prepositions, e.g. vъ n'ьže ('in which').

Interrogative pronoun and adjective

Interrogative pronoun
- Masculine/Feminine Neuter
N kъto čьto
G kogo česo (česogo, čьso, čьsogo)
D komu česomu (čьsomu, čemu)
A kogo čьto
L komь čemь (česomь)
I cěmь čimь

The interrogative pronoun ('who?, what?') has singular-only forms, with the masculine and feminine forms syncretized. Variant forms of čьto occurring in some of the oblique cases have been listed in parentheses.

Interrogative adjective (pronoun)
- Singular Dual Plural
- Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
N kyi (ky) kaja koje (kaja) - - cii kyję kaja
G kojego kojeję (koję) kojego (kojeju) (kojeju (kojeju kyixъ (koixъ) kyixъ (koixъ) kyixъ (koixъ)
D kojemu kojei (koi) kojemu kyima kyima kyima kyimъ kyimъ kyimъ
A kyi kǫjǫ (kojǫ) koje (kaja) - - kyję kyję kaja
L kojemь kojei kojemь (kojeju) (kojeju) (kojeju) kyixъ kyixъ kyixъ
I kyimь kojejǫ (kojǫ) kyimь kyima kyima kyima kyimi kyimi kyimi

The interrogative adjective, sometimes also labelled as the interrogative pronoun ('which?, what sort of?'), also has some variant forms listed in parentheses.

Possessive interrogative adjective (pronoun)
- Singular Dual Plural
- Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
N čii (ky) čija čije (čija) - - čii čiję čija
G čijego čijeję (koję) čijego (čijeju) (čijeju (čijeju čiixъ (koixъ) čiixъ (koixъ) čiixъ (koixъ)
D čijemu čijei (koi) čijemu čiima čiima čiima čiimъ čiimъ čiimъ
A čii čijǫ (kojǫ) čije (čija) - - čiję čiję čija
L čijemь čijei čijemь (čijeju) (čijeju) (čijeju) čiixъ čiixъ čiixъ
I čiimь čijejǫ (kojǫ) čiimь čiima čiima čiima čiimi čiimi čiimi

The possessive interrogative adjective, sometimes also labelled as the possessive interrogative pronoun ('whose?'), follows the same declension.

Indefinite pronouns and adjectives

The interrogative pronouns kъto, čьto can also have the indefinite meanings of 'anybody', 'anything' respectively.

The prefix ně- imparts an indefinite meaning to the word to which it is attached: thus kъto ('who?') becomes někъto ('someone'), and čьto ('what?') becomes něčьto ('something'). Similarly, the prefix ni- imparts a negative meaning: nikъto ('no one'), ničьto ('nothing'). A prepositions may come between prefix and base word:

ně u kogo — with someone
ni o komьže nerodiši — you care for no one

Adjectives

OCS adjectives can be in two forms: short and long, corresponding to indefinite and definite meaning respectively. The long form is generally used only attributively, whereas the short form is predicative in nature. So e.g. člověkъ dobrъ "a good man, man is good" whilst člověkъ dobryi "the good man, the man who is good".

Indefinite adjectives are inflected as the corresponding nouns of the primary declension, e.g. novъ as rabъ, nova as žena, novo as selo, ništь as vračь, ništa as duša, nište as polje.

Definite adjectives (also known as compound, long, or pronominal forms of adjective) are formed by suffixing to the indefinite form the anaphoric third-person pronoun (spelled as i in OCS orthography), ja, je as shown in the table.

