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I found this post which indicates that Agafia is still alive and now trying to recruit church followers to live in the mountains with her. http://www.byzcath.org/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/363063/A...

Ouch. Trying to recruit church followers? A bit cavalier with that description I feel. "With a great big bow to request of all: I need a man as an assistant, one whom I will not survive, [who] lives so not good, with weeks of being alone. Do not leave me for Christ's sake. Have mercy upon a wretched orphan, who is in trouble [and] suffering."

Both you and greghinch seem to have a very negative association with that word. Maybe having grown up in the church, I don't see that word from the same angle as the two of you.

Well removing the emotion it's just a very inaccurate way to describe what appears to be happening.

I believe you misread- he's saying she's writing to the church to ask someone to join her. The audience is clear- the post is on the church website for church members to read. He's not trying to say that she's doing the much harder task of recruiting someone to the church and also to live with her.

> trying to recruit church followers to live in the mountains with her

'Recruit' implies asking people to adopt her religion, as opposed to asking existing believers for assistance.

Recruiting implies asking people to join an army. If we're talking about religion, "converting" is the more common verb.

She's recruiting (enlisting) a willing church member to a difficult task.

"recruit" is kind of a loaded word. sounds like she is asking for help with physical tasks she can't manage any more

That's a Google translation and one cannot extract any fine meaning from its results, this being a case in point.

I read the Russian original post and the following is my translation of the excerpt from her letter:

"... I bow to you down to the raw Earth and wish unto you from God good health, the most spiritual salvation and all sorts of good luck, and let God save the sacred [several kinds of] Church until the end of centuries from all division and heretics, [bearing evil thoughts]..."

"I plead to you with a great request: I need a helper, as I won't survive alone, and it is also not good to live so, weeklong remaining in loneliness. Do not leave me [...] the orphan [...]."

"... a sincere believer is needed here, an Old Believer, a person of male gender is needed to chop wood, cut hay. <...> I have weakened in health and in strength."

Bits marked as [...] I couldn't understand.

I have made an attempt at a more accurate translation:


I bow to the ground before you and wish you in the name of the Lord good health, above all salvation and well-being, and may God save the fatherly Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church till the end of time from discord and herecies, the devious webs of enemies...

I bow before all with a great big request: I need someone to be my helper, I cannot survive alone, and it's not proper to live this way, spending whole weeks alone. Do not leave me for Christ's sake, have mercy on this miserable orphan, suffering in hardship.

A true believer is needed here, believing in Christ as the Old Believers do, and a male is needed to chop wood, cut down hay ... My health and strength have deteriorated.


The interesting thing to note is the terminology she uses in her first sentence to specifically define the church she believes in using the Four Marks of the Church (though she leaves out one), thus proclaiming the orthodoxy of the Old Believers' beliefs (also note that the term "Catholic" here in no way means "Roman Catholic"). One may even infer that the "devious webs" are being cast by the reformed Russian Orthodox Church.

I would also note that the archaic nature of some the terms she uses ("наипаче", "многокозненных сетей вражиих", "не добре", "седмицу"), and the archaic sentence structure is more consistent with the language used in the Russian Bible, rather than with the conventions of the early 20th century. The English equivalent would be the language found in the King James Bible.

A note to astral303: I noticed that you translated "сырая земля" as "raw earth", which is interesting, because while "сырой" means both "raw" and "damp", it most certainly is meant as "damp" when describing the earth. I know "raw earth" sounds more natural in English, but I think simply saying "ground" is the best equivalent, since I can't think of an English turn of phrase that invokes the connotations of describing the ground as damp in the intended manner.

You're totally right on "сырая земля", that was a tougher one. Perhaps "bare earth"? Anyway, thanks for the alternate translation and the perspective!

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