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Author Topic: Greece, Synod condemns Mass in modern Greek  (Read 21952 times) Average Rating: 0
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mike
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« on: April 16, 2010, 02:23:10 PM »

Quote
The Greek-Orthodox Synod has condemned the Mass in modern language officiated in the diocese of Nicopolis, claiming that it puts ''the Church's unity'' at risk. Bishop Meletio of Nicopolis, in the northern region of Epirus, a long time ago authorised the translation of the Mass from liturgical Greek (close to the ancient Greek language and once spoken by the upper classes) into modern or ''popular'' Greek. Because, he justified his decision, ''otherwise the faithful don't understand the holy liturgy''. But the Synod has ruled that translating the holy texts is forbidden; it is only allowed ''as an exception and after the authorisation'' of the Church. In the absence of a joint version, according to the orthodox leaders, a spontaneous and causal translation of the liturgy ''could jeopardise the Church's unity''. The Synod has taken its decision despite the fact that Meletio seems to enjoy the support of his believers and has obtained the official support of other bishops.

source


What? There aren't any official translations of the DL into the modern Greek?

edit:


I hope that "forbidden translating" is in the imagination of the editor.
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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2010, 02:34:23 PM »

AS my Baba would say, "Boze Moi!"
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2010, 04:01:57 PM »

Quote
The Greek-Orthodox Synod has condemned the Mass in modern language officiated in the diocese of Nicopolis, claiming that it puts ''the Church's unity'' at risk. Bishop Meletio of Nicopolis, in the northern region of Epirus, a long time ago authorised the translation of the Mass from liturgical Greek (close to the ancient Greek language and once spoken by the upper classes) into modern or ''popular'' Greek. Because, he justified his decision, ''otherwise the faithful don't understand the holy liturgy''. But the Synod has ruled that translating the holy texts is forbidden; it is only allowed ''as an exception and after the authorisation'' of the Church. In the absence of a joint version, according to the orthodox leaders, a spontaneous and causal translation of the liturgy ''could jeopardise the Church's unity''. The Synod has taken its decision despite the fact that Meletio seems to enjoy the support of his believers and has obtained the official support of other bishops.

source


What? There aren't any official translations of the DL into the modern Greek?

edit:


I hope that "forbidden translating" is in the imagination of the editor.
No, it's not. Blood has been shed over the issue.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olga_Constantinovna_of_Russia#.22Evangelika.22_controversy
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2010, 04:21:56 PM »

It is hard for me, as a second generation American who lived through my church's transition from Church Slavonic to English to fully understand this type of argument about the spoken word. To me, not to express the beauty of the Liturgy in a language the faithful really understand is akin to holding the doors open for Evangelical missionaries to raid the fields.
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« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2010, 05:10:31 PM »

This i frankly find stupid. I am currently reading a book written by a Greek Orthodox Priest, it's a wonderful book. However, in it, someone asks about why services are done in Greek (with some English) instead of in English. He replies essentially that the service is most beautiful and spiritual in Greek, and that the tradition of the Church has been to keep the Liturgy in Greek since that is the Liturgical language of the Church...

As as said, that attitude is very frankly, quite stupid. The tradition of the Church has consistently been to translate it's services into the language of the people. Back in the day, the Roman Empire spoke Greek, and that was the common language (much like English today) and so it made sense that the Liturgy was in Greek throughout much of the Roman Empire. Yet to somehow insinuate that Greek is the "Liturgical Language" of the Church is extremely false, unhistorical and frankly, a very Western (and even very Islamic) attitude.

I don't know if this article is correct or not, but if it is correct that Modern Greek has been banned, then that is a bad sign. We aren't Old Roman Catholics (who insisted on the use of Latin because of it's "holiness") and we aren't Muslims (who refuse to translate the Qur'an because any other language is less holy & less correct)...

Same goes for Old Church Slavonic, if the people don't speak it, then what is the point? We might as well translate the Liturgy into Shakespearean English and have all services done in this fashion because it's more beautiful than our modern English...

The point of the service is not to merely be "beautiful" and to provide aesthetics. The point of the service is the edification of the attendees. edification is not as possible if the people have no clue what is being said and what they are actually praying.
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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2010, 05:16:15 PM »

This i frankly find stupid. I am currently reading a book written by a Greek Orthodox Priest, it's a wonderful book. However, in it, someone asks about why services are done in Greek (with some English) instead of in English. He replies essentially that the service is most beautiful and spiritual in Greek, and that the tradition of the Church has been to keep the Liturgy in Greek since that is the Liturgical language of the Church...

As as said, that attitude is very frankly, quite stupid. The tradition of the Church has consistently been to translate it's services into the language of the people. Back in the day, the Roman Empire spoke Greek, and that was the common language (much like English today) and so it made sense that the Liturgy was in Greek throughout much of the Roman Empire. Yet to somehow insinuate that Greek is the "Liturgical Language" of the Church is extremely false, unhistorical and frankly, a very Western (and even very Islamic) attitude.

I don't know if this article is correct or not, but if it is correct that Modern Greek has been banned, then that is a bad sign. We aren't Old Roman Catholics (who insisted on the use of Latin because of it's "holiness") and we aren't Muslims (who refuse to translate the Qur'an because any other language is less holy & less correct)...

Same goes for Old Church Slavonic, if the people don't speak it, then what is the point? We might as well translate the Liturgy into Shakespearean English and have all services done in this fashion because it's more beautiful than our modern English...

The point of the service is not to merely be "beautiful" and to provide aesthetics. The point of the service is the edification of the attendees. edification is not as possible if the people have no clue what is being said and what they are actually praying.

I'm all for using the original language of the Church, but then I already speak Aramaic Tongue.....m'shiiHaa qaam!
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« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2010, 05:42:35 PM »

As as said, that attitude is very frankly, quite stupid. The tradition of the Church has consistently been to translate it's services into the language of the people.

The tradition of not allowing translations is almost as old. The evolution of Church Slavonic in the early second millennium is a case in point: the Slavonic languages had greatly diverged from the texts Ss. Cyril and Methodius produced, but instead of updating the texts to reflect the new vernacular, the Slavic churches made some superficial updates to Old Church Slavonic and came up with an artificial language that no one spoke, all for the sake of "(small t) tradition" and "(ethnic) unity".

