Poll

How much English is in your liturgies?

All
31 (39.7%)
Over 75% with less than 25% liturgical language
20 (25.6%)
50/50
11 (14.1%)
75% liturgical language with less than 25% English
8 (10.3%)
All liturgical language
8 (10.3%)

Total Members Voted: 78

Author Topic: English in Our liturgies  (Read 9567 times)

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Offline prodromas

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English in Our liturgies
« on: May 24, 2008, 02:48:13 AM »
I want to find out some statistics from other jurisdictions in different countries about the situation of language in the different parishes. I am part of the Greek jurisdiction in Australia (Victoria, Melbourne) and my situation is 99% Greek the creed and the lords prayer and every now and then the gospel message is read out in English. We currently have 2 parishes which once a month hold a divine liturgy in the week but none on Sunday as of yet.
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Offline Entscheidungsproblem

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2008, 09:45:30 AM »
I attend a ROCOR parish and the liturgy is completely in Church Slavonic with some Russian (homily).  Also, once a month, there is a very early Saturday morning English Liturgy that is completely in English.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2008, 11:05:45 AM »
I want to find out some statistics from other jurisdictions in different countries about the situation of language in the different parishes. I am part of the Greek jurisdiction in Australia (Victoria, Melbourne) and my situation is 99% Greek the creed and the lords prayer and every now and then the gospel message is read out in English. We currently have 2 parishes which once a month hold a divine liturgy in the week but none on Sunday as of yet.

Someone once gave me a good rule: if the DL is in one language, and the following coffee hour (the other DL ;)) is in another, there is a problem.  If both are in the same language, no problem.

Some Churches I see here (Chicago) have Greek written in Latin characters.  Give it up.  It's over then.

My parish is Antiochean, but we have only a handful of "ethnic" Orthodox.  Everything is in English (though the Antiochean translations leave much to be desired. The OCA's translations for the most part are the best (they have an unexcusable mutilation of the deacons cry "the time has come for the Lord to act" before DL, emasculated into "the time to start the service has come"), and most of their parishes (I was received OCA, and spent over a decade there) are in mostly English.  In some areas this has changed, with increased Russian immigration (which is proper). The Antiochean parishes are mostly English, even the ethnic ones.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2008, 11:11:21 AM by ialmisry »
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Offline John of the North

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2008, 03:11:03 PM »
I attend a Ukrainian parish. One Sunday is all Ukrainian, the next two Sundays are a mix of the two (the Gospel is read in both langauages) and the final week is technically all English, although the choir does sing some still in Ukrainian.

According to the bylaws of my jurisdiction, any english use in the Liturgy outside of the Lord's Prayer and the Creed must be approved by the Consistory. The same applies to French in Quebec.
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Offline Simayan

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2008, 03:27:42 PM »
We're about 50/50, though the parts that are in Greek are short responses and quick hymns. Homily is always in English, and the Gospel and Epistle are read in both languages. Except I'll be heading to an OCA church (the only Orthodox church in central Vermont) in the Fall when I head off to college.
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Offline katherine 2001

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2008, 06:29:21 PM »
In my parish, all services are in English.  For one thing, in our parish, we have cradle Orthodox of every ethnicity, as we are the only Orthodox church within a fairly large radius.  Fr. would have to be able to do services in Greek, Arabic, and Slavonic if we were to have ethnic liturgy.  Even when he visits the Greek monastery in Goldendale to visit his daughter, he does the services in English while the nuns do everything else in Greek.

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2008, 07:00:05 PM »
I voted ALL.
Our ACROD parish is 98+% English with a tiny bit of Greek(!) and one or two Slavonic hymns.
My Greek parish is virtually all English (what Greek is heard is usually repeated in English).
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2008, 07:52:09 PM »
I want to find out some statistics from other jurisdictions in different countries about the situation of language in the different parishes. I am part of the Greek jurisdiction in Australia (Victoria, Melbourne) and my situation is 99% Greek the creed and the lords prayer and every now and then the gospel message is read out in English. We currently have 2 parishes which once a month hold a divine liturgy in the week but none on Sunday as of yet.
I found it hard to vote because here in Sydney and surrounds, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has a complete English Liturgy every Sunday at a different parish every Sunday. This is because the Choir which chants the English Vespers, Orthros and Liturgy is only a few years old and can only be in one place at a time. So if you live in Sydney or its surrounds, you can attend an English Vespers, Orthros and Liturgy evey Sunday and the furthest you would have to drive would be 2 hours.
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Offline Starlight

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2008, 10:39:36 PM »
My parish has approximately 55% of English and 45% of Ukrainian.
Someone once gave me a good rule: if the DL is in one language, and the following coffee hour (the other DL ;)) is in another, there is a problem.  If both are in the same language, no problem.


