that were resident in a particular place. It also appears that these people were often his primary source of information for his descriptions of the places he visited.

In the early part of his travel journal we encounter a number of Bars'kyj's expressed attitudes to various nationalities, in part reflecting his personal experiences, but also in part determined by their attitudes to the Orthodox religion. Having failed to gain admission either to Buda or to Pest, Bars'kyj found a Serbian community living outside their city walls. The Serbs were initially hostile to Bars'kyj, concluding from his appearance that he was a Catholic pilgrim on the way to Rome. On learning that he was Orthodox, he was embraced and invited to the Serbian church to celebrate the feast of the Descent of the Holy Spirit and a considerable sum of money was gathered to help him on his way.6 Bars'kyj praises the Serbs for their warmth and hospitality, as he does the Greeks. He stayed twice with the Greek community at the church of St George in Venice, first in June 1724 and again from October 1724 until the end of February 1725. During his first stay he knew no Greek but was accepted as an Orthodox traveller. He noted that, although he could not understand the language, the church liturgy was similar to the one back home, except that here the Gospel was read not from the centre of the church but from the pulpit high up on the left-hand side.7

During his first two years of travelling Bars'kyj appeared to be constantly overwhelmed by the novelty of the experience, intimidated by his lack of knowledge of local languages and, for much of the time, preoccupied with the search for fellow Slavs, as much for companionship and support as for material sustenance. The next five years saw fundamental changes in his outlook, which are documented in the second part of Bars'kyj's travel journal. This deals with the events that took place between his second departure from Venice on 28 February 1725 and the end of 1729, by which time he had settled in Tripoli to further his studies as a guest of the patriarch of Antioch, Sylvester the Cypriot.

After his period of study in Venice he gained a degree of fluency in Greek and his travel journal entries are frequently punctuated with transcriptions of Greek inscriptions, discussion of Greek words and comments about various Greek manuscripts that he found in monastic libraries. He also became proficient in Arabic, sufficient for purposes of conversation, noting on one occasion that, as he could not find a Greek priest to hear his confession before the Christmas celebrations, 'I had to say my confession in Arabic.'8 While the extent of his

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment