Sunday, October 13, 2013

Against the stream: translating from English to Slavonic

What an intriguing project!

(ROCOR-MW) - The feast of St. Jonah of Hankow falls on October 7/20 each year. This year that date is a Sunday, and since the complete service to St. Jonah exists only in English, His Grace Bishop Peter of Cleveland, Administrator of the Diocese of Chicago & Mid-America, blessed a group of qualified translators to translate this full service, originally authored in English by Reader Isaac Lamberston, into Church Slavonic. To the best of our knowledge this is the first time that such a translation has taken place, that is, of a service that exists in English into Church Slavonic. It should be noted that portions of the service to St. Jonah were translated in 1996 in preparation for his glorification in the diocese of Chicago & Mid-America, and Western America & San Francisco by Archpriest Serafim Gan. The group preparing the translation of the remainder of the service consists of Yulia Kamchatnova, Natalia Kondrashova, Alexander Kamchatnov, Reader Michael Gill, and Roman Vershynin. The Church Slavonic service to St. Jonah, published with the blessing of His Grace, Bishop Peter, is presently available at no cost on the web site of the Diocese of Chicago & Mid-America:

Slavonic PDF available here.

We ask the prayers of those who utilize the service to St. Jonah for the translators. To find the service in English please visit this link:

English version available here.

To learn more about the life of St. Jonah please visit the links below.

English available here.

Russian available here.

Archpriest Gregory Joyce

Secretary of the Diocesan Council

Diocese of Chicago & Mid-America


  1. I am familiar with him as "St. Jonah of Manchuria". Is usage now shifting to this other name? Thank you.

  2. Odd, even for us Orthodox. It could have run in the old Onion Dome.....

  3. He was officially the bishop of Hancow, but served the city of the then largely Russian border town of Manzhuria (present day Manzhouli), and Manzhuria is Russian for Manchuria (which is the region this town is found in.

  4. David, what is it about this article that is Onion Dome material?

  5. It seems absurd and surreal to translate something from a spoken language into an unspoken language preserved for Church ritual. Its one thing to preserve that which has been in Church Slavonic, entirely a different thing to transliterate into it.

  6. Slavonic is the Liturgical form of the Russian language, and is about 85% the same as modern Russian. It could use some revision, but it is neither a foreign nor a dead language for Russians.

  7. "Slavonic is the Liturgical form of the Russian language, and is about 85% the same as modern Russia"

    Not really.

    1. Fr. Alexander Lebedeff, who has his masters from Yale, says that it is really.

    2. ...his masters from Yale, in Slavic studies.

    3. Im a Russian speaker and it is not the same... 85% must mean that 85% common lexicon, which means word origin, which would probably put in same category as Polish or Serbian in its relation to modern Russian