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Author Topic: Church Slavonic  (Read 4986 times) Average Rating: 0
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filipinopilgrim
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« on: July 16, 2007, 05:43:13 AM »

Dear All,

In the Americas, to what extent do the Churches of the Slavic tradition (Russian, Serb, Ukrainian, ACROD, OCA, Bulgarian) use Church Slavonic in their liturgical services? My own impression is that Slavonic is most extensively used in ROCOR and least used in OCA, but I might be mistaken.

Over at ByzCath.org, I asked the same question with regards to the Ruthenians and Ukrainians and the answers I got suggest that only 1 Ukrainian Catholic parish in the USA continues to serve the liturgy entirely in Church Slavonic, and only because that parish's priest is 95 years old already! At the same time, a few parishes do continue to use some Church Slavonic.
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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2007, 11:45:35 AM »

Depends on where you are at - there are many ROCOR parishes that use English only or predominantly, and there are OCA parishes that do mostly/only Slavonic (especially out West.) The Ukrainian parishes I've visited, as well as Serbian parishes, tend to use their vernacular (Ukrainian, Serbian.) I've never visited ACROD, but have been told they tend to the use of English? Cannot comment on the Bulgarians either - I've met one of their priests, but never been to a liturgy.
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« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2007, 02:43:45 PM »

ACROD tries to preserve slavonic, but with few immigrants coming over, the churchs are predominantly english. The midwest OCA parishes I've been to like to throw in some slavonic to keep the natives happy, but also seem to be predominantly english. My parish is probably 95%+ english.

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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2007, 04:22:12 PM »

In the Holy Trinity parish of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA that I visited when living in Seattle, WA (1991-1998), they never used any Church Slavonic at all. The modern vernacular Ukrainian was always used during all services, throughout the service. Sometimes the priest would translate a bit into English.
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2007, 05:38:18 PM »

Personally, I have never been to a ROCOR church that uses no Slavonic at all.  The few ACROD parishes I have been to also use Slavonic to some extent, although I haven't seen a totally Slavonic service in ACROD yet.  OCA parishes are (in my experience) the most likely to use none at all.

There is definitely a certain amount of regionalism to this issue, though.  I suspect that the differences between ROCOR and the OCA are most stark in the east coast (NY/NJ/PA/CT) area.  These areas had long-standing and relatively large Orthodox populations, and the rivalry between ROCOR and the OCA may have deepened the differences, as compared to newer areas in the south, west, and so on.

Another issue is the Russian/Ruthenian distinction, which is also probably most relevant in "old" Orthodox areas.  Many people in ACROD (as well as Byzantine Catholics) wish to preserve Ruthenian traditions, such as Slavonic Ruthenian hymns.
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2007, 09:47:07 PM »

Personally, I have never been to a ROCOR church that uses no Slavonic at all.

According to the ROCOR directory (and from visiting a few of those listed) those parishes, missions and monasteries who use only English include:

USA (43 - in AZ,CA,FL,IL,IN,IA,KS,MD,MI,MO,NJ,NM,NY,OK,OR,PA,SC,TN,TX,UT,VA,WA,WV,WI), Canada (1), Australia (6), United Kingdom (7), - noting, some of these might now be with Bp Agafangel, and that the English translations used date from when HTM was in ROCOR (though some are still published by Jordanville.) Other vernacular only communities include 1 French parish in France, all 7 French/Haitian Creole parishes in Haiti, the Korean mission using Korean, the Indonesian church which uses Indonesian,  (and possibly 3 German parishes in Germany, though I have no direct information on that one.)

Those using a mixture of Slavonic and English predominate over those using only Slavonic, or including other languages (such as Serbian, French, Italian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Luganda, Dutch, Danish, Arabic or Greek.)

I know an agreement with the MP over continued use of Slavonic in missions made up of recent Russian immigrants was misreported in the Western media as being against the use of English in church. However, participants who were actually at the meeting affirm it had no such tone. Yet, one will find where the usual suspects malign Moscow or ROCOR for being 'against English' (they aren't.)
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« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2007, 10:34:54 AM »

Here in my country, almost all churches use Spanish, with the exception (probably) of the Holy Trinity monastery (ROCOR) where they might use Slavonic because they intend to minister Russian and Serbian inmigrants in my country.

The Moscow Patriarchate parish serves the Russian community in Nepantla and might use some Slavonic, but almost all is in Spanish (the priest is Mexican).
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« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2007, 12:36:54 PM »

Which language(s) does the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Wisdom in Mexico City use?
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« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2007, 07:11:14 PM »

Personally, I have never been to a ROCOR church that uses no Slavonic at all.

I have - the church in Sunnyvale, California 10 years ago. All converts - an ex-Vineyard church. Russian music but nobody knew Russian.

I'm told that big ROCOR meetings have earpieces and translators like the UN so the minority who don't know Russian aren't left out.

There is definitely a certain amount of regionalism to this issue, though.  I suspect that the differences between ROCOR and the OCA are most stark in the east coast (NY/NJ/PA/CT) area.  These areas had long-standing and relatively large Orthodox populations, and the rivalry between ROCOR and the OCA may have deepened the differences, as compared to newer areas in the south, west, and so on.

