Церковные ВѢХИ

Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. Outside the Church there is no salvation, because salvation is the Church. For salvation is the revelation of the way for everyone who believes in Christ's name. This revelation is to be found only in the Church. In the Church, as in the Body of Christ, in its theanthropic organism, the mystery of incarnation, the mystery of the "two natures," indissolubly united, is continually accomplished. -Fr. Georges Florovsky


§ 20. For our faith, brethren, is not of men nor by man, but by revelation of Jesus Christ, which the divine Apostles preached, the holy Ecumenical Councils confirmed, the greatest and wisest teachers of the world handed down in succession, and the shed blood of the holy martyrs ratified. Let us hold fast to the confession which we have received unadulterated from such men, turning away from every novelty as a suggestion of the devil. He that accepts a novelty reproaches with deficiency the preached Orthodox Faith. But that Faith has long ago been sealed in completeness, not to admit of diminution or increase, or any change whatever; and he who dares to do, or advise, or think of such a thing has already denied the faith of Christ, has already of his own accord been struck with an eternal anathema, for blaspheming the Holy Ghost as not having spoken fully in the Scriptures and through the Ecumenical Councils. This fearful anathema, brethren and sons beloved in Christ, we do not pronounce today, but our Savior first pronounced it (Matt. xii. 32): Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. St. Paul pronounced the same anathema (Gal. i. 6): I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another Gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. This same anathema the Seven Ecumenical Councils and the whole choir of God-serving fathers pronounced. All, therefore, innovating, either by heresy or schism, have voluntarily clothed themselves, according to the Psalm (cix. 18), ("with a curse as with a garment,") whether they be Popes, or Patriarchs, or Clergy, or Laity; nay, if any one, though an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. Thus our wise fathers, obedient to the soul-saving words of St. Paul, were established firm and steadfast in the faith handed down unbrokenly to them, and preserved it unchanged and uncontaminate in the midst of so many heresies, and have delivered it to us pure and undefiled, as it came pure from the mouth of the first servants of the Word. Let us, too, thus wise, transmit it, pure as we have received it, to coming generations, altering nothing, that they may be, as we are, full of confidence, and with nothing to be ashamed of when speaking of the faith of their forefathers. - Encyclical of the Holy Eastern Patriarchs of 1848

За ВѢру Царя И Отечество

За ВѢру Царя И Отечество
«Кто еси мимо грядый о нас невѣдущиiй, Елицы здѣ естесмо положены сущи, Понеже нам страсть и смерть повѣлѣ молчати, Сей камень возопiетъ о насъ ти вѣщати, И за правду и вѣрность къ Монарсѣ нашу Страданiя и смерти испiймо чашу, Злуданьем Мазепы, всевѣчно правы, Посѣченны зоставше топоромъ во главы; Почиваемъ въ семъ мѣстѣ Матери Владычнѣ, Подающiя всѣмъ своимъ рабомъ животь вѣчный. Року 1708, мѣсяца iюля 15 дня, посѣчены средь Обозу войсковаго, за Бѣлою Церковiю на Борщаговцѣ и Ковшевомъ, благородный Василiй Кочубей, судiя генеральный; Iоаннъ Искра, полковникъ полтавскiй. Привезены же тѣла ихъ iюля 17 въ Кiевъ и того жъ дня въ обители святой Печерской на семъ мѣстѣ погребены».

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Cyrillic orthography for the Polish language

Ортографя цырылицка для ѩзыка польскего
Ortografia cyrylicka dla języka polskiego
A Cyrillic orthography for the Polish language

Ever wondered what Polish would look like if it were written in Cyrillic? Perhaps you have. Or not. In any case, I have. That's what happens when you spend half of your life working on language projects that one way or another are related to Polish or the Slavic languages in general. Toying around with Polish, Slavic, as well as with several Slavic orthographies, it is hard not to think about the possibilities of a Cyrillic orthography for Polish.

