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Author Topic: Ancestral Orthodoxy  (Read 10618 times) Average Rating: 0
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Tamara
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« Reply #45 on: December 18, 2007, 02:45:12 PM »

The Russian Orthodox Diocese of Alaska remains so named due to a rogue Bishop of the OCA. Ask a native Alaskan if this is the name they cherish. You will find the answer to be a resounding NO.

Cowboy

+May God relieve the people of the Alaskan diocese from the terrible trial they are being put through at this time.+
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« Reply #46 on: December 18, 2007, 02:46:45 PM »

Cowboy, I think things are not always as simple as they may first appear to be.  I think the sacred languages of the church are indeed just that as I have said, part of the tradition of the church and part of its sacred culture.  Neither the church languages or vernacular should be used to the exclusion of the other.  The Roman Catholic Church systematically removed its sacred language from its liturgy, and in my opinion (shared by many Catholics I have spoken with) they ended up disposing of much of their sacred culture as well.  Ironically now many young Catholics are actively looking for and advocating the TLM;

Hot off the presses this week:
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« Reply #47 on: December 18, 2007, 03:44:55 PM »

I never said anything about culture, just about language. I have no problem with ethnic customs, traditions, etc. I think this is the "tapestry" of which you speak.

Definitely part of it, but I think the church languages also form part of that tapestry.   The singing of para-liturgical hymns in Slavonic is one example of a custom, and I fully support doing the same hymns in English as well.  There is just no need to do it in English only.  I don't think that excluding Slavonic enriches the liturgy, I think it detracts from it.  I am a convert, I am in my 30's, and I prefer hearing Slavonic and knowing I am in a church that has no issue with identifying itself specifically with a particular culture.  It is both Rusyn and American.  I would prefer a good deal more Slavonic be used than is now actually.

Quote
But I truly believe that we Orthodox, in defiance of the great commision, put up many, many unnecessary obstacles to attracting our own youth as well as other Christians and non-Christians. Language is just the most obvious and aggrandizing example.

I think there is ample evidence that returning to the traditions of the church, being rooted in a sacred culture (which includes language) and distinguishing oneself from the surroundings and becoming part of them are actually going to attract young people.  I thank lubeltri for posting that image, I did not know that story was out.  There are now rather ironically young Catholics clamoring for the Latin mass.  I'm sure the reformers in the 60's who wanted to go all English and Americanize everything never would have guessed that would have happened.  I wonder if similar efforts to Americanize the Orthodox church will not be met with the same results at some future point.  I do believe the English only advocacy is part of a larger agenda to change the church itself, it is not simply an issue of language.

An example we have in front of us know which I mentioned is the Ruthenian BCC, who have revised their liturgy and practices to "Americanize" themselves.  I have heard their hierarchs are doing everything they can to discourage Slavonic, and that their new texts are not being provided with Slavonic translations.  Strangely enough one of the strongest advocates for these changes I have run across, who likes to talk about making the liturgy relevant to young people, is a former Orthodox priest who sojourned among the Antiochians and OCA.  My guess is instead of creating a generic Byzantine based, English speaking, ritual church which will attract outsiders (their intention); they will just end up losing sight of who they are and people will go elsewhere.

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The Russian Orthodox Diocese of Alaska remains so named due to a rogue Bishop of the OCA.

I don't know anything about the situation, so I can't comment.
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« Reply #48 on: December 18, 2007, 03:54:24 PM »

The sacred languages used by the church are not "foreign languages".

If they're not comprehensible to the listener...?  Yes they are.  Making any language "sacred" in and of itself is quite incomprehensible (no pun intended) to me, as they're human contructs.  As has been said, the only way to make a language sacred is to proclaim the gospel with it.  As soon as that can no longer be done effectively, the language ceases to be sacred, IMO.

The Roman Catholic Church systematically removed its sacred language from its liturgy, and in my opinion (shared by many Catholics I have spoken with) they ended up disposing of much of their sacred culture as well.

Mmm...not quite.  V2 never actually said "NO LATIN," though this was, obviously, how it was almost universally applied.  There were and are provisions made, iirc, both for Latin and Gregorian Chant in a V2 liturgy.  That praise choruses and dumbed-down Bible translations are currently the norm in many RC parishes is not, to be fair, strictly the fault of V2.

The problem is not with the linguistic changes, but with the changes to the liturgy itself!  The rubrics, the prayers, the music--all these things which were obliterated in V2 have led, as you said, to a loss of religious culture.  Latin Mass is requested because of its solemnity, and while Latin itself is often beloved of those who attend, you can bet that 1) the folks who request it understand it, and 2) if the exact same Tridentine liturgy were done identically in English, the culture would remain largely unaffected...check that...I betcha lunch it would be somewhat strengthened.

...but to my knowledge the ROCOR is growing and the OCA not...

Your knowledge does not reflect the reality of the growth of the OCA Diocese of the South (liturgical languages are almost all English or Spanish, with Slavonic one Sat. a month where requested).  We are growing in every parish I've looked at (I'm on our parish council, and we looked at the numbers in our diocese at our mtg a few months ago).

But I truly believe that we Orthodox, in defiance of the great commision, put up many, many unnecessary obstacles to attracting our own youth as well as other Christians and non-Christians. Language is just the most obvious and aggrandizing example.

The Russian Orthodox Diocese of Alaska remains so named due to a rogue Bishop of the OCA. Ask a native Alaskan if this is the name they cherish. You will find the answer to be a resounding NO.

Cowboy, as well as Tamara...I just love reading y'all's posts.  Amen from down in TX...

