Belarusian poet Borodulin has translated the Pope

Rygor Borodulin

Belarusian poet Borodulin has translated the Pope

To the 25-anniversary of pontificate the national poet of Belarus Rygor Borodulin has translated the book of poetry “The Roman triptych” of John Paul II contemplations into Belarusian. And already in June, being invited to Vatican, Borodulin delivered the translation to the Pope with his own hand. Thus Rygor Borodulin became the first Belarusian writer who has been awarded with such high audience.

“The Roman triptych” has been published in small edition with the help of the Belarusian Greek-Catholic church, Minsk public union "Dijariysh" and with the most active assistance of the archimandrite Sergey Gaek, an apostolic visitator for Greek-Catholics of Belarus.

- I cannot say that I translated John Paul's poetry II for a long time, but also I can not say that I did it at once, - Rygor Borodulin told. - The work forced me to concentrate, as the poetry of the Pope is a travel to history, philosophy, it is a conversation with eternity, and returning to The Word which was in the beginning. In general this book is very interesting, as it is contemplations of rather expert, highly experienced, spiritually rich and pure person. To translate it was a very responsible thing, also because it is poetry not in its ordinary understanding, in other words, it is not a sequence of rhymed lines, here feelings adjoin reflections, and reflections adjoin feelings. Here an appeal to the Most High. And one thing - to translate lifeless writers, and another - when the Pope can read your translation, you see, he knows several languages. Besides, one more circumstance made my translation of high importance - I translated my spiritual pastor, as I’m a member of the Uniat Church, a Greek-Catholic. However I have a unique principle: I always translate another’s verses as for myself.

A small delegation has gone to Rome: Rygor Borodulin, the archimandrite Sergey Gaek, the head of one of Vitebsk Greek-Catholic branches Bogdan Synak and an employee of the secretary of the apostolic visitation Javgen Androsik. However, even being in Rome, Borodulin till last moment did not believe in the opportunity of the meeting.

-I had a weak hope to see the Pope when he would celebrate a mass in honor of a holiday of Holy Peter and Paul, - the poet says. - And suddenly I was informed that he would accept us! At first, I didn’t believe, though in the childhood I heard an introduction: “To be in Rome and not to see the Pope…” Probably, a Roman Catholic priest, who christened me, could not suppose that his godson would not only see the Pope, but also would speak with him! In fact I was born in 1935 when communists-atheists and members of Komsomol (Young People Organization in USSR) burnt beards to priests. Though my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother were members of the Uniat Church. And so it was necessary for heavens that on Vitebsk area, in Ushachi a priest appeared, he escaped from Bolsheviks. And he christened me…

 During the audience Rygor Borodulin passed the Pope a copy of the book with the translation into Belarusian and said that it was a great pleasure for him to have an opportunity to translate verses of His Holiness. Then he passed a greeting from Belarusian intelligentsia and wished the Pope the strength of spirit. John Paul II, having accepted the book with gratitude and having presented rosary to the poet, blessed Belarusian intelligentsia to work for revival of Belarus. There was no an interpreter: Borodulin spoke Belarusian; the Pope speaks Polish (close languages). This short-term meeting made very strong impression on Rygor Borodulin.

- I have really felt, that the Pope had not only earthly, but also a heavenly force. When I went to Rome, I was practically ill. In general, I was afraid to go, as for a long time I have hardly gone so far. But after the meeting I was practically healthy, as much as it is possibly at my age  John Paul II is an earthly and unearthly person simultaneously. I say it without any exaggeration… When we then listened to his two-hour mass, there was a feeling, that he speaks so slowly not because it is hard for him, I think, he listens to a voice from above and then repeats. He hears the things we do not hear. It is holiness. Not for chance, he is called His Holiness…

Lately Rygor Borodulin was interviewed by Radio of Vatican. There were three questions: about the meeting with the Pope, impressions from Rome and - a question about Vasil Bykov, the national writer of Belarus and close friend of Borodulin. The poet shares with his impressions:

- I feel as if I have visited a branch of paradise! I think that Rome exists with the permission of God, as the soul of the city is very pure and god-loving. I had such an impression, as if Eternity has stopped there for a moment - to take a rest and then to move further. Air in Roman temples centuries has filled with prayers. I do not speak about St Peter's Cathedral! It may sound blasphemously, but there was a feeling as if it is Peter's summer residence, and he left keys from the house and left for the sky. However he can return at any moment. I felt in Rome very well. I drink water from a fountain and even washed my face! The water was good and cool, as if from a spring from my native land, from Ushachi! Now Rygor Borodulin hopes that the received impressions will leave a trace in his own creative works. Anyway the archimandrite Sergey Gaek gave him a good idea: earlier Borodulin has translated “The Roman triptych”, and now it would be possible to write “The Roman diptych”.

- If I shall write, I shall devote it to the Pope, - the poet says. - However I don’t know how it will be turned out, as it will be necessary for God.

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