N novъ + i (jь) = novъjь > novyi nova + ja = novaja
G nova + jego = novajego novy + jeję = novyję
D novu + jemu = novujemu nově + jei = nověi
A novъ + i (jь) = novъjь > novyi novǫ + = novǫjǫ
L nově + jemь = novějemь nově + jei = nověi
I novomь + imь = novъimь > novyimь novojǫ + jejǫ = novojǫ, novǫjǫ
N, A nova + ja = novaja nově + i = nověi
G, L novu + jeju = novuju novu + jeju = novuju
D, I novoma + ima = novyima novoma + ima = novyima
N novi + (j)i = novii novy + ję = novyję
G novъ + ixъ = novyixъ novъ + ixъ = novyixъ
D novomъ + imъ = novyimъ novamъ + imъ = novyimъ
A novy + ję = novyję novy + ję = novyję
L nověxъ + ixъ = novyixъ novaxъ + ixъ = novyixъ
I novy + imi = novyimi novami + imi = novyimi

Adjective gradation

There are three levels of adjective gradation in OCS:

  • positive, stating an absolute property of an object;
  • comparative, stating a relative property of an object;
  • superlative, stating a property of an object in relation to any other object it may be compared to.
Comparative
  1. Adjectives with falling tone on the root syllable:
    dragъ − draž-ii (m), draž-e (n), draž-ьši (f);
    tęžьkъ − tęžii, tęže, tęžьši;
    grǫbъ − grǫblii, grǫble, grǫblьši.
  2. Adjectives with rising tone on the root syllable:
    novъ − nov-ěi, nov-ěje, nov-ěiši;
    starъ − star-ěi, star-ěje, star-ěiši;
    junъ − jun-ěi, jun-ěje, jun-ěiši.
Declension of the comparative
N dražii draže dražьši juněi juněje juněiši
G dražьša dražьša dražьšę juněiša juněiša juněišę
D dražьšu dražьšu dražьši juněišu juněišu juněiši
A dražьšii draže dražьšǫ juněi juněje juněišǫ
L dražьši dražьši dražьši juněiši junějiši juněiši
I dražьšemь dražьšemь dražьšejǫ juněišemь juněišemь juněišejǫ
N, A dražьša dražьši dražьši juněiša juněiši juněiši
G, L dražьšu dražьšu dražьšu juněišu juněišu juněišu
D, I dražьšema dražьšema dražьšama juněišema juněišema juněišama
N dražьše dražьša dražьšę juněiše juněiša juněišę
G dražьšь dražьšь dražьšь juněišь juněišь juněišь
D dražьšemъ dražьšemъ dražьšamъ juněišemъ juněišemъ juněišamъ
A dražьšę dražьša dražьšę juněišę juněiša juněišę
L dražьšixь dražьšixь dražьšaxь juněišixь juněišixь juněišaxь
I dražьši dražьši dražьšami juněiši juněiši juněišami
Superlative

The superlative is formed:

  1. by adding the prefix nai- to the comparative base: naidražii, naitęžьši, naigrǫble;
  2. by combining the comparative form with the pronoun vьsego/vьsěxъ: nověi vьsego, dražii vьsěxъ.

The absolute superlative is formed:

  1. by adding the prefix prě- to the positive: prědragъ, prěnova, prěstaro;
  2. by using the adverb Ʒělo with the positive: Ʒělo dragъ, Ʒělo nova, Ʒělo staro.

Numerals

Cardinals

1 jedinъ (m), jedina (f), jedino (n)
2 dъva (m), dъvě (f and n)
3 tri (m), trьje (f and n)
4 četyri (m), četyre (f and n)
5 pętь
6 šestь
7 sedmь
8 osmь
9 devętь
10 desętь
11 jedin-ъ/a/o na desęte
12 dъv-a/ě na desęte
20 dъva desęti
21 dъva desęti i jedin-ъ/a/o
22 dъva desęti i dъv-a/ě
30 trije desęte
40 četyre desęte
50 pętь desętь
60 šestь desętь
70 sedmь desętь
80 osmь desętь
90 devętь desętь
100 sъto
200 dъvě sъtě
300 tri sъta
400 četyre sъta
500 pętь sъtъ
1 000 tysęšti, tysǫšti
2 000 dъvě tysǫšti
5 000 pętь tysǫštь
10 000 desętь tysǫštь or tьma
20 000 dъvadesęti tysǫštь or dъvě tьmě
100 000 sъto tysǫštь or leĝeonъ
Declension of cardinal numbers
1 pronominal declension jedinъ − jedinogo, jedina − jedinoję
2 pronominal declension, only in dual
3 undergoes i-stem declension, plural forms only
4 exactly like trьje, tri, except for the nominative and genitive which undergo consonant-stem declension
5−10 undergoes i-stem declension, only in singular, except for desętь which also has dual and plural forms
11−19 only the first component is inflected, e.g. jedinomu na desęte
20, 30, 40 both components are inflected, e.g. dъvěma desętьma, trьmь desętьmь
50−90 only the first component is inflected, e.g. pętijǫ desętь
sъto is declined as selo, tysęšti as bogyni, tьma as žena, leĝeonъ as rabъ