A few hundred years ago the Russian Orthodox Church made admirable efforts to translate the gospel in the languages of its subjects. St Stephan of Perm brought Christianity to the Komi people and translated the gospels into their language. The Alaskan missionaries did the same for the Inuit. Yet it has been centuries now since the Komi liturgical texts were banned, and Mari and Chuvash villagers are turning to Lutheranism because local Orthodox priests regularly mock their languages.

On the other hand, I can understand to some degree suspicion of Bible translations. The current pressure for Bible translations is overwhelmingly from Protestant organizations who want people to read the Scriptures and then question the Church. It's no surprise that the kneejerk reaction is to resist translation entirely.
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« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2010, 06:17:42 PM »

I think we're missing the point on this, y'all.  We're arguing about the decision to forbid the translation of the Liturgy to modern Greek and missing the real objection that this translation, as necessary and good as it may have been, was undertaken unilaterally and didn't have the approval of the whole synod.  It appears that the synod of the Orthodox Church in Greece wants the work of translating the Liturgy to be carried out for the whole of the Church of Greece according to the approval of the synod and not by just one bishop in his own diocese.  Now we can certainly question this resistance to such decision-making by one individual ruling bishop for his own local church, but I think it more accurate to argue over this than over the issue of liturgical translation in and of itself.
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« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2010, 01:36:30 AM »

Look at the Roman Church!
Are they doing better now that Latin was don away with almost completely?
Keep the Koine where it is now, and whoever wants to learn or understand more will have plenty of other means to do so.
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« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2010, 01:47:55 AM »

Look at the Roman Church!
Are they doing better now that Latin was don away with almost completely?
Keep the Koine where it is now, and whoever wants to learn or understand more will have plenty of other means to do so.
I don't think the Roman Catholics should be a model no matter what they do (whether it's pre or post reforms). The Roman Catholic Church is a heretical group and they have been since they split from our Church. They originally held to just having services in Latin, and this proved to be horrible to the faith of the people, in fact, it proved to be oppressive and detrimental to their faith, it was for the better that their Church finally got rid of it. If people don't understand the Liturgy, then it has no purpose other than for performance sake, and once it becomes just a performance, then it's importance is no greater than any concert or even any contemporary western worship service..

I would argue that it is blatant heresy to say that the Liturgy is performance and for simply beauty sake... That was even the argument of non-Orthodox like Isabel Hapgood, and unfortunately, some non-learned Orthodox took to these heretical ideas and completely misunderstood the entire point of the Divine Liturgy.
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« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2010, 02:49:41 AM »

If I'm not mistaken, the Serbians already celebrate liturgy mostly in Serbian with Church Slavonic only in fewer parts, why couldn't the Greeks do the same? I understand that the decision was wrong in that the synod wasn't consulted (am I understanding this correctly?), but why is there a stigma to translating Old Greek Text to Modern?
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« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2010, 03:02:09 AM »

How do you answer these questions?  Did Bishop Meletio of Nicopolis have the authority to translate the Liturgy to Modern Greek for his diocese, or does this decision fall solely under the purview of the entire synod of the Greek Orthodox Church?  Where does the reach of the synod's authority end and the authority of the local bishop begin?  Does the synod's interest in having one liturgical language for all of Greece--be that ancient liturgical Greek or modern Greek, the distinction is irrelevant--override Bishop Meletio's interest in having Liturgies celebrated in his own diocese in the language of the people?
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« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2010, 03:29:23 AM »

Quote
they originally held to just having services in Latin, and this proved to be horrible to the faith of the people, in fact, it proved to be oppressive and detrimental to their faith, it was for the better that their Church finally got rid of it.
Really?
I don't believe that.
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« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2010, 03:38:46 AM »

claiming that it puts ''the Church's unity'' at risk.

Son of a gun! Better if fanatics leave Church.
It's a very sad news  Sad
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« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2010, 03:40:37 AM »

claiming that it puts ''the Church's unity'' at risk.

Son of a gun! Better if fanatics leave Church.
It's a very sad news  Sad
What's that sad?
Does your own Church allow liturgies in the vernacular?
Not that I know of.
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« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2010, 03:44:19 AM »

Does your own Church allow liturgies in the vernacular?

Unfortunately no. And I hate this position. Only Catholics and Protestants serve in Russian language and that's why we loose people who don't understand the language of anceint Bulgarians (Church Slavonic).
Even priests don't understand it!!!
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« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2010, 08:21:07 AM »

Does your own Church allow liturgies in the vernacular?

Unfortunately no. And I hate this position. Only Catholics and Protestants serve in Russian language and that's why we loose people who don't understand the language of anceint Bulgarians (Church Slavonic).
Even priests don't understand it!!!

I agree with you. You can see the fruits of that with the proliferation of Ukrainian Baptist communities, not only in Ukraine, but within emigre communities here. Even though both the UOC and UGCC churches in the States have been using vernacular, English and Ukrainian, these people were already lost when they got here.
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« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2010, 08:33:04 AM »

Does your own Church allow liturgies in the vernacular?

Unfortunately no. And I hate this position. Only Catholics and Protestants serve in Russian language and that's why we loose people who don't understand the language of anceint Bulgarians (Church Slavonic).
Even priests don't understand it!!!

Church Slavonic is certainly not the language of ancient Bulgarians. There are opponents of using Church Slavonic in Bulgaria who say that it was invented in Russia.
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« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2010, 08:53:49 AM »

never mind.
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« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2010, 09:18:56 AM »

How do you answer these questions?  Did Bishop Meletio of Nicopolis have the authority to translate the Liturgy to Modern Greek for his diocese, or does this decision fall solely under the purview of the entire synod of the Greek Orthodox Church?  Where does the reach of the synod's authority end and the authority of the local bishop begin?  Does the synod's interest in having one liturgical language for all of Greece--be that ancient liturgical Greek or modern Greek, the distinction is irrelevant--override Bishop Meletio's interest in having Liturgies celebrated in his own diocese in the language of the people?

Certainly the transition to the spoken language is within the purview of the Synod. One of the agenda items in the States for the EA will no doubt be an effort to standardize our multiplicity of English translations that have developed over the past seventy five years.
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« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2010, 09:33:26 AM »

As as said, that attitude is very frankly, quite stupid. The tradition of the Church has consistently been to translate it's services into the language of the people.

