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The Prayer in the Composition of the Synodal Manuscript of Hilarion's Works

Alexander M. Moldovan


Among the issues that have been subject to much controversy during almost two centuries of scholarly research on the works of the Kievan metropolitan Hilarion, there is the question of whether his Prayer is a separate composition or the final part of the Sermon on Law and Grace. This question has been triggered by the fact that the Prayer has been preserved mostly in manuscripts (over 20) which do not contain the Sermon on Law and Grace, the only, but very important, exception being the Synodal codex (Moscow, SHM, Syn. 591, 2nd half of the 15th century), in which the Prayer is part of a cycle of Hilarion’s works, along with the Sermon on Law and Grace, the Encomium to Volodimir (usually viewed as part of  the Sermon on Law and Grace), the Confession of Faith and Hilarion’s final  entry reporting his enthronization. We adduce considerable evidence in favour of a close cohesion between the Prayer and the Sermon on Law and Grace along with the Encomium to Volodimir, and try to show that these works form a meaningful whole. Text-critical and linguistic data presented in the article demonstrate the unique integrity of the original text of the Prayer in the Synodal codex, which testifies to the close affinity of this manuscript with Hilarion’s protograph. This is an additional argument in support of the view that the cycle of texts presented in the Synodal codex was composed by Hilarion himself. The analysis of the contents of the Prayer leads to the conclusion that it was intended not so much for liturgical purposes, but was rather a poetical manifestation of the same ideas which Hilarion elaborated in the Sermon on Law and Grace and the Encomium to Volodimir  in the form of encomiastic treatise and eulogy, respectively. Adding the Prayer to these compositions was part of the artist’s intention, aiming at producing a complex of texts united by a common ideologic and literary objective.


Hilarion, metropolitan of Kiev; the Sermon on Law and Grace; Hilarion’s Prayer; Old Russian Literature; textual criticism and linguistic data of Old Russian written monuments


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