Ordinals

1 prъvyi, prъvaja, prъvoje
2 vъtoryi, vъtoraja, vъtoroje
3 tretii, tretijaja, tretijeje
4 četvrъyi, četvrъaja, četvrъoje
5 pętyi, pętaja, pętoje
11 prъvyi / prъvaja / prъvoje na desęte
20 dъvadesętьn-yi/aja/oje
21 dъvadesętьn-yi/aja/oje prъv-yi/aja/oje
60 šestьdesętьn-yi/aja/oje
100 sъtъn-yi/aja/oje
1 000 tysǫĉьn-yi/aja/oje

All ordinals are inflected like the corresponding adjectives.

Verbs

Present

The present tense is formed by adding present-tense endings onto the present tense stem, which itself is sometimes hidden due to sound changes that have occurred in the past (more common verbs are listed):

  • bosti (bod-), vesti (ved- or vez-), krasti (krad-), iti (id-)
  • plesti (plet-), mesti (met-), greti (greb-), krasti (krad-)
  • rešti (rek-), pešti (pek-), mošti (mog-), tešti (tek-)

There are several classes of verbs:

1. e-type verbs add the interfix -e- to the present stem (except in front of ) and the endings:

Verb Singular Plural Dual

bosti (bod-)

1. bod -ǫ
2. bod -e + -ši
3. bod -e + -

1. bod -e + -
2. bod -e + -te
3. bod -ǫtъ

1. bod -e + -
2. bod -e + -ta
3. bod -e + -te

rešti (rek-)

1. rek -ǫ
2. reč -e + -ši
3. reč -e + -

1. reč -e + -
2. reč -e + -te
3. rek -ǫtъ

1. reč -e + -
2. reč -e + -ta
3. reč -e + -te

2. i-type verbs exhibit the same set of endings, but this time the interfix is -i- (except in front of and ). In the first person singular one finds the processes of iotation (k/c + j > č, g/z + j > ž, x/s + j > š, l + j > lj, n + j > nj, t + j > št, d + j > žd) and epenthesis (bj > blj, pj > plj, mj > mlj, vj > vlj):

Verb Singular Plural Dual

xvaliti (xval-)

1. xval + -j + -ǫ
2. xval -i + -ši
3. xval -i + -

1. xval -i + -
2. xval -i + -te
3. xval -ętъ

1. xval -i + -
2. xval -i + -ta
3. xval -i + -te

ljubiti (ljub-)

1. ljub + -lj + -ǫ
2. ljub -i + -ši
3. ljub -i + -

1. ljub -i + -
2. ljub -i + -te
3. ljub -ętъ

1. ljub -i + -
2. ljub -i + -ta
3. ljub -i + -te

3. The athematic verbs byti, dati, věděti, iměti and jasti form the present tense irregularly:

Verb Singular Plural Dual

byti

1. jesmь
2. jesi
3. jestъ

1. jesmъ
2. jeste
3. sǫtъ

1. jesvě
2. jesta
3. jeste

věděti

1. věmь
2. věsi
3. věstъ

1. věmъ
2. věste
3. vědętъ

1. věvě
2. věsta
3. věste

iměti

1. imamь
2. imaši
3. imatъ

1. imamъ
2. imate
3. imǫtъ

1. imavě
2. imata
3. imate

jasti

1. jamь
2. jasi
3. jastъ

1. jamъ
2. jaste
3. jadętъ

1. javě
2. jasta
3. jaste

One should distinguish the verbs iměti (imamь, imaši, imatъ), imati (jemljǫ, jemleši, jemletъ) and jęti (imǫ, imeši, imetъ). Exceptional is also the verb xotěti which exhibits iotation even though it's not an i-type verb (xoštǫ, xošteši, xoštetъ).