Really an excellent rule! Of course, I will memorize this.

in the Fall when I head off to college.


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Offline prodromas

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2008, 10:59:15 PM »
I found it hard to vote because here in Sydney and surrounds, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has a complete English Liturgy every Sunday at a different parish every Sunday. This is because the Choir which chants the English Vespers, Orthros and Liturgy is only a few years old and can only be in one place at a time. So if you live in Sydney or its surrounds, you can attend an English Vespers, Orthros and Liturgy evey Sunday and the furthest you would have to drive would be 2 hours.

Thats interesting George because our priests in Victoria have told me that our Archbishop is adamantly against a divine liturgy in English in Australia in the Greek Jurisdictions. Maybe it is just for Victoria.
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Offline Entscheidungsproblem

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2008, 12:52:37 AM »
Someone once gave me a good rule: if the DL is in one language, and the following coffee hour (the other DL ;)) is in another, there is a problem.  If both are in the same language, no problem.

Coffee hour in Church Slavonic, now that would be interesting to experience.   :laugh:
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Offline Bono Vox

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2008, 02:36:22 AM »
Here in the Ozarks, our liturgy is all in English. Greek or Slavonic wouldn't do much good for all of us hillbillies.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2008, 02:38:32 AM by Orthodox Bagpiper »
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Offline sohma_hatori

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2008, 03:03:52 AM »
In Manila, I ve heard that the liturgy is celebrated in English or Filipino, but when celebrated in English some hymns are sung in Greek, though not many.. Ive never attended liturgy though,,
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Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2008, 10:06:57 AM »
100% English for us, except during the Paschal season when you'll hear Russian, Greek, and Romanian versions of "Christ is risen." I'm still learning to pronounce them, so don't ask me to write them here!
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2008, 10:55:07 AM »
Hmmm.  90%+ of the Priest/Deacon parts are English.  Sung parts - depends on the week.  Some weeks also 90%+.  Some more like 50%.  This is at my current parish.

At my home parish, 95%+ of Priest/Deacon parts are English... and 75%+ of Choir parts, with 90%+ being the norm.
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Offline Orthodox11

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2008, 10:58:40 AM »
My parish does all services entirely in Greek - only the Creed and Lord's Prayer are repeated in English. Baptisms, Weddings, etc. are often in English though, depending on who is attending.

This is the case for most GO parishes in London, although quite a few will have English liturgy on Saturdays.

The Antiochian parish I occasionally attend is 90% Arabic, the other 10% being odd bits of Greek and English. But there is another Antiochian parish here that is ethnically British, and therefore does services entirely in English.

The main MP cathedral generally uses half English/half Slavonic for all services.

So Greeks divide languages by days, Antiochians by parishes, and Russians mix the two.

Offline wynd

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2008, 01:14:11 PM »
I attend an OCA parish in central Illinois. It's 99.9% English. I say that because one reader likes to throw in the occasional "Kyrie eleison" or
"Gospodi pomiluj" when reading the hours, but that's it.

Offline Rosehip

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2008, 02:42:48 PM »
100% Church Slavonic. And no, coffee hour is not conducted in that language! ;)
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Offline Heorhij

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2008, 07:56:16 PM »
In my little GOA mission parish in Aberdeen, MS, it's about 75% English and perhaps slightly less than 25% Greek (e.g., during the Great Litany all supplications are in English, but then the Entrance hymn is sung in Greek, etc.). During the coffee hour (or, actually, lunch at a nearby hamburger joint), the conversation is mostly in English, although some older parishioners do occasionally speak in Greek between themselves.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2008, 07:58:04 PM by Heorhij »
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Offline Heorhij

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2008, 08:02:20 PM »
100% Church Slavonic. And no, coffee hour is not conducted in that language! ;)

Ащe хотяшe кофию испити, дондeжe аглицким рeчeниeм рeчeтe... ;D ;D ;D
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2008, 01:43:17 AM »
Ащe хотяшe кофию испити, дондeжe аглицким рeчeниeм рeчeтe... ;D ;D ;D
So, what's that mean in English? :)

Services at my church are entirely in English with such few exceptions that I saw no reason to vote anything but "All".

