Poll

How much English is in your liturgies?

All
31 (40.3%)
Over 75% with less than 25% liturgical language
20 (26%)
50/50
10 (13%)
75% liturgical language with less than 25% English
8 (10.4%)
All liturgical language
8 (10.4%)

Total Members Voted: 77

Author Topic: English in Our liturgies  (Read 9255 times)

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Offline wynd

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #45 on: February 09, 2010, 09:13:26 PM »
It's a beautiful language and more aptly expresses spiritual truths than modern-day Russian.

Hi Rosehip. Can you elaborate on this please?

Offline Iconodule

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #46 on: February 09, 2010, 09:21:26 PM »

So would you be in favor of forcing converts to Orthooxy from non Slavic backrounds to attend all English Liturgies?

Well, that's a bizarre leap of logic. Whence, from my words, do you deduce that I am making such an argument? Were Ss. Cyril and Methodius "forcing" the Slavs to attend all-Slavonic liturgies? Were they saying that Greek should only be used by those of Roman background? Were they somehow contributing to the decline of liturgical Greek by using this new liturgical language? Why was it alright for the Slavic peoples to get a Slavonic liturgy but not for Anglophones to get an English liturgy?

Frankly, Robb, all I see in your post here are strawman arguments and an avoidance of points I made. I ask you again, what are the inherently corrupt characteristics of English that have made it into our liturgical texts? You have yet to provide any solid reason why English is less suitable for a liturgical language than Greek or Slavonic. What about the Yupik, Chinese, or Japanese languages, which are also liturgical languages now?

You seem to be overreacting to what you perceive to be an "anti-ethnic" bias that is connected to the adoption of liturgical English. If such a bias is real, I certainly don't condone it. I am not part of some "English-only" movement. If there are some people at my parish who want Slavonic or Greek to be used in the liturgy too, I would not object. I would happily learn more about those languages. Right now, almost everyone in my parish speaks English as a first language and many of us are converts from non-Slavic backgrounds.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2010, 09:49:53 PM by Iconodule »
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Offline Melodist

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #47 on: February 09, 2010, 09:48:41 PM »
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.

I suppose this would make the most sense if the liturgy is to actually be "the work of the people".
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #48 on: February 09, 2010, 09:53:05 PM »
I am not opposed to the ancient languages at all.  If a Greek service was all that was around, I'd go and try my best to learn it.  I don't think that we have to make services all English.  I just wanted to say that so we are clear.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #49 on: February 09, 2010, 09:59:54 PM »
It's a beautiful language and more aptly expresses spiritual truths than modern-day Russian.

Hi Rosehip. Can you elaborate on this please?

I've heard from some Russians that modern Russian does not have the vocabulary or structure for expressing the subtlety/ beauty of theology, the way that Slavonic does. Not knowing either language, I have no idea if it's true or not.
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Offline ChristusDominus

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #50 on: February 09, 2010, 10:02:21 PM »
100% Church Slavonic. And no, coffee hour is not conducted in that language! ;)
Do you understand all of it?
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Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #51 on: February 10, 2010, 12:29:33 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.

My parish does 30% of the Liturgy in Ukrainian and 70% in English.

I wish we did 100% of the Liturgy in English.

What's the point of using a foreign language if over 90% of the parishioners do not understand it?
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Offline coptickev

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #52 on: February 11, 2010, 01:09:23 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.

My parish does 30% of the Liturgy in Ukrainian and 70% in English.

I wish we did 100% of the Liturgy in English.

What's the point of using a foreign language if over 90% of the parishioners do not understand it?

The chanting usually sounds better  ;)

Offline Iconodule

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #53 on: February 11, 2010, 01:11:50 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.

My parish does 30% of the Liturgy in Ukrainian and 70% in English.

I wish we did 100% of the Liturgy in English.

What's the point of using a foreign language if over 90% of the parishioners do not understand it?

The chanting usually sounds better  ;)

That might be because most English cantors are amateurs. I think someone needs to start a school for Orthodox cantors in English.
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #54 on: February 11, 2010, 01:49:45 PM »
That might be because most English cantors are amateurs. I think someone needs to start a school for Orthodox cantors in English.

I agree!

Offline augustin717

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #55 on: February 11, 2010, 02:37:12 PM »
If you are talking about the Byzantine chant's rendering in English, then I'm afraid that English itself, being a Germanic language is less amenable to that sort of chanting because of a different syllable structure (CVC) than, say, Greek or Romance languages that have a similar syllabic pattern, ending in a vowel.

Offline Rosehip

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #56 on: February 11, 2010, 03:14:35 PM »
It's a beautiful language and more aptly expresses spiritual truths than modern-day Russian.

