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Author Topic: Teach yourself Slavonic?  (Read 4204 times) Average Rating: 0
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Eugenio
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« on: November 23, 2008, 11:30:10 PM »

Hello,

Does anyone know of any textbooks that can teach you enough Old Church Slavonic to understand a Divine Liturgy if you were to go into a Slavic church?

I'm guessing that Berlitz doesn't have a "Slavonic" edition?  Wink
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« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2008, 11:37:32 PM »

Hello,

Does anyone know of any textbooks that can teach you enough Old Church Slavonic to understand a Divine Liturgy if you were to go into a Slavic church?

I'm guessing that Berlitz doesn't have a "Slavonic" edition?  Wink

I would suggest that if your goal is to understand the Liturgy, simply buy a Slavonic/English prayer book and follow along until you learn the parts. Aside from that, St. Tikhon's Seminary/Monastery published a dictionary of Church Slavonic. There is also this: http://www.amazon.com/Church-Slavonic-Grammar-Horace-Lunt/dp/3110162849/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1227497804&sr=8-1
and this: http://www.orthodoxepubsoc.org/
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« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2008, 11:40:57 PM »

I should add: If you don't already know Russian, or at the very least Russian sounds and characters, it might be helpful to begin your study with some basics of the Russian language. Although Church Slavonic has a number of characters that differ from Church Slavonic, I think it may be a good starting point to get a feel for some of the sounds.
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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2008, 06:37:45 PM »

I agree with Bogoliubtsy is that you should get a Slavonic/English prayerbook and the best choice would be the Old Orthodox Prayer Book from Church of the Nativity which has English and Slavonic text. https://securehost85.hrwebservices.net/~cotn//shopping/product_info.php?products_id=28&osCsid=df6fdc7046114b84772c5cad427b6d71

Also, you can also get a copy of the Molitvoslav which is the Jordanville Prayerbook in Slavonic and it would come in handy if you have the English as well. You can get one here: http://www.holycross-hermitage.com/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=BK1925. You can get these and grammar books and go through the prayers and traslate them and learn the prayer word for word in Slavonic. My brother did something like this aswell with translating troparia from the Old Rite Horologion in Slavonic and then checking himself with the English text. It seemed to help him a lot with learning Slavonic.
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2008, 10:22:29 AM »

Does anyone know of any textbooks that can teach you enough Old Church Slavonic to understand a Divine Liturgy if you were to go into a Slavic church?

The Slavic liturgy is not in "Old Church Slavonic", for OCS refers only to the language of the first Slavonic writings, produced between AD 860 and 1100. The Slavic liturgy is in Church Slavonic, an artificial language which shows a number of innovations from OCS (e.g. loss of nasal vowels, many yers, the Common Slavonic tense system).

If a decent textbook of Church Slavonic exists, I've never come across it. Typically people will learn Church Slavonic by having a command of Russian and working backwards somewhat. You could also pick up, for example, Lunt's handbook of Old Church Slavonic and work forward from there.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2008, 10:23:14 AM by CRCulver » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2008, 12:45:49 PM »


It helps to already know a Slavic language (Russian is best, since modern Church Slavonic has been heavily influenced by Russian. I came to it from Serbo-Croatian, though).  I don't know whether it is "proper" or not, but in common usage Ukrainians, Russians and Serbs will pronounce Slavonic in a slightly different manner. 

The following is perhaps one of the best books in English on the subject.  Keep in mind, though, that it is a grammar rather than an intro guide to learning Slavonic:

http://www.light-n-life.com/shopping/order_product.asp?ProductNum=GRAM500
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2011, 04:01:58 PM »

There is also an English translation available of Archbishop Alypy (Gamanovich) Grammar of the Church Slavonic language translated by Archpriest John Shaw (Now Bishop Jerome). This has ROCOR old-style English for the translation, but it is understandable. For some reason, it also teaches you to pronounce the Slavonic AS WRITTEN, not as spoken Russian. 
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2011, 05:15:33 PM »

Here is another online site:

http://www.halfwayproductions.com/slavonic/

(I think http://www.orthodoxepubsoc.org/ was posted above)
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« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2012, 01:44:44 AM »

My edition of Bp Jerome's translation of Abp Alypy's book is very poorly typographed.
I have no background in Russian or Slavonic. I have been a monastic in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad for most of my Orthodox life (15 years) 11 of which were in a big monastery where I heard lots of Russian and only Slavonic in the church. Like previous posters, I cut my Orthodox teeth on the Old Orthodox Prayer Book and was puzzled to find the fonts somewhat different in the service books in church. It was, however, invaluable and I still use it sometimes for specialised canons and prayers.
My approach was to listen very carefully to the full service being read and chanted in Slavonic, whilst following in my English service books.
One obedience I had in the monastery was to read the Psalter in a chapel for our benefactors, which, as it is a private reading, I did aloud and in Slavonic. This helped me to learn the alphabet and sound of the letters. My teacher emphasised that Slavonic is not pronounced as Russian, with neutralised unstressed 'o' etc. Now that I am in a parish I have been chanting in the choir for 4 years and am still not fluent, but can keep up with the average chanter (not the experts!). For me, Slavonic is much to be preferred than Russian.
In short, to learn to read — read aloud. To learn to understand — listen, follow in English, study.
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« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2012, 06:47:06 AM »

For me, Slavonic is much to be preferred than Russian.
In short, to learn to read — read aloud. To learn to understand — listen, follow in English, study.

Why is a dead language that is difficult even for the highly learned to master much to be preferred than the vernacular language of millions of Orthodox faithful?  Why even use Russian and especially Slavonic in the ROCOR seeing that the "OR" means outside of Russia?
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« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2012, 11:02:31 AM »

To learn to understand — listen, follow in English, study.

Then why don't we switch to the original Greek? I thought the point of translation was comprehension. If people still need to follow translations, or undergo prolonged study in order to understand, you might as well cut out the middle man and stick to the original language.