Many people have argued that Cyrillic would be unsuitable for Polish. I disagree with that opinion. Granted, Polish phonology differs from that of the other Slavic languages in several ways, but these two facts remain: Polish is a completely Slavic language by any standard, and Cyrillic, unlike the Latin alphabet, was made especially to fit Cyrillic phonology, and therefore is perfectly suited for it. Therefore, I am convinced that Polish and Cyrillic are a perfect match. Much more so, in fact, than Polish and the Latin alphabet. Latin orthographies of Slavic languages always have one of the following two disadvantages: either they are full of diacritical marks, or they look horribly like English or another Western language. Slovene manages best, but still has š, ž and č. Other languages have more of those babies. Polish orthography has managed to avoid hačeks, but has a whole bunch of other diacritics instead: ą, ę, ł, ż, ć, ń, ó, ś, ź. Besides, Polish in addition tends to favour digraphs like sz and ie, so Polish words tend to be appear longer than they actually are.

The idea, by the way, is not new at all. If we have to believe Wikipedia, Russia's Tsar Nikolai I intended to cyrillify Polish in the mid-19th century as a means for russification, although, unfortunately, nothing came of his plans.

The future will be more auspicious for Slavic letters, religion (be it Eastern or Western Rite Slavonic Orthodox Christianity) and civilization in Poland, especially in regard to its final rapproachment with its Russian neighbours, Russia, Belarus', The Ukraine, Galician Ruthenia and Carpatho Rus'. The place of Poland in regard to the Russias will finally be settled as a partitioned, vassal state, where historically Russian territories and populations will be reunited with Holy Rus' along with all of Mala Polska, including the city of Cracow, which will serve as the russified capitol of an emergent Rusin state. All Russian territories will be restored. As in Kievan times, Polish Slavs living on those territories will first be transformed into civilized and loyal Slavs and then as a new elan for a new Eastern Polish identity loyal to Holy Rus'. These new, enlightened and enculturated Poles will share in the greatness of a new Russian empire. Western Poland (lands west of the Vistula and Warsaw) will be a semi-independent pleibescite embarking on a programme of centuries of Slavic transformation in culture, letters and religion. Polish ethnic minority populations such as Kashubians will be given autonomy and developed as separate Western Slavic peoples while the Silesians will return from whence they came to a confederation of what was once the Great Moravian empire.

Here is a sample of Polish cyrillic:

Поврóтъ Таты, пр̌езъ А. Мицкевича

Пóйдзьце о дзятки, пóйдзьце вшистке разэм
За място, подъ слупъ на взгóрэкъ,
Тамъ пр̌едъ цудовнымъ клęкнийце образэмъ,
Побожне змóвце пацёрэкъ.

Тато не враца ранки и вечоры
Вэ Лзах го чекамъ и трводзэ;
Розлялы р̌еки, пэлнэ звер̌а боры,
И пэлно збóйцóвъ на дродзэ;-

Слышąцъ то дзятки бегнą вшистке разэмъ
За място подъ слупъ на взгóрэкъ,
Тамъ пр̌едъ цудовнымъ клęкая̨ образемъ,
И зачиная̨ пацёрэкъ.

Цалуя̨ земę, потэмъ въ Имę Ойца,
Сына и Духа свęтэго,
Бąдзь похвалёна пр̌енайсьвęтша Трóйца
Тэразъ и часу вшелькего.


A few pecularities in this text deserve our attention:

the use of the letter р̌ for Polish rz;
the hard sign ъ at the end of many words (a feature common in prerevolutionary Russian);
the fact that Polish ó remains untouched;
this orthography inherits the Polish ogonek and adds it to Cyrillic letters;
the use of ць and дзь where Polish has ć and dź, a feature also present in contemporary Belarusian.

My own Cyrillic orthography for Polish is largely based on the same premises, but there are a few differences as well, which I will describe below. By the way, it should be noted that the transcription quoted above is not the only attempt at a Cyrillic alphabet for Polish. Several people have played with the idea, seriously or less seriously. An interesting example is Jusowica (Юсовица), created by Szymon Pawlas.


