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« on: October 24, 2008, 10:46:18 PM »

I've been chatting with a friend who feels very strongly that there should be no changes or modernizations in our liturgical languages/texts. We should use preferably only Greek or Church Slavonic. English should never be allowed, because it is related to Latin, as opposed to Slavonic, which is related to all things Byzantine. There should be no attempt to conduct services in English for this reason (its relation to Latin, ergo, the West; and the fact that the "feel" is what is important-not whether or not we understand anything intellectually. Slavonic feels "right", it is inspirational, it lifts the soul upwards to God, but not so with  English. English  is harsh,ugly, awkward, prosaic and unspiritual). We are to strive towards the Church, the Church is not to bend to us. If we are truly serious, we will master Church Slavonic and have no desire to hear English in church, even if English is our native tongue.

But then I got to thinking of St. Nicholas of Japan and all the time he spent translating the Bible and the liturgical texts into Japanese. Don't the Japanese have services in Japanese, or do they use Church Slavonic?  Huh

Don't get me wrong- I love Church Slavonic very much, am not in favour of modernization etc, and would love to master the language and to be able to understand the services etc. But is this true that services may only be in Greek or Slavonic?
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« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2008, 10:51:27 PM »

I would disagree. St. Jerome translated the bible in to latin, it was the "vulgar" latin of the people and not of the educated people, this was done so people UNDERSTOOD word of God. Church Slavnonic was once the language of the people that Saint Cyril and Methodius evangelised to and created a language to the people UNDERSTOOD the word of God. There has been so many examples of the language of the liturgy changing. Language is a vehicle for communication not a sold and unmoving thing.
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2008, 10:57:37 PM »

I speak English, Greek, a little French and a little less Spanish; I prefer my services to be in English and Greek.  If I go elsewhere where the services aren't in English or Greek, I would hope that the Church has service books which translate <other language> to English.  Example, I attended a service which was done mostly in Arabic.

Byzantine chant can be done in English which sounds just as good as Greek or Old Church Slavonic.   Grin

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« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2008, 11:00:17 PM »

Byzantine chant can be done in English which sounds just as good as Greek or Old Church Slavonic.   Grin

Eh...not quite.
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« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2008, 11:00:59 PM »

I don't know where your friend got the idea that English is derived from Latin.  It is not; it is from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European langauge family.  By this person's logic, since Greek and Slavonic are also related to Latin, they should be thrown out.

Orthodoxy has always been communicated in the language of the people.  Though I know Greek and I prefer to chant in Greek since Byzantine chant makes more sense with Greek and/or Arabic as opposed to English, I know the congregation (mainly converts) would be lost.  I think that a great deal of churches that retain the Liturgy entirely or for the majority in a non-English language here in the states is because they are predominantly made of people from the "old countries."  And there is nothing wrong with that.  

When it comes to English, I do not favor modern English; I prefer King James English. It sounds more reverent and more mystical.  That's why I cannot stand (advanced apologies) OCA recordings of Orthodox hymns.  For instance saying God "will not change his mind" in place of "will not repent" just sounds bad.  

This is a contentious issue in American Orthodoxy.  Each parish should be allowed to decide on its own based on the needs of its own parishioners.  
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« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2008, 11:04:23 PM »

I don't know where your friend got the idea that English is derived from Latin.  It is not; it is from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European langauge family.  By this person's logic, since Greek and Slavonic are also related to Latin, they should be thrown out.

Neither is Slavonic 'related to all things Byzantine'...Latin is far more closely 'related to all thing Byzantine' than Slavonic ever was...but that's a different issue.
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« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2008, 11:08:09 PM »

My main struggle with english translations is their very awkwardness.  I do agree that the language of the Authorized Version is much more fluid, poetic-mystical as you say.

I don't agree that the byzantine chant sounds as good in english as greek or church slavonic. However, I am no fan of byzantine chant, because I much prefer Russian style church singing, but that opinion is beside the point here! However, the same rule applies to any of our church singing. I do agree it sounds best in Church Slavonic, but I am sorry to see many folks who cannot understand much of what is going on unless they do massive amounts of homework before the service and/or carry along service books. The problem is, the singing can be so fast-paced that even with service books (which often don't include all the words anyhow), one can become veritably lost.
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« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2008, 11:29:47 PM »

Byzantine chant can be done in English which sounds just as good as Greek or Old Church Slavonic.   Grin
Eh...not quite.