The few exceptions:
  • Occasionally, our priest will chant one of the litanies in a foreign language.
  • Our old Russian fellow will read the Gospel in Russian/Slavonic.  (I don't know which.)
  • The Lord's Prayer during the Sunday Divine Liturgy will be sung in English or Slavonic, then read in the other of the two languages, then read once in every other native language spoken in our parish.  Right now this covers Greek, Ukrainian, Estonian, Serbian, Romanian, and occasionally (if one of our Eritreans shows up, which is quite rare) even Ge'ez.
  • During the season of Pascha, you'll hear the Paschal Troparion and many of our Paschal greeting/reply exchanges sung/shouted in many other languages not listed above.
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Offline Thomas

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2008, 09:24:23 AM »
The only time that a language other than English is used during our parish's services is during Pascha when Christ is risen is sung in English, Greek, Arabic, and Church Slavonic.  The only service in which readings other than in English is done is the Vespers of Pascha or Agape Vespers when the Gospel is read in as many languages as the people of the parish can provide (this year it was 7 languages).

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« Last Edit: May 26, 2008, 03:24:51 PM by Thomas »
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2008, 01:59:11 PM »
The only service in which readings other thanin English is done is the Vespers of Pascha or Agape Vespers when the Gospel is read in as many languages as the people of the parish can provide (this year it was 7 languages).
In my parish, the Gospel reading, John 1:1-18, is read in many different languages, including American Sign Language, during the Divine Liturgy of Pascha.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2008, 01:59:40 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline stewie

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2008, 03:11:37 PM »
It's about 50/50 at both the Greek and Antioch. parishes I attend.  In a typical DL it's no problem what language it is, but I think homilies and gospel readings should always be in English.  There are lots of mixed marriages nowadays, and kids don't know the languages of their ancestors, especially ancient Greek or written Arabic.  I definitely would like to see more English, and I think those parishes that resist this do so at their peril.  It's very easy to alienate spouses and children from the Church if they don't know what's going on.

Offline Quinault

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2008, 04:59:13 PM »
Well, if you include the Paschal greetings and little bits here and there I would say we are 95% English.

Offline Rosehip

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #25 on: May 26, 2008, 06:48:39 PM »
Ащe хотяшe кофию испити, дондeжe аглицким рeчeниeм рeчeтe... ;D ;D ;D

Translation, please? My CS is a bit rusty  :-[ (apparently because I don't speak it at coffee hour?) but it seems to me it's something about wanting to drink coffee while speaking the english language? Just an illiterate stab in the darkness...

Coffee hour is 95% Russian, 5% English/other languages. A bit intimidating for non-ethnic Russian folks, to say the least.
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Offline EofK

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #26 on: May 26, 2008, 10:03:30 PM »
I may have skewed your results a little... I'm part of the St. Thomas crowd here, along with Ytterbiumanalyst, Orthodox Bagpiper, GabrielTheCelt, Orelaurea, Nacho, and a couple of others.  But yeah, we're 100% English, with the occasional Ukrainian or Romanian thrown in around Pascha and Nativity.
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Offline Rosehip

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #27 on: May 26, 2008, 10:03:45 PM »
Church Slavonic is a liturgical language not a conversational language.  The only way you might here it actually spoken at a coffee hour is if two people who knew it a little decided to swap a few sentences for fun.  Or you may hear it at coffee hour if the priest blesses the food in Church Slavonic.


ummm....I was aware it was a liturgical, and  not a conversational language! In fact I have even spent some time studying it formally-even studied the grammatical structure to a certain degree-gasp. But it's been awhile and I have forgotten quite a bit. However, I do  understand most of the Liturgy and Vespers and can read it quite well-at least the unchangeable parts and the changeable parts if they are sung slowly enough. It's a beautiful language and more aptly expresses spiritual truths than modern-day Russian.