The biggest problem related with the Cyrillisation of Polish are sounds that do not exist in other languages, nor do they correspond closely with anything else that exist in them: the nasal vowels ą and ę. The 19th century Russian solution is in fact a pretty funny one: it simply teleports the ogonek to Cyrillic, thus producing four characters that have never seen before in Cyrillic: а̨, э̨, я̨ and е̨ (the latter two representing ją and ję respectively). A funny solution indeed! And an unnecessary one to that, because Old Church Slavonic has precisely four Cyrillic characters for exactly these four sounds: ѫ, ѧ, ѭ and ѩ. True, they are uncommon, because the only living Slavic language that preserved these sounds is Polish, a language that happens to be written in Latin alphabet. But since these letters are around, why shouldn't we simply use them? After all, they exist, and are indefinitely more Cyrillic than Cyrillic letters with ogoneks beneath them. Besides, the choice for а̨ and я̨ is equally unlogical as the Polish letter ą itself, since it is pronounced as nasalised o; it is not for nothing that the Latin transcription of Old Church Slavonic uses ǫ.

Another specifically Polish letter is the ó, pronounced as [u] (its Czech equivalent is ů). The transcription mentioned above conveniently keeps it. But why would we? It has no pronunciation of its own; the only thing that distinguishes it from u is that it alternates with o. Incidentally, mixing up those two is the most common spelling mistake in Polish. As far as I am concerned, there is no reason to keep it. Since miasto alternates with mieście (and not with miæście or something), why can't grud alternate with grodzie? So let's be bold and use у instead.

The characters ć and dź could of course be rendered like Belarusian (and in a way, Polish) does, by using ць and дзь, but I'd much prefer ть and дь. Etymologically speaking, this is more correct; after all ć/dź are the softened equivalents of t/d, not of c/dz. Sequences like ti and di are rare in Polish and occur only in foreign words. In these rare cases, we could write радио and тиара (a Pole will know that they are to be read as radio and tiara and not like radzio or ciara). Or, if we want to be really sure that the t will not be softened in these cases, we could use the hard sign and write радъио and тъиара.
Using ть/дь instead of ць/дзь has one more advantage: now at least will not have to worry about the sequence cja, which is unambiguously rendered as ця.

Same goes for the digraphy rz, which in Polish is pronounced like ż. Another common source of spelling errors. Yet, I wouldn't propose transcribing it to ж, for the same etymological reasons: rz comes from softened r, while ż comes from softened g. The fact that it sounds very different does not change that fact. Therefore, we simply use рь (and not this weird creation from the 19th century, р̌). Just like ti and di, ri is a rare sequence in Polish that occurs only in foreign words, so I propose the same solution for it as well.

And then we have the letter e. Because in Polish palatalising e is way more numerous than its non-palatalising equivalent, we will use Cyrillic e for the former (usually rendered as je or ie) and э for the latter. This is also what the 19th century version does.

The choice for other Cyrillic letters is merely a matter of picking an option. For example, how do we represent i and y? Do we follow the Russian model and pick и/ы or do we prefer the Ukrainian model and pick і/и? Both are possible, but I've decided to follow the Russian model. Also, when preceded by cz, sz or ż we write и instead of ы – just like Russian does. Again, a matter of etymology.

So, let's see now what Cyrylica Polska looks like.