Depending on the translation ... Yes.  I've seen a number of chanters chant English perfectly.   Cool
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« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2008, 11:41:16 PM »

Byzantine chant can be done in English which sounds just as good as Greek or Old Church Slavonic.   Grin
Eh...not quite.

Depending on the translation ... Yes.  I've seen a number of chanters chant English perfectly.   Cool

I think what GiC is gettting at the byzantine chants melodic structure flows more with the phonetics of Greek and Semetic languages as opposed to germanic languages where it seems to be artifical. I'm sure he wasn't questioning the ability of chanters to do so in english.
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« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2008, 11:55:50 PM »

I think what GiC is gettting at the byzantine chants melodic structure flows more with the phonetics of Greek and Semetic languages as opposed to germanic languages where it seems to be artifical. I'm sure he wasn't questioning the ability of chanters to do so in english.

Pretty much my point...and while some good attempts have been made to translate it into English, in the end, from a purely aesthetic perspective, it never flows quite as well as the Greek.
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« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2008, 11:59:36 PM »

^ I agree with you, GiC, I was just saying that the English comes close enough as well, depending on how good the chanter is.  Most chanters can't do English as well as Greek.
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« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2008, 12:22:23 AM »

I've been chatting with a friend who feels very strongly that there should be no changes or modernizations in our liturgical languages/texts. We should use preferably only Greek or Church Slavonic. English should never be allowed, because it is related to Latin, as opposed to Slavonic, which is related to all things Byzantine. There should be no attempt to conduct services in English for this reason (its relation to Latin, ergo, the West; and the fact that the "feel" is what is important-not whether or not we understand anything intellectually. Slavonic feels "right", it is inspirational, it lifts the soul upwards to God, but not so with  English. English  is harsh,ugly, awkward, prosaic and unspiritual). We are to strive towards the Church, the Church is not to bend to us. If we are truly serious, we will master Church Slavonic and have no desire to hear English in church, even if English is our native tongue.
Your friend should visit 9th century Moravia. If he did, he would meet Frankish clergy who would insist that Latin, Greek or Hebrew were the only languages that can be used in liturgical worship. These Frankish clergy were upset with these two guys named Constantine (who later takes on the name Cyril when he becomes a monastic in Rome) and Methodius, who were using the native tongue of the Moravians, that being Slavonic, to serve the divine services in.

What your friend is suggesting is heresy, plain and simple. All he has done is replace Slavonic with Latin and updated the Trilingual Heresy

 
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« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2008, 08:05:35 AM »

I've been chatting with a friend

you need new ones. Tongue

Quote
who feels very strongly that there should be no changes or modernizations in our liturgical languages/texts. We should use preferably only Greek or Church Slavonic. English should never be allowed, because it is related to Latin,


as is both Greek and Slavonic.

Quote
as opposed to Slavonic, which is related to all things Byzantine.
The Romanians, the largest "Byzantine" Church (the correct terms should be Constantinopolitan or Roman) after Russia would be interested to hear that.  Their language is the closest to Latin, in some respects closer than Italian (Romanian still has declension, which Italian has lost).
Constantine and Justinian were both Latin speakers (proto-Romanians), and Latin remained official in Constantinople until the time of Heracleas (who died a heretic btw.).  But of course your friend must know that. Roll Eyes
Quote
There should be no attempt to conduct services in English for this reason (its relation to Latin, ergo, the West; and the fact that the "feel" is what is important-not whether or not we understand anything intellectually. Slavonic feels "right", it is inspirational, it lifts the soul upwards to God, but not so with  English. English  is harsh,ugly, awkward, prosaic and unspiritual).

What did St. Paul say about conducting services in languages no one understads?

Quote
We are to strive towards the Church, the Church is not to bend to us. If we are truly serious, we will master Church Slavonic and have no desire to hear English in church, even if English is our native tongue.


How about we all learn Aramaic, Christ's language, if we are truly serious.