The tradition of not allowing translations is almost as old. The evolution of Church Slavonic in the early second millennium is a case in point: the Slavonic languages had greatly diverged from the texts Ss. Cyril and Methodius produced, but instead of updating the texts to reflect the new vernacular, the Slavic churches made some superficial updates to Old Church Slavonic and came up with an artificial language that no one spoke, all for the sake of "(small t) tradition" and "(ethnic) unity".

Quite true. Except one could say it is just as old, perhaps even older. For at least the first 200 years (and then slowly decreasing over the next 100 or so), the church of Rome celebrated its services in Greek, despite the fact that few common folk understood it. Educated people did, of course. But, as the church expanded through social outreach, especially during plagues and because of the consistent rescue of exposed babies, there was an increasing number of illiterate members.

Several years ago, I tried running the numbers. I can't remember the exact outcome, but there's no doubt that the numerical majority of Orthodox Christians who ever lived worshiped in a language they did not speak in daily life. And, if you measure by centuries, that's been true for the majority (i.e. at least 51%) of centuries in the majority of Orthodox lands.
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« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2010, 09:54:13 AM »

To me, not to express the beauty of the Liturgy in a language the faithful really understand is akin to holding the doors open for Evangelical missionaries to raid the fields.

I agree completely.
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« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2010, 09:57:21 AM »

Church Slavonic is certainly not the language of ancient Bulgarians. There are opponents of using Church Slavonic in Bulgaria who say that it was invented in Russia.

LOL Cheesy
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« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2010, 10:03:28 AM »

the UOC and UGCC

 Huh I don't understand it
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« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2010, 10:04:37 AM »

As as said, that attitude is very frankly, quite stupid. The tradition of the Church has consistently been to translate it's services into the language of the people.

The tradition of not allowing translations is almost as old. The evolution of Church Slavonic in the early second millennium is a case in point: the Slavonic languages had greatly diverged from the texts Ss. Cyril and Methodius produced, but instead of updating the texts to reflect the new vernacular, the Slavic churches made some superficial updates to Old Church Slavonic and came up with an artificial language that no one spoke, all for the sake of "(small t) tradition" and "(ethnic) unity".

Quite true.

Actually, not true at all.

The problem with trying to reconstruct Old Slavonic is that the scribes did update the texts with their vernacular.  The authorative grammar of Old Slavonic, Lunt discusses this:
http://books.google.com/books?id=7BXJgfIo_fYC&pg=PA5&dq=Lunt+Slavonic+scribes&cd=1#v=onepage&q=%22day%22&f=false
That is how the Russian, Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Moravian, Romanian (yes, Romanian), Serbian, Croatian, Bulgarian and Macedonians recensions of Church Slavonic came about (something Lunt also touches on).

Quote
Except one could say it is just as old, perhaps even older. For at least the first 200 years (and then slowly decreasing over the next 100 or so), the church of Rome celebrated its services in Greek, despite the fact that few common folk understood it.

At the time (as shown by graffitti, remarks by the educated classes, etc.) Greek was the first language of much, if not most, of the population of Rome due to the influx of slaves, immigrants from Magna Graecia, etc. and the outflux of the Latin Roman citizens to govern and colonize the empire.  Classical Latin was restricted to the citizens (now a ruling minority) in the city: it was an artificial standard (like BBC English) that even the native stock of the lower classes had trouble with. From the available evidence, it seems the early bishops of Rome were all (except St. Peter) Greek speaking (I think GOARCH published a book on the "Greek Popes").  Things changed only in the time of Pope Victor I, who started the switch to Latin.  But then, he came from North Africa, where Greek, as we know from graffitti, comments of the educated, etc. was a rareity.


Quote
Educated people did, of course. But, as the church expanded through social outreach, especially during plagues and because of the consistent rescue of exposed babies, there was an increasing number of illiterate members.

Most of whom were Greek speaking. In particular the Christians (and Jews, btw).

Quote
Several years ago, I tried running the numbers. I can't remember the exact outcome, but there's no doubt that the numerical majority of Orthodox Christians who ever lived worshiped in a language they did not speak in daily life.

Are you talking the basilolect, the "high" form of the language, or a different, ecclesiastical language altogether?

Quote
And, if you measure by centuries, that's been true for the majority (i.e. at least 51%) of centuries in the majority of Orthodox lands.
So the Holy Spirit wasted His time on Pentacost.
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« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2010, 10:06:31 AM »

Does your own Church allow liturgies in the vernacular?

Unfortunately no. And I hate this position. Only Catholics and Protestants serve in Russian language and that's why we loose people who don't understand the language of anceint Bulgarians (Church Slavonic).
Even priests don't understand it!!!

Church Slavonic is certainly not the language of ancient Bulgarians. There are opponents of using Church Slavonic in Bulgaria who say that it was invented in Russia.
Some truth to that: the other Slavonic Churches adopted the Russian recension as modified in Kiev, and dropped their own.
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« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2010, 10:07:52 AM »

the UOC and UGCC

 Huh I don't understand it

In the United States, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC). I am sorry for using the shorthand as I forget from time to time that many of us are not from the United States.
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« Reply #27 on: April 17, 2010, 10:08:43 AM »

claiming that it puts ''the Church's unity'' at risk.

Son of a gun! Better if fanatics leave Church.
It's a very sad news  Sad
What's that sad?
Does your own Church allow liturgies in the vernacular?
Not that I know of.
Hristos a inviate!

