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.