Overview of the Case System in Old Church Slavonic

Jan 27, 2015 by

lunt_2001Old Church Slavonic (OCS) had six cases, plus the vocative form. For the endings in the various cases, declensions, genders, stem types and parts-of-speech, consult “OCS Declension Tables” or Lunt (2001: 52-80).

When is each case used in OCS?



  • subject: reče že emu bogъ ‘And God said to him’
  • nominal predicate of the subject: sь estъ ioanъ krьstitelь ‘This is John the Baptist’


  • direct object: čьto sъtvorjǫ ‘what will I do?’
  • nominal predicate of the direct object: proroka iměaxǫ i ‘(they) consider him a prophet’
  • terminus of the directed motion (‘toward’): vъ bogъ ‘toward God’


  • possession (loosely defined as a relation between two entities): ženy filipa bratra svoego ‘of the wife of his brother Philip’
  • masculine direct objects denoting male persons (the “genitive-as-accusative”): imъ ioana ‘seized John’
  • object of certain prepositions: otъ tebe ‘from you’


  • object of certain preposition: o nemь ‘in him’
  • location in space or time: iisusъ prikosnǫ sę očьju ima ‘Jesus touched their eyes’


  • indirect object: rekǫ duši moei ‘I will say to my soul’
  • possessor (person or thing) affected by the action: iisusъ prikosnǫ sę očьju ima ‘Jesus touched their eyes’


  • instrument (loosely defined): cъ klętvojǫ izdreče ‘(he) promised with an oath’
  • subjects (agents) of passives: navaždena materjǫ svoejǫ ‘instructed by her mother’


  • direct address: bezumьne ‘O fool!’



Lunt, Horace G. (2001) Old Church Slavonic Grammar. Mouton de Gruyter.


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