Augustin, your own Church does. At least for Romanians.
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« Reply #28 on: April 17, 2010, 10:11:03 AM »

This post has been deemed irrelevant to the thread discussion and its content is hereby deleted as per forum policy. http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,26522.0.html 

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« Reply #29 on: April 17, 2010, 10:17:18 AM »

I think we're missing the point on this, y'all.  We're arguing about the decision to forbid the translation of the Liturgy to modern Greek and missing the real objection that this translation, as necessary and good as it may have been, was undertaken unilaterally and didn't have the approval of the whole synod.  It appears that the synod of the Orthodox Church in Greece wants the work of translating the Liturgy to be carried out for the whole of the Church of Greece according to the approval of the synod and not by just one bishop in his own diocese.  Now we can certainly question this resistance to such decision-making by one individual ruling bishop for his own local church, but I think it more accurate to argue over this than over the issue of liturgical translation in and of itself.
This is part of a larger issue of the "Language Question" in Greece.  I am not sure that the reference to "unity' just means CoG, but also the rest of the branches of the Greek Church (C'ple, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Cyprus). Back when the standard language was archaic, that was one thing, but not that that has been abandoned for nearly 40 years, it is quite another. Even in the school in Jerusalem, they teach the Arabs modern Greek, which doesn't mean they can understand the services.  This is somewhat an existential question for the Greeks to decide, but it seems the Holy Synod has either a) made its decision, but not admitting that, or b) ignoring the question, which means it will errupt later.
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« Reply #30 on: April 17, 2010, 10:35:20 AM »

The problem with trying to reconstruct Old Slavonic is that the scribes did update the texts with their vernacular.  The authorative grammar of Old Slavonic, Lunt discusses this:
http://books.google.com/books?id=7BXJgfIo_fYC&pg=PA5&dq=Lunt+Slavonic+scribes&cd=1#v=onepage&q=%22day%22&f=false
That is how the Russian, Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Moravian, Romanian (yes, Romanian), Serbian, Croatian, Bulgarian and Macedonians recensions of Church Slavonic came about (something Lunt also touches on).

Academic linguistics and common speech are two different things, I would say. In the case of Romanians, for example, they were complaining they didn't understand the "Romanian" Church Slavonic.

At the time (as shown by graffitti, remarks by the educated classes, etc.) Greek was the first language of much, if not most, of the population of Rome due to the influx of slaves, immigrants from Magna Graecia, etc. and the outflux of the Latin Roman citizens to govern and colonize the empire.  Classical Latin was restricted to the citizens (now a ruling minority) in the city: it was an artificial standard (like BBC English) that even the native stock of the lower classes had trouble with.

Yes, Latin was an upper class thing and Greek was much more common, but, especially among slaves who constituted such a large part of the church, it was not necessarily spoken well. In this period, the Romans stole a LOT of their slaves from the barbarian areas of Asia, especially among the Phrygians, but also from among the other barbarian groups that spoke their own languages. More importantly, there's evidence that there were several generations in which the use of Greek vs. vernacular was indeed disputed. Can't find the article now, but it was in the Journal of Early Christian Studies a few years ago.

Aside from any of that -- as you indicated lower in your post -- there is the issue of basilolect. Some Phrygian who probably had a 1,000 word Greek vocabulary, enough to know when his master wanted him to empty chamber pots, dig up the rotting fish that was buried in the yard to make sure it was extra tasty, or scribble same common phrases in the catacombs like "My daughter, rest in peace," didn't understand the subjunctive purpose clause or the genitive absolute used in the Anaphora during the Liturgy, much less the sermon that employed the best in rhetorical tropes and figures.

From the available evidence, it seems the early bishops of Rome were all (except St. Peter) Greek speaking (I think GOARCH published a book on the "Greek Popes").  Things changed only in the time of Pope Victor I, who started the switch to Latin.  But then, he came from North Africa, where Greek, as we know from graffitti, comments of the educated, etc. was a rareity.

Yes. It's quite clear the church leadership spoke and wrote educated Greek in worship, correspondence, theological discourse, etc.

Quote
Several years ago, I tried running the numbers. I can't remember the exact outcome, but there's no doubt that the numerical majority of Orthodox Christians who ever lived worshiped in a language they did not speak in daily life.

Are you talking the basilolect, the "high" form of the language, or a different, ecclesiastical language altogether?

For the purposes of comprehension, there isn't much of a difference. However, I don't think it's ever become a different language altogether, either in the case of Greek or the various Church Slavonics -- all that is required is a little study and attention -- but it ain't what people use over the dinner table, especially because most of the faithful throughout the ages have had about a fourth grade education at best.
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« Reply #31 on: April 17, 2010, 11:01:47 AM »

I am no linguist but I would invite our Ukrainian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Bulgarian, Polish etc... readers to respond to your claim regarding Church Slavonic, " However, I don't think it's ever become a different language altogether, either in the case of Greek or the various Church Slavonics -- all that is required is a little study and attention -- but it ain't what people use over the dinner table, especially because most of the faithful throughout the ages have had about a fourth grade education at best." While there are words and phrases that may be similar in modern language and verse to Old Slavonic, I recall being told as I grew up that Old Slavonic is as similar to modern spoken languages as, for example, modern Italian or Spanish are to old Latin. If I am incorrect, I am willing to stand corrected.

Frankly, as to the Slavs, I have few, if any friends or family who regularly or even, irregularly converse in Slovak or Rusyn or Ukrainian or whatever language their ancestors spoke, around the home here in America. My parents could speak the old language, but as I grew up they did it infrequently and by the end of their long lives hardly at all. English is our tongue now in the United States.
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« Reply #32 on: April 17, 2010, 11:07:42 AM »

This i frankly find stupid. I am currently reading a book written by a Greek Orthodox Priest, it's a wonderful book. However, in it, someone asks about why services are done in Greek (with some English) instead of in English. He replies essentially that the service is most beautiful and spiritual in Greek, and that the tradition of the Church has been to keep the Liturgy in Greek since that is the Liturgical language of the Church...

As as said, that attitude is very frankly, quite stupid. The tradition of the Church has consistently been to translate it's services into the language of the people. Back in the day, the Roman Empire spoke Greek, and that was the common language (much like English today) and so it made sense that the Liturgy was in Greek throughout much of the Roman Empire. Yet to somehow insinuate that Greek is the "Liturgical Language" of the Church is extremely false, unhistorical and frankly, a very Western (and even very Islamic) attitude.

I don't know if this article is correct or not, but if it is correct that Modern Greek has been banned, then that is a bad sign. We aren't Old Roman Catholics (who insisted on the use of Latin because of it's "holiness") and we aren't Muslims (who refuse to translate the Qur'an because any other language is less holy & less correct)...

Same goes for Old Church Slavonic, if the people don't speak it, then what is the point? We might as well translate the Liturgy into Shakespearean English and have all services done in this fashion because it's more beautiful than our modern English...