Comprehensible translation or original Greek. Incomprehensible translations should not be used.
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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2012, 11:46:04 AM »

I audited an OCS class for a bit in college, pretty much stayed on as long as I could until all of the handouts were from the Soviet-era OCS textbook (Xaburgaev, if memory serves) and I couldn't keep up with my then-iffy Russian.  It's not difficult at all, if you spend enough time just reading and familiarizing yourself with how to read the characters, to pick out enough to know what's going on.  When I go to English liturgies, I usually bring along a Slavonic-only book to kind of make myself work at it.  I can now pretty much follow it with a pretty good comprehension of what it says (and find my place again if I put the book down for a while).  It's definitely possible.

If you have any inclination at all for language, or have had any kind of academic language training in the past and know a bit about grammar and grammar terminology, a good place to continue your study of OCS might be Old Church Slavonic Grammar by Horace G. Lunt.  There have been more than a few editions of it published over the past 50 years or so, and you're pretty much OK getting any of them.  There's a few on Amazon, but they can be a bit expensive.  It's academic for sure, but it's helpful. 
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« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2012, 05:39:53 PM »

It's not difficult at all, if you spend enough time just reading and familiarizing yourself with how to read the characters, to pick out enough to know what's going on.  When I go to English liturgies, I usually bring along a Slavonic-only book to kind of make myself work at it.  I can now pretty much follow it with a pretty good comprehension of what it says (and find my place again if I put the book down for a while).  It's definitely possible.

But again, what's the point of all of this?  You still aren't comprehending something really, you have just memorized a very repetitive text and can follow along.  Can you follow along an unfamiliar text without a bilingual book and still honestly say you get 95% of the meaning?  To use Church Slavonic in the West is ridiculous and also fairly nonsensical in Russia.     
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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2012, 06:46:39 PM »

I Prefer Old Slavonic In The Serbian Churches, I Don't Care For English Liturgies , I Avoid them...Something Lacks In them ....
I like The Liturgies In Other Languages Thou ,Other Than English......
Arabic, Romainian ,Polish, Greek ,Spanish,......and others,,For some reason not english..... police
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« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2012, 02:59:01 AM »

But again, what's the point of all of this?  You still aren't comprehending something really, you have just memorized a very repetitive text and can follow along.  Can you follow along an unfamiliar text without a bilingual book and still honestly say you get 95% of the meaning?  To use Church Slavonic in the West is ridiculous and also fairly nonsensical in Russia.    
Because I wanted to?  Additionally, I would argue I am comprehending something, being that I am familiar with the grammatical structure, a good deal of the vocabulary, and can read it off of the page.  

And, clearly, you're not of a mind to be convinced in any way against the use of the vernacular, so there really isn't much point in a discussion on that, is there?  The OP started a thread asking for help in learning Slavonic, and instead you're here trying to tell us it's a waste of time.  Pardon me if I think that's a bit rude, and an obvious attempt to troll for an argument. 
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« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2012, 04:09:22 AM »

But again, what's the point of all of this?  You still aren't comprehending something really, you have just memorized a very repetitive text and can follow along.  Can you follow along an unfamiliar text without a bilingual book and still honestly say you get 95% of the meaning?  To use Church Slavonic in the West is ridiculous and also fairly nonsensical in Russia.    
Because I wanted to?  Additionally, I would argue I am comprehending something, being that I am familiar with the grammatical structure, a good deal of the vocabulary, and can read it off of the page.  

And, clearly, you're not of a mind to be convinced in any way against the use of the vernacular, so there really isn't much point in a discussion on that, is there?  The OP started a thread asking for help in learning Slavonic, and instead you're here trying to tell us it's a waste of time.  Pardon me if I think that's a bit rude, and an obvious attempt to troll for an argument. 

For the record, I understand Church Slavonic rather well.  Other posters have already pointed out the best resources.  Essentially it ends up being the easiest to learn Russian or Polish (the two easiest Slavic languages to study due to both of them having a great deal of resources) plus a South Slavic language and work backwards towards understanding Church Slavonic.  I think it is entirely proper to question the motives for learning Church Slavonic - if someone wants to contribute to the ossification and museumization of the Church, I hope their endeavor fails miserably.         
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« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2012, 03:53:18 PM »

To learn to understand — listen, follow in English, study.

Then why don't we switch to the original Greek? I thought the point of translation was comprehension. If people still need to follow translations, or undergo prolonged study in order to understand, you might as well cut out the middle man and stick to the original language.

Comprehensible translation or original Greek. Incomprehensible translations should not be used.
I totally agree. That is the reason why the Russian churches do not use russian. They wanted to produce a translation and switch over to Russian,m but the Revolution of 1917 thwarted their plans, and no one has produced a translation that the Church authorities, or anyone else can regard as authoritative.
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« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2012, 03:56:32 PM »

There is even no Liturgy in Russian approved by the Church?

WOW, even we have 4 Liturgies, matins, vespers (not sure) and maybe something from the Euchologion.
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« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2012, 06:30:37 PM »

Michał, what language(s) are common in the Polish Church? 
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« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2012, 06:35:39 PM »

94% of parishes - Church Slavonic, 4% - Portuguese, 2% - Polish. From time to time there are services in others, like Serbian, Romanian, Greek, Belarusian or Ukrainian. In the past German, Spanish and Italian were also used.
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« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2012, 06:42:44 PM »

94% of parishes - Church Slavonic, 4% - Portuguese, 2% - Polish. From time to time there are services in others, like Serbian, Romanian, Greek, Belarusian or Ukrainian. In the past German, Spanish and Italian were also used.

Portuguese?!? Seriously? 

What about Belarusian, Ukrainian or various local languages / dialects?  Are they used for homilies or are they given in standard Polish?
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« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2012, 06:46:59 PM »

Portuguese?!? Seriously? 

There is a Diocese in Brazil.

Quote
What about Belarusian, Ukrainian or various local languages / dialects?  Are they used for homilies or are they given in standard Polish?

