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The Church Slavonic lives of st. Vitus

Ladislav Matějka

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 52.713 Kb

str. 73-96

preuzimanja: 435



The Church Slavonic lives of st. Vitus
Medieval Latin hagiography contains several biographies of St. Vitus, the Sicilian martyr of the 4th century and the patron of Bohemia since the 10th century. One of the latin Lives of St. Vitus was translated into Church Slavonic in the early period of the Slavic written culture. The text has been preserved in a cyrillic East Church Slavonic version in the renowned Uspenskij sbornik from the 12/13th century. It was published by A. N. Sobolevskij in 1903. Some parts of this Church Slavonic translation also appear in the 14th century glagolitic service to St. Vitus, found in the Prague Augustinian monastery and published by J. Vajs in 1900. Since Vajs was not aware of the striking parallel between the 12/13th century cyrillic text and the 14th century glagolitic service, he came to the conclusion that the service was translated from Latine in the 14th century by the Croatian Glagolits active in the Prague Slavic monastery founded by Charles IV. In 1948, however, J. Vašica pointed out the obvious textual relation between the cyrillic and glagolitic versions and concluded that both texts necessarily used an older common source or its copies. Moreover, the discovered in a 12/13 century Latin breviary of the Prague Benedictine nuns a Latin text closely corresponding to one section of the Church Slavonic translation and indicating an old tradition of the Life of St. Vitus in the Bohemian area. Since the Latin source of the greater part of the Church Slavinic text remained unknown, only linguistic analysis continued to provide a relevant basis for the assumption that the extensive Life of St. Vitus, preserved in the Uspenskij sbornik, was translated from Latin in its entirety. This assumption is now, however, an empirical fact: recently I found in the 10th century Latin Passionale of the Zagreb Metropolitain Library a Latin text corresponding almost word for word to more than ninety percent of the Church Slavonic Life of St. Vitus in the Uspenskij sbornik. The finding proved additional factual support for the need to re-evaluate the role which Latin and Western culture played in the early formation of the Church Slavonic literature and, implicity, in the beginning of the Russian literacy.
Although the Church Slavonic translation closely corresponds to the Zagreb latin text, in a few instances it is closer to the fragmentary Latin text found by Vašica in the breviary of the Prague Benedictine nuns. The textual comparison leads to the conclusion that the First Church Slavonic Life of St. Vitus, preserved in the Uspenskij sbornik and in the Prague glagolitic service, was translated from a Latin source which was more complete than the Zagreb text.
In distinction from the First Church Slavonic Life of St. Vitus, the Croatian breviaries of the 14th and 15th centuries preserved of a completly different type of a Life of St. Vitus. This Second Church Slavonic Life, appearing merely in the form of a service, represents a translation of a Latin text which was popular in southern Europe and was also included in the large Roman breviary published in Venice in 1521. The translation of this service apparently took place in the 13th century in Croatia when the Croatian Glagolits were reforming their breviary in accordance with the Roman rite it is highly probable that the Croatian type of service to St. Vitus was part of the breviaries which the Croatian Glagolits brought from the south to Prague un the 14th century. In the north, however, the Croatian Glagoltic service to St. Vitus, reflecting the southern hagiographic tradition, was replaced in the process of copying by the First Church Slavonic Life of St. Vitus which was closer to hagiographic tradition in Bohemia. This assumption is supported by the fact that the Prague glagolitic service, which is parallel to the text in the Uspenskij sbornik, is surrounded by a text identical with the Croatian breviaries of the 14th and 15th centuries, while the Prague service itself does not have any known correspondence in any Croatian glagoltic breviary.

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