The point of the service is not to merely be "beautiful" and to provide aesthetics. The point of the service is the edification of the attendees. edification is not as possible if the people have no clue what is being said and what they are actually praying.

I'm all for using the original language of the Church, but then I already speak Aramaic Tongue.....m'shiiHaa qaam!

Exactly! I don't get all this recent talk about ethnocentrism, nationalism, and "getting back to our ancestral christian roots" when in fact Jesus and the Apostles were all Aramaic speaking JEWS! If a requirement to become Orthodox is also to adopt a foreign language and foreign culture, due to some "historical lineage of tradition" argument, then shouldn't we all become Jews and learn Aramaic?

It's funny that the E.P. (and others like the M.P. to differing degrees) speak of "mother cultures" or the "universality" of a quite specific culture and worldview, but ironically these arguments always seem to stop short of the actual culture and language that Jesus lived and breathed. Which to me seems the logical regression to get to, if indeed we're going to talk about a cultures and languages in terms of "sacredness" or holiness.

For the record I'm not anti Greek, I'm learning the language, I can chant in it, etc. And I think there are good reasons to use Greek for specific hymns, for historical continuity, etc etc. But when it comes down to issues of theology, I cannot think of any sound reason to forbid the use of ANY modern language in favor of a language only the highly educated can truly comprehend. Not to mention such an idea does give credence to the idea that religious hierarchies are mainly about power and keeping us little folks out of the loop. Smiley (even if that's not true, it's hard to argue it's not the case when Churches begin forbidding the use of living spoken languages)

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« Reply #33 on: April 17, 2010, 11:31:36 AM »

In reference to the above post:
Do you really see all these calls for reform coming from "little people"?
Not really. They come from above, as well. Perhaps they are just populist.
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« Reply #34 on: April 17, 2010, 11:51:27 AM »

m'shiiHaa qaam!

As I remember it's "Christ is risen"?

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« Reply #35 on: April 17, 2010, 02:10:47 PM »

But when it comes down to issues of theology, I cannot think of any sound reason to forbid the use of ANY modern language in favor of a language only the highly educated can truly comprehend.

Agree.

It does, though, touch upon one of my big pet peeves in the GOA: this multi-translation business.  We've got a handful of Liturgy books. 2-3 Holy Week books.  Each one uses a different translation of everything - it's a hodge-podge.  Some, irritatingly enough, don't even translate things completely in a very obvious way (like the work of one translator where in English the petition prays for ".. and the American Nation" but in Greek it prays for "... and the Hellenic and American Nations").  We allow individuals to translate to their own preferences, despite their not actually being all that qualified to produce a translation, and then permit it to continue as a business venture. 

We should get 20 of our best minds working on 1 translation - of the services, menaia, etc.  (6-7 people with thorough knowledge of Liturgical and N.T. Greek {not just "I took some classes," but more like "I'm qualified to teach at a Graduate Level in a prestigious university}, 6-7 with thorough knowledge of the English language, and 6-7 Liturgists).  Until we do, it will always seem (on the large-scale) like we're not taking this very seriously.
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« Reply #36 on: April 17, 2010, 02:18:59 PM »

But when it comes down to issues of theology, I cannot think of any sound reason to forbid the use of ANY modern language in favor of a language only the highly educated can truly comprehend.

Agree.

It does, though, touch upon one of my big pet peeves in the GOA: this multi-translation business.  We've got a handful of Liturgy books. 2-3 Holy Week books.  Each one uses a different translation of everything - it's a hodge-podge.  Some, irritatingly enough, don't even translate things completely in a very obvious way (like the work of one translator where in English the petition prays for ".. and the American Nation" but in Greek it prays for "... and the Hellenic and American Nations").  We allow individuals to translate to their own preferences, despite their not actually being all that qualified to produce a translation, and then permit it to continue as a business venture. 

We should get 20 of our best minds working on 1 translation - of the services, menaia, etc.  (6-7 people with thorough knowledge of Liturgical and N.T. Greek {not just "I took some classes," but more like "I'm qualified to teach at a Graduate Level in a prestigious university}, 6-7 with thorough knowledge of the English language, and 6-7 Liturgists).  Until we do, it will always seem (on the large-scale) like we're not taking this very seriously.

Perhaps this is an issue that our Bishops will begin to address in the EA?
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« Reply #37 on: April 17, 2010, 02:45:02 PM »

How do you answer these questions?  Did Bishop Meletio of Nicopolis have the authority to translate the Liturgy to Modern Greek for his diocese, or does this decision fall solely under the purview of the entire synod of the Greek Orthodox Church?  Where does the reach of the synod's authority end and the authority of the local bishop begin?  Does the synod's interest in having one liturgical language for all of Greece--be that ancient liturgical Greek or modern Greek, the distinction is irrelevant--override Bishop Meletio's interest in having Liturgies celebrated in his own diocese in the language of the people?

Certainly the transition to the spoken language is within the purview of the Synod.
Meaning that an individual bishop has not the authority to translate the Liturgy to the spoken language for the benefit of his own diocese?
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« Reply #38 on: April 17, 2010, 02:55:37 PM »

I think we're missing the point on this, y'all.  We're arguing about the decision to forbid the translation of the Liturgy to modern Greek and missing the real objection that this translation, as necessary and good as it may have been, was undertaken unilaterally and didn't have the approval of the whole synod.  It appears that the synod of the Orthodox Church in Greece wants the work of translating the Liturgy to be carried out for the whole of the Church of Greece according to the approval of the synod and not by just one bishop in his own diocese.  Now we can certainly question this resistance to such decision-making by one individual ruling bishop for his own local church, but I think it more accurate to argue over this than over the issue of liturgical translation in and of itself.
This is part of a larger issue of the "Language Question" in Greece.  I am not sure that the reference to "unity' just means CoG, but also the rest of the branches of the Greek Church (C'ple, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Cyprus). Back when the standard language was archaic, that was one thing, but not that that has been abandoned for nearly 40 years, it is quite another. Even in the school in Jerusalem, they teach the Arabs modern Greek, which doesn't mean they can understand the services.  This is somewhat an existential question for the Greeks to decide, but it seems the Holy Synod has either a) made its decision, but not admitting that, or b) ignoring the question, which means it will errupt later.
What decision?  That the Liturgy in Greece is not to be translated to Modern Greek, or that Bishop Meletio rebelled against the authority of the synod by unilaterally conducting the work of translation for his own diocese?  AISI, translation is not the real issue here.  The real issue is the boundary between synodal authority and the right of the local bishop to rule his own diocese.  (Kinda like the issue at the root of the American Civil War:  state rights vs. the authority of the federal government.)
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« Reply #39 on: April 17, 2010, 03:09:41 PM »