Asigmatic aorist

The asigmatic aorist (also called root or simple aorist) was named after the loss of the phoneme /s/ in the inflection (AGr. sigma), i.e. there is no VsV > VxV change (intervocalic /s/ yielding /x/). Over time, the asigmatic aorist became increasingly marked as an archaic language feature and was eventually replaced by the other two aorist formations.

The asigmatic aorist was formed by adding to the infinitive stem of e-type verbs with stem ending in a consonant (i.e. verbs with the infix -nǫ-, which is dropped before the aorist endings, and verbs with the null infix) the following endings: -ъ, -e, -e; -omъ, -ete, ; -ově, -eta, -ete.

Verb Singular Plural Dual

pasti (pad-)

1. pad -ъ
2. pad -e
3. pad -e

1. pad -omъ
2. pad -ete
3. pad -ǫ

1. pad -ově
2. pad -eta
3. pad -ete

tešti (tek-)

1. tek -ъ
2. teč -e
3. teč -e

1. tek -omъ
2. teč -ete
3. tek -ǫ

1. tek -ově
2. teč -eta
3. teč -ete

mošti (mog-)

1. mog -ъ
2. mož -e
3. mož -e

1. mog -omъ
2. mož -ete
3. mog -ǫ

1. mog -ově
2. mož -eta
3. mož -ete

dvignǫti (dvig-)

1. dvig -ъ
2. dviž -e
3. dviž -e

1. dvig -omъ
2. dviž -ete
3. dvig -ǫ

1. dvig -ově
2. dviž -eta
3. dviž -ete

Sigmatic aorist

The sigmatic or s-aorist was formed in the following ways:

  • Verbs whose stem ends in b, p, d, t, z, s form this aorist by dropping the final consonant and adding the interfix -s- plus the endings -ъ, -, -; -omъ, -te, -ę; -ově, -ta, -te. Intervocalic sigma (s) exhibits no change. As a side effect, e is lengthened to ě, and o to a.
  • Verbs whose stem ends in r or k form this aorist in the same way as previously mentioned, except that intervocalic sigma (s) changes into x, the same set of endings being suffixed to the interfix. As a side effect, e is lengthened to ě, and o to a.
The 2nd and 3rd person singular forms of these verbs are not attested, so the sigmatic aorist forms are used as a replacement.
  • Verbs whose stem ends in a vowel form this aorist by suffixing exactly the same set of endings to the infinitive stem, and intervocalic -s- changes into -x-.
The 2nd and 3rd person singular forms of these verbs match the infinitive due to the elision of word-final sigma.
Verb Singular Plural Dual

xvaliti (xvali-)

1. xvali -x -ъ
2. xvali
3. xvali

1. xvali -x -omъ
2. xvali -s -te
3. xvali -š -ę

1. xvali -x -ově
2. xvali -s -ta
3. xvali -s -te

tešti (tek-)

1. těxъ (tek -s -ъ)
2. teče
3. teče

1. těxomъ (tek -s -omъ)
2. těste
3. těšę

1. těxově (tek -s -ově)
2. těsta
3. těste

greti (greb-)

1. grěsъ
2. grebe
3. grebe

1. grěsomъ
2. grěste
3. grěsę

1. grěsově
2. grěsta
3. grěste

bosti (bod-)

1. basъ
2. bode
3. bode

1. basomъ
2. baste
3. basę

1. basově
2. basta
3. baste

New aorist

The new aorist (also known as ox-aorist) is formed by suffixing to the infinitive stem of e-type verbs ending in a consonant (verbs with the interfix -nǫ- and verbs with the null interfix) the interfix -os- (-ox) and onto it the endings -ъ, -, -; -omъ, -te, -ę; -ově, -ta, -te. Intervocalic sigma s changes into x.

The 2nd and the 3rd person singular forms are not attested and thus the asigmatic aorist forms are taken as a replacement.

