THE USE OF THE RUTHENIAN LANGUAGE IN ECCLESIASTICAL BOOKS AND ITS RELATION TO THE RELIGIOUS IDENTITIES IN THE RUTHENIAN LANDS OF THE GRAND DUCHY OF LI Cover Image

BAŽNYTINĖS KNYGOS RUSĖNŲ KALBA IR RELIGINIAI IDENTITETAI SLAVIŠKOSE LIETUVOS DIDŽIOSIOS KUNIGAIKŠTYSTĖS ŽEMĖSE XIV–XVIIIAMŽIUJE: PROTESTANTŲ IR UNITŲ
THE USE OF THE RUTHENIAN LANGUAGE IN ECCLESIASTICAL BOOKS AND ITS RELATION TO THE RELIGIOUS IDENTITIES IN THE RUTHENIAN LANDS OF THE GRAND DUCHY OF LI

Author(s): Sergejus Temčinas
Subject(s): History
Published by: Vilniaus Universiteto Leidykla

Summary/Abstract: The paper aims at describing the use of the Ruthenian language in ecclesiastical books in its relation to the religious identities in the Ruthenian lands of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDL) in the 14th–18th centuries. The Eastern Orthodox written tradition was described in this respect in a previous article, published by the author in 2008. The present study, based on the same methodology, focuses on both the Protestant and Uniat written traditions. The main focus is placed on the features of bi- and multilingualism (including the presence of certain Old Church Slavonic elements in the texts written in Ruthenian) which help us reconstruct different attitudes toward the use of the two Slavic written languages in the Ruthenian lands of the GDL. The ultimate task is to identify and describe the peculiarities of the use of Ruthenian (as the official language of the GDL) in the Protestant and Uniat ecclesiastical writings. The research is based on both secondary literature and primary sources (still unpublished) kept in Lithuanian and foreign manuscript repositories. A fter having researched the use of the Ruthenian language in the three – Eastern Orthodox, Protestant and Uniat – confessional traditions it is now possible to describe in more details the functional distribution of the two – Ruthenian and Old Church Slavonic – written languages within the Cyrillic written tradition of the GDL. The author argues that this distribution is dependent on the hierarchy of ecclesiastical texts, as it was perceived during the 14th–18th centuries. The closing part of the paper presents the semiotization of the alphabet as a cultural phenomenon which was apparently unique to the written tradition of the GDL: the alphabet (and not the linguistic structure of any level: vocabulary, grammar or syntax) was understood as the main feature and the most important symbol of a specific language. As a result, a simple transliteration from one alphabet into another was perceived as a translation from one language into another. In conclusion the main linguistic processes which took place in the Protestant and Uniat ecclesiastical writings, and generally in the Cyrillic tradition of the GDL are described.

  • Issue Year: 2011
  • Issue No: 28
  • Page Range: 44-59
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: Lithuanian