The singing of para-liturgical hymns in Slavonic is one example of a custom, and I fully support doing the same hymns in English as well.  There is just no need to do it in English only.  I don't think that excluding Slavonic enriches the liturgy, I think it detracts from it.  I am a convert, I am in my 30's, and I prefer hearing Slavonic and knowing I am in a church that has no issue with identifying itself specifically with a particular culture.  It is both Rusyn and American.  I would prefer a good deal more Slavonic be used than is now actually.

I'm glad you posted this before I hit "Post," as this is basically how I feel, as well...then again, I feel for the Russian and Ukranian immigrants in our parish who don't hear ANY Slavonic in our services.  When one of our readers (who is Latvian) reads dual epistle readings--English and Slavonic--it's gorgeous, and you can see the appreciation on the faces of those who grew up with this.  They have ears to hear, whatever the language, but the Slavonic makes it easier for them. 

Now, I do wonder how actual vernacular Russian or Ukrainian would sound to them.  There's a Serbian parish in the DFW Metroplex that has as parishioners two of my students this year, as well as the assistant to the head of Modern Languages of our school district.  They've all said that a move from Slavonic to Serbian was WONDERFUL for them, as they could finally understand what they were praying and grow from it.  Mis dos centavitos.
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« Reply #49 on: December 18, 2007, 04:01:48 PM »

Well, I guess I better weigh in. you know it is not the language so much that I am objecting to, heck if in the south all they use is English (If that's what you call what is spoken in that part of the US) then OK, since there are probably not many people of eastern european or mediterranean lineage.

What I a object to is the "evangelical" mindset of dumbing everything down because we have to be "seeker friendly."  Seeker friendly is just a buzz word for how can we increase the money that comes in the till since we also chucked bingo, ethnic food fairs and raffles.

I said it before and I'll say it again. Feed people and they will listen to you. Slavonic or not.
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« Reply #50 on: December 18, 2007, 04:03:09 PM »

Wellkodox,

I am really hard pressed to understand how an inquirer walking into an Orthodox Church in America will be "turned on" by church slavonic. I am not being sarcastic, I truly wonder how you draw that conclusion. I agree that the Divine Liturgy, done in church slavonic is beautiful--but not relevant. When I wax nostalgic I play a CD of it. But worship REQUIRES understanding and participation, not viewing/listening. How is this possible in your model?

I don't want my parish identified with Russian culture because this is not the truth and it excludes all not of that background. History and roots are just that. They have influenced the present. But they are not in the present.

The Orthodox Church is by and large shrinking in this country and I don't see (I honestly don't) how the introduction of foreign languages will help this situation. Even the Russian Sobor in the early 1900's included agenda items to change from church slavonic to vernacular Russian, because the youth were abandoning the Church. I agree with Tamara that no language is sacred.

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« Reply #51 on: December 18, 2007, 04:25:11 PM »

Well Cowboy, you bought the Kool Aid . . . sigh.  I don't think that anyone is saying we should introduce these languages into the liturgy. Frankly, an all Slavonic liturgy would grow old for me too (and I'm Serbian.) For some churches non-English is actually welcoming. I do think though that certain cultures, Greek, Russian, etc. having been steeped (picture a tea bag) in Orthodoxy for millenia have developed a sacredness to them. Surely, some of the vernacular English that is spoken in the US could be called vulgar and not sacred at all. Latin, to me has a certain sacredness. I am not a Catholic, but the Ave Maria sung in Latin can bring me to tears.

A few weeks ago our priest preached an homily about love. He noted that the first century Chrisitans were characterized or known by their love for one another and others.  Not their language or whether they listed to Christian rock or Ancient Faith radio. Love knows no language.

I think you equate non-English with non-love.

Orthodox culture does not change quickly, that is maybe your frustration. I think its great you are in a growing church that speaks only English.  My parish uses 95% English in all services. (More Slavonic during holidays.)
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« Reply #52 on: December 18, 2007, 04:33:48 PM »

Well Cowboy, you bought the Kool Aid . . . sigh.  I don't think that anyone is saying we should introduce these languages into the liturgy. Frankly, an all Slavonic liturgy would grow old for me too (and I'm Serbian.) For some churches non-English is actually welcoming. I do think though that certain cultures, Greek, Russian, etc. having been steeped (picture a tea bag) in Orthodoxy for millenia have developed a sacredness to them. Surely, some of the vernacular English that is spoken in the US could be called vulgar and not sacred at all. Latin, to me has a certain sacredness. I am not a Catholic, but the Ave Maria sung in Latin can bring me to tears.

I hear you. When I hear



I get chills down my spine. And not just in Gregorian chant---ever hear Biber or Palestrina's version? Wow. . .

I think the ordinary parts of a liturgy can and should be in the sacred language. Since they are repeated every week, the congregation shouldn't have a problem understanding them.
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« Reply #53 on: December 18, 2007, 04:47:14 PM »

I don't think Joe was laughing. I think he, like me, would be very sad whenever anyone leaves the Orthodox Church.

Perception is very important.  The smug that we have the TRUTH and that anyone who would dare walk away from it is flippant, shallow etc. is no different than laughing in someone's face, even if for the sake of formality one puts on the facade of mourning.  I'd wager that the vast majority of those who have left the Orthodox church have done so because the church has failed to meet their basic spiritual and pastoral needs and another church has been able to do so.  That isn't their fault - it's ours.  It is rare to see that tone in most diatribes that criticize those who leave the Orthodox faith.  That lack of self-criticism is why we have become such a bastion of mediocrity. 

What I a object to is the "evangelical" mindset of dumbing everything down because we have to be "seeker friendly."

We agree, let's raise a shot of rakija to that.  Most "convert" parishes / missions in the US only reach out to a very narrow demographic of like minded and the almost nearly converted.