Hi Rosehip. Can you elaborate on this please?

Hi,

Sorry I didn't notice this post until now. It's been quite awhile since I've studied CS, but this is what I've been told by all the experts. There are certain terms or expressions which have distinct spiritual/theological meanings in CS, rather than modern Russian. Unfortunately, it's been so long ago that I was engaged this study that I've forgotten. Oh, and a Russian Prof at a class I took stole my CS grammar. :( Not too happy about that. I lent it to him and he would not return it.
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Offline Rosehip

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #57 on: February 11, 2010, 03:18:21 PM »
100% Church Slavonic. And no, coffee hour is not conducted in that language! ;)
Do you understand all of it?

No, not all of it. But our liturgies and most of the vespers and other services are usually pretty much the same. Most of it I can understand, absolutely no problems whatsoever, not even any thinking required. The changeable parts (which are often sung at enormous speed and often incorporate hopelessly long words) are more difficult. However, if I am singing in the Kliros and able to read what I am singing then I can usually understand everything better than if I'm just praying in the body of the faithful.
+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +

Offline ialmisry

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #58 on: February 11, 2010, 03:36:56 PM »
If you are talking about the Byzantine chant's rendering in English, then I'm afraid that English itself, being a Germanic language is less amenable to that sort of chanting because of a different syllable structure (CVC) than, say, Greek or Romance languages that have a similar syllabic pattern, ending in a vowel.

You ever heard Georgian?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJ2zj1-tMzY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pObK-uXvI8&feature=related
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Offline monkvasyl

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #59 on: February 11, 2010, 03:41:14 PM »
That might be because most English cantors are amateurs. I think someone needs to start a school for Orthodox cantors in English.

I agree!

But you would need to offer both traditions, Byzantine & Slavic. 
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Offline augustin717

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #60 on: February 11, 2010, 03:52:14 PM »
If you are talking about the Byzantine chant's rendering in English, then I'm afraid that English itself, being a Germanic language is less amenable to that sort of chanting because of a different syllable structure (CVC) than, say, Greek or Romance languages that have a similar syllabic pattern, ending in a vowel.

You ever heard Georgian?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJ2zj1-tMzY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pObK-uXvI8&feature=related
Yes, I have. But they have their own style of singing . Probably the way to go for English, as well, provided Orthodoxy will have the sufficient numbers & resources in this country.

Offline Father H

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #61 on: February 13, 2010, 10:54:18 PM »
English and all other languages are liturgical languages, languages of prayer.

Offline username!

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #62 on: February 14, 2010, 02:00:56 AM »
I am not a fan of the triple Lord Have Mercies that use oh...ebglish slavonic spanish romanian greek arabic etc... then the rest of the service is in english.  i know parishes that have 25% to 40% non english as a first language parishoners but english is forced on them and the only appreciation is in a litany.  if our liturgies are to be in the language of the people than parishes that have non english as a first language parishoners should contain more of their languages than a Lord have mercy.  if the parish is all anglophone then use all english. 

Offline genesisone

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #63 on: February 14, 2010, 04:47:52 PM »
I am not a fan of the triple Lord Have Mercies that use oh...ebglish slavonic spanish romanian greek arabic etc... then the rest of the service is in english.  i know parishes that have 25% to 40% non english as a first language parishoners but english is forced on them and the only appreciation is in a litany.  if our liturgies are to be in the language of the people than parishes that have non english as a first language parishoners should contain more of their languages than a Lord have mercy.  if the parish is all anglophone then use all english. 
I understand exactly what you're saying, and I most certainly agree that in most North American parishes English should be the usual language. However, in my little mission parish, we will often do LHMs in English, Greek, Arabic rotation. At first I wasn't sure. But now I actually like that little bit of other language use. Nothing is misunderstood, or not understood, so that is not an issue. Using a little bit of Greek connects me to an ancient Church, it's the language that has always been used somewhere in the Church, the time aspect of faith, if you will. Using a little bit of Arabic is a small reminder of my connection to Christians in other parts of the world, the geographical aspect of faith. So by the use of these languages, I experience the Church throughout time and around the world. We have a Faith that is not bound by time or space.