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« Last Edit: May 27, 2008, 12:38:05 AM by arimethea »
+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +

Offline Heorhij

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #28 on: May 27, 2008, 10:32:05 AM »
Translation, please? My CS is a bit rusty  :-[ (apparently because I don't speak it at coffee hour?) but it seems to me it's something about wanting to drink coffee while speaking the english language? Just an illiterate stab in the darkness...

Coffee hour is 95% Russian, 5% English/other languages. A bit intimidating for non-ethnic Russian folks, to say the least.

I actually made it up.:) It's my imagined way of saying in Old Church Slavonic, "when we want to have coffee, we speak English." In Russian (really, not made-up), it would be, "когда хотим выпить кофe, говорим по-английски."
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Offline Robb

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #29 on: February 09, 2010, 01:04:21 AM »
As a convert, I love to hear the Liturgy in an ancient liturgical language like Slavonic.  It constantly amazes me why so many people, both cradle and convert especially are so dead set against the use of a language for liturgical services which has a sacred character to it?

I understand that it is important to understand what is sung in church but since the DL does not change that much from week to week throughout the year, how hard would it eventually be for a person to figure out what was being said when even if it's in a language which they can't understand?  Besides, English sounds so lousy and un rythmatic in church as opposed to Greek, Arabic, or OCS. 

Maybe my position has to do with my RC backround.  Having attended Catholic Mass in Latin before, the concept of the liturgy in a "dead" language is not as frightening to me as it would be to someone who comes from a Protestant backround.  I really appreciate the value of hearing a tongue which has been sanctified through centuries of prayer as opposed to our modern day, vulgar one (But that's just me).

BTW,  I had no idea that the GOA has put out a service book with Latinica Greek in it.  This sounds a lot like the Slavic Chlib Dusi prayerbook which I'm so fond of.  Is it possible for a layman to purchase one of this from somewhere?



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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #30 on: February 09, 2010, 01:46:37 AM »
It constantly amazes me why so many people, both cradle and convert especially are so dead set against the use of a language for liturgical services which has a sacred character to it?

I really appreciate the value of hearing a tongue which has been sanctified through centuries of prayer as opposed to our modern day, vulgar one (But that's just me).

So let me get this straight...a language becomes sanctified over time?

Also, English is "vulgar"?  So you mean it is "common" or "of the rabble"? We are in the last days, the world is dying, and you're concerned with cultural elitism?  There is nothing "more sacred" about Church Slavonic than modern Russian. 

People with this whole "sacred language" mentality fought the missionary efforts toward the Slavs.  They were called Trilinguists, and believed that the liturgy could only be rightly performed in Latin, Greek or Hebrew.  Anything else was sacrilegious.  Sts. Cyril and Methodius had to fight for a liturgy that the people could understand.  The elites of that time found the barbarous tongue of the Slavs unfit for prayer.  Now you've elevated its status and put English in its place?  As George would say: FIE UPON THE HERESY!
« Last Edit: February 09, 2010, 01:47:05 AM by Alveus Lacuna »

Offline Robb

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #31 on: February 09, 2010, 02:28:45 AM »
Hold up here.  I never, never stated that the vernacular was unsuited for Liturgy and that we should ONLY use Liturgical languages for worship.  You are both jumping to conclusions and putting words in my mouth.

I am not at all against the use of vernacular when needed for instruction, but one still cannot deny that the most suited language for the Divine Services is one that has been used for centuries and is time honored as a language of prayer.  Use of a sacred language lifts up the worshiper away from worldly cares and ideas and brings them closer to God.  Plus use of a dead language also ensures a certain purity of doctrine and devotion since that language, being dead, does not change and develop as modern ones constantly do.  Thus the language is preserved from modern corruption as well as the truths that are contained therein.

For years I have fought for the use of dead liturgical languages in Orthodox liturgical worship and the response that I have gotten from a lot of (but by no means all) people is similar to the above rant.  It seems as if some people are just itching to go hysterical over this issue even when the supporter of it tries to be as kind and non threatening as possible to them.  I see no problem with the use of the vernacular in worship but I also am %100 for the preservation of and continued use of the ancient languages of Christendom as opposed to those of the modern, secular, world.