As for Welkodox, I fail to see how you can really consider any language other than liturgical Greek a linga sacra in Orthodoxy.  I don't see how Slavonic is a lingua sacra and English is a mere vernacular when both are simply translations.  For that matter, should the Romanian church have retained the use of Slavonic?
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« Reply #54 on: December 18, 2007, 04:50:37 PM »

I get chills down my spine. And not just in Gregorian chant---ever hear Biber or Palestrina's version? Wow. . .

I think the ordinary parts of a liturgy can and should be in the sacred language. Since they are repeated every week, the congregation shouldn't have a problem understanding them.

How is liturgical Latin, which is basically the Latin of St. Jerome's Vulgate be considering especially sacred when it is in fact quite "vulgar" relative to literary Latin?  Now if you want the exalted Latin it'd go... Arma virumque cano...
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« Reply #55 on: December 18, 2007, 04:51:44 PM »

Quote
We agree, let's raise a shot of rakija to that.  Most "convert" parishes / missions in the US only reach out to a very narrow demographic of like minded and the almost nearly converted.
 

I would submit that convert parishes are in some cases ethnic ghettoes of their own. I further agree that people leave because, well maybe they found a more loving bunch of Christians, call them evangelical or Catholic or even Serbian Orthodox.  Shocked
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« Reply #56 on: December 18, 2007, 04:55:57 PM »

A few weeks ago our priest preached an homily about love. He noted that the first century Chrisitans were characterized or known by their love for one another and others.  Not their language or whether they listed to Christian rock or Ancient Faith radio. Love knows no language.

I think you equate non-English with non-love.

Aserb,

Whoa! I do not equate non-English with non-Love. I equate English with the ability to understand and respond in Orthodox worship. It is my point exactly that first century Christians were not known for their language. It was and is irrelevant. But to gain and live love you must have understanding and this is gained by learning in a language you understand.

Latin, to me has a certain sacredness. I am not a Catholic, but the Ave Maria sung in Latin can bring me to tears.

I do not speak or understand Latin. It has no "sacredness" to me at all. I am also not Catholic and Ave Maria is a beautiful song--but no tears for me.

I think the ordinary parts of a liturgy can and should be in the sacred language. Since they are repeated every week, the congregation shouldn't have a problem understanding them.

Why should there be any question about people being able to understand them? Why should we only hear certain parts of the Liturgy in a language we can understand. To me, your suggestion simply relegates parts of the Liturgy to "unimportant " (ordinary) status, simply so a pretty song in a foreign language could be sung? I don't think this was envisioned by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

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« Reply #57 on: December 18, 2007, 04:59:25 PM »

Most "convert" parishes / missions in the US only reach out to a very narrow demographic of like minded and the almost nearly converted.

I would submit that convert parishes are in some cases ethnic ghettoes of their own. I further agree that people leave because, well maybe they found a more loving bunch of Christians, call them evangelical or Catholic or even Serbian Orthodox.  Shocked

Questions for y'all (out of curiosity and not as a challenge, Νεκτάριος, since you and I seem to be on the same train of thought on several things, nor to you, aserb, since I can only admire that you're still around after being burned):
  • what would you say this narrow demographic is,
  • would you say it is usually ethnic, and
  • if so, what ethnicity would describe it?
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« Reply #58 on: December 18, 2007, 05:15:15 PM »

With the caveat that this is a generalization based on my experiences and not meant to say this is the case in every similar situation:

what would you say this narrow demographic is

Evangelical Christians. 

This is a very hard culture for Catholics and non-religious people to break into.  That's not to say ethnic parishes don't present their own cultural hurdles to cross, but that the convert type of convert parishes aren't the panacea that some seem to claim they to be.   

Quote
would you say it is usually ethnic, and if so, what ethnicity would describe it?

There is certainly a group identity, but I don't know if ethnic is the right way to describe it.  Even very traditional Greek parishes have a relaxed, yet serious ethos that is entirely different. 
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« Reply #59 on: December 18, 2007, 05:27:11 PM »

Why should there be any question about people being able to understand them? Why should we only hear certain parts of the Liturgy in a language we can understand. To me, your suggestion simply relegates parts of the Liturgy to "unimportant " (ordinary) status, simply so a pretty song in a foreign language could be sung? I don't think this was envisioned by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

Missals and pamphlets easily provide translations. And it should not be difficult for anyone to understand the Ordinary parts, even without  translations, since they are repeated every week.

Also, you seem to misunderstand the meaning of the word "ordinary" in Catholic parlance. Here's the Webster definition:

2often capitalized : the parts of the Mass that do not vary from day to day

This is opposed to the Propers, which are the parts which change every day.

It certainly is not unimportant. In fact, it's extremely important, which is why it is repeated at every Mass. Read this to see what the Ordinary parts are:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordinary_of_the_Mass

--

Another recent example: In his Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, which liberated the traditional Roman rite, Pope Benedict described the traditional and modern as two forms of the one Roman rite. He calls the modern form the Ordinary Form (basically mean "normal") and the traditional form the Extraordinary Form. Both are, of course, equally "normal" in terms of being valid and licit and free for any priest or faithful to celebrate.
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« Reply #60 on: December 18, 2007, 05:34:16 PM »

Lubeltri,

Pardon my misunderstanding. I thought you were referring to Orthodox Divine Liturgy not the Catholic Mass. If you are making the two equivalent, then my same objection applies. It is even more important each week to hear and understand the "ordinary" parts of worship in a language you can understand. Missals and pamphlets for translation? Why is this preferable to the real thing?

