Russian translation of Methodius now online

Some time back I discovered that a Russian translation existed of the works of Methodius of Olympus (d.311 AD).  This is significant, since most of the works of Methodius known today have survived only in Old Slavic, or Old Russian.

The translation was made by Evgraf Loviagin, and the 2nd edition appeared in St. Petersburg in 1905.  A copy exists in the University of Chicago library, and they agreed to digitise this if I sent them $20.  A colleague with a US bank account kindly wrote me a cheque for that amount, and off it went.

This evening I can announce a little Christmas present for us all, courtesy of the University of Chicago: Loviagin is now online.  They haven’t managed to upload the PDF to their own site yet — I’ll post the URL once I know it.  It is undoubtedly public domain, since Loviagin died in 1909.  So I have uploaded it to, where you can access it here.

Not quite sure what it contains.  Here’s the table of contents (from the back, of course):


44 thoughts on “Russian translation of Methodius now online

  1. Anyway, there are some translations from Old Slavic, it seems, made by Archbishop Mikhail Chub. They appeared in two issues of the journal “Bogoslovskie Trudy”. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to find those issues yet.

    About the table of contents… Just a little patience, please, and it will be done. Right now I’m a little busy )


    Editor’s introduction
    About Holy Martyr Methodius’ life and work


    1. “The Banquet Of The Ten Virgins”, or “On Virginity”
    Marcella’s speech
    Theophila’s speech
    Thaleia’s speech
    Theopatra’s speech
    Thallousa’s speech
    Agathe’s speech
    Procilla’s speech
    Thecla’s speech
    Tusiane’s speech
    Domnina’s speech
    Arete’s speech

    2. Homily on Symeon and Anna, for the Feast of the Presentation

    3. Homily for Palm Sunday

    4. Fragments from the following works:
    a) On Free Will, against Valentinian
    b) On Resurrection, against Origen
    c) On Created, against the same

    5. Short extracts from various works

    So, this is the table of contents. I hope my English is passable enough.

  3. The Chub pieces are interesting. Even more interesting would have been the Old Slavic manuscripts…

  4. As far as I see, the first work in these manuscripts is “On Free Will”.

  5. No, they aren’t… It seems the best option available is to download every scan file separately and then combine them in a .pdf or .djvu file…

  6. I can’t say I like DJVu files.

    Yes, I suppose one could — probably should — do that. (groan)

    But it’s still marvellous that they’re there. Were you able to find any other words in those?

  7. Were you able to find any other words in those? – I am not sure I understand. Do you mean another titles? The content?

  8. My mistake! I meant “works” and mistyped! Yes, titles it was. But I may be able to point you to the right folios for each new work — give me a bit of time 🙂

  9. MS. 040: The first work ends on image 168. 169 is blank.

    170 is a new work. This ends on image 176.

    A new work starts on 177. This ends on 196.

    197 starts a new work, which ends on 199.

    200 looks like the start of a big new work. Something happens on 216; also on 227, 230, 242, 259, 261 (?), and ends on 272.

    MS. 041: 1st work starts on 5, ends 203 — there seems to be just one work in it.

  10. 170 is already another author… That work is an epistle of Nikifor, metropolitan of Kiev, to Grand Prince Volodimir. From 200 begins completely another book, about the procession of the Holy Spirit and another matters, of which 197 is the table of contents. No, Roger, it seems to me that the only clue about the beginning of a new work is the different colour of the titles. And subtitles are, too, written in a different colour…

    m. 40 f. 26 recto – “The second discourse on life and rational activity” (or maybe “rational life and activity” – such agreement is possible in Slavic, as far as I know).

    By the way, I am reading Archbishop Chub’s notes to his translation, and I can not agree with some of his opinions… Eg in BT 61 p. 155 he says: “The Greek equivalent of Slavic “inostrannyj” is, undoubtedly, “barbarikos””. In my opinion, he is wrong. The Greek word must be “xenos”, which, just like “inostrannyj”, means “outlandish”, with all the significations, old and new, of this word. If the Greek original had “barbarikos”, the Slavic word would have been, very probably, the direct equivalent “varvarskyj”.

  11. Hm. A second discourse of Methodius on Ressurection? I didn’t know such thing existed. Roger, do you know anything about this?..

  12. m. 40 f. 108 verso – “On discrimination of viands and on the heifer mentioned in Leviticus, with whose ash sinners were sprinkled” (please forgive the probably bad style of my translation)

    Hm. This must be “De cibis”…

  13. m. 40 f. 129 verso – “On the leech in Proverbs and on “the heavens show forth the glory of God””

  14. m. 40 f. 136 recto – this is an epistle of Basil the Great, I think… The rest of the manuscript contains works of another authors.

  15. m. 40 contains two books bound together, I think. The first is practically identical with m. 41 as far as content goes. Almost surely one is a copy of the other or both are copies of the same original manuscript.

  16. Thank you very, very much. That gives us a very good idea of what is in ms. 40. And at last I have a Slavic text of De Lepra!

    Two discourses on the resurrection … hmm, well that is news to me, although what I know about Methodius would fit in a postcard. Just guessing … it isn’t the same work twice, is it? (I’ve seen that sort of thing in some manuscripts).

    I envy you your knowledge of Slavic! I was wishing yesterday, as I looked at the ms., that I had some knowledge of the language.

    I don’t think you said: can you say what is the single work contained in ms. 41? Is it again the discourse on Free Will, as in ms. 40?

    I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to learn that one is a copy of the other. What’s all that stuff — a letter? — at the very front of ms. 40? Does that give any clues?

    It is very kind of you to look at all this. You realise that almost no-one has your language skills?

  17. Ms. 41 contains, as far as I see, the same works of Methodius as ms. 40.

    I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to learn that one is a copy of the other. What’s all that stuff — a letter? — at the very front of ms. 40? Does that give any clues? – I don’t understand – what page are you talking about?

    Of course I want a copy ) Maybe someday, Deo juvante, I will make a full translation in Romanian of all the Methodian works, from both Greek and Slavic…

    When I will have some free time, I will take a look at that “second” discourse on Ressurection.

  18. Hm. For now I can say there are some notes of an unknown researcher from the 19th century. After some conclusions about the copyist – that he was not truly writing, but copying letter after letter not always deciphering them correctly – he says: “Precious manuscript” (you bet:)). And continues with some interesting notes. He says: John Damascene quotes from the second discourse on Ressurection (Orat. 3 De imagin. T.1 p. 389, says he, but he doesn’t indicate the edition), and Photius preserved, from the same work, a short explanation of some Apostolic sayings. There are some other things there, but I haven’t had the time to thoroughly decipher all.

    Some of the scribble there (earlier, I suppose, by another hand) is a real pain in the… head. To decrypt THAT would take some time…

  19. Interesting — thanks — but nothing, then, on copying of one ms to another.

    Some of the scribble may just be pen-trials. So I shouldn’t worry about it.

  20. No, these are not pen trials. There are some notes about Methodius (and other matters?), but the hand is so negligent…

  21. thank you for the interesting links! I found your discussion very useful! I’m studying Methodius of Olympus and I’d be very grateful if you had other similar informations or materials (pdf or other link of manuscripts!). Again, Thank you very much!

  22. I didn’t get that far. It’s hard to work with languages where you don’t know the alphabet. If I could find someone with Greek and Old Slavic then I might try again.

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