Morachevsky, Pylyp

Image - Pylyp Morachevsky (1860s photo). Image - Pylyp Morachevsky: translation of Gospel according to St. Matthew (title page). Image - Pylyp Morachevsky: translation of Gospel according to St. John (title page).

Morachevsky, Pylyp [Морачевський, Пилип; Moračevs’kyj], b 26 November 1806 in Shestovytsia, Chernihiv county, Chernihiv gubernia, d 26 September 1879 in Shnakivka, Nizhyn county. Translator of the Bible into the Ukrainian language. After graduating in history and philology from Kharkiv University (1823) he worked as a teacher in various towns in Ukraine (Sumy, Lutsk, Kamianets-Podilskyi) and then as an inspector for the Nizhyn Lyceum (1849–59) in Nizhyn; contributed to the first Ukrainian literary almanac, Ukrainskii al’manakh; and translated various books of the Old and New Testaments. In 1860 the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox church denied him permission to publish his first translations. In 1862, having completed the major books of the New Testament (the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles), Morachevsky appealed to the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences; it endorsed the quality of his work and agreed that such a translation was necessary, but again the Synod refused to allow him to publish his work. This refusal was followed by the Petr Valuev circular of 1863 and the Ems Ukase of 1876, which prohibited the publication in Ukrainian of almost all works, including religious texts, in the Russian Empire. Morachevsky's translation remained unpublished until after restrictions on Ukrainian publications were eased following the Revolution of 1905. An editorial commission under Bishop Parfenii Levytsky prepared the first texts for publication in 1907–11, and subsequent editions appeared in 1914, 1917, and later. His translation of the Gospels (with minor linguistic corrections) was printed in the Church Slavonic alphabet in Warsaw in the interwar period, to be used as the great altar Gospel in liturgies. It was republished in Canada (1948) and in the United States (1966). These editions are still used in liturgies by the Ukrainian Orthodox church in the diaspora.

 Ivan Korovytsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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