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« Reply #61 on: December 18, 2007, 05:37:06 PM »

Ethnic in the loose sense of the word. American but with a twist of Greek (sounds like a drink recipe and its almost 5PM EST). Converts insisting they be called by their Chrismation name in stead of their American name which may be Wilbur or Ethelrita. A kind of new; yet almost fake clannishness, lacking true ethnic substance.  Often, I wanted to just scream - - relax, be yourselves. God is looking at your heart not your Chrismation name.

But in reality all churches develop  a clannishness of sorts and it is tough to work against that; especially when new people are concerned.  The clannishness can be centered around ethnicity, economic status, shared religious experience.

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« Reply #62 on: December 18, 2007, 05:49:12 PM »

I have to agree completely with Νεκτάριος.

When I was first investigating Orthodoxy, (and I just want to add, this is solely based on my personal experiences) I felt very out of place at certain "convert" parishes.  First, they tended to reach out, like said above, to Evangelical Christians mostly, and, in some rare cases, yes, it seemed to be they were reaching out to a very Anglo-Saxon/Germanic ethnicity.  I'm Italian and Southern French and well, I look it.  Light olive skin, brown hair, dark eyes, greasy (LOL).  I also come from a traditionalist Roman Catholic background.  The Priests were always welcoming, to a point though.  I always seemed to sense that I was a second class inquirer, somewhat brushed aside since the Protestant to RC ratio was huge.  Certain parishes, even the members were extremely unwelcoming, with many anti-Catholic sentaments left over from Protestantism.  I was once asked if I had a statue of Isis...  How very Jack Chick of them...  Those, of course, were the worst experiences and not overly common.  But a general feeling of not belonging was common.

I felt much more comfortable in "ethnic" parishes.  The only time I would feel like the odd one out was during football (soccer) discussions after the Liturgy.   Tongue  A couple jabs at the Italian military during WWII at a Greek parish, but nothing done to hurt me or push me away.

So yes, I do believe convert parishes, generally from what I have seen, look for a specific group.  Most being evangelical Christians.  One great experience I did had at a convert parish was one made up mostly of former High Church Angicans and RCs.  Most were Anglo (British and Irish), but I felt very welcomed there.

Anyways, just my 2 cents.
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« Reply #63 on: December 18, 2007, 05:56:02 PM »

Lubeltri,

Pardon my misunderstanding. I thought you were referring to Orthodox Divine Liturgy not the Catholic Mass. If you are making the two equivalent, then my same objection applies. It is even more important each week to hear and understand the "ordinary" parts of worship in a language you can understand. Missals and pamphlets for translation? Why is this preferable to the real thing?


I think it was Welkodox who brought up the introduction of the vernacular to the Catholic Mass, so I was discussing in a general context of vernacular vs. sacred language in liturgies. Obviously, as a Catholic, my experience is more on the Catholic side, so I was giving examples from my own experience.

As for the Orthodox Divine Liturgy, well, I think I would feel the same way. I think a variety (all-vernacular, all sacred, and hybrid) is probably a good idea, though I still believe at least having the "ordinary" parts (the parts that are repeated every Sunday) in the sacred language is ideal. The Greek Orthodox DL I used to go to in college was in liturgical Greek for the regular parts but the other parts were said in both Greek and English. Which, of course, helped, as the Orthodox community there was from various backgrounds (Romanian, Serbian, Russian, American converts, even some Indian and Coptic OO, etc.)---the tiny church (more like a chapel) was the only Orthodox church in the area (and the elderly priest had to be brought in from Orlando every Sunday).
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« Reply #64 on: December 18, 2007, 06:22:01 PM »

Questions for y'all (out of curiosity and not as a challenge, Νεκτάριος, since you and I seem to be on the same train of thought on several things, nor to you, aserb, since I can only admire that you're still around after being burned):
  • what would you say this narrow demographic is,
  • would you say it is usually ethnic, and
  • if so, what ethnicity would describe it?

My experience is the opposite of what some have posted as their experience. I was made to feel more at home in an Antiochian parish started by former evangelicals than I was in the parish I grew up which slowly became more ethnic. I remember one Arab lady asking me if I was Greek and I had belonged to this parish my whole life. But I did not fit in with the immigrant crowd because I couldn't speak Arabic. This parish has become more friendly over the last six years to non-Arabs due to the fact they have an absolutely wonderful priest. Many of those who were ethnic snobs left. Now when I come for a visit I am always made to feel welcomed.

But the new parish just took my family in...my son's best friends belong to this parish. If anyone is sick or in need the parish community responds. The whole community is involved with almost every baptism, chrismation and wedding. The church feels like family. If you are involved with a project or ministry you can count on everyone in the parish helping you out depending on your need. I guess the ethnic feel of the parish is more anglo even though we have members who come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds but I would say the overiding culture of this parish is Christian hospitality.
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« Reply #65 on: December 18, 2007, 09:15:54 PM »

WhAt I am getting out of all of this is that it comes down to the people in the parish. Whether people are welcoming appears not to be based on ethnicity or prior religious persuasion but the people.
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« Reply #66 on: December 18, 2007, 09:22:01 PM »

And what I'm getting out of it is that people use the word "ethnic" to mean anything not "American", forgetting that "American" is an ethnicity.
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« Reply #67 on: December 18, 2007, 09:37:40 PM »

And what I'm getting out of it is that people use the word "ethnic" to mean anything not "American", forgetting that "American" is an ethnicity.