Two groups with different and sometimes clashing histories. The OCA as you know are the old Russian dioceses from before WWI (the Metropolia), populated mostly by the descendents of Ruthenian ex-Byzantine Catholics. ROCOR are WWII Russian exiles. ROCOR claimed jurisdiction over all Russian dioceses outside of Russia and for a while, from the 1930s until 1946, the American dioceses accepted that but they reneged, which ROCOR of course didn't like. By 1946 most Metropolia people were Americans (which explains the switch from Slavonic to English 30 years later); ROCOR was and is Russian. So even back then, with both using the same calendar and the same liturgical language, there was a cultural difference on top of the row over who was in charge! So the WWII Russians set up their own parishes and put them under ROCOR. People in at least one Metropolia parish at the time (my source: a priest's son who remembered this - he's now departed) were told the newcomers' churches were schismatic and not to go to them.

That said everybody officially recognised ROCOR as Orthodox - they were even invited to join SCOBA.

Well, now that the Russian Church is back together it's all interesting history.

Much of ROCOR today is immigrants again thanks to the fall of Communism and easy air travel... so there may always be some Slavonic parishes and a real need for them in the US.

There have been a few cases of OCA churches going back to Slavonic: 1) parishes in upstate Pennsylvania that are ageing and that's what the people want or 2) Russian immigration - a church near here I've not been to now has a Russian priest on staff and Slavonic services in addition to the English ones for the longtime American parishioners.

I like Slavonic. At worst I understand half of it.
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« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2007, 09:25:01 PM »

Quote
I have - the church in Sunnyvale, California 10 years ago. All converts - an ex-Vineyard church. Russian music but nobody knew Russian.

An ex vineyard church that became Orthodox! That is amazing. Do you have a link to a site that tells their story?
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« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2007, 11:38:24 PM »

I would say around 85-80% of Serbian churche still use some amount of Church Slavonic. 

Out of that group, its quite possible that half use exclusively Church Slavonic. 

I've almost never heard a church use exclusively Serbian, even though we have the translations in modern Serbian....go figure...
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« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2007, 12:09:40 AM »

The three ACROD parishes we worship in, depending on what part of state we're in on any given Sunday, use so little Slavonic that they're virtually all English - maybe one or two, at most, hymns or responses only in Slavonic.
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« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2007, 01:42:32 AM »

An ex vineyard church that became Orthodox! That is amazing. Do you have a link to a site that tells their story?

That's my parish. Our founders were Vineyard. http://www.protomartyr.org/who.html
But we are Antiochian in Campbell, CA. Our choir sings a variety of musical traditions.

The church in Sunnyvale, CA is ROCOR but it was started by a variety of Orthodox Christians. The priest is a former Antiochian priest who was originally Roman Catholic. The people who started this parish were of middle eastern, Russian and Romanian background. They have some converts but I think it is a parish of mostly cradle Orthodox from a variety of backgrounds. 
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« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2007, 10:59:26 PM »

Our Serbian church predominantly uses Slavonic, although English is more likely to get tossed into a litany than Serbian. 
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« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2007, 11:16:45 PM »

Come to think of it, I'm rather confused as to what I hear when I attend any of my 3 main Serbian churches... this has really got me thinking and I feel like and idiot. I mean, I understand nearly everything my priests say, but it could be because I've gotten used to it over the years  Roll Eyes I know that parts are definitly Church Slavonic, actually my mind is now telling me its nearly all slavonic. The only Serbian part is like the messege at the end of the service
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« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2007, 10:05:59 AM »



That said everybody officially recognised ROCOR as Orthodox - they were even invited to join SCOBA.


Something  I have never understood is that  people seem to think that it was "world orthodoxy" that went out of communion with ROCOR in the past. When I attended a ROCOR parish, it was well known that it was ROCOR who became non-commemorators with "World Orthodoxy" following the Sorrowful Epistles of Metropolitan Phileret. The explanation given was that Met. Philaret wrote several sorrowful Epistles to the hierarchies of other Orthodox jurisdictions in an effort to humbly but firmly remind them of their responsibilities as shepherds of their flocks and of the principles by which the Faith has always operated, in and out of season, when he saw signs of deviation from the True Faith. Eventually Metropolitan Phileret advised the clergy of ROCOR to not concelebrate with Most Orthodox jursidictions as evidence of the the loss of agreement on issues of faith. The other Orthodox jursidictions, as I understand it, continued in communion with ROCOR and would commune ROCOR  members, however, generally ROCOR priests would require confession by the communicant to a ROCOR preist as a minimum prior to communing and in some cases demanded that Orthodox from other jurisdictions agree to not go to other jursidictions for the sacraments from that time forward (personal and family knowledge of this).

All in all, ROCOR went out of communion with "world Orthodoxy" (Exception of Jerusalem Patriarchate and Serbian Orthodox Church) and would not concelebrate, whereas "World Orthodoxy' (all patriarchates) saw  ROCOR as being part of the Orthodox Church and  would say they were indeed in Communion with them.

Thomas
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