Old Church Slavonic

Example of the Cyrillic alphabet: excerpt from the manuscript "Bdinski Zbornik" written in Old Slavonic, 1360
A page from the Gospel of Miroslav, Serbian medieval manuscript, a 12th-century Byzantine-Slavonic book, National Library of Serbia.
The Introduction of the Slavonic Liturgy in Great Moravia (1912), by Alphonse Mucha, The Slav Epic
"Simeon I of Bulgaria, the Morning Star of Slavonic Literature". (1923), by Alphonse Mucha, The Slav Epic

The first Slavic literary language.

- Old Church Slavonic

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Sacred language

Any language that is cultivated and used primarily in church service or for other religious reasons by people who speak another, primary language in their daily lives.

Navy Chaplain Milton Gianulis conducts an Easter morning Orthodox Liturgy candlelight service aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75)

Similarly, Old Church Slavonic is incomprehensible to speakers of modern Slavic languages, unless they study it.

Glagolitic script

Oldest known Slavic alphabet.

A page from the Zograf Codex with text of the Gospel of Luke
The Baška tablet, found in the 19th century on Krk, conventionally dated to about 1100.
The first page of the Gospel of Mark from the 10th–11th century Codex Zographensis, found in the Zograf Monastery in 1843.
The first page of the Gospel of John from the Codex Zographensis.
In a book printed in 1591, Angelo Rocca attributed the Glagolitic script to Saint Jerome.
Glagolitic script in the Zagreb Cathedral
The last Glagolitic entry in the baptismal register of the Omišalj parish on the island of Krk by the parishioner Nicholas in 1817.
The Lord's Prayer shown in (from left) round, angular, and cursive versions of Glagolitic script.

The brothers decided to translate liturgical books into the contemporary Slavic language understandable to the general population (now known as Old Church Slavonic).

Proto-Slavic language

Unattested, reconstructed proto-language of all Slavic languages.

Eteocypriot writing, Amathous, Cyprus, 500–300 BC, Ashmolean Museum

This language remains largely unattested, but a late-period variant, representing the late 9th-century dialect spoken around Thessaloniki (Solun) in Macedonia, is attested in Old Church Slavonic manuscripts.

Great Moravia

The first major state that was predominantly West Slavic to emerge in the area of Central Europe, possibly including territories which are today part of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine.

Great Moravia in the late 9th century
Great Moravian sword from Blatnica, unearthed in the 19th century, originally interpreted as a burial equipment from a "ducal" mound
The core of Great Moravia
Principalities and lands within Great Moravia
Jewelry from a princely burial site at Kolín, 850–900 AD
Spherical gombiki from the Mikulčice Archaeological Park
Map of Moravia within East Francia in 814
A map presenting the theory of the co-existence of two principalities (Moravia and Nitra) before the 830s
Modern depiction of Rastislav as an Orthodox saint
Constantine and Methodius in Rome
Statue of Svatopluk I on Bratislava Castle, Slovakia
The papal bull Scire vos volumus of 879 addressed to Svatopluk
Icon of St Gorazd, a disciple of St Cyril and Method of Moravian origin, who was the designated successor of archbishop Method
Svatopluk I with three twigs and his three sons—Mojmír II, Svatopluk II and Predslav
Reconstruction of a Great Moravian gatehouse and ramparts in Thunau am Kamp, Austria
Foundations of a pre-Romanesque rotunda at the Great Moravian court in Ducové
Svatopluk I disguised as a monk in the court of Arnulf, King of East Francia (from the 14th-century Chronicle of Dalimil)
Church of St. Margaret of Antioch in Kopčany, Slovakia, one of remaining buildings for which the Great Moravian origin is considered
Stone foundations of a church in Valy u Mikulčic, Czech Republic
Exhibition Among the tribes and the state. Room with the Early medieval princely burial from Kolín (Starý Kolín), 850–900 AD
An example of the Glagolitic script created by Saint Cyril for the mission in Great Moravia (Baščanska ploča from Croatia). The inscribed stone slab records Croatian king Zvonimir's donation of a piece of land to a Benedictine abbey in the time of abbot Drzhiha.
A silver cross from Mikulčice

The kingdom saw the rise of the first ever Slavic literary culture in the Old Church Slavonic language as well as the expansion of Christianity, first via missionaries from East Francia, and later after the arrival of Saints Cyril and Methodius in 863 and the creation of the Glagolitic alphabet, the first alphabet dedicated to a Slavic language.

Church Slavonic

Conservative Slavic liturgical language used by the Eastern Orthodox Church in Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Serbia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia.

An example of Russian Church Slavonic computer typography

Church Slavonic represents a later stage of Old Church Slavonic, and is the continuation of the liturgical tradition introduced by two Thessalonian brothers, Saints Cyril and Methodius, in the late 9th century in Nitra, a principal town and religious and scholarly center of Great Moravia (located in present-day Slovakia).