That is not entirely accurate (especially considering that not only Americans have posted in this thread).  I think most people are using "ethnic" to describe a parish that tends to be less welcoming to outsiders and emphasizes a particular ethnicity (and the point that practically everyone has made is that many self-proclaimed non-ethnic convert parishes are in fact just as "ethnic" as any ethnic parish).  Back when the GOA was looking at setting up a mission around here, one of the models they suggested was a "pan-Orthodox parish under the omniphoron of the GOA."  I think that is the best approach: a balanced parish that is flexible and dynamic enough to meet the spiritual and pastoral needs of all the Orthodox Christians living in its geographical proximity.  As I think Fr. Chris and Cleveland would likely agree, this seems to be a growing trend in the GOA.   
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« Reply #68 on: December 18, 2007, 11:06:15 PM »

Wellkodox,

I am really hard pressed to understand how an inquirer walking into an Orthodox Church in America will be "turned on" by church slavonic. I am not being sarcastic, I truly wonder how you draw that conclusion. I agree that the Divine Liturgy, done in church slavonic is beautiful--but not relevant. When I wax nostalgic I play a CD of it. But worship REQUIRES understanding and participation, not viewing/listening. How is this possible in your model?

How many people when they first walk in to an Orthodox church can make sense of the rubrics?  Understand the actions that take place among the clergy and laity?  Identify the intricacies and meaning of icons?  Grasp the symbolism in the architecure of the building?  Pick up on the tonality of the chanting?  How many people after years and years in church still don't see those things?

When I first came in to contact with the Orthodox Church I certainly couldn't.  I could only grasp the basics, including the overwhelming beauty of the Slavonic language, though I didn't know the words.  It was clear to me this was something that was most definitely praising the majesty of God, and I could tell it was rooted in something real.  When the emissaries of Vladimir went to Constantinople, I think they recorded something similar.

Over time, with an investment of effort and interest one can go beyond the initial contact with all of these things to develop a deeper sense of the traditions of the church.  Gearing the church to be understandable to everybody the very instant they come in contact with it will invariably mean as aserb said dumbing down or cutting out.  It will happen.  It is the LCD effect.  I don't want a Byzantinized Methodist Meeting.  I want Kievan-Rus'.

Quote
I don't want my parish identified with Russian culture because this is not the truth and it excludes all not of that background.

The parish should be rooted in whatever culture it emerged from, though certainly it can adapt to new circumstances.  One is only excluded if the holders of the culture wish to keep others out, or if you yourself cannot take on elements of that culture through your own choice.  Maybe there are those who wish to keep outsiders out, or who can't adapt to another culture.  I would imagine the former will see their parishes close and the latter would abandon Orthodoxy whenever they became disenchanted with it for whatever reason.  The reality is there are those who are happy to share what they have and those who are happy to partake.
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« Reply #69 on: December 19, 2007, 12:24:13 AM »

Questions for y'all (out of curiosity and not as a challenge, Νεκτάριος, since you and I seem to be on the same train of thought on several things, nor to you, aserb, since I can only admire that you're still around after being burned):
  • what would you say this narrow demographic is,
  • would you say it is usually ethnic, and
  • if so, what ethnicity would describe it?
I also agree that the target demographic in such parishes is Evangelical Protestants. I was an Anglican before being Orthodox, and I feel very very out of place in such parishes.  So much of Orthodox "convert literature" is directed towards Evangelicals that sometimes I felt many of the books I read about Orthodoxy were un-necessarily anti-Catholic and they were definitely geared towards concerns about the Orthodox faith that as an Anglican, I didn't have.  I learned more about Protestantism as an Orthodox catechumen than I ever did when I actually was Protestant!! It's also rather annoying to me when people in the Orthodox Church equate Protestant with Evangelical. There are MANY kind of Protestants, some of whom are probably much closer to Orthodoxy(such as traditional Lutherans and Anglicans) than they are to Evangelicals. 

One thing that I have noticed among parishes with lots of converts is this: In some parishes, especially one in particular, people never get over the experience of converting. They never move on with their lives.  They converted 10 years ago and still, within 30 seconds of begining a conversation with them, they ask if I am a convert or if I was raised Orthodox, and then they proceed to tell their own conversion story.  In other parishes, people let the experience fade into the background and focus on what it actually means to be Orthodox, which is loving God and loving our neighbor.  That makes a lot of difference.

Overall though, what makes a parish welcoming or not is the people.  If people are loving and good, then it's welcoming and having a different culture doesn't make much difference. I think we should all focus on being more loving than on what our cultural background is. 
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« Reply #70 on: December 19, 2007, 12:33:13 AM »

When did protestants and the like become confessions?

These 'groups' are not confessions they are 'protestants'.

When remember the origins of these groups we reminded that they are founded on beligerance and heressy. Unless this is confession.

Many of the original Reformers were quite sincere. They had little contact and little knowledge of the Eastern Church. In their efforts to reform the Western Church they tried to recreate the "New Testament Church" in a historical vacuum and they threw out the baby with the bathwater in trashing most, if not all of Holy Tradition and adopted some heretical positions as a result. But in their historic "evolution," they were attempting to adapt to the spiritual environment they found themselves in with what knowledge (the renaissance) and presuppositions (rationalism) they had at their cultural disposal.

In subsequent generations their DNA mutated and they developed the schism gene and subdivided into thousands of sects. But that wasn't the intent of the early Reformers.

But their descendants did do an awesome job of creating some democratic nations with religious and political freedom as essential pillars. Otherwise, we wouldn't be having this discussion because ethinc Orthodox people would have had no reason to emigrate to these countries (I am thinking primarily of the USA, Canada and Australia)
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« Reply #71 on: December 19, 2007, 12:35:30 AM »

They are confessions. A confession, according to Webster's, is "an organized religious body having a common creed." I think it's a very good term to use if your own ecclesiology prevents you from calling them "churches" but you still want to respect them as Christians and thus don't wish to brand them with something as secular-sounding as "group" or "organization."