Quote
But then I got to thinking of St. Nicholas of Japan and all the time he spent translating the Bible and the liturgical texts into Japanese. Don't the Japanese have services in Japanese, or do they use Church Slavonic?  Huh

Not totally on topic, but I will bring it up anyway: during the Russo-Japanese war, St. Nicholas would leave the Divine Liturgy for the parts where the prayers are given for the nations ruler and the army.  He said that he could not pray for victory against his own czar, but the Japanese, as Japanese, must pray for their emperor.

More on topic: St. Nicholas did translate into Japanese.  What is interesting is that he on purpose used the Classical, Late Old Japanese form of the language, and not the modern spoken form, which most missionaries were using.

Quote
Don't get me wrong- I love Church Slavonic very much, am not in favour of modernization etc, and would love to master the language and to be able to understand the services etc. But is this true that services may only be in Greek or Slavonic?

Only if you want to reverse Pentacost. Shocked
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« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2008, 08:34:57 AM »

Since we are bringing up Pentecost, would you all not say that the ideal would be to present the hymns of the church in all available languages? 
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« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2008, 08:44:55 AM »

Since we are bringing up Pentecost, would you all not say that the ideal would be to present the hymns of the church in all available languages? 

Wise words.
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« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2008, 08:56:48 AM »

Pretty much my point...and while some good attempts have been made to translate it into English, in the end, from a purely aesthetic perspective, it never flows quite as well as the Greek.

Im hoping my mother toungue, "Bisaya", will be aesthetically sung in Byzantine, although iv'e already made suggestion to our vicar, to adopt Russian style of singing because it fits our language more (at least in my opinion).

i guess we just have to use our creativity, in order to create solemn music that will fit our mothe toungue, just so that the Liturgy will have more meaning to those attending, if aesthetics really matters that much.
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« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2008, 08:57:43 AM »

Since we are bringing up Pentecost, would you all not say that the ideal would be to present the hymns of the church in all available languages? 

Well, He said in His farewell address "Make disciples of ALL nations..." Cheesy
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« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2008, 09:32:31 AM »

The reason I bring it up is because we want to move from liturgies that are in greek, slavonic, etc. to liturgies in English.  To me all we're doing is just switching languages instead of changing our theological orientation.  The ideal really would be to present the liturgy in the language of the people in your community.  That means if you have spanish speakers in the community around you, or in your community, do spanish, if you have greeks, add some greek in, etc. 

I would say this is the pentecostal ideal (pentecost, not the protestant denomination)

Do you all agree? 
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« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2008, 11:30:42 AM »

The reason I bring it up is because we want to move from liturgies that are in greek, slavonic, etc. to liturgies in English.  To me all we're doing is just switching languages instead of changing our theological orientation.  The ideal really would be to present the liturgy in the language of the people in your community.  That means if you have spanish speakers in the community around you, or in your community, do spanish, if you have greeks, add some greek in, etc. 

I would say this is the pentecostal ideal (pentecost, not the protestant denomination)

Do you all agree? 

Absolutely. This is precisely what we need for the existence and growth of the Church.

I I would hope that the Church has service books which translate <other language> to English. 

Yes, this really helps. I would suggest that parishes without English in services would have those texts available.

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« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2008, 11:57:29 AM »

The reason I bring it up is because we want to move from liturgies that are in greek, slavonic, etc. to liturgies in English.  To me all we're doing is just switching languages instead of changing our theological orientation.  The ideal really would be to present the liturgy in the language of the people in your community.  That means if you have spanish speakers in the community around you, or in your community, do spanish, if you have greeks, add some greek in, etc. 

I would say this is the pentecostal ideal (pentecost, not the protestant denomination)

Do you all agree? 
I would like to agree if it is understood that the "Greek" so employed in the vernacular modern Greek. Most Greek speakers cannot understand liturgical Greek or at least enough to fully understand the services. The OCA, ACROD, and the Antiochians have made the transition to English very well, without altering any theology or liturgical integrity.
The same might apply in some OCA parishes (some in Pittsburgh at least) where a recent inundation of new Russian immigrants begs the question from the perspective of Slavonic vs. Russian vs. English.
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« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2008, 12:37:54 PM »

Quote from: ialmisry on Today at 08:05:35 AM

How about we all learn Aramaic, Christ's language, if we are truly serious.