In Podlachia Russian or Polish is used in sermons. Belarusian - by a few priests. On the Ukrainian or Lemko areas I suppose they preserve their traditions better and there Ukrainian or Lemko can be used more popularly. They even have something they call Church Slavonic with Ukrainian pronunciation.
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« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2012, 07:04:16 PM »

In Podlachia Russian or Polish is used in sermons. Belarusian - by a few priests. On the Ukrainian or Lemko areas I suppose they preserve their traditions better and there Ukrainian or Lemko can be used more popularly. They even have something they call Church Slavonic with Ukrainian pronunciation.

Do younger people still know Lemko / Ukrainian / Belarusian / Podlachian?  From what I've read the government and educational system have worked to suppress them.  Where does the use of Russian come from, I had figured that most of the Church in Poland was composed of Ukrainians and Belarusians.  Are there actually a lot of Russian speakers there? 
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« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2012, 07:16:52 PM »

Generally they understand but don't speak. Usually people with Ukrainian or Lemko roots are more self-concious than those with the Belarusian ones.

Maybe they do not suppress but they don't do much to preserve it and there is a sense of shame and cultural ostracism of those with such roots (although it fades recently).

The Polish Church is heavily influenced by the Russian culture because from the XVII century to the 1920' it was under the Russian Church and was heavily Russianised. It totally lost its own traditions.
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« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2012, 05:18:23 PM »

But again, what's the point of all of this?  You still aren't comprehending something really, you have just memorized a very repetitive text and can follow along.  Can you follow along an unfamiliar text without a bilingual book and still honestly say you get 95% of the meaning?  To use Church Slavonic in the West is ridiculous and also fairly nonsensical in Russia.    
Because I wanted to?  Additionally, I would argue I am comprehending something, being that I am familiar with the grammatical structure, a good deal of the vocabulary, and can read it off of the page.  

And, clearly, you're not of a mind to be convinced in any way against the use of the vernacular, so there really isn't much point in a discussion on that, is there?  The OP started a thread asking for help in learning Slavonic, and instead you're here trying to tell us it's a waste of time.  Pardon me if I think that's a bit rude, and an obvious attempt to troll for an argument. 

For the record, I understand Church Slavonic rather well.  Other posters have already pointed out the best resources.  Essentially it ends up being the easiest to learn Russian or Polish (the two easiest Slavic languages to study due to both of them having a great deal of resources) plus a South Slavic language and work backwards towards understanding Church Slavonic.  I think it is entirely proper to question the motives for learning Church Slavonic - if someone wants to contribute to the ossification and museumization of the Church, I hope their endeavor fails miserably.         

Could it be argued that the reasoning behind the Russian Orthodox churches using staroslovensko is pretty much the same reasoning that the Roman Catholic Church used Latin almost worldwide until the late 1960's?
Was it not well known historically that the RCC used latin to separate the clergy from the laity?  In as much as the clergy were the keepers of the sacred texts and the laity were relegated to hearing mass and not actively participating in it (ok, singing in sung low mass or high mass being the exception, however merely just singing the parts the priest reads at a level most in the church can't hear anyway).
If one looks at the reformation in the UK you could be burned alive by the RCC for printing the bible in English... why?  The sacred was for the clergy and the people were looked on as peasants not worthy to understand their faith through scripture.  That is why they had plays re-enacting the key stories in the bible and relating them to say Holy Days.
This is perhaps one of the reasons the English church left the RCC.  Okay this doesn't make for as hip of a story as King Henry putting the nail in the coffin to the RCC in England, he did, however it was just the final blow in an increasingly literate nation wanting to learn more about their faith.

Look back at the Russian Empire pre Revolution or any of the now gone kingdoms and empires (austria-hungarian..) and the clergy were highly paid.  They were highly educated.  The local serf did not have much education and more than likely could not read.  In the former Austrian Hungarian Empire the peasants had to pay taxes so the empire could pay the priest.  They had to give money to the church locally.  They also had to pay a certain tax to the priest.  This usually was in the form of part of your crop or chickens or something.
Much the same situation as the RCC in times past.  Rich or middle class or even better yet landowners usually produced the clergy in both Orthodox Russia and Roman Catholicism.
As much as the latin and the more popular low mass that was used (everything said by the priest and answered by altar boys pretty much in a low voice) the Russians did pretty much the same thing.
The Russians did, still do, and will be doing for the foreseeable future is the same as the old RCC thinking.
Very infrequent communion, a huge iconostasis and closing the royal doors for much of the liturgy and using a choir and using Slavonic that only the clergy may understand. So the Russian Orthodox seem to still cling to the old separation of the clergy from the people by pretty much the same methods the RCC used prior to Vatican 2.
I am not advocating liturgical reform in as much as rubrics.  However I agree with Nektarios that we must attempt to use more of our own languages in liturgy.  Ornamental slavonic is awesome and don't get me wrong I know a good deal of Slavonic and can read it for the movable parts of liturgy and understand a good bit... but I am thankful that it is usually in English, like my parish is 60% Slavonic 40% English.  Nothing movable is in Slavonic.  In my youth Ukrainian was used in the movable texts of the liturgy and Slavonic for the other parts. 
Ukrainian is a far easier language to understand than Church Slavonic. If you can't even get a small handle on Russian, Polish, Slovak or Ukrainian and speak English you would have a huge uphill battle understanding Church Slavonic.

Stashko, you probably have a sentimental love for non-English because the hymns and liturgy music pieces that you are used to probably were written for staroslovensko.  Some pieces just don't translate into English and fit the music very well.  Prostopinije singing is a big example.  The latest attempt ended up taking a flowing chant style music and turning it into a more rigid musical score.  Bokshai wrote the primer for Prostopinije in staroslovensko.  It is hard to translate it to fit the metre in English.  The main person who attempted in the Ruthenian Byzcath church that lead the current reform of the music I give a pat on the back for doing so.  He did the best he could and I believe he may have at one time had a hand in ACROD's music being made to fit English as well.  But these home-grown style of folk singing in a religious context are so sacred to the people that changing a word or a note often causes men to need blood pressure medicine.
Father A shared a link to a Christmas Liturgy from Slovakia that was in staroslovenko and it still makes my heart and stomach feel tingly.  But those days are gone here in the USA.  Many Americans spare no mercy on non-English first language speakers so we are forced to by necessity to preach to all nations to translate things into the vernacular.
Christ wasn't there for only Greeks, Russian, Poles, Anglophones.  He is there for the entire world and saved us all releasing the bonds of hades and loosening the fettered.
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« Reply #25 on: January 25, 2012, 05:24:50 PM »

Generally they understand but don't speak. Usually people with Ukrainian or Lemko roots are more self-concious than those with the Belarusian ones.