Communion is another good term to use.

Here! here! Well said!
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« Reply #72 on: December 19, 2007, 01:01:58 AM »

Tamara,

Let us also not forget that St. Herman translated the Gospels into Aleut for the Alaskan people. He did not force them to learn Russian/Church Slavonic.

Cowboy

Road to Emmaus Journal, Spring 2007, has a wonderful article on the work of St. Herman, St. Innocent Veniaminov and St. Jacob and their incredible work of translation into several of the native languages of Alaska.

Othodoxy has always been respectful of the cultures into which it has gone as an evangelistic enterprise. Sometimes, I think we don't respect our North American culture sufficiently because it is the majority culture, it is now so secular and we are often in opposition to it. Part of the probem in the lower 48 states is that Orthodoxy did not come here on an evangelistic mission initially, hence all the jurisdictional chaos and differences regarding English language usage in the liturgy.
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« Reply #73 on: December 19, 2007, 01:27:43 AM »

Ultimately, a parish grows not because of the language used in the liturgy, whether taditional or vernacular, but whether the priest and parishoners love Christ and one another (and outsiders), are people of prayer, and make certain demands of inquirers (if it's just like the surrounding culture, why not join the Lions Club)
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« Reply #74 on: December 19, 2007, 01:29:14 AM »

Sorry for all the successive posts - it was late and I guess I was the only post-er.
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« Reply #75 on: December 19, 2007, 03:56:03 AM »

Many of the original Reformers were quite sincere.

The sincerity didn't stop with the early reformers either.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Soren Kierkegaard are two of Christianity's finest. 
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« Reply #76 on: December 19, 2007, 01:13:46 PM »

Wellkodox,

Just in from Russia:


http://www.interfax-religion.com/print.php?act=news&id=4087
2007-12-19 14:10:00

Divine service fragments to be read in modern Russian, Russian Orthodox Church's
representative

Moscow, December 19, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church's representative
under the European International Institutions, Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and
Austria believes the time has come to reform the liturgical language partly.

¡It is impossible to abandon Slavonic and translate the whole divine service
into Russian. However, certain fragments of the service can be read in Russian.
For instance, psalms, epistles of the apostles and the Gospels¢, Bishop Hilarion
stated in an interview published in NG-Religii newspaper.

He thinks that ¡most complicated festival canons¢ can also be read in Russian.
It is necessary to organize prayer meetings for youth after divine services, to
explain words of prayers pronounced at the service and to distribute texts of
the services in Slavonic with parallel Russian translation.

¡We should balance rational conservatism with creative attitude to the church
practice. If our parishioners do not understand the words of prayers, it is a
very grave problem and it should be addressed¢, the Moscow Patriarchate¢s
representative noted.

According to him, ¡man of the street¢ is kept back from the Church by various
¡linguistic, cultural, psychological and other¢ barriers and clergy does not ¡do
enough¢ to help a person overcome them.

Bishop Hilarion reminded that Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia had
given the clergy a ¡missionary task¢ to make people understand the point of the
divine service.

¡Until the task is completed, the question of liturgical language will be on the
agenda¢, the Russian Orthodox Church¢s representative believes.

Cowboy
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« Reply #77 on: December 19, 2007, 01:44:44 PM »

The sincerity didn't stop with the early reformers either.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Soren Kierkegaard are two of Christianity's finest. 

Yes, indeed. The apple didn't always fall far from the tree. Exhibit A: Johann Sebastian Bach.
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« Reply #78 on: December 19, 2007, 05:03:49 PM »

Wellkodox,

Just in from Russia:


http://www.interfax-religion.com/print.php?act=news&id=4087
2007-12-19 14:10:00

Divine service fragments to be read in modern Russian, Russian Orthodox Church's
representative

Moscow, December 19, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church's representative
under the European International Institutions, Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and
Austria believes the time has come to reform the liturgical language partly.

¡It is impossible to abandon Slavonic and translate the whole divine service
into Russian. However, certain fragments of the service can be read in Russian.
For instance, psalms, epistles of the apostles and the Gospels¢, Bishop Hilarion
stated in an interview published in NG-Religii newspaper.

He thinks that ¡most complicated festival canons¢ can also be read in Russian.
It is necessary to organize prayer meetings for youth after divine services, to
explain words of prayers pronounced at the service and to distribute texts of
the services in Slavonic with parallel Russian translation.

¡We should balance rational conservatism with creative attitude to the church
practice. If our parishioners do not understand the words of prayers, it is a
very grave problem and it should be addressed¢, the Moscow Patriarchate¢s
representative noted.

According to him, ¡man of the street¢ is kept back from the Church by various
¡linguistic, cultural, psychological and other¢ barriers and clergy does not ¡do
enough¢ to help a person overcome them.

Bishop Hilarion reminded that Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia had
given the clergy a ¡missionary task¢ to make people understand the point of the
divine service.

¡Until the task is completed, the question of liturgical language will be on the
agenda¢, the Russian Orthodox Church¢s representative believes.

Cowboy


Seems like a reasonable approach.  I believe something similar to it was shot down in Greece not that long ago.
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« Reply #79 on: December 19, 2007, 06:52:00 PM »

The sincerity didn't stop with the early reformers either.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Soren Kierkegaard are two of Christianity's finest. 

Bonhoeffer has gotten a lot of press for his steadfast resistance to the Nazis which cost him his life and that is certainly commendable and worthy of respect.  However, as a Christian, he denied some of the most basic tenents of the Christian faith such as the REsurrection and the Trinity. 
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« Reply #80 on: December 19, 2007, 07:03:36 PM »

Bonhoeffer has gotten a lot of press for his steadfast resistance to the Nazis which cost him his life and that is certainly commendable and worthy of respect.  However, as a Christian, he denied some of the most basic tenents of the Christian faith such as the REsurrection and the Trinity. 