Verb Singular Plural Dual

krasti (krad-)

1. krad -ox -ъ
2. (krad -e)
3. (krad -e)

1. krad -ox -omъ
2. krad -os -te
3. krad - -ę

1. krad -ox -ově
2. krad -os -ta
3. krad -os -te

rešti (rek-)

1. rek -ox -ъ
2. (reč -e)
3. (reč -e)

1. rek -ox -omъ
2. rek -os -te
3. rek - -ę

1. rek -ox -ově
2. rek -os -ta
3. rek -os -te

iti (id-)

1. id -ox -ъ
2. (id -e)
3. (id -e)

1. id -ox -omъ
2. id -os -te
3. id - -ę

1. id -ox -ově
2. id -os -ta
3. id -os -te

Imperfect

There are two ways of forming the imperfect:

1. If the infinitive stems ends in -a or , the interfix -ax- is appended (which changes to -aš- according to the first palatalization in front of e) and onto it, the endings of the asigmatic aorist: -ъ, -e, -e; -omъ, -ete, ; -ově, -eta, -ete.

Verb Singular Plural Dual

glagolati (glagola-)

1. glagola -ax -ъ
2. glagola - -e
3. glagola - -e

1. glagola -ax -omъ
2. glagola - -ete
3. glagola -ax -ǫ

1. glagola -ax -ově
2. glagola - -eta
3. glagola - -ete

viděti (vidě-)

1. vidě -ax -ъ
2. vidě - -e
3. vidě - -e

1. vidě -ax -omъ
2. vidě - -ete
3. vidě -ax -ǫ

1. vidě -ax -ově
2. vidě - -eta
3. vidě - -ete

2. The other way of forming the imperfect, applying to all other verbal stems, is by adding onto the present stem the interfix -ax- (which, in accordance with the first palatalization, is changed to -aš- in front of e) and onto it the endings of asigmatic aorist: -ъ, -e, -e; -omъ, -ete, ; -ově, -eta, -ete.

Verb Singular Plural Dual

zъvati (zov-)

1. zov -ě -ax -ъ
2. zov -ě - -e
3. zov -ě - -e

1. zov -ě -ax -omъ
2. zov -ě - -ete
3. zov -ě -ax -ǫ

1. zov -ě -ax -ově
2. zov -ě - -eta
3. zov -ě - -ete

bosti (bod-)

1. bod -ě -ax -ъ
2. bod -ě - -e
3. bod -ě - -e

1. bod -ě -ax -omъ
2. bod -ě - -ete
3. bod -ě -ax -ǫ

1. bod -ě -ax -ově
2. bod -ě - -eta
3. bod -ě - -ete

Both of these imperfect formations often occur side by side in verbs with stem alternation:

  • bъrati (bъra-; ber-) > bъraaxъ or berěaxъ
  • gъnati (gъna-; žen-) > gъnaaxъ or ženěaxъ
  • plьvati (plьva-; pljuj-) > plьvaaxъ or pljujěaxъ
  • zъvati (zъva-; zov-) > zъvaaxъ or zověaxъ

In the texts of the OCS canon the forms are often contracted, so that ěax becomes ěx and aax becomes ax. An illustrating example is in Chernorizets Hrabar's famous work O pismenex "An Account of Letters":

Prěžde ubo slověne ne iměxǫ knigъ, črъtami i rězami čьtěxǫ i gataaxǫ, pogani sǫšte.

Some forms exhibit sound changes, namely palatalization or iotation in front of ě, yat thus turning into a. The same applies if the stem ends in j which is then reduced in front of yat and yat again changes into a:

  • xvaliti (xval-) > xval + ě + axъ > xvaljaaxъ
  • nositi (nos-) > nos + ě + axъ > nošaaxъ
  • pešti (pek-) > pek + ě + axъ > pečaaxъ
  • čuti (čuj-) > čuj + ě + axъ > čujaaxъ

That the second form and not the first is the original one (the first being formed by the change of yat to a) is confirmed by the imperfect paradigm of the verb byti:

Verb Singular Plural Dual

byti

1. běaxъ
2. běaše
3. běaše

1. běaxomъ
2. běašete
3. běaxǫ

1. běaxově
2. běašeta
3. běašete

Participles

Present active participle

The present active participle is formed by adding the following endings to the present stem:

