Reading Ivan Bunin's short story Чаша жизни, I stumbled upon this phrase:

"А когда ударила по сердцам скорбно ликующая песнь о той обители, иде же несть печали и воздыхания,"

I guess that иде=где and несть=нет. Is my guess correct?

Are these words Old Church slavonicisms?

  • It's actually not Russian, but Church Slavonic. Jan 16, 2022 at 9:28
  • Alexey Veleshk it can hardly be called a separate language :> Jan 23, 2022 at 0:57

1 Answer 1


The second part is a reference to Со святыми упокой, a kontakion (liturgical hymn) sung at the memorial service.

Идѣже (it's a single word) is Church Slavonic for где "where", or, more precisely, в которой "in which".

This word formation pattern (adding the particle же to pronouns and deictics), in general, is quite confusing to Russian speakers: words like имже, еяже, егоже (которым, которую, которого) etc. sound very close to the Russian phrases им же, её же, его же which mean completely different things.

Нѣсть indeed means "there is no".

  • 1
    I would add that, while being an Old Church slavonicism, in the modern Russian Нѣсть is still used in the often-cited Biblical paraphrase "Нeсть пророка в отечестве своём" (where we, of course, type "e" instead of "ѣ"). This is the last example of use of this word in the modern speech. Much more seldom - and only from highly educated or snobbish people - you will hear things like "Нeсть ему прощения" or "Нeсть ему воздаяния", but this sounds obsolete and almost pretentious. Jan 15, 2022 at 1:05
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    @Michael_1812: несть числа, несть конца
    – Quassnoi
    Jan 15, 2022 at 1:42
  • Sure. This falls under the auspices of my example. Jan 15, 2022 at 5:40
  • Here they say that this prayer is sung during funeral service (отпевание, or more precisely, погребение). It might be sung during memorial service as well, but is optional in that case.
    – il--ya
    Jan 15, 2022 at 20:49
  • @Michael_1812 I have only seen the phrase in form нет пророка в своём отечестве, that is in Russian form.
    – Anixx
    Jan 18, 2022 at 20:30

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