BTW, Slavonic was not, in its day, %100 similar to the ancient Slavic tongues which St Cyril and Methodius studied in order to make that holy language a reality.  It is a combination language much like pigeon English is to West Indians.  Plus, OCS is still understandable to well over %90 of today's educated Russians and other Slav's.  Same thing with the Koine Greek and modern Greek.  They are sacred tongues which are used to convey sacred truths to people throughout all the ages and they should not be denigrated so easily in favor of what passes for speech today.

Also, I've been in many a battle over the years with Orthodox Christians who are absolutely opposed to any type of "foreign" tongue used for the DL (mostly all Americans I might add).  No matter how polite or civil one tries to be with them they, non the less, always end up hurling the word "heretic" or phylthiest" at you for your opinion.  Maybe they, in their obsessive desire to exclude all ancient languages might be considered a form of reverse Trilinguism itself? 

Food for thought.

Men may dislike truth, men may find truth offensive and inconvenient, men may persecute the truth, subvert it, try by law to suppress it. But to maintain that men have the final power over truth is blasphemy, and the last delusion. Truth lives forever, men do not.
-- Gustave Flaubert

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #32 on: February 09, 2010, 02:39:14 AM »
Food for thought.

I am speechless.  Lead me to your ashram.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #33 on: February 09, 2010, 04:30:05 PM »
The language of Shakespeare and Milton is far from vulgar. If Robb is referring to the contemporary English of the street, TV, and magazine article, then I would agree with him.

Provided it is the dignified, "liturgical English" of, for example, the KJV and the Book of Common Prayer, I think English is a perfectly suitable liturgical language for Orthodoxy. Granted, it emerged from heterodox religious traditions, but it retains a sacred aura which is readily adapted. I have mixed feelings about the OCA's practice of addressing God in the familiar "thou" but addressing saints as "you."
« Last Edit: February 09, 2010, 04:31:18 PM by Iconodule »

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #34 on: February 09, 2010, 04:36:54 PM »
Yep, if it's older it's sacreder.

Offline mike

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #35 on: February 09, 2010, 04:40:04 PM »
Are there any Churches that use Sanskrit?

Offline Papist

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #36 on: February 09, 2010, 04:40:31 PM »
Are there any Churches that use Sanskrit?
Start one. lol
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Offline Robb

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #37 on: February 09, 2010, 04:56:22 PM »
I still think that it is important to preserve at least some of the ancient liturgical languages in our modern worship.  They are very ancient and help us to connect with our past. A language like Church Slavonic is not just an outdated tongue which was used solely for missionary purposes.  It is a treasure of Orthodox Christianity and a part of the heritage of Slavdom.  The same for the most ancient Kione Greek which is an inseparable part of the Byzantine tradition.  To worship in a language which the emperors themselves spoke in for everyday conversation, not to mention the great saints of old. 

Plus, one must ask themselves why the Orthodox Churches have so wisely decided to keep these ancient tongues for worship instead of adopting the vernacular?  They have continued to do so for the very reasons that I've listed, for continuity, for purity of doctrine and Liturgy, and for the culture heritage of all Christians of the East.

The English language on the other hand, is full of corruption.  It has became the principle language of the Protestant heretics who have used it to diffuse their errors over a large part of the world.  This was not the fault of English speakers themselves but a mere historical accident.  Non the less English has become synonymous with the Protestant faith and the tongue is parched with the colloquialisms and speech of error.

Now English is good to speak in and to address God to in private pray, but can we really say that it has the full dynamic to be used solely for our public Liturgical worship?  We are supposed to give God something sacred when we worship him through the Church.  Are not these sacred languages just that?

Men may dislike truth, men may find truth offensive and inconvenient, men may persecute the truth, subvert it, try by law to suppress it. But to maintain that men have the final power over truth is blasphemy, and the last delusion. Truth lives forever, men do not.
-- Gustave Flaubert

Offline John Larocque

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #38 on: February 09, 2010, 05:02:54 PM »
You know who argued against liturgy in the vernacular? German Catholics. They told the Pope of Rome, "We don't want these Greek missionaries going around, celebrating in the slavic languages, they should be worshipping in LATIN!" The missionaries of course were SS. Cyril and Methodius, the great apostles to the Slavs. They proved that you can translate Orthodoxy to the local tongue and proclaim the Gospel and celebrate the mysteries in it. The Germans won the day in Moravia, but not in in the South and the East.