How do you answer these questions?  Did Bishop Meletio of Nicopolis have the authority to translate the Liturgy to Modern Greek for his diocese, or does this decision fall solely under the purview of the entire synod of the Greek Orthodox Church?  Where does the reach of the synod's authority end and the authority of the local bishop begin?  Does the synod's interest in having one liturgical language for all of Greece--be that ancient liturgical Greek or modern Greek, the distinction is irrelevant--override Bishop Meletio's interest in having Liturgies celebrated in his own diocese in the language of the people?

Certainly the transition to the spoken language is within the purview of the Synod.
Meaning that an individual bishop has not the authority to translate the Liturgy to the spoken language for the benefit of his own diocese?

 I don't know the answer. But - I think it goes to the heart of what autocephaly means, particularly as we begin  the EA's and the road to a self ruling American Church. Is the Greek problem any different than say if post EA determining a new canonical order, an ethnic Serbian bishop in say, a Diocese of Des Moines directs that only Church Slavonic be used in his Diocese and an Albanian bishop in a Diocese of Los Cruces directs -no, no, no --- only Albanian. What purpose does the Synod then serve and is that really any different than the question coming from Greece. I don't know. Perhaps a seminary graduate or an academi could enlighten us.
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« Reply #40 on: April 17, 2010, 05:43:32 PM »

I agree Fr. George.   This exists in every jurisdiction.   The "old" translation never disappears.   Thus you have at least 2-3 translations within each jurisdiction.   Liturgists are rarely employed in such translations.   There is no reason to be saying 12 different versions of the Creed, and we even see two different versions of the Lord's prayer (if you include the translation of the OCA diocese of the south).   Which is it: is it "our all-holy immaculate and most-blessed Lady Theotokos" or is it "our most holy most pure...etc."   Furthermore, we have "Theotokos" vs. "Birthgiver of God" vs. "Mother of God" in various translations, and as I recall "God-bearer" in another translation.   We all, furthermore, have "cuts" in which our special services leave out substantial material peculiar to the feast but retain repetitious material that was said in the 3 services preceding.     

But when it comes down to issues of theology, I cannot think of any sound reason to forbid the use of ANY modern language in favor of a language only the highly educated can truly comprehend.

Agree.

It does, though, touch upon one of my big pet peeves in the GOA: this multi-translation business.  We've got a handful of Liturgy books. 2-3 Holy Week books.  Each one uses a different translation of everything - it's a hodge-podge.  Some, irritatingly enough, don't even translate things completely in a very obvious way (like the work of one translator where in English the petition prays for ".. and the American Nation" but in Greek it prays for "... and the Hellenic and American Nations").  We allow individuals to translate to their own preferences, despite their not actually being all that qualified to produce a translation, and then permit it to continue as a business venture. 

We should get 20 of our best minds working on 1 translation - of the services, menaia, etc.  (6-7 people with thorough knowledge of Liturgical and N.T. Greek {not just "I took some classes," but more like "I'm qualified to teach at a Graduate Level in a prestigious university}, 6-7 with thorough knowledge of the English language, and 6-7 Liturgists).  Until we do, it will always seem (on the large-scale) like we're not taking this very seriously.
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« Reply #41 on: April 17, 2010, 05:46:00 PM »

I agree Fr. George.   This exists in every jurisdiction.   The "old" translation never disappears.   Thus you have at least 2-3 translations within each jurisdiction.   Liturgists are rarely employed in such translations.   There is no reason to be saying 12 different versions of the Creed, and we even see two different versions of the Lord's prayer (if you include the translation of the OCA diocese of the south).   Which is it: is it "our all-holy immaculate and most-blessed Lady Theotokos" or is it "our most holy most pure...etc."   Furthermore, we have "Theotokos" vs. "Birthgiver of God" vs. "Mother of God" in various translations, and as I recall "God-bearer" in another translation.   We all, furthermore, have "cuts" in which our special services leave out substantial material peculiar to the feast but retain repetitious material that was said in the 3 services preceding.     

But when it comes down to issues of theology, I cannot think of any sound reason to forbid the use of ANY modern language in favor of a language only the highly educated can truly comprehend.

Agree.

It does, though, touch upon one of my big pet peeves in the GOA: this multi-translation business.  We've got a handful of Liturgy books. 2-3 Holy Week books.  Each one uses a different translation of everything - it's a hodge-podge.  Some, irritatingly enough, don't even translate things completely in a very obvious way (like the work of one translator where in English the petition prays for ".. and the American Nation" but in Greek it prays for "... and the Hellenic and American Nations").  We allow individuals to translate to their own preferences, despite their not actually being all that qualified to produce a translation, and then permit it to continue as a business venture. 

We should get 20 of our best minds working on 1 translation - of the services, menaia, etc.  (6-7 people with thorough knowledge of Liturgical and N.T. Greek {not just "I took some classes," but more like "I'm qualified to teach at a Graduate Level in a prestigious university}, 6-7 with thorough knowledge of the English language, and 6-7 Liturgists).  Until we do, it will always seem (on the large-scale) like we're not taking this very seriously.

Unfortunately part of the problem is trying to force the English to fit the chant patterns that one uses. I hate to bring it up, but the problems our Byzantine Catholic friends have faced in the past few years with attempts to force fit language into traditional Rusyn chant make me tremble a bit at the thought of our having to go through a similar process.
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« Reply #42 on: April 17, 2010, 05:55:04 PM »

Actually, not true at all. The problem with trying to reconstruct Old Slavonic is that the scribes did update the texts with their vernacular.  The authorative grammar of Old Slavonic, Lunt discusses this:
http://books.google.com/books?id=7BXJgfIo_fYC&pg=PA5&dq=Lunt+Slavonic+scribes&cd=1#v=onepage&q=%22day%22&f=false
That is how the Russian, Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Moravian, Romanian (yes, Romanian), Serbian, Croatian, Bulgarian and Macedonians recensions of Church Slavonic came about (something Lunt also touches on).

