Vyach. Ivanov’s Greek poem to G. A. Rachinsky

Three ancient Greek epigrams by Vyacheslav Ivanov (1866–1949), dedicated to renown classical scholars Tadeusz F. Zieliński, Mikhail I. Rostovtzeff, and to religious philosopher and literate G. A. Rachinsky (1859–1939), were published in the collection of poems Nezhnaja tajna [‘Soft Secret’], ΛΕΠΤΑ, Humaniorum studiorum cultoribus (SPb, 1912, 112–113). This article provides a commentary on the Greek poem to Rachinsky based partly on archive materials. Rachinsky, of whose personality we know mostly from memoirs by Andrey Bely, N. A. Berdyaev and from correspondence and diaries of his contemporaries, chaired the Moscow Religious Philosophic Society ‘in memory of Vl. Solovjov’. He translated into Russian, inter alios, Nietzsche, Goethe, Maupassant and Balzac. Ivanov’s archives in Rome and Moscow keep some unpublished letters written by Rachinsky to Ivanov in 1910–1914. The correspondence allows to suppose that cordiality and even friendship between them developed in 1910. In the ‘Soft Secret’, Ivanov also dedicated to Rachinsky a Russian poem ‘On Receiving a Greek Prayer’. On December 25, 1910, Rachinsky sent to Ivanov from Moscow to St. Petersburg a card, most probably his Christmas greeting, with the Ode 5 for Choir, Irmos of the morning service for Christmas, in Greek. Conceivably, this text is a key to understanding of Ivanov’s quite dark Greek and Russian poems, which formed a poetic answer in gratitude for Rachinsky’s Greek prayer. In Ivanov’s Greek poem, there is a deliberate mixture of pagan and Christian vocabulary. It starts with the pagan πρόμαντις ‘prophet’ and goes on to οἰκτιρμῶν τε τοῦ Πατρός… εἰρήνης τε ‘Father of mercies and peace’. This recalls the wording of the NT and the Prayer for Christmas: Θεὸς ὢν εἰρήνης, Πατὴρ οἰκτιρμῶν. A scholarly poet, Ivanov expressed his thanks to a friend who could reveal insight into his complicated style. The author of the present contribution specifies the date of Ivanov’s Greek poem as between December 26, 1910 and January 28, 1911, and of his ‘On receiving a Greek Prayer’ between the 17th and the 28th of January, 1911.

 Ermolaeva E.L. Vyach. Ivanov’s Greek poem to G. A. Rachinsky