I'm completely in favour of of Elizabethan-like, which adequately reflect the underlying text. (The RSV "thou" is only for God language is very 20th century though). And it looks like (with a lot of pushing and prodding from the Vatican), this attitude is now going to hold sway in English Catholic countries, with a complete revamp of the English liturgical texts. ("consubstantial" is back in the Creed!)

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #39 on: February 09, 2010, 05:08:52 PM »
Non the less English has become synonymous with the Protestant faith and the tongue is parched with the colloquialisms and speech of error.

Give some examples of these corrupting colloquialisms and how they have made their way into our worship. The Greek language was the language of pagans before the Church sanctified it.

Quote
Now English is good to speak in and to address God to in private pray, but can we really say that it has the full dynamic to be used solely for our public Liturgical worship?  We are supposed to give God something sacred when we worship him through the Church.  Are not these sacred languages just that?

The English in my Jordanville Prayer Book is sacred. It conveys dignity and beauty. It is not the English of the street. There is nothing Protestant or heretical contained therein. It is a sacred language.

Church Slavonic should not be displaced by any means, but I will leave it to the Orthodox who speak Slavic tongues to treasure and preserve that particular sacred language, which they undoubtedly will.

Offline arimethea

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #40 on: February 09, 2010, 05:53:37 PM »
I voted "All Liturgical Language" because I consider any language we pray in to be a liturgical language. I think the poor wording of the choices is why I never voted in this pole.
Joseph

Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #41 on: February 09, 2010, 06:40:00 PM »
I grew up in the Bulgarian Church (very little Bulgarian with the remainder in Church Slavonic). I understood and appreciated the services.

When we came to the States, it was disconcerting to realize that the congregants did not understand most of the service that was conducted in Church Slavonic and Bulgarian. I just did not sense that they were truly participating the the services.

I did not realize the enormity of the problem until (1) I read Father Alexander Schmemann's For the Life of the World and (b) attended an all English service at St. Innocent, Tarzana, California, and subsequently attended all English services at St. Herman in Littleton, Colorado. I now attend Holy Apostles in West Columbia, SC where all English also reigns.

I have attended other churches where services were not in English and it was my impression that the quality of the Divine Liturgy (the work of the laos) suffered as a result. Although it is hard to discern what people actually feel during services, the all English parishes practiced weekly communion of the entire congregation, nice attendance in Saturday (and Wednesday) Vespers, as well as feast days, and a true appreciation of the Faith. In contrast, at the parishes that used mainly non-English services, I saw nostalgia for and veneration of the non-English language (that bordered on cultic devotion) as well as a sense that the services being performed by the Priest, Deacon, chanters & choir was for their edification and enjoyment--may be similar to a traditional doctor-patient relationship. Frequent communion was out of question of course and the children and grandchildren dropped out and went elsewhere.

I have to say that another "epiphany" for me was hearing the "secret" prayers for the first time. What a wonderful and uplifting feeling to know that the entire laos, and not just those in the right side of the iconostasis, heard and associated with the very core of the Liturgy.

I will be the first to admit that services that are chanted or sang sound better when the music is congruent with the language. Perhaps more effort should be made to sacrifice the old tonal phrasings to accommodate the English text. My current church does a wonderful job of it and it is uplifting to hear the entire congregation and not just the choir singing almost the entire liturgy.

Offline Robb

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #42 on: February 09, 2010, 08:15:25 PM »
Non the less English has become synonymous with the Protestant faith and the tongue is parched with the colloquialisms and speech of error.

Give some examples of these corrupting colloquialisms and how they have made their way into our worship. The Greek language was the language of pagans before the Church sanctified it.

Quote
Now English is good to speak in and to address God to in private pray, but can we really say that it has the full dynamic to be used solely for our public Liturgical worship?  We are supposed to give God something sacred when we worship him through the Church.  Are not these sacred languages just that?

The English in my Jordanville Prayer Book is sacred. It conveys dignity and beauty. It is not the English of the street. There is nothing Protestant or heretical contained therein. It is a sacred language.

Church Slavonic should not be displaced by any means, but I will leave it to the Orthodox who speak Slavic tongues to treasure and preserve that particular sacred language, which they undoubtedly will.