Maybe they do not suppress but they don't do much to preserve it and there is a sense of shame and cultural ostracism of those with such roots (although it fades recently).

The Polish Church is heavily influenced by the Russian culture because from the XVII century to the 1920' it was under the Russian Church and was heavily Russianised. It totally lost its own traditions.

And the same thing that happened to the Poles (who were most likely Lemko/Ukrainians or Belorussian) happened here.  The Russian church destroyed the SE Poland/E Slovakian/Western Ukrainian traditions here in the USA.  Some maintain tiny parts of it in the area I live (oca that is).  The American Carpatho Orthodox Diocese was formed when they left Greek Catholicism in order to maintain the traditions of their parents that came from the old country areas I listed above.  The Ukrainians did too, although we are a smidgen more Russian influenced than ACROD, ok, we resist OCA/Russian traditions.  We're simple country people who like our simple and sacred small traditions.  Sadly Operation Vistula removed many of the Ukrainians from SE Poland.  Which meant a large part of Poland lost their Orthodox and Greek Catholic peoples.  
Many of the people I know from Western UA say the village churches are pretty much exactly the same as in Pennsylvania or New York.. and seeing youtube videos confirms that for me.

It's neat that many of the areas in the NE USA and Mid-Atlantic states look very much like the Carpathian Mountains... although Vermont, Adirondacks are more like that with the higher evergreen tree populations.
PA was mostly Evergreen forests until the early 1900's anyway.
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« Reply #26 on: January 25, 2012, 05:41:58 PM »

username! speaks the truth, as hard as it is for many of us to accept. I too feel 'comfortable' hearing the choir sing in old slavonic and my heart pounds a bit more as in the Christmas liturgy link from Slovakia. That's because I am reminded by the 'old days' and I recall people that are no longer among us and days that seemed less complicated and more full of joy. The window in our heads to our individual and collective past is usually clouded - sometimes it is 'rose colored', for others it is dark and obscured by painful memories. Anyway, I am all for the use of liturgical language that the faithful can follow and comprehend - not just sketchily follow in some limited way. Koine, slavonic, latin - whatever - their days have passed.
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« Reply #27 on: January 25, 2012, 06:01:18 PM »

username! speaks the truth, as hard as it is for many of us to accept. I too feel 'comfortable' hearing the choir sing in old slavonic and my heart pounds a bit more as in the Christmas liturgy link from Slovakia. That's because I am reminded by the 'old days' and I recall people that are no longer among us and days that seemed less complicated and more full of joy. The window in our heads to our individual and collective past is usually clouded - sometimes it is 'rose colored', for others it is dark and obscured by painful memories. Anyway, I am all for the use of liturgical language that the faithful can follow and comprehend - not just sketchily follow in some limited way. Koine, slavonic, latin - whatever - their days have passed.


The only thing I can say is Latin is far easier to learn than Greek but Church Slavonic is the absolute most intense liturgical language to master. 
I think we associate the slavonic with our departed brethren and family members.  We sing it loud and tear up because we miss them and them being there.  We have watched so many pass on to leave our remote mountain churches dwindle in members.  The old days are gone and we clutch to singing the old hymns and liturgical pieces in Slavonic just to not forget who we are;  we are those people that have gone before us and we must always remember them in one of their favorite hobbies.... singing folk songs and singing them in Slavonic, Slovak, Ukrainian, Lemko etc..  Me and Podkarpastkas' people were singers.
Hours passed in singing folk songs and brotherhood at the church.  The focal point of the community.
Dinners, parties, leisure, worship, baptisms, weddings, ordinations, annointings, funerals, Pascha, everything was done at the church, the church hall and the church picnic grounds. 
Rugged American Individualism and smaller families, shifting demographics, and rapid assimilation have rotted these precious communities away at the core.
That is my fear about American Orthodoxy.  Most do not experience this, I caught the tail end.  The sense of community and family was so strong.  Not the individual but the community.  Not inventing new things or compartmentalization of worship and secular life.  Church was life and our customs mingled and their lives were liturgical inside church and outside.
So when people say our folk customs are too ethnic I say nay, they connect us to the church when we aren't there.
Anyone that hasn't experienced Orthodoxy in the rural isolated parishes in Pennsylvania or New York needs to come here for a week and just see it. plan your trip around a holy day so you can experience how church and home life connect around the holy day.  Expect feasting to sometimes last three days even though this is fading too in some areas of PA.
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« Reply #28 on: January 25, 2012, 06:52:43 PM »

I think that you are on to an important point. In the old world, regardless of culture, those aspects of community/religious life were the norm - rather than an aberration. Faith was passed on not by 'book learning' or some sort of pseudo-intellectual journey (much as many Orthodox tend to 'pooh-pooh'intellectualism) but rather through feelings and emotion - not unlike the far different cultures of rural North America and their simple 'folk religion.'

But, while it is easy to bemoan the passing of that world - both here and in the old world - we have a duty to work to preserve Faith in new settings. There were many centers of Orthodoxy which were not just wrapped up in folk customs but were actively involved in learned spiritual pursuit - and not just in monasteries (where often emotionalism was channeled in a controlled manner....)

I guess you could say that this transformation is indeed a 'work in progress' and like any such pursuit it will be marked by missteps and mistakes.  I still think that vernacular is the only way to go forward.

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« Reply #29 on: January 25, 2012, 07:45:31 PM »

Could it be argued that the reasoning behind the Russian Orthodox churches using staroslovensko is pretty much the same reasoning that the Roman Catholic Church used Latin almost worldwide until the late 1960's?
Was it not well known historically that the RCC used latin to separate the clergy from the laity?  In as much as the clergy were the keepers of the sacred texts and the laity were relegated to hearing mass and not actively participating in it (ok, singing in sung low mass or high mass being the exception, however merely just singing the parts the priest reads at a level most in the church can't hear anyway).