The variants of Old Church Slavonic that show similarities to local vernaculars are due to scribes unintentionally altering the texts of Cyril and Methodius in the process of copying. There was never a conscious effort to provide liturgical texts in the vernacular. The Church Slavonic that eventually arose out of the copying tradition is, in spite of some superficial changes, a representation of Old Macedonian and Old Bulgarian (the treatment of VRC groups, demonstrative pronouns, certain lexical items and so forth) even when used in Russian churches. Church Slavonic is completely artificial, and its evolution is a perfect example of how the Church, even centuries back, was very afraid of creating authentically local expressions of liturgical texts.
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« Reply #43 on: April 17, 2010, 05:59:39 PM »

Actually, not true at all. The problem with trying to reconstruct Old Slavonic is that the scribes did update the texts with their vernacular.  The authorative grammar of Old Slavonic, Lunt discusses this:
http://books.google.com/books?id=7BXJgfIo_fYC&pg=PA5&dq=Lunt+Slavonic+scribes&cd=1#v=onepage&q=%22day%22&f=false
That is how the Russian, Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Moravian, Romanian (yes, Romanian), Serbian, Croatian, Bulgarian and Macedonians recensions of Church Slavonic came about (something Lunt also touches on).

The variants of Old Church Slavonic that show similarities to local vernaculars are due to scribes unintentionally altering the texts of Cyril and Methodius in the process of copying. There was never a conscious effort to provide liturgical texts in the vernacular. The Church Slavonic that eventually arose out of the copying tradition is, in spite of some superficial changes, a representation of Old Macedonian and Old Bulgarian (the treatment of VRC groups, demonstrative pronouns, certain lexical items and so forth) even when used in Russian churches. Church Slavonic is completely artificial, and its evolution is a perfect example of how the Church, even centuries back, was very afraid of creating authentically local expressions of liturgical texts.

So this is a defense against using a modern liturgical language today?
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« Reply #44 on: April 17, 2010, 06:02:38 PM »

I agree Fr. George.   This exists in every jurisdiction.   The "old" translation never disappears.   Thus you have at least 2-3 translations within each jurisdiction.   Liturgists are rarely employed in such translations.   There is no reason to be saying 12 different versions of the Creed, and we even see two different versions of the Lord's prayer (if you include the translation of the OCA diocese of the south).   Which is it: is it "our all-holy immaculate and most-blessed Lady Theotokos" or is it "our most holy most pure...etc."   Furthermore, we have "Theotokos" vs. "Birthgiver of God" vs. "Mother of God" in various translations, and as I recall "God-bearer" in another translation.   We all, furthermore, have "cuts" in which our special services leave out substantial material peculiar to the feast but retain repetitious material that was said in the 3 services preceding.     

But when it comes down to issues of theology, I cannot think of any sound reason to forbid the use of ANY modern language in favor of a language only the highly educated can truly comprehend.

Agree.

It does, though, touch upon one of my big pet peeves in the GOA: this multi-translation business.  We've got a handful of Liturgy books. 2-3 Holy Week books.  Each one uses a different translation of everything - it's a hodge-podge.  Some, irritatingly enough, don't even translate things completely in a very obvious way (like the work of one translator where in English the petition prays for ".. and the American Nation" but in Greek it prays for "... and the Hellenic and American Nations").  We allow individuals to translate to their own preferences, despite their not actually being all that qualified to produce a translation, and then permit it to continue as a business venture. 

We should get 20 of our best minds working on 1 translation - of the services, menaia, etc.  (6-7 people with thorough knowledge of Liturgical and N.T. Greek {not just "I took some classes," but more like "I'm qualified to teach at a Graduate Level in a prestigious university}, 6-7 with thorough knowledge of the English language, and 6-7 Liturgists).  Until we do, it will always seem (on the large-scale) like we're not taking this very seriously.

Unfortunately part of the problem is trying to force the English to fit the chant patterns that one uses. I hate to bring it up, but the problems our Byzantine Catholic friends have faced in the past few years with attempts to force fit language into traditional Rusyn chant make me tremble a bit at the thought of our having to go through a similar process.

But that is why we have so many liturgical chant traditions.   Lesser and greater Znammeny, Kievan, Serbian, Romanian, Georgian, Obikhod.   The chant was revised to fit the language.  But as the Bulgarians have shown, this is not even necessary.   Slavonic was able to be put beautifully to even Byzantine chant.   We have terrible English translations that are not even accurate.  Nonetheless, we have many English translations that have been put perfectly to other chant traditions, most of which were done either by the OCA or by the Antiochians.   Too bad the rest of us don't use some of these instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.
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« Reply #45 on: April 17, 2010, 06:12:42 PM »

I agree Fr. George.   This exists in every jurisdiction.   The "old" translation never disappears.   Thus you have at least 2-3 translations within each jurisdiction.   Liturgists are rarely employed in such translations.   There is no reason to be saying 12 different versions of the Creed, and we even see two different versions of the Lord's prayer (if you include the translation of the OCA diocese of the south).   Which is it: is it "our all-holy immaculate and most-blessed Lady Theotokos" or is it "our most holy most pure...etc."   Furthermore, we have "Theotokos" vs. "Birthgiver of God" vs. "Mother of God" in various translations, and as I recall "God-bearer" in another translation.   We all, furthermore, have "cuts" in which our special services leave out substantial material peculiar to the feast but retain repetitious material that was said in the 3 services preceding.     

But when it comes down to issues of theology, I cannot think of any sound reason to forbid the use of ANY modern language in favor of a language only the highly educated can truly comprehend.

Agree.

It does, though, touch upon one of my big pet peeves in the GOA: this multi-translation business.  We've got a handful of Liturgy books. 2-3 Holy Week books.  Each one uses a different translation of everything - it's a hodge-podge.  Some, irritatingly enough, don't even translate things completely in a very obvious way (like the work of one translator where in English the petition prays for ".. and the American Nation" but in Greek it prays for "... and the Hellenic and American Nations").  We allow individuals to translate to their own preferences, despite their not actually being all that qualified to produce a translation, and then permit it to continue as a business venture. 

