Monday, July 31, 2006

hey isn't about republican politics?

Interesting news story:

Friday, July 28, 2006

I've been tagged...

Gack Sean, I hate these things...

Anyway, here goes.

1. One book that changed your life:
The Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther

2. One book that you’ve read more than once:
The Silmarillion

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:
Is there a combination Bible-and-Hymnal?

4. One book that made you laugh:
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

5. One book that made you cry:
Books don't make me cry.

6. One book that you wish had been written:
How to get your annoying little brothers to shut up

7. One book that you wish had never been written
The Purpose Driven Life

8. The book you are currently reading:
The Shape of the Liturgy by Dom Gregory Dix

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read
The Brothers Karamazov. I keep forgetting to get it when I go to the library.

10. Now tag five people:
I don't know who to tag. If you see this and want to do it, pretend I tagged you. :-P

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Feast of Prince St. Volodymyr, Baptizer of Kyiv

To commemorate this occasion, I give you the account of the Baptism of Kyiv from the Primary Chronicle, translated from my Ukrainian copy: [my editorial insertions from other sources will be in brackets]

"After this Volodymyr took his queen and Anastasius, and said farewell to the people of Korsun. With him, he took church vestments and Greek icons....When he arrived in Kyiv, he began to fell all of the idols - some he chopped down, and others he burned. He ordered Perun to be tied to the tail of a horse and to pull it down from the hill to the river Pochaina. And he placed 12 of his men on the way, that they might whip the idol on its way down. He did this not because the wood feels anything, but to humiliate the demon which had kept the people in this bondage, that he might now receive his punishment from the people.

"Great are you, O Lord, and wondrous are your works! Yesterday you were shunned by the people, and today you are praised!

"While they were pulling Perun to the Pochaina, the unbelieving people wept for him; all of those who were not yet baptized. And, arriving at the shore, they threw him into the Dnieper...[and some of the people jumped into the water and swam after him, crying: 'Vydubai, Bozhe! - Save yourself, O God!' These men all drowned. And on the place where the idol washed ashore, there was later built a monastery, by the name of Vydubytsky.]

"And Volodymyr sent his men to announce to the entire city:

If somebody does not show up at the river tomorrow - whether he be rich or poor, free or slave - he shall be my enemy.

Hearing this, the people came to the river, rejoicing and saying:

If this was not a good thing, then the Prince and the Boyars would not have adopted it.

[However, those who did not want to be baptized escaped from the city and hid in the forests.]

The next day, Volodymyr went out to the river with the priests from Korsun, and the people gathered around him. They went into the water, so that some were standing up to their necks, and others to their chest. Some were carrying children, and the youth stood in the shallows. The priests stood on the shore and said the prayers. The people, having been baptized, went out to their homes. And Volodymyr began to build churches, raising them on those places where once had stood the wooden idols. He placed the church of St. Basil on that hill where once had stood Perun and other gods, and where the Prince and people had bowed down to them. In other towns, they also began to build churches and baptize the people - in all the cities and villages. [according to other historical sources, as well as oral traditions ;-), the conversion of the other cities wasn't quite as peaceful as that of Kyiv, and they were said to have been baptized with "the cross and the sword".]

"The Prince sent out his men to collect the brightest children and give them to the priests, to be educated, and the mothers of the children cried for them, as for the dead. And this saying arose among the Rus:

The old has died and withered, now everything is becoming new.

"And Volodymyr shone among the pagans, as did his sons and his land."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Linguistic rant

I'm getting tired of people saying that Ukrainian is descended from/related to Russian. It isn't. The two languages are related by virtue of being in the same family, but they're not even cousins.

European Russia was originally populated by Finnish-Hungarian tribes.
Russian came about when one of the sons of a Kyivan prince ran away from home, met up with a local chief, who gave him his daughter, and founded Moscow, complete with a church and priest. The language of the church was Church Slavonic. Russian is basically a mixture of Church Slavonic, spoken by the church and aristocracy, and local Finnish-Hungarian dialects, spoken by the commoners. The integration eventually brought about Russian.

Ukrainian is a descendant of the common language spoken by the Rus under the Kyivan princedom. Church Slavonic was the language of the church and the literary language, rather like ecclesiastical Latin, but did not particularly influence the vulgar language. This is actually evidenced in the Slavic chronicles, which are written in Church Slavonic, but with unavoidable traces of the vulgar language mixed in.

Russian does have some Ukrainian influence though - during the days of the Russian empire, they brought in Ukrainian tutors and educated elite, who taught in the Ukrainian language.