I'm not sure precisely when Latin would have become unintelligible for Romance speakers, but I generally I agree with your point.  By the time the various liturgical languages of Europe had diverged from the vernacular, clericalism had already been deeply enough established to benefit from excluding the laity from active participation in ecclesiastical life.  Russia is still a nearly Confucian society, and you are probably right that this places a role in the continued use of a nearly incomprehensible liturgical language that is usually just mumbled anyway.         

If one looks at the reformation in the UK you could be burned alive by the RCC for printing the bible in English... why?  The sacred was for the clergy and the people were looked on as peasants not worthy to understand their faith through scripture.  That is why they had plays re-enacting the key stories in the bible and relating them to say Holy Days.
This is perhaps one of the reasons the English church left the RCC.  Okay this doesn't make for as hip of a story as King Henry putting the nail in the coffin to the RCC in England, he did, however it was just the final blow in an increasingly literate nation wanting to learn more about their faith.

The fact that Protestantism spread rapidly in non-Romance lands is certainly not a coincidence.  And today it is Protestantism that uses Russian - guess who is growing here?     

Look back at the Russian Empire pre Revolution or any of the now gone kingdoms and empires (austria-hungarian..) and the clergy were highly paid.  They were highly educated.  The local serf did not have much education and more than likely could not read.  In the former Austrian Hungarian Empire the peasants had to pay taxes so the empire could pay the priest.  They had to give money to the church locally.  They also had to pay a certain tax to the priest.  This usually was in the form of part of your crop or chickens or something.

In the Russian Empire it was more complicated.  The married clergy were horrendously poor and didn't earn enough from their official salaries or alloted land to support themselves.  That's why they had no choice but to charge relatively large fees for sacraments to peasants who could ill afford them.  The monasteries on the other hand were wealthy and were all too happy to exploit slave labor to the glory of God.  From Peter the I onward this wealth steadily declined as the tsars continued to challenge this.  This certainly created a dual system: a somewhat educated clerical and monastic class vs. a peasantry with no real grasp of what was going on and deeply embroiled in superstition and hocus-pocus.  To some extent this is true even today - people stand through a couple of hours of liturgy and have heard hardly anything they can truly comprehend.   
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« Reply #30 on: January 25, 2012, 08:03:15 PM »

I don't agree ,,When one attends Crkveno slovenska Liturgija  enough times. It Grows on one, and it becomes part of us ,and it's understandable ,or most of it is,And i  Love it ...... police When i was Younger i didn't care for it , because i  didn't take the time to really Listen,, But as i grew older ,It was Heaven On earth.... police
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ГОСПОДЕ ГОСПОДЕ ,ПОГЛЕДАЈ СА НЕБА ,ДОЂИ И ПОСЕТИ ТВОЈ ВИНОГРАД ТВОЈА ДЕСНИЦА ПОСАДИЛА АМИН АМИН.
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« Reply #31 on: January 25, 2012, 08:18:23 PM »

I don't agree ,,When one attends Crkveno slovenska Liturgija  enough times. It Grows on one, and it becomes part of us ,and it's understandable ,or most of it is,And i  Love it ...... police When i was Younger i didn't care for it , because i  didn't take the time to really Listen,, But as i grew older ,It was Heaven On earth.... police

How much of the text of the movable parts of the liturgical cycle (i.e vespers and matins) are in Serbian generally? 
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« Reply #32 on: January 25, 2012, 08:33:25 PM »

I don't agree ,,When one attends Crkveno slovenska Liturgija  enough times. It Grows on one, and it becomes part of us ,and it's understandable ,or most of it is,And i  Love it ...... police When i was Younger i didn't care for it , because i  didn't take the time to really Listen,, But as i grew older ,It was Heaven On earth.... police

How much of the text of the movable parts of the liturgical cycle (i.e vespers and matins) are in Serbian generally? 

I did Notice That some serbian is being used ...But still When i Listen to a russian Crkvena Slovenska Liturgija ,I understand the hymns And most of what is said ,In the Liturgy ,The Accent and pronunciation ,some differences, but still understandable ... police
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ГОСПОДЕ ГОСПОДЕ ,ПОГЛЕДАЈ СА НЕБА ,ДОЂИ И ПОСЕТИ ТВОЈ ВИНОГРАД ТВОЈА ДЕСНИЦА ПОСАДИЛА АМИН АМИН.
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« Reply #33 on: January 25, 2012, 09:00:58 PM »

Could it be argued that the reasoning behind the Russian Orthodox churches using staroslovensko is pretty much the same reasoning that the Roman Catholic Church used Latin almost worldwide until the late 1960's?
Was it not well known historically that the RCC used latin to separate the clergy from the laity?  In as much as the clergy were the keepers of the sacred texts and the laity were relegated to hearing mass and not actively participating in it (ok, singing in sung low mass or high mass being the exception, however merely just singing the parts the priest reads at a level most in the church can't hear anyway).

I'm not sure precisely when Latin would have become unintelligible for Romance speakers, but I generally I agree with your point.  By the time the various liturgical languages of Europe had diverged from the vernacular, clericalism had already been deeply enough established to benefit from excluding the laity from active participation in ecclesiastical life.  Russia is still a nearly Confucian society, and you are probably right that this places a role in the continued use of a nearly incomprehensible liturgical language that is usually just mumbled anyway.
       
Church Slavonic was used as the literary language in Russia up until the 1800's.  As for laity, doesn't seem to have been the issue: most of the white clergy were as uneducated as their flocks, and memorized the services.  In the 1800's Western European languages served the purpose of excluding the lower classes: the peasantophile Tolstoy puts whole paragraphs in French in his works, with the assumption that anyone who could read Russian could read French.  War and Peace has an interesting passage with the nobility, during the Napoleonic Wars, fining themselves when they slipped into French, only finding that they couldn't express themselves in Russian.