Bulgarian language

South Slavic language spoken in Southeastern Europe, primarily in Bulgaria.

The Codex Zographensis is one of the oldest manuscripts in the Old Bulgarian language, dated from the late 10th or early 11th century
Map of the Bulgarian dialects within Bulgaria
Extent of Bulgarian dialects according to the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences shown encompassing the Eastern South Slavic dialects. Subregions are differentiated by pronunciation of man and tooth.
Areas of Eastern South Slavic languages.
Bulgarian cursive alphabet

Old Bulgarian (9th to 11th centuries, also referred to as "Old Church Slavonic") – a literary norm of the early southern dialect of the Proto-Slavic language from which Bulgarian evolved. Saints Cyril and Methodius and their disciples used this norm when translating the Bible and other liturgical literature from Greek into Slavic.

Slovene language

South Slavic language.

The Freising manuscripts, dating from the late 10th or the early 11th century, are considered the oldest documents in Slovene.
A schematic map of Slovene dialects, based on the map by Fran Ramovš and other sources
Vowels of Slovene, from . is not shown.
Tombstone of Jožef Nahtigal in Dobrova with archaic Slovene onikanje in indirect reference. Literal translation "Here lie [počivajo] the honorable Jožef Nahtigal ... they were born [rojeni] ... they died [umerli] ... God grant them [jim] eternal peace and rest."
A schematic map of Slovene dialects, based on the map by Tine Logar, Jakob Rigler and other sources

Like all Slavic languages, Slovene traces its roots to the same proto-Slavic group of languages that produced Old Church Slavonic.

Slavic languages

The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languages, are Indo-European languages spoken primarily by the Slavic peoples or their descendants.

Balto-Slavic language tree.
Ethnographic Map of Slavic and Baltic Languages
Baška tablet, 11th century, Krk, Croatia.
14th-century Novgorodian children were literate enough to send each other letters written on birch bark.
10th–11th century Codex Zographensis, canonical monument of Old Church Slavonic
Map and tree of Slavic languages, according to Kassian and A. Dybo
West Slav tribes in 9th–10th centuries
Linguistic maps of Slavic languages
Map of all areas where the Russian language is the language spoken by the majority of the population.

Old Church Slavonic

Cyril and Methodius

Cyril (born Constantine, 826–869) and Methodius (815–885) were two brothers and Byzantine Christian theologians and missionaries.

"Saints Cyril and Methodius holding the Cyrillic alphabet," a mural by Bulgarian iconographer Z. Zograf, 1848, Troyan Monastery
Cyril and Methodius, painting by Jan Matejko, 1885
Saints Cyril and Methodius in Rome. Fresco in San Clemente
Saint Cyril and Methodius by Stanislav Dospevski, Bulgarian painter
The Baška tablet is an early example of the Glagolitic from Croatia
A cartoon about Saints Cyril and Methodius from Bulgaria in 1938. The caption reads : Brother Cyril, go tell those who are inside to learn the alphabet so they know freedom (свобода) and anarchy (слободия) are not the same.
Saints Cyril and Methodius procession
Basilica of St.Cyril and Methodius in Moravian Velehrad, Czech Republic
Cross Procession in Khanty-Mansiysk on Saints Cyril and Methodius Day in May 2006
Inauguration of the monument to Saints Cyril and Methodius in Saratov on Slavonic Literature and Culture Day
Thessaloniki - monument of the two Saints gift from the Bulgarian Orthodox Church
Bulgaria - Statue of the two Saints in front of the SS. Cyril and Methodius National Library in Sofia
Bulgaria - Statue of the two Saints in front of the National Palace of Culture in Sofia
North Macedonia - The monument in Ohrid
North Macedonia - Statue of Cyril and Methodius near the Stone Bridge in Skopje
Czech Republic - Statue of Saints Cyril and Methodius at the Charles Bridge in Prague
Czech Republic - Saints Cyril and Methodius monument in Mikulčice
Czech Republic - Statue of Saint Methodius at the Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc in Moravia
Ukraine - The monument in Kiev
Russia - the monument in Khanty-Mansiysk
Serbia - the monument to Saints Cyril and Methodius in Belgrade
Opening of Cyril and Methodius monument in Donetsk
Statue, Saints Cyril and Methodius, Třebíč, Czech Republic

They are credited with devising the Glagolitic alphabet, the first alphabet used to transcribe Old Church Slavonic.

South Slavic languages

The South Slavic languages are one of three branches of the Slavic languages.

Balto-Slavic languages.
Areas where Eastern South Slavic dialects are spoken:

The first South Slavic language to be written (also the first attested Slavic language) was the variety of the Eastern South Slavic spoken in Thessaloniki, now called Old Church Slavonic, in the ninth century.