St. Stephen and the Old Permic Alphabet

April 26 is the feast day of St. Stephen of Perm, inventor of the Permic alphabet, both of which are celebrated on this day. St. Stephen was a 14th century artist and missionary who is credited with the conversion of the Komi people to Christianity.

Stephen took his monastic vows in Rostov, where he learned Greek and his trade as a copyist. In 1376, he traveled to lands along the Vychegda and Vym rivers, reaching the Komi people.

Rather than imposing Latin or Church Slavonic on the indigenous populace, as all the contemporary missionaries did, Stephen learnt their language and traditions and worked out a distinct writing system for their use, creating the second oldest writing system for an Uralic language.

Summarized from Book of Days Tales.

The Wycliffe Translators are one of my favorite organizations and they have the same philosophy. They have created scripts for many languages that only existed orally and have translated the Bible for them. The work takes on average 20 years and many men and women have dedicated their lives to Bible translation.

Old Permic Script Document
Old Permic Script Document

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