I'd really like to see a primary source citation on that claim. 
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« Reply #81 on: December 19, 2007, 07:41:07 PM »

Many of the original Reformers were quite sincere. They had little contact and little knowledge of the Eastern Church. In their efforts to reform the Western Church they tried to recreate the "New Testament Church" in a historical vacuum and they threw out the baby with the bathwater in trashing most, if not all of Holy Tradition and adopted some heretical positions as a result. But in their historic "evolution," they were attempting to adapt to the spiritual environment they found themselves in with what knowledge (the renaissance) and presuppositions (rationalism) they had at their cultural disposal.

In subsequent generations their DNA mutated and they developed the schism gene and subdivided into thousands of sects. But that wasn't the intent of the early Reformers.

But their descendants did do an awesome job of creating some democratic nations with religious and political freedom as essential pillars. Otherwise, we wouldn't be having this discussion because ethinc Orthodox people would have had no reason to emigrate to these countries (I am thinking primarily of the USA, Canada and Australia)

Thanks for the insite BrotherAiden.

I am aware of the intent of the "reformers".

I have never considered that these people had no idea who or what the Holy Church was. I should have considering that most of the people that followed along with this idea were illiterate and vastly un-informed. They were being lead by the nose..literally.

As for the " awesome democratic" nations you said the their descendants created I have to say that these nations are 'slave nations' by the shear facts of history, pseudo-democracies. The earliest people brought to the Americas (by force in chains) were not given he right to vote until the late 1960's and getting that done cost countless lives including innocent woman and children as well as an esteemed and well loved American president and his brother. Even today the right to 'truely' be American for these same people has not been attained. These people have only the right to be treated as American and as such enjoy the priviledge of this "awesome democracy" until time runs out on the priviledge. Its OK right now G W Bush 2 years ago renewed these rights for a little while longer. Did you see him signing the documenst that day. He looked so proud. I beleive this was the civil rights act of 1960-something. It is odd to me that such and act of congress was necessary in a country that already had the most ideal democractic system in the world.

Was not the Bill of Rights and the constitution enough to represent all Americans already?

The answer seems:: ..'Yes!; but NOT these people since they are NOT Americans and have NOT and will NOT be accepted to be truely equal Americans....thus these people will have to function AS Americans by permission only; initiated and executed in an act of congress and NOT the established system enjoyed by the actual Americans since the founding fathers'.

That seems to be the thinking. Thus we have the Civil Rights Act of 1960-something. If this was not the thinking then the Civil Rights Act would be redundant and not needed.

The religious freedom of this "awesome nation" fits the already stated kaos. Most people come form Russia and the Ukraine for example and are so happy to be in America where thier religious freedom can be experienced without fera of reprisal. These same people have no idea that they got of the boat and or plane in a country which for over 350 years brutalised, mamed and killed American inhabitants for using bibles. If certain American inhabitants were found reading anything ESPECIALLY a bible their eyes were burned out. If Any of these American inhabitants were found speaking about God or praying to God......Thier tongue was ripped out. Lord have mercy. These American inhabitant were denied any christian right. NO baptism, NO matrimony, NO communion, NO NOTHING. WHY? Seems the descendants of the "great reformers" believed that God banished these people from Him. They beleived that these people were not even human and thus were to be treated like you would treat your shoes or your sofa or your dog or anyhting else you would have as your own property.

Sickening...

But true!

The descendants of the reformers were murderers for the most part. Not all but too many to care for the innocent.

The continent of Africa and what we call Australia the Caribean etc are living testimonies to the shear rape and pillage and destruction of Gods peoples throughout the world by the Godless; although mighty hand of the descendants of the reformers.

the untold horrors that took place in what we call North America and elsewhere may stay behind the curtain of history. But the things we do know is uncontionable barbarism, hate, lust, torchure, lying, stealing...you name it. All these things are the fruit of Godlessness. Thus we get from this this nightmare..this "awesome democracy".

"Ethnic orthodox would not immigrate to countries unless they were contrived by the reformers?

What??

I hope you are wrong about your last statement.

The lord has placed a great commission on His Church and that is to 'preach and teach the Gosple to all the world'. If the "Ethnic orthodox came to America, Canada and Australia for some other reason that is too bad. If the Russian Orthodox came to lets say America to Russian Orthodox emigrants than this is not really 'apostolic mission'. Its cultural expansionism. Just an example.

The holy church does not need the antics of the protestants to encourge its movement.

I pray with thanks to God that The Orthodox Church of Ethiopia came to the Americas as a christian orthodox mission. When the Ethiopian church set up its first church in the USA there were NO native born Ethiopians to be found except the clergy. All the members were converts. This is more liken to apostolic mission. 20 years after the church came then Ethiopian nationals started to arrive. I state this to make an example of my point from my own experience.

I think I get what you mean to say. But I felt a little background is good when grading certain activities; especially the antics of protestants.


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« Reply #82 on: December 19, 2007, 08:17:25 PM »

Wow Amdetsion!  I never thought of it like that. You're right.  Most of us here are of European stock and never viewed this issue from an African perspective.

Frankly, my grandparents did not come to the US to evangelize. They came seeking economic opportunity and to escape crushing poverty in their home land at the time.

Reading your post makes me see that you are quite passionate and quite human.
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« Reply #83 on: December 20, 2007, 04:02:58 PM »

Wow Amdetsion!  I never thought of it like that. You're right.  Most of us here are of European stock and never viewed this issue from an African perspective.