Would it not be fair to say that Christ would have spoke Koiné Greek in His daily life as well?  After all was it not the language used in most of the Roman Empire at the time?  Not undermining the Aramaic, but saying He probably would have known Common Greek as well?
Koiné Greek (this is an aside I know you know this ialmisry) is the Greek used in liturgical services.
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« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2008, 12:48:42 PM »

Given that Christ quoted the Septuagint, seems logical He surely understood the Greek of the day, at the least.
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« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2008, 12:50:50 PM »

I would like to agree if it is understood that the "Greek" so employed in the vernacular modern Greek.

A great point. Yes, you are right.

And of course, when possible, it is optimal to have some text with translation to English in North America, when the language of services has been established up to the pastoral needs of the parish.

Personally, I understand some Old Slavonic. But, when I am visiting a parish, for example, outside of the English-language zone, I would rather pray at the Liturgy, served on the language that I do not know, but the parishioners do, then it will be Old Slavonic, the language not used to today. And everyone who understands Old Slavonic, has at least (1) other language more comfortable for their communication.

Again, this is only my opinion, and I respect a right to utilize Old Slavonic for those people, who prefer to do so.
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« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2008, 04:08:53 PM »

Quote from: ialmisry on Today at 08:05:35 AM

How about we all learn Aramaic, Christ's language, if we are truly serious.


Would it not be fair to say that Christ would have spoke Koiné Greek in His daily life as well?

No.  Why would we conclude that?  The Koine of the NT at times points to, and transliterates, the original Aramaic (Eli, Eli lama..., talitha koumi, etc.).

Quote
After all was it not the language used in most of the Roman Empire at the time?

And if it was, what then?  English is the most used language in the US, but there are several places where that won't help you at all.

Quote
Not undermining the Aramaic, but saying He probably would have known Common Greek as well?


No.

The argument can be made by the fact that the epigraphy of the Holy Land shows that Greek was more widespread than hereto thought.  But even then, it is a supposition.

Quote
Koiné Greek (this is an aside I know you know this ialmisry) is the Greek used in liturgical services.

It is, however, heavily influenced by Atticism.

Given that Christ quoted the Septuagint, seems logical He surely understood the Greek of the day, at the least.
The question is, if Christ quoted the Hebrew Vorlage of the Septuagint, which differs from the Masoretic Hebrew text the Jews use today, would the evidence of the NT be different?  For instance, the recenstions of the Vetus Latina, the Old Latin version, closely follow the recensions of the Septuagint, and differ from the Vulgate (which is based on a Hebrew text that differs from the LXX and the Masoretic text).
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« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2008, 08:45:43 AM »

The reason I bring it up is because we want to move from liturgies that are in greek, slavonic, etc. to liturgies in English.  To me all we're doing is just switching languages instead of changing our theological orientation.  The ideal really would be to present the liturgy in the language of the people in your community.  That means if you have spanish speakers in the community around you, or in your community, do spanish, if you have greeks, add some greek in, etc. 

I would say this is the pentecostal ideal (pentecost, not the protestant denomination)

Do you all agree? 
I would like to agree if it is understood that the "Greek" so employed in the vernacular modern Greek. Most Greek speakers cannot understand liturgical Greek or at least enough to fully understand the services. The OCA, ACROD, and the Antiochians have made the transition to English very well, without altering any theology or liturgical integrity.
The same might apply in some OCA parishes (some in Pittsburgh at least) where a recent inundation of new Russian immigrants begs the question from the perspective of Slavonic vs. Russian vs. English.

Of course.  When I was making my point I had all the vernacular languages in mind.  If we were to use the ancient languages, I would say to use them sparingly, and in cases where people REALLY know the hymn.  Case and point:  Tin timioteran.  People really DO know what it means, even if it's in Koine, because they hear it so often.  Theotoke parthene is another good example, or plousi i epton, etc.  Things that are repeated all the time, you could thrown them in every once in a while. 
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« Reply #25 on: October 26, 2008, 02:28:52 PM »

I've been chatting with a friend who feels very strongly that there should be no changes or modernizations in our liturgical languages/texts. We should use preferably only Greek or Church Slavonic.