Cyrylica Polska has 37 letters. Exactly the same as the 33 letters of the Russian alphabet, with four additional characters for the nasals:




Every vowel has a hardening and a softening version. Both can occur in two possitions: either it follows a consonant, or it doesn't (in that case it is either word-initial or after another vowel). In Polish orthography, when a softening vowel follows a consonant, it is preceded by i, unless the consonant in question is inherently soft. In other positions this vowel is preceded by j. The only exceptions are i, which is softening by definition, and y, which is never softening.
Just like i and y form a pair, in Cyrillic all vowels come in pairs, as you can see in the table below:

Latin Cyrylica
hard soft hard soft
a ia/ja а я
e ie/je э е
y i ы и

o io/jo о ë

u ió/jó
iu/ju у ю

ą ią/ją ѫ ѭ
ę ię/ję ѧ ѩ


Now that the question of palatalised vs. non-palalalised consonant has been resolved by the vowels that follow them, the consonants have suddenly become very simple to handle. Here goes:

Latin Cyrylica
p п
b б
f ф
w в
t, ć т
d, dź д
s, ś с
z, ź з
k к
g г
h х
Latin Cyrylica
sz ш
ż ж
cz ч
szcz щ
c ц
m м
n н
ł, l л
r, rz р
j й
ь soft sign
ъ hard sign

A few notes:

Most consonants can be soft (palatalised) or hard. Whether a Cyrillic д should be read as d or dź is decided by the consonant that follows it: дэ should be read as de, де should be read as dzie.

If a soft consonant is not followed by a vowel, i.e. when it is word- or syllable-final, it is followed by the soft sign: bat becomes бат, bać becomes бать.
In reality, the soft sign will occur only after т, д, н, л, and р. However, in a few cases it can be placed after another consonant as well, although that wouldn't affect pronunciation. For example, take these two Polish cities: Kraków and Wrocław. When declined, the former has a hard w, the latter a soft w, and so their genitives are Krakowa and Wrocławia respectively. In Cyrillic, we could easily write Вроцлавь for "Wrocław", to make this fact predictable.

Most consonant clusers as palatalised as a whole, and only in a few cases consonants in such a cluster are palatalised individually. Therefore, śmiałość is written смялость, and not сьмялосьть.

The consonant clusters śr and źr (historically from ser-/zer- > srze-/zrze-, in some dialects strz/zdrz or rś/rź) are treated as sr/zr + palataliser: środa therefore becomes срëда, źródło becomes зрюдло.

When a hard consonant is followed by a palatalising vowel, the hard sign is used to prevent it from being palatalised. For example, zjeść is written зъесть, because зесть would be read as zieść.

This alphabet contains the Cyrillic letters щ for szcz, but that is just an arbitrary choice. Russian, Ukrainian and Bulgarian have this letter, Belarusian, Serbian and Macedonian manage without it.


To give an example of Polish Cyrillic, let's use the same text as the one quoted above:

Powrót Taty, przez A. Mickiewicza

Pójdźcie o dziatki, pójdźcie wszystkie razem
Za miasto, pod słup na wzgórek,
Tam przed cudownym klęknijcie obrazem,
Pobożnie zmówcie paciorek.

Tato nie wraca ranki i wieczory
we łzach go czekam i trwodze;
Rozlały rzeki, pełne zwierza bory,
I pełno zbójców na drodze;-

Słysząc to dziatki biegną wszystkie razem
Za miasto pod słup na wzgórek,
Tam przed cudownym klękają obrazem,
I zaczynają paciorek.

Całują ziemię, potem w Imię Ojca,
Syna i Ducha świętego,
Bądź pochwalona przenajświętsza Trójca
Teraz i czasu wszelkiego.

Поврут Таты, през А. Мицкевича

Пуйдьте о дятки, пуйдьте вшистке разэм
За място, под слуп на взгурэк,
Там пред цудовным клѩкнийте образэм,
Побожне змувте патëрэк.

Тато не враца ранки и вечоры
вэ лзах го чекам и трводзэ;
Розлялы реки, пэлнэ зверя боры,
И пэлно збуйцув на дродзэ;-

Слышѫц то дятки бегнѫ вшистке разэм
За място под слуп на взгурэк,
Там пред цудовным клѩкаѭ образэм,
И зачинаѭ патëрэк.

Цалуѭ земѩ, потэм в Имѩ Ойца,
Сына и Духа свѩтэго,
Бѫдь похвалëна пренайсвѩтша Труйца
Тэраз и часу вшелькего.



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