1. e-type verbs and athematic verbs:

  • present stem + -y (masculine and neuter) and -ǫšti (feminine)
(e.g. greti (greb-) > greby; grebǫšti)

2. e-type verbs whose present stem ends in a palatal:

  • present stem + (masculine and neuter) and -ǫšti (feminine)
(e.g. kupovati (kupuj-) > kupuję, kupujǫšti)

3. i-type verbs:

  • present stem + (masculine and neuter) and -ęšti (feminine)
(e.g. ljubiti (ljub-) > ljubę, ljubęšti)
Present passive participle

The present passive participle is formed by suffixing to the present stem the endings -o/e/i + m + ъ/a/o (masculine, feminine, neuter):

1. e-type verbs and athematic verbs:

  • present stem + o + m + ъ/a/o
(e.g. pešti (pek-) > pekomъ, pekoma, pekomo)

2. e-type verbs whose stem ends in a palatal:

  • present stem + e + m + ъ/a/o
(e.g. želeti (želj-) > željemъ, željema, željemo)

3. i-type verbs:

  • present stem + i + m + ъ/a/o
(e.g. xvaliti (xval-) > xvalimъ, xvalima, xvalimo)
Past active participle

The past active participle is formed by suffixing to the infinitive stem the following endings:

1. e-type verbs and athematic verbs:

  • infinitive stem + (masculine and neuter) or -ъši (feminine)
(e.g. bosti (bod-) > bodъ, bodъši)

2. i-type verbs exhibit epenthetic v, which eliminates hiatus:

  • infinitive stem + -vъ (masculine and neuter) or -vъši (feminine)
(e.g. xvaliti (xvali-) > xvalъ, xvalъši)

The latter i-type verbs have twofold forms of this participle - the mentioned one of older origin, and a newer one which arose due to analogical leveling:

  • nositi (nosi-) > nošъ, nošъši (by iotation from + jъ, jъši) or nosivъ, nosivъši
  • roditi (rod-) > roždъ, roždъši (by iotation from + jъ, jъši) or rodivъ, rodivъši

3. Verbs with liquid metathesis form this participle from its older stem form:

  • mrěti (< *merti) > mьrъ, mьrъši (and not mrěvъ, mrěvъši)
  • prostrěti (< *prosterti) > prostьrъ, prostьrъši (and not prostrěvъ, prostrěvъši)

4. Irregular participles:

  • iti > šьdъ, šьdъši
  • jaxati > javъ, javъši
l-participle

The l-participle (also known as the resultative participle or second past active participle) is formed by adding to the infinitive stem the interfix -l- and the endings ъ/a/o. If the stem ends in -t or -d, this consonant is dropped.

  • xvaliti (xvali) > xvalilъ, xvalila, xvalilo
  • plesti (plet-) > plelъ, plela, plelo
Past passive participle

The past passive participle is formed by suffixing to the infinitive stem the following endings:

1. Verbs with stem ending in a consonant, -y or -i:

  • infinitive stem + en + ъ/a/o
(e.g. bosti (bod-) > bodenъ, bodena, bodeno)
(e.g. nositi (nosi-) > nošenъ, nošena, nošeno - by iotation from nosi + enъ > nosjenъ > nošenъ)
(e.g. umyti with interfix -ъv- > umъvenъ, umъvena, umъveno)

2. Verbs with stem ending in -a or :

  • infinitive stem + n + ъ/a/o
(e.g. glagolati (glagola-) > glagolanъ, glagolana, glagolano)
(e.g. viděti (vidě-) > vižden, viždena, viždeno - by iotation from viděn, viděna, viděno)

3. Verbs with stem ending in , -u, -i and (obtained by liquid metathesis):

  • infinitive stem + t + ъ/a/o
(e.g. klęti (klę-) > klętъ, klęta, klęto)
(e.g. obuti (obu-) > obutъ, obuta, obuto)
(e.g. mrěti (mrě-) > mrětъ, mrěta, mrěto)
(e.g. viti (vi-) > vitъ, vita, vito)

Of the latter verbs, those with stem ending in -i (viti, biti etc.) can also form the past passive participle like the verbs in the first group: bitъ or bijenъ, vitъ or vijenъ etc.).

