I was reading the Bible and came across Isaiah 53 verse 3. "Он был презрен и умалён пред людьми, муж скорбей и изведавший болезни, и мы отвращали от Него лице своё; Он был презираем, и мы ни во что ставили Его." Why does it say "мы отвращали от Него лице своё" instead of "мы отвращали от Него лицо своё"?

  • 3
    By the way, do you really have the dots on ё in your text in умалён and своё or is it your own interpolation that the dots should be there?
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 6:07
  • No, those letters weren't in the text. I just put them there for convenience.
    – Colossians
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 17:52
  • That's the point. The Church Slavonic language used in Russia is Old Church Slavonic with phonetics and grammar adjusted to be more “Russian”, and the language of the Synodal Bible is Russian with phonetics, grammar, and vocabulary adjusted to be more Russian Church Slavonic, so it's in fact not Standard Russian, it's a hybrid, “Russian – Russian Church Slavonic”.
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 18:24

2 Answers 2


You're reading the Bible in the Synodal translation (1813—1876) which uses archaic language full of Church Slavonic words and forms. Лице is an archaic form of лицо, it is in the Accusative case which is the same as the Nominative case as it is always with the neuter-gender nouns, свое is in the same case as лице, in Acc.=Nom. Note, it is really свое [svɐ.ˈje], not своё [svɐ.ˈjo] with the trema (the two dots) omitted, in the Synodal translation all the Es are to be pronounced as Es, never as Ёs.

Learning Russian using the Synodal Bible is not the easiest, not the most practical way possible, it is like learning English from King James Bible. I can recommend this Bible portal where you can have the Bible in several languages side by side, including Russian Synodal, Church Slavonic, Latin Vulgate, Hebrew, Greek, German, French, etc.


This is not correct modern Russian. Maybe it's a typo, or maybe an old-Russian grammar. A random online Bible that I googled uses "лицо своё".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.