The Hymn “Only Begotten Son”: Dogmatic Meaning and Russian Translations

2020. № 3, 54-64

Konstantin A. Tsyrelchuk

Sretensky Theological Seminary (Russia, Moscow)



: Since the beginning of the XX century there have been numerous discussions about the liturgical language of Russian Church. The ‘Reviews of Diocesan Bishops’ emphasizes the need for complete transition from Church Slavonic to Russian language during services or editing difficult-to-understand texts. At the Local Council of 1917–1918, this problem was also actively discussed. The members of the Council came up with the guidelines on how to implement the changes. Unfortunately, the guidelines were not approved by the Council in the end. At the same time, author's translations of A. N. Ushakov, prot. Vladimir Uspensky, N. Nakhimov, M. N. Skaballanovich were created. The renewal movement (1920s-1940s) did not change the situation as well. However, individual members of the movement, e. g. mitr. Antonin (Granovsky), pr. Vasyl Adamenko and pr. Konstantin Smirnov created their own translations of the services. The translation of liturgical sequences stopped in the second half of the XX century and was revived only in the 1990s. The main translations made over the past 25 years belong to ierom. Ambrose (Timrota), pr. George Kochetkov, mitr. To Hilarion (Alfeyev), mitr. Jonathan (Yeletskikh) and O. A. Sedakova. The translations, of course, have their own peculiarities and. However, all of them face a number of problems: the difficulty of keeping the original rhythm, proper translation of Church Slavonic, preserving biblical allusions and dogmatic meanings. It is the latter that is important when translating hymnographic texts with theological content, such as dogmatics, certain hymns and sticherons. This article studies various translations of the liturgical hymn “Only-Begotten Son” in order to find the translation that most accurately preserved the original dogmatic meaning of the hymn.

For citation:

Tsyrelchuk K. A. The Hymn “Only-Begotten Son”: Dogmatic Meaning and Russian Translations. Russian Speech = Russkaya Rech’. 2020. No. 3. Pp. 54–64. DOI: 10.31857/S013161170009960-5.