Does he know that the Russian Orthodox Church glorified St Stephen of Perm as a saint for translating the liturgy and gospels out of Church Slavonic into Komi? St Herman of Alaska similarly approached the Inuit in their own language.

But unfortunately, later centralizing tendencies in the Russian Orthodox Church, including the current Patriarch who wants to make all inhabitants of the Russian Federation (rossijski) into ethnic Russians (russki), have tossed out the old liturgical translations and show that sadly the Church is not living up to its own beautiful history of sanctifying the native languages of the converted.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2008, 02:36:53 PM by CRCulver » Logged
Monk Vasyl
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« Reply #26 on: October 26, 2008, 05:28:23 PM »

Personally, I'm looking forward to what the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will be doing when they begin translating the services into Ukrainian.  Also, this may just be the step that could lead to a unified church in Ukraine.

http://orthodox.org.ua/eng/node/395

Kyiv Theological Academy Works on Translation and Editing Liturgical
Texts into Ukrainian and Composal of Ukrainian Theological and
Liturgical Glossary

It was stated by teacher of the Kyiv Theological Academy, official of
the Department for External Church Relations of the UOC archpriest
Mykolai Danylevych at the conference "Ukrainian National Studies of
the 21st century: new approaches, criteria, and development
objectives", which took place in Kyiv on October 21-22. He took part
in it with the blessing of His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is in want of such work. In spite of
the fact that the major part of our parishes performs the liturgical
services in Church Slavonic, there are the parishes in the fold of
the UOC, mostly in West Ukrainian regions, where the services are
performed in Ukrainian. "According to Metropolitan of Lutsk and
Volyn Niphont, there are some 80 such parishes in the Volyn region,
which coincides with two our church dioceses. They are also in the
dioceses of Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Rivne", comments Fr.
Mykolai.

The existing Ukrainian translations are far from perfection since
most of them are made from the Church-Slavonic language, but not from
the original language - Greek. In witness of his words the KTA
teacher supplies a number of examples of inaccuracies and sense
distortions in the latest translation of the Liturgy made by the
specialists of the UOC-KP. Fr. Mykolai also gave an overall
description of the Ukrainian translations made in the UGCC and in the
orthodox diaspora.

According to him, at present there are scientific human resources at
the Kyiv Theological Academy, capable of working over the solution of
this problem. "We have teachers who are conversant not only with Old
Greek language, but with Greek liturgical texts and the Greek modern
liturgical practice. It is within the realm of possibility that in
the near future there will be the church in Kyiv where the liturgical
services will be held in Ukrainian, since it is necessary to hear how
the translated text sounds in the common prayer and church singing.
Besides, I know that there are plenty people in the capital,
attending the churches of the non-canonical groupings only because
the liturgical services are performed in Ukrainian language there.
Why don't we give them a possibility to pray in Ukrainian remaining
in the church fold?"

Another reason encouraging the KTA to work over this problem is a
pedagogical aspect. The absence of elaborated Ukrainian theological
terminology has a negative influence on the writing skills of the
students who write their works in Ukrainian. "Of course, it is not
the student's fault, says Fr. Mykolai, but a result of the absence of
the Ukrainian theological terminology. It is an exclusively academic
and scientific problem, and it is to be dealt with by the theological
schools of the UOC and the Kyiv Theological Academy as center of the
church science."

The problem of necessity of composition of the Ukrainian liturgical
language was raised at the extended session of the Academic Committee
of the UOC, which took place as early as on September 12, present
year, with participation of the rectors and vice-rectors of the
theological seminaries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. For the
solution of this problem a respective working group was formed at the
Kyiv Theological Academy. "We preferred not to advertise it, because
the sense is not only to create a commission, but to start working
indeed. At present we form the database, collect the existing
translation versions, look them through, and study the developments
of the other confessions. We are open for cooperation both with the
representatives of the other confession and with the secular
scientists, Ukrainian philologists" , summed up the representative of
the Kyiv Academy.

Archpriest Mykolai also expressed hope that the joint work on
translations and composition of the unitary standard of the Ukrainian
liturgical language will facilitate overcoming the church dissents in
Ukraine.
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The unworthy hierodeacon, Vasyl
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