Compound tenses

Perfect

The perfect is formed by combining the l-participle with the imperfective present forms of the auxiliary verb byti.

  • nosilъ/a/o jesmь, jesi, jestъ
  • nosili/y/a jesmъ, jeste, sǫtь
  • nosila/ě/ě jesvě, jesta, jeste
Pluperfect

The pluperfect can be formed in multiple ways, by combining the l-participle with the perfect, imperfect or aorist formation of the auxiliary verb byti.

  • nosilъ/a/o bylъ/a/o jesmь or běaxъ or běxъ
  • nosili/y/a byli/y/a jesmъ or běaxomъ or běxomъ
  • nosila/ě/ě byla/ě/ě jesvě or běaxově or běxově
Future

The future tense is usually expressed using the present tense form of the perfective verb. Imperfective verbs form the future tense by combining the auxiliary verb (byti, xotěti, načęti, iměti) and the infinitive.

  • bǫdǫ / xoštǫ / načьnǫ / imamь xvaliti
Future perfect

The future perfect is formed by combining the l-participle with the with the perfective present of the auxiliary verb byti.

  • nosilъ/a/o bǫdǫ, bǫdeši, bǫdetъ
  • nosili/y/a bǫdemъ, bǫdete, bǫdǫtъ
  • nosila/ě/ě bǫdevě, bǫdeta, bǫdete
Conditional

The conditional (or conditional-optative) modal formation is formed by combining the l-participle with special modal forms of the auxiliary verb byti (with unattested dual forms).

  • nosilъ/a/o bimь, bi, bi
  • nosili/y/a bimъ (bixomъ), biste, (byšę)

The alternate forms in the plural are formed by analogy with the aorist.

Adverbs

Primary adverbs

These are original adverbs with difficult to guess etymology and origin.

  • abьje (abije) = right away
  • jedъva = hardly, barely
  • ješte = yet, still
  • nyně = now, today
  • paky = again, back
  • (j)uže = already

Derived adverbs

Pronominal adverbs

Pronominal adverbs are derived by suffixing pronouns (e.g. ov + amo = ovamo, + de = kъde):

  • -amo = direction of movement (tamo, kamo, onamo)
  • -ako / -ače = way, mode, manner (tako, inako, inače)
  • -de = place (sьde, onude, vьsьde)
  • -gda = time (tъgda, kъgda, egda)
  • -lь / -li / / -lě / -lьma / -lьmi = measure, amount (kolь, kolě, kolьmi)
Nominal adverbs

Nominal adverbs are derived from nominals or turn by conversion to adverbs which are in fact inflective lexemes with adverbial semantics.

Modal adverbs are created with the suffixes -o or (the endings of accusative and locative singular neuter gender respectively), with no difference in meanings between suffixes, although some adverbs have only the forms in -o (veselo), and some in (javě).

Modal adverbs could also be formed deadjectivally by means of the interfix -ьsk- and the ending -y (by origin, the instrumental plural ending; e.g. slověnьsky).

Adverbs could also be formed with the suffix (pravь, različь) and are by origin probably inherited Proto-Slavic accusative forms.

Frequently occurring are the adverbialized a-stem instrumentals such as jednьnojǫ and also adverbially used oblique cases.

Locative adverbs are by origin mostly petrified locative case forms of nouns: gorě, dolě, nizu, and the same can be said for temporal adverbs: zimě, polu dьne.