Confucian?  Not much different in Western Europe.

If one looks at the reformation in the UK you could be burned alive by the RCC for printing the bible in English... why?  The sacred was for the clergy and the people were looked on as peasants not worthy to understand their faith through scripture.  That is why they had plays re-enacting the key stories in the bible and relating them to say Holy Days.
This is perhaps one of the reasons the English church left the RCC.  Okay this doesn't make for as hip of a story as King Henry putting the nail in the coffin to the RCC in England, he did, however it was just the final blow in an increasingly literate nation wanting to learn more about their faith.
The fact that Protestantism spread rapidly in non-Romance lands is certainly not a coincidence.
Protestantism spread amongst the French speakers rapidly enough.
It depended more on the principle of "Cuis regio, eius religio," and the will (or ability) of the "regio" to inforce it:the Germanic/Celtic Belgian, Austrian, Bavarians, Flemish, Highlanders and Irish (versus the French Huguenots and other Calvinists) testify to that.

And today it is Protestantism that uses Russian - guess who is growing here?
They seem to be doing quite well in Latin America, where the Vatican no longer uses Latin.

Look back at the Russian Empire pre Revolution or any of the now gone kingdoms and empires (austria-hungarian..) and the clergy were highly paid.  They were highly educated.  The local serf did not have much education and more than likely could not read.  In the former Austrian Hungarian Empire the peasants had to pay taxes so the empire could pay the priest.  They had to give money to the church locally.  They also had to pay a certain tax to the priest.  This usually was in the form of part of your crop or chickens or something.

In the Russian Empire it was more complicated.  The married clergy were horrendously poor and didn't earn enough from their official salaries or alloted land to support themselves.  That's why they had no choice but to charge relatively large fees for sacraments to peasants who could ill afford them.  The monasteries on the other hand were wealthy and were all too happy to exploit slave labor to the glory of God.  From Peter the I onward this wealth steadily declined as the tsars continued to challenge this.  This certainly created a dual system: a somewhat educated clerical and monastic class vs. a peasantry with no real grasp of what was going on and deeply embroiled in superstition and hocus-pocus.  To some extent this is true even today - people stand through a couple of hours of liturgy and have heard hardly anything they can truly comprehend.   

yes, Holy Mother Russia had some warts.
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« Reply #34 on: January 25, 2012, 11:45:45 PM »

Isa, you are correct, I should have remembered that too, my brain has a big freeze on it and anything you have to share about holy mother eastern europe...
So what you are saying is that untill the 1800's if me and you went to a gymnasium to study for the priesthood we'd hear lectures in Church Slavonic?
I guess it was probably the same as here, when liturgies were done by the little russians in slavonic I don't know if the priests knew much slavonic and remembered most of it, but I'm willing to bet that was the case.
I have most of the liturgy memorized in Slavonic and a good bit of the priest/deacon prayers.  I'm a geek and I do need to pick up other hobbies again.  I know Slavonic a bit to understand it.  I much prefer Ukrainian  as I readily understand it.
However I had a metropolitan tell me another bishop in another jurisdiction asked if he had any priests that could serve in Slavonic AND speak Russian.  He was a little upset at himself that he didn't have a priest to send.  I also heard another Bishop say that we really sank the boat when we forgot to teach slavonic better and to teach priests enough Russian or Ukrainian to handle immigrant parishes.

The Russian Baptist Church (roots in Russia since the 1700's) is huge in a nearby college town.  They pay for immigration and set up jobs and housing for their people.  You know, what we did as Orthodox for about 100 years.   I'm sure it still happens though.
But these baptists have like a thousand or so Russian members and they use...................Russian.
I do not think they are convert Orthodox being snookered into Baptist life, most I would imagine and have been told were baptists in russia to begin with, and not recently saved ones either.

I can name you two arab immigrants that have told me that when the Catholic Church came in and fed themn when they were starving everyone in the village turned Catholic.
It's all about taking care of people, I've been saying this for 7 years now.  Matthew 25 ministries are important.
Feeding, helping find work, etc... for people is essential.  More essential than being able to toss out what a church father said in his 18th prose on the essence of the holy spirit in relation to a locust plague.
That is why the protestants eat Catholic and Orthodox people alive.  They can be sheep in wolves clothing.
They show up with polio shots, bread, rice and education to the people then the price the recipients of said goods have to sell their soul into such groups as baptists and evangelicals who are outsourcing their religion.  A religion based on the rugged individual, all for me, Jesus = wealth eternal life wham bam thank you, another statistic to preach about, treating the needy as statistics for their next fundraiser to go mess up another society.
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« Reply #35 on: January 25, 2012, 11:49:38 PM »

Nektarios, In our parish's earliest constitution if a priest came to your house to give you a sacrament you owed the parish coffers $12.  If you couldn't pay it that $12 came out of the priest's salary. And you are talking 80 years ago.  I sometimes don't have $12 in 2012.  Sounds like a carryover from a distant time.
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« Reply #36 on: January 26, 2012, 01:49:35 AM »

And today it is Protestantism that uses Russian - guess who is growing here?      

Here in Ukraine? At least I'm glad to see your indirect recognition of Ukraine as a part of Russia (Rus').

Why is a dead language that is difficult even for the highly learned to master much to be preferred than the vernacular language of millions of Orthodox faithful?  

Because religous fanaticism and common sense have nothing to do with each other.
Actually Patriarch Kirill patronizes the russification movement of Fr Georgy Kochetkov but the Church slavonic fans still resist.  Lips Sealed
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« Reply #37 on: January 26, 2012, 04:22:27 AM »

Nektarios, In our parish's earliest constitution if a priest came to your house to give you a sacrament you owed the parish coffers $12.  If you couldn't pay it that $12 came out of the priest's salary. And you are talking 80 years ago.  I sometimes don't have $12 in 2012.  Sounds like a carryover from a distant time.

Curious historical relic.  Were people still expected to offer a tithe as well or did sacramental fees replace them?

Here in Ukraine? At least I'm glad to see your indirect recognition of Ukraine as a part of Russia (Rus').