Offline Basil 320

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #64 on: February 16, 2010, 03:04:10 AM »
In my GOAA suburban parish, the priest's parts are probably 90% in English on Sunday's; the choir, about 60% (our wacky, but dedicated choir director doesn't think "Kyrie Elieson" should ever be rendered into English). Weekdays/evenings, tend to be more Greek, our priest truly uses the "flexible bilingualism" practice; serve in the language those attending seem most comfortable with. Applying the same practice, the Sacraments of Holy Matrimony and Christenings are performed mostly in English. At Pascha, he will proclaim "Christ Is Risen," in Greek, English, and Church Slavonic.  When our bishop visits, he has "Lord Have Mercy," during the petitions of the Blessing of the Five Loaves (Artoclasia), chanted in Greek, English, Church Slavonic, Romanian, and Arabic.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2010, 03:10:44 AM by Basil 320 »
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Offline Agia Marina

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #65 on: February 16, 2010, 04:27:12 AM »
I attend an OCA monastery where the DL is half English, half Romanian.  The Reader sprinkles in a few Kyrie Eleisons for good measure. :)


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Offline Orthodox11

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #66 on: February 16, 2010, 09:30:06 AM »
(our wacky, but dedicated choir director doesn't think "Kyrie Elieson" should ever be rendered into English).

I'm kinda with him on that point. If you look at the Coptic, Syriac, Ethiopic, and traditionally even in Catholic and Lutheran churches, the one phrase that has always survived in Greek is "Kyrie eleison." I'm not saying it's wrong to translate it into English, but I like the idea that this prayer - the most frequent, most simple, most important Christian prayer - is expressed in a common language no matter where in the world you find yourself.

Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #67 on: February 16, 2010, 11:26:56 AM »
(our wacky, but dedicated choir director doesn't think "Kyrie Elieson" should ever be rendered into English).

I'm kinda with him on that point. If you look at the Coptic, Syriac, Ethiopic, and traditionally even in Catholic and Lutheran churches, the one phrase that has always survived in Greek is "Kyrie eleison." I'm not saying it's wrong to translate it into English, but I like the idea that this prayer - the most frequent, most simple, most important Christian prayer - is expressed in a common language no matter where in the world you find yourself.

I would be a bit careful here. If it is advisable for most Orthodox to say at least one prayer in a common language, right now it would not be Kyrie Eleison but Gospodi Pomiluy--even in Constantinople.  And, may be in the fututre, we may be saying it in Chinese or Hindu.

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #68 on: February 16, 2010, 11:41:58 AM »
(our wacky, but dedicated choir director doesn't think "Kyrie Elieson" should ever be rendered into English).

I'm kinda with him on that point. If you look at the Coptic, Syriac, Ethiopic, and traditionally even in Catholic and Lutheran churches, the one phrase that has always survived in Greek is "Kyrie eleison." I'm not saying it's wrong to translate it into English, but I like the idea that this prayer - the most frequent, most simple, most important Christian prayer - is expressed in a common language no matter where in the world you find yourself.

I would be a bit careful here. If it is advisable for most Orthodox to say at least one prayer in a common language, right now it would not be Kyrie Eleison but Gospodi Pomiluy--even in Constantinople.  And, may be in the fututre, we may be saying it in Chinese or Hindu.


There is Slavonic in Constantinople on the web. The OLTV website has an Orthodox Liturgy celebrated by the late Archbishop Vsevelod at Baloukli Monastery Church from a number of years ago. The responses are in prostopenije in Slavonic and English.

Offline John Larocque

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Re: English in Our liturgies
« Reply #69 on: February 16, 2010, 02:15:01 PM »
I visited a GOA parish recently. Despite some liturgical peculiarities (which I've commented on in another thread), on the whole it was a positive experience. I was told that part of the service is in English - they were one of the first Greek parishes in Toronto to do this. In practice, though, about 20% of the intercessory prayers are in English, with other sections of the liturgy being bilingual - the Our Father and the Creed, along with the words of institution. And the rest is Greek (including Matins/Orthros). Despite my preference for Slavonic hymnody, I found the Greek style of music growing on me, and I was able to very easily follow along with the Holy Cross RSV English/Greek liturgical text.

One thing that amused me - they didn't follow the Holy Cross English text for the creed but something slightly different. One phrase leapt out at me. "consubstantial with the Father," which is actually the Latin form (!), while the Holy Cross text read, I think, "one in essence with the father." (Cranmer/Anglican is "being of one substance with the Father"). The meaning is the same, but the use of the word "consubstantial" (which is also found in Carpatho Russian liturgical texts online) definitely betrays an influence from the Latin form of the creed (minus of course, the filioque).

What contributed to the overall experience is that there were no surprises the second time around, so I was able to appreciate it more. I hope to soak in a couple of pre-sanctified liturgies (Greek and Slavonic) over the next few weeks, and there's a Greek parish on the way home, which hopefully will have something on Wednesday.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2010, 02:18:30 PM by John Larocque »