Frankly, my grandparents did not come to the US to evangelize. They came seeking economic opportunity and to escape crushing poverty in their home land at the time.

Reading your post makes me see that you are quite passionate and quite human.

Thanks be to God that you were blessed to see what I was trying to say.

I was afraid that some people would be offended or consider me a 'hater' of America.

The points I made are not from the thoughts of an 'America hater' but are directly from the record of American history. These issues are however hard to accept by some.

Protestant history is filled with human tragedy and despair having nothing to do with Gods Christian mission to the world. A vast listing of acts filled with utter foolishness. Look at the 'crusades' which was nothing but starving, uneducated, filthy, deseased rabel-rousers with crosses pinned to thier filthy bug infested clothing. All the crusades added up to nothing but a ignorant sense of prestige in the minds of the protestant militants that executed these obscene missions into the holy land under the guise of "christians".

Christians???

When the first lot arrived in the holy land (10 - something ca) the actual christians they were coming to 'liberate' were already liberated and living in peace with the Arab muslims. Arab muslims tolerated the Christian faith and vise-versa. The question to the protestant militants (crusaders) was "what are you doing here"?

These people were toothless and hopeless by this point and could not read or write thier own names. They then began to do what they do best KILL. They slaughtered thousands in the days after the first incursion....ALL who met the sword were Christians NOT muslims. These Godless people killed without cause in cold blood our Holy fathers, monks, priests and nuns of the Universal Apostolic Orthodox Church. Lord have mercy.

Do not be mistaken...protestantism is older the Martin Luther.

Protestant thinking and life started long before Luther the heretic. This person only set to faite what was already in motion and the phrase (protestant)was attributed to His work and followers.

After 100-or so years these dead beat killers were finally extricated form the holy land By Salaa-Adin; a muslim. He also kicked ALL christians out of Jerusalem.....except the Orthodox. he said "these are the true christians they can stay". Salaa-adin secured our ancient churches and apppointed muslim families to be permanent protectors of the christian holy places most importantly the church of the holy sepulcher. To this day the descendants of the muslim family appoionted by Salaa-adin still holds the main door keys and ritually opens the door and closes them every day. On the other hand the product of the protestant militants (the crusaders) only produced deep rooted hate for the whole west by eastern peoples particularly Arabs which is still going on today.

Not exactly christian results at all.

I am sad for all the souls that have suffered do to protestants......this ...this......global ill.

I do not hate protestants (when I say protestant I mean every religious group on earth that is not under and is in complete communion with a recognised RC or orthodox patriarchate) I just do not need anything that they have to offer....nothing. Anything they may have that may be of any real christian value I already have in the true Holy Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #84 on: December 20, 2007, 05:49:08 PM »

Well you certianly scared everyone away.  CHeck your history though.  The crusaders were Roman Catholic. The protestant reformation had not begun yet.
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« Reply #85 on: December 20, 2007, 06:08:52 PM »

Though I don't wish to put words in Amdetsion's mouth, but many do not view the "Protestant Reformation" of Martin Luther as the hard date of the beginning of Protestantism.  Some see the Carolingian renaissance as its forerunner and that on the formation of the "Holy Roman Empire" in 962, Protestantism was already well about in the minds of many.  This Church, that often acted in rebellion to Rome often, under the direction and protection of the Emperor, was in protest or protestant.  With many crusaders being Frankish, some see them acting in ways not truly sanctioned by the Vatican.
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« Reply #86 on: December 20, 2007, 06:17:21 PM »

With many crusaders being Frankish, some see them acting in ways not truly sanctioned by the Vatican.

Yes, like in 1204.
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« Reply #87 on: December 20, 2007, 06:32:34 PM »

Though I don't wish to put words in Amdetsion's mouth, but many do not view the "Protestant Reformation" of Martin Luther as the hard date of the beginning of Protestantism.  Some see the Carolingian renaissance as its forerunner and that on the formation of the "Holy Roman Empire" in 962, Protestantism was already well about in the minds of many.  This Church, that often acted in rebellion to Rome often, under the direction and protection of the Emperor, was in protest or protestant.  With many crusaders being Frankish, some see them acting in ways not truly sanctioned by the Vatican.

I wonder if the Reformation could have been avoided if the Roman see would have allowed patriarchates to develop in the various cities of Europe and Great Britain?
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« Reply #88 on: December 20, 2007, 06:48:32 PM »

I know that the protestant "movement" is placed at Luther and his boys.

I am saying that what Luther was doing; his thinking etc. is principally protestant. He is not the creator of the manners; the whole way of thinking that is the nature of protestantism. His teachers and thier teachers were his best followers. Luther did to the western community (church) what knowone else could do before him.

Protestantism has deep roots. NOT the 'term' as a so-called christian sect but the nature and attitude; the very ideals that the phrase describes.

The so-called crusaders were and still are idiolized by the protestant conservative and mainstream; especialy in America. Protestants are very proud of the history of the crusades. I have yet to hear an orthodox or a RC speak with pride and bravado about this sad group of people.

I also see that protestantism can permiate a person without realizing it.

It is a way of life for most people. This point is very complex.
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« Reply #89 on: December 20, 2007, 06:51:50 PM »

Well you certianly scared everyone away.  CHeck your history though.  The crusaders were Roman Catholic. The protestant reformation had not begun yet.

I have checked it.

Please read my post below....

PS
I did not mean to scare anyone.



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"ETHIOPIA shall soon stretch out her hands unto God".....Psalm 68:vs 31

"Are ye not as children of the ETHIOPIANS unto me, O children of Israel"?....Amos 9: vs 7
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