It's no secret that parts of Ukraine are very Russian-speaking.  I've also met missionaries that are speak Ukrainian fairly well. That's a level of respect towards the country far greater than the UOC-MP offers.     

Because religous fanaticism and common sense have nothing to do with each other.
Actually Patriarch Kirill patronizes the russification movement of Fr Georgy Kochetkov but the Church slavonic fans still resist.  Lips Sealed

I hope they prevail at some point. 
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« Reply #38 on: January 26, 2012, 06:10:49 PM »

I'm not sure what happened Nektarios.  You don't pay for services now.  The priest gets his monthly salary.  Most people give him money if he drives to see them in hospice, hospital, at their homes, nursing homes.  This helps offset the gas and wear and tear on his car. I don't think that original rule lasted long.  I heard they once changed the locks on a priest's door and took his stuff out during liturgy.  I also heard a story that someone wanted to bury a non-Orthodox in our parish years and years ago and the parishoners locked the doors and forbade it.  Remember my parish was one of THE last parishes to go under the Ecumenical patriarch.  They were UOC-USA prior to the UOAC and the UOC-USA coming under the Ecumenical Patriarch.
In essence the UOC USA and UOAC in the States were much in the same position as ROCOR was until they joined the MP, everyone considered them Orthodox but they wouldn't have had a seat on scoba at one time.
Much like the real Orthodox churches in Ukraine not being recognised by the UOC-MP which has no business being in Ukraine in the first place.  In essence the Ukrainian struggle is to consolidate the KP, the UOAC and the Greek Catholics under the Ecumenical Patriarch and once again re-establish the Patriarch of Kiev (the last one was Patriarch Mystyslav memory eternal).
And the Orthodox Churches in Ukraine, and I am going to almost include the Greek Catholics in that equation serve their people in Ukrainian. 
It's easy to understand the plight of the Ukrainian/Carpatho-Russian churches here in the states with Ukraine today.
The Greek Catholics were dumped on by the Latin Bishops so they all left and joined really the only option they had at that time; the Russian Orthodox MP.  But the MP, later post revolution then known as Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of North America and now known as the OCA.
They forced Russian customs on the Ukrainian/Halychynya immigrants in the late 1800s.  It was a no-win situation though.  The choice was to have your Greek Catholic church be severely latinised and be subject to Latin bishops who didn't consider our people as people.  John Ireland who spat on St. Alexis Toth was a follower of humanism and secularism of the Latin Catholic church (and eventually humanism did come to regin in the RCC).
Much like what I gather from my Ukrainian friends who are immigrants or in UA.  the choice (and I don't speak of eastern UA, rather Western UA)  They either go to the MP which pushes Russian customs and serves in Slavonic and really has no interest in Ukrainians OR go to the Greek Catholics, the KP or the UOAC.  Many of the seminarians at St. Sophia Seminary are UOAC from Trenopol area. 
So why would the Greek Catholics want to join the MP just to join the organisation that was so deeply connected with the CCCP and actually attempted to destroy them at one time?  Why would a Ukrainian who supports a free UA and is proud to finally be independent after how many years of being subject to Russian rule, Austrian Hungairan rule, polish kingdom rule?  The obvious choice would be to attend a church that reflects their time honoured traditions and that church isn't the UOC-MP.
The Carpatho-Russians fled Greek CAtholicism b/c of papal bulls that said no married clergy among other latin-type restrictions.  They pleaded with the EP to become Orthodox under him.  They did and still do resist Russification of any sort in their parishes (sans OCA parishes that came under the ACROD).  The last OCA parish to seek safety in the ACROD was the parish in minersville, PA, whom was served by a great priest before he moved to Long Island, Bishop Matthias Moriak!!  Eis polla eti Despota!!
The people that live in the former area called Galicia/Halychnynya faced today what many of our grandparents faced here and still face here today as mentioned above.
We just want to maintain our small traditions.  They connect your home life to your church life and make you live a liturgical life.
This is what so many pro-american orthodox folks do not understand.  It is so new and fresh to them that the old traditions that strengthen the faith outside of church scared them and they shun them.
American religion seems to separate church from their secular life.  This is almost impossible in Orthodoxy, I mean it is possible but then the feast days and doing things like not using a plate on St. John the Baptist's feast day make no sense to what that conveys in the church teachings.  Or the Svaty Vechera on Christmas Eve or even adhering to the Old Calender (which is special as it separates our holy days from the heterodox).
Orthodoxy is an identity.
Christianity is an Eastern Religion.  Western folks who hail from non-Orthodox backgrounds have a tendency to forget that.
Theosis is a path of enlightenment.  To be more like God.  Follow the beautitudes as a path of theosis.
I have heard from so many of my protestant friends and Catholic friends over the years toss their faith out because they wanted to follow pop fads representing some form of Buddihism, to find enlightment.
They have that path right at their fingertips in Christianity, specfically the church founded by Christ, the Orthodox Church.
A wise priest named Fr. Jonathon Tobias said it best "we aren't called to be a teacher or a doctor or whatever, we are only called to do one thing; to be more like GOD".  And that is theosis.
My rant ends with this.  It doesn't matter what the politics at the bishop's level is.  It matters who is teaching the deposit of faith.  Learn that before you get bent and misguided in this whole notion of American Orthodoxy and never sell out the time honoured traditions that your parish has because it doesn't fit the american compartmentalization of religion.
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« Reply #39 on: January 26, 2012, 06:38:37 PM »

