Author Topic: Apolytikion of the Cross  (Read 202 times)

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Offline scamandrius

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Apolytikion of the Cross
« on: March 08, 2015, 10:21:30 PM »
This is more about translation than the Greek language, but I've wondered for years why/how the prepositional phrase of the apolytikion  διὰ τοῦ Σταυροῦ σου  can be translated as by the "power" of your Cross rather than simply "by your Cross?"  I've seen this particular phrase used by many different jurisdictions and parishes.  Is it just poetic license?
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Offline Dominika

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Re: Apolytikion of the Cross
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2015, 05:23:24 PM »
I think it's connected with the fact that in other prayers there is a phrase "by the power of life-giving and precious Cross".
I find it interesting that in translations of this troparion to other language there is simply "by your Cross", with one exception, that's Arabic.
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Apolytikion of the Cross
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2015, 09:07:58 PM »
You'd have to understand a lot of liturgical context to know why the translators chose that formula. As for the langue itself, you'd be surprised how much meaning and idiom the Greeks were able to pack into their prepositional structures. Here we have 'dia' followed by the genitive, and, since it's clearly not a matter of space ("through") or time ("during"), we can think of it as saying "causatively pertaining to." "By the power of" captures that well enough.
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Apolytikion of the Cross
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2015, 09:36:36 AM »
I think it's connected with the fact that in other prayers there is a phrase "by the power of life-giving and precious Cross".
I find it interesting that in translations of this troparion to other language there is simply "by your Cross", with one exception, that's Arabic.

That may be the explanation.  I attend church at an Antiochian parish. However, I should note that the Introductory Troparia at Orthros lack the "by the power of your Cross" and says merely "by your Cross."

You'd have to understand a lot of liturgical context to know why the translators chose that formula. As for the langue itself, you'd be surprised how much meaning and idiom the Greeks were able to pack into their prepositional structures. Here we have 'dia' followed by the genitive, and, since it's clearly not a matter of space ("through") or time ("during"), we can think of it as saying "causatively pertaining to." "By the power of" captures that well enough.

The Greek doesn't support that.  I've studied enough Greek over the past 20 years and I  have NEVER seen any use of  διὰ to indicate power.  It does indicate means.  Even my cursory reviews of the entry of  διὰ in the Great Liddell-Scott Dictionary lends no support to inserting "by the power."  I think Dominika may be correct and if anyone knows what the Apolytikion is in Arabic and its knowledge of how Arabic uses prepositions, that'd probably be helpful.
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Offline Dominika

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Re: Apolytikion of the Cross
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2015, 05:22:42 PM »
  I think Dominika may be correct and if anyone knows what the Apolytikion is in Arabic and its knowledge of how Arabic uses prepositions, that'd probably be helpful.


خلص يا رب شعبك وبارك ميراثك
وامنح عبيدك المؤمنين الغلبة على الشرير
واحفظ بقوة صليبك
جميع المختصين بك


There is evidently "by the power of your Cross". "Quwwat" (قوة) is the power, "bi" (ب) in the beginning of the word is "by" amd saleeb (صليب) is "cross" and "k" (ك) in the end of it is "your". Furthemore the whole phrase "بقوة صليبك " creates status constructus, so we now the power belongs to the cross.
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Apolytikion of the Cross
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2015, 10:37:05 PM »
  I think Dominika may be correct and if anyone knows what the Apolytikion is in Arabic and its knowledge of how Arabic uses prepositions, that'd probably be helpful.


خلص يا رب شعبك وبارك ميراثك
وامنح عبيدك المؤمنين الغلبة على الشرير
واحفظ بقوة صليبك
جميع المختصين بك


There is evidently "by the power of your Cross". "Quwwat" (قوة) is the power, "bi" (ب) in the beginning of the word is "by" amd saleeb (صليب) is "cross" and "k" (ك) in the end of it is "your". Furthemore the whole phrase "بقوة صليبك " creates status constructus, so we now the power belongs to the cross.

Very interesting.  Thank you. That is most likely the explanation.

One of these days, I'll get around to learning Arabic.
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Apolytikion of the Cross
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2015, 10:34:40 PM »
Dominika,

In the Arabic, what is the word used for "commonwealth" or "estate" which, in Greek, is πολιτευμα?  The reason I ask is because our priest is insistent that the chanters use "kingdom" rather than either "commonwealth" or "estate."  he says people understand kingdom better, though I wonder if the word kingdom better translates what is in the original Arabic.  Thanks.
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Offline Dominika

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Re: Apolytikion of the Cross
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2015, 08:56:45 AM »
Dominika,

In the Arabic, what is the word used for "commonwealth" or "estate" which, in Greek, is πολιτευμα?  The reason I ask is because our priest is insistent that the chanters use "kingdom" rather than either "commonwealth" or "estate."  he says people understand kingdom better, though I wonder if the word kingdom better translates what is in the original Arabic.  Thanks.

In the Arabic version there is used the word مختص  (in plural, as before it's جميع - "all", "whole") which means something like a "property", "a jurisdiction that you have legal authority over it, that you have right to it". It's important such description, as there is a simple word for property ملك, from the same root is مملكة  that means "kingdom", but it's derived from the verb ملك (yeah, it looks the same as the previous one, but it's written without short vowels, so it sounds differently) that simply means "to have". So for sure it's not commonwealth nor "estate" in Arabic, but actually it's neither "kingdom", but maybe something close.

Hope it helps a bit.
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Apolytikion of the Cross
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2015, 02:38:55 PM »
^It does, thanks.  My point of contention with my priest is that he is substituting language which doesn't belong because he doesn't believe he can effectively teach what the actual language means and says.  So, he uses kingdom to sidestep the issue.
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What earthly joy remains untouched by grief?--St. John Damascene