So would you be in favor of forcing converts to Orthooxy from non Slavic backrounds to attend all English Liturgies?  Are you saying that OCS should only be used for those of Slavic backround?  Sounds a little on the "cultish" side to me.
Men may dislike truth, men may find truth offensive and inconvenient, men may persecute the truth, subvert it, try by law to suppress it. But to maintain that men have the final power over truth is blasphemy, and the last delusion. Truth lives forever, men do not.
-- Gustave Flaubert

Offline Robb

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #43 on: February 09, 2010, 08:32:04 PM »
Second Chance,

Your comments read to me like they have a lot more to do with both frustration and a certain amount of disdain for cradle/ethnic Orthodox people as opposed to those who are either converts or Americanized ones.  

There are plenty of ethnic parishes which use archiac languages in which the people take their faith with deep sincerity. I'm sorry that you've never encountered any in your travels across this land.  

I always suspected, and always see myself vindicated on, the belief that a lot of this "English only" movement in Orthodox liturgy here in America has a deep undercurrent of anti ethnic/old world bias to it. The "English only" types seem not to be able to get two words out in defense of their position before they start denigrating and maliciously slandering the ethnic worshipers by every name in the book which is used to describe things outdated and "foreign".There are people, especially alot of third generation ethnic types who want to completely Americanize their parishes and strip from them anything which they would perceive as "foreign" or "old fashioned" and replace them with everything that they see as "new" and "progressive". They are generously assisted by those converts who come mostly from Protestant backrounds and who either have no appreciation for or hold outright contempt for all things foreign to the American landscape. Both these crowds have teamed up to blast anything away from the typical Orthodox parish which does not meet their criteria for an "American" parish. These things include all or any ethnic traditions such as language, music, art and folk ways.

This kind of anti ethnic purge mentality is not at all limited to the OC. The RC's especially during the Vatican II period also had their crowd who wanted to purge all old world elements from US RCC parishes and replace them with more American elements. From this we got such inanities as "folk" masses and modern art work gracing the average (mostly suburban) RC parishes in this country. The Lutherans also had their fair share of anti ethnics who sought to purge all vestages of German and Scandinavian liturgy and customs from their congregations and replace them with that which they deemed more "American" It's the same old story we find in the history of every church which was brought to these shores and, at one time, heavily identified as "foreign " to the American mindset.

I am in favor of letting the individual parish decide which language it wants to us as opposed to forcing one on them which the majority of faithful are uncomfortable with.


« Last Edit: February 09, 2010, 08:36:26 PM by Robb »
Men may dislike truth, men may find truth offensive and inconvenient, men may persecute the truth, subvert it, try by law to suppress it. But to maintain that men have the final power over truth is blasphemy, and the last delusion. Truth lives forever, men do not.
-- Gustave Flaubert

Offline Robb

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #44 on: February 09, 2010, 08:39:24 PM »
These comments from the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece are an example of why we need to preserve our ancient liturgical languages and pass them on to future generations of Orthodox beleivers.

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Greek+Orthodox+ban+modern+Greek+in+liturgy.+(News+in+Brief:+Greece)-a094770583

Athens--The Greek Orthodox Church Greek Orthodox Church

Independent Eastern Orthodox church of Greece. The term is sometimes used erroneously for Eastern Orthodoxy in general. It remained under the patriarch of Constantinople until 1833, when it became independent.  has rejected a proposal to introduce modern Greek into the liturgy. The great majority of the Holy Synod Holy Synod

Ecclesiastical governing body created by Tsar Peter I in 1721 to head the Russian Orthodox Church, replacing the patriarchate of Moscow. Peter created the Synod, made up of representatives of the hierarchy obedient to his will, to subject the church to the state,  opted to keep Koine Greek “Koine” redirects here. For other uses, see Koine (disambiguation).

Koine Greek (kini) (Κοινὴ Ἑλληνική, "common Greek", or  as it was spoken 2,000 years ago and used in New Testament texts. Koine has contributed to the "mystery" of the liturgy, the Orthodox bishops emphasized.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2010, 08:41:01 PM by Robb »
Men may dislike truth, men may find truth offensive and inconvenient, men may persecute the truth, subvert it, try by law to suppress it. But to maintain that men have the final power over truth is blasphemy, and the last delusion. Truth lives forever, men do not.
-- Gustave Flaubert