I'm not sure what happened Nektarios.  You don't pay for services now.  The priest gets his monthly salary.  Most people give him money if he drives to see them in hospice, hospital, at their homes, nursing homes.  This helps offset the gas and wear and tear on his car. I don't think that original rule lasted long.  I heard they once changed the locks on a priest's door and took his stuff out during liturgy.  I also heard a story that someone wanted to bury a non-Orthodox in our parish years and years ago and the parishoners locked the doors and forbade it.  Remember my parish was one of THE last parishes to go under the Ecumenical patriarch.  They were UOC-USA prior to the UOAC and the UOC-USA coming under the Ecumenical Patriarch.
In essence the UOC USA and UOAC in the States were much in the same position as ROCOR was until they joined the MP, everyone considered them Orthodox but they wouldn't have had a seat on scoba at one time.
Much like the real Orthodox churches in Ukraine not being recognised by the UOC-MP which has no business being in Ukraine in the first place.  In essence the Ukrainian struggle is to consolidate the KP, the UOAC and the Greek Catholics under the Ecumenical Patriarch and once again re-establish the Patriarch of Kiev (the last one was Patriarch Mystyslav memory eternal).
And the Orthodox Churches in Ukraine, and I am going to almost include the Greek Catholics in that equation serve their people in Ukrainian.  
It's easy to understand the plight of the Ukrainian/Carpatho-Russian churches here in the states with Ukraine today.
The Greek Catholics were dumped on by the Latin Bishops so they all left and joined really the only option they had at that time; the Russian Orthodox MP.  But the MP, later post revolution then known as Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of North America and now known as the OCA.
They forced Russian customs on the Ukrainian/Halychynya immigrants in the late 1800s.  It was a no-win situation though.  The choice was to have your Greek Catholic church be severely latinised and be subject to Latin bishops who didn't consider our people as people.  John Ireland who spat on St. Alexis Toth was a follower of humanism and secularism of the Latin Catholic church (and eventually humanism did come to regin in the RCC).
Much like what I gather from my Ukrainian friends who are immigrants or in UA.  the choice (and I don't speak of eastern UA, rather Western UA)  They either go to the MP which pushes Russian customs and serves in Slavonic and really has no interest in Ukrainians OR go to the Greek Catholics, the KP or the UOAC.  Many of the seminarians at St. Sophia Seminary are UOAC from Trenopol area.  
So why would the Greek Catholics want to join the MP just to join the organisation that was so deeply connected with the CCCP and actually attempted to destroy them at one time?  Why would a Ukrainian who supports a free UA and is proud to finally be independent after how many years of being subject to Russian rule, Austrian Hungairan rule, polish kingdom rule?  The obvious choice would be to attend a church that reflects their time honoured traditions and that church isn't the UOC-MP.
The Carpatho-Russians fled Greek CAtholicism b/c of papal bulls that said no married clergy among other latin-type restrictions.  They pleaded with the EP to become Orthodox under him.  They did and still do resist Russification of any sort in their parishes (sans OCA parishes that came under the ACROD).  The last OCA parish to seek safety in the ACROD was the parish in minersville, PA, whom was served by a great priest before he moved to Long Island, Bishop Matthias Moriak!!  Eis polla eti Despota!!
The people that live in the former area called Galicia/Halychnynya faced today what many of our grandparents faced here and still face here today as mentioned above.
We just want to maintain our small traditions.  They connect your home life to your church life and make you live a liturgical life.
This is what so many pro-american orthodox folks do not understand.  It is so new and fresh to them that the old traditions that strengthen the faith outside of church scared them and they shun them.
American religion seems to separate church from their secular life.  This is almost impossible in Orthodoxy, I mean it is possible but then the feast days and doing things like not using a plate on St. John the Baptist's feast day make no sense to what that conveys in the church teachings.  Or the Svaty Vechera on Christmas Eve or even adhering to the Old Calender (which is special as it separates our holy days from the heterodox).
Orthodoxy is an identity.
Christianity is an Eastern Religion.  Western folks who hail from non-Orthodox backgrounds have a tendency to forget that.
Theosis is a path of enlightenment.  To be more like God.  Follow the beautitudes as a path of theosis.
I have heard from so many of my protestant friends and Catholic friends over the years toss their faith out because they wanted to follow pop fads representing some form of Buddihism, to find enlightment.
They have that path right at their fingertips in Christianity, specfically the church founded by Christ, the Orthodox Church.
A wise priest named Fr. Jonathon Tobias said it best "we aren't called to be a teacher or a doctor or whatever, we are only called to do one thing; to be more like GOD".  And that is theosis.
My rant ends with this.  It doesn't matter what the politics at the bishop's level is.  It matters who is teaching the deposit of faith.  Learn that before you get bent and misguided in this whole notion of American Orthodoxy and never sell out the time honoured traditions that your parish has because it doesn't fit the american compartmentalization of religion.

username and I share much of the same 'rant' it seems....

Just a clarification - although the parish in Minersville, PA is Carpatho-Russian, it is OCA. Now-Bishop Mathias was the pastor of St. Michael's in St. Clair, PA for nearly twenty five years after the parish returned to ACROD around the time of the calendar change in the early 1980's. It was the part of the so-called Carpatho-Russian Administration of the Metropolia under the leadership of Fr. Slepecky who was the pastor of St. Clair for probably fifty some years. The so-called Administration was formed in the 1940's as a result of an early split within ACROD between Bishop Orestes Chornock and some of his priests and it eventually went the way of the wind as they say.

Thanks for the kudos for my dear friend Fr. J - his blog is interesting and he writes at Second Terrace http://janotec.typepad.com/ . ( His recent three part triology on the Theotokas is great reading, provocative and way more enlightening about Orthodoxy and the Mother of God than the long running one here on the IC  IMHO! )
« Last Edit: January 26, 2012, 06:40:42 PM by podkarpatska » Logged
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« Reply #40 on: January 26, 2012, 09:28:53 PM »

I did get the church wrong, my bad! Podkaarpatska and I are pretty much from the same stock and have lived through many of the same experiences.
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« Reply #41 on: January 26, 2012, 09:30:47 PM »

Fr J is one of the "hidden" great scholastic priests that gets over looked because the ACROD doesn't have the media power that some other jurisdictions posses.  He is an incredible man.
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« Reply #42 on: January 27, 2012, 10:21:44 AM »

Fr J is one of the "hidden" great scholastic priests that gets over looked because the ACROD doesn't have the media power that some other jurisdictions posses.  He is an incredible man.

Just to be clear: He is a scholarly type, not a 'scholastic' - i know what you meant, but that is a 'buzz' word to many online!
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