Prepositions

Primary prepositions

The primary and non-derived prepositions are of PIE and PSl. heritage:

  • bez "without" + G
  • iz or is "from, out" + G
    izdrǫky < iz rǫky — from the hand
  • "to, for, unto" + D
    ..reče že Marθa kъ Iisusu.. — and Martha said unto Jesus
  • na "on, to, upon" + A (denoting direction) or L (denoting place)
    zlijašę ognь na zemьjǫ — they poured fire on earth
  • nadъ "on, upon, over" + A (denoting direction) or I (denoting place)
    nadъ glavǫ — over the head
  • o or ob "over, round, about" + A (denoting direction) or L (denoting place)
    ob noštь vьsǫ — the whole night through
  • otъ "from, away" + G
    otъ nebese — from heaven
  • po originally "under, below" + D (extension in space), A (extension in space or time) or L (temporal and local)
    po vьsę grady — through all towns
    po tomь že — after that
    po morjǫ xodę — walking over the sea
  • podъ "under, beneath" + A (denoting direction) or I (denoting situation, location)
    podъ nogy, podъ nogama — under the feet
  • pri "at, at the time" + L
    pri vraƷěxъ — among the heathen
  • prědъ "in front of, before" + A (denoting direction) or I (denoting situation)
    prědъ gradomь — in the vicinity of the city
  • "for the extent of" + A, "from, off, away" + G, "with" + I (denoting association, not instrument)
    sъ lakъtь — a cubit long
    sъ nebese — down from heaven
    sъ nimь — with him
  • u "at, in" + G
    u dvьrьcь — at the doors
  • "in" + A (denoting direction) or L (denoting place)
    vъ tъ dьnь — that day
    vъ kupě — together
  • vъz or vъs "for, in exchange for" + A
    vъs kǫjǫ — why?
  • za "for, after, behind" + A (denoting direction), I (denoting place) or G (in the sense "because")
    ęti za vlasy — to seize by the hair

Secondary prepositions

The secondary prepositions are derived from adverbial expressions: vьslědъ from vь slědъ, prěžde is a comparative form of prědъ etc.

Conjunctions and particles

Conjunctions and particles are not easily separable because they sometimes function as an intensifier, and sometimes as a conjunction.

  • a, ali "but" - (proclitic), setting two parts of a statement in opposition
  • ako, jako, ěko "that, so that, how, when, as" - (proclitic) introducing indirect or direct speech; highly context-dependent
  • ašte "if, whether" - (proclitic) a conditional particle, also used to generalize relative pronouns
  • bo "for, because" - (enclitic) denoting caustive relationships (i + bo = ibo, u + bo = ubo)
  • da "in order that" - (proclitic) introducing final result
  • i "and; even, too" - (proclitic) connecting clauses or used as an adverb within a clause
  • ide "for, since" - (proclitic)
  • jegda, jegdaže "when, if" - (proclitic)
  • jeda "surely not" - (proclitic), introducing a question expecting a negative answer
  • li "or", li...li "either... or" - (proclitic or enclitic) generally when forming a question; when enclitic, usually a direct question, when proclitic, taking the meaning "or"
  • ne "not", ne...ni "neither... nor" - ne generally occurs before the negated item, occurring usually once in the main clause, but ni may occur several times in the same clause
  • "but" - (proclitic) connecting two clauses
  • to "then, so" - (proclitic) correlative to ašte
  • že "on the other hand, or, and" - (enclitic) the commonest particle functioning both as an intensifier and a conjunction; often bound to pronouns and adverbs (jakože, nikъto že)

Syntax

Notes

  1. ^ cited after Huntley (1993, pp. 126–127)
  2. ^ Huntley (1993, pp. 127–128)
  3. ^ Syllabic sonorant, written with jer in superscript, as opposed to the regular sequence of /r/ followed by a /ь/.
  4. ^ a b Huntley (1993, p. 133)

References

  • Damjanović, Stjepan (2004) (in Croatian), Slovo iskona, Zagreb: Matica hrvatska, ISBN 953-150-567-5 
  • Hamm, Josip (1974) (in Croatian), Staroslavenska gramatika, Zagreb: Školska knjiga 
  • Damjanović, Stjepan (2003) (in Croatian), Staroslavenski jezik, Zagreb: Hrvatska sveučilišna naklada, ISBN 953-169-095-2 
  • Huntley, David (1993), "Old Church Slavonic", in Bernard Comrie and Greville G. Corbett, The Slavonic languages, London & New York: Routledge, ISBN 978-0415280785 

External links


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