We should get 20 of our best minds working on 1 translation - of the services, menaia, etc.  (6-7 people with thorough knowledge of Liturgical and N.T. Greek {not just "I took some classes," but more like "I'm qualified to teach at a Graduate Level in a prestigious university}, 6-7 with thorough knowledge of the English language, and 6-7 Liturgists).  Until we do, it will always seem (on the large-scale) like we're not taking this very seriously.

Unfortunately part of the problem is trying to force the English to fit the chant patterns that one uses. I hate to bring it up, but the problems our Byzantine Catholic friends have faced in the past few years with attempts to force fit language into traditional Rusyn chant make me tremble a bit at the thought of our having to go through a similar process.

But that is why we have so many liturgical chant traditions.   Lesser and greater Znammeny, Kievan, Serbian, Romanian, Georgian, Obikhod.   The chant was revised to fit the language.  But as the Bulgarians have shown, this is not even necessary.   Slavonic was able to be put beautifully to even Byzantine chant.   We have terrible English translations that are not even accurate.  Nonetheless, we have many English translations that have been put perfectly to other chant traditions, most of which were done either by the OCA or by the Antiochians.   Too bad the rest of us don't use some of these instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.

I know, I was trained by my father in Slavonic with the Rusyn 'prostopinije'/plain chant. To this day at the Paschal Matins, I will include singing both Svitisja, svitisja and Anhel vopijasce (The Angel Cried and Shine, Shine...) in both English and Slavonic. The Paschal Canon flows much easier in Slavonic, but I am probably the last person in my parish to be able to sing it so what is the point? Even though I am a supporter of English, I do get nostalgic from time to time.
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« Reply #46 on: April 17, 2010, 06:21:26 PM »

So this is a defense against using a modern liturgical language today?

I don't think he means it as such. It's more of a historical correction, just for the sake of honesty or accuracy. There are some modern publications that make broad generalizations like "The Orthodox Church has always translated everything into the vernacular..." and, once you scratch the surface beyond a Conciliar Press tract, it just ain't so.

Now, what that means for the present age is another matter. What it tells me is that some of the things we take for granted as THE most important thing -- or THE sign of spiritual vitality -- aren't necessarily so; and that the way we measure Orthodoxy today (have your read the Ascetical Homilies of St. Issac the Syrian?) say a lot more about us than about Orthodoxy. My wife's godmother's father never "understood" the Liturgy, never read a sentence of the Holy Fathers in his life, and couldn't tell you the significance of "homoousion" in the Creed, but when the Communists came to his village and asked him where the priest was hiding, he wouldn't tell them, so they hanged him in front of his kids. That's been Orthodoxy for most of its history.
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« Reply #47 on: April 17, 2010, 06:43:42 PM »

So this is a defense against using a modern liturgical language today?

I don't think he means it as such. It's more of a historical correction, just for the sake of honesty or accuracy. There are some modern publications that make broad generalizations like "The Orthodox Church has always translated everything into the vernacular..." and, once you scratch the surface beyond a Conciliar Press tract, it just ain't so.

Now, what that means for the present age is another matter. What it tells me is that some of the things we take for granted as THE most important thing -- or THE sign of spiritual vitality -- aren't necessarily so; and that the way we measure Orthodoxy today (have your read the Ascetical Homilies of St. Issac the Syrian?) say a lot more about us than about Orthodoxy. My wife's godmother's father never "understood" the Liturgy, never read a sentence of the Holy Fathers in his life, and couldn't tell you the significance of "homoousion" in the Creed, but when the Communists came to his village and asked him where the priest was hiding, he wouldn't tell them, so they hanged him in front of his kids. That's been Orthodoxy for most of its history.

Surely that is so, whether Orthodoxy came through the old world uninterrupted, or was detoured for a few centuries by the Unia prior to the return to Orthodoxy by many in America. Many of the Austro-Hungarian emigres didn't at first use terminology in America to describe their church in terms of being Orthodox or Greek Catholic, but in their own language they knew it as 'our church' and when  Rome tried to change it, they voted with their feet  if necessary, one way or the other!
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« Reply #48 on: April 17, 2010, 06:59:43 PM »

I think this translation issue is an interesting question. I happen to go to a Greek parish where most of the people there spak better Greek than English. I, on the other hand, barely understand any Greek. However, I can read and understand Koine, making me the only--the ONLY--layperson in the parish who can follow the Liturgy.

The dilemma is, Greek is the language of the New Testament as well as the theology of the Ecumenical Councils. So I am really for retaining the use of the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and other parts of the services that everyone understands anyway in Greek because of the nuances of theological meaning. But I do not understand why people insist on doing the parts that people do not understand (esp the Readings) in ancient Greek. I believe that we should strongly encourage and provide the means for learning scriptural and liturgical languages like Koine, Aramaic and Hebrew, but why, why, why do people refuse to understand anything? Perhaps it's just because they don't know what they're missing....
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« Reply #49 on: April 17, 2010, 07:03:18 PM »

I think this translation issue is an interesting question. I happen to go to a Greek parish where most of the people there spak better Greek than English. I, on the other hand, barely understand any Greek. However, I can read and understand Koine, making me the only--the ONLY--layperson in the parish who can follow the Liturgy.

The dilemma is, Greek is the language of the New Testament as well as the theology of the Ecumenical Councils. So I am really for retaining the use of the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and other parts of the services that everyone understands anyway in Greek because of the nuances of theological meaning. But I do not understand why people insist on doing the parts that people do not understand (esp the Readings) in ancient Greek. I believe that we should strongly encourage and provide the means for learning scriptural and liturgical languages like Koine, Aramaic and Hebrew, but why, why, why do people refuse to understand anything? Perhaps it's just because they don't know what they're missing....

I have no problem with parishes of Greek heritage retaining the use of Greek for parts of the Liturgy if that is what they want to do, but I hope that you are not suggesting that it become normative for all of the parishes which are not of Greek heritage. I understand that you appreciate and understand the nuances of the Koine, but I hope that others aren't for preserving its usage for nostalgic reasons alone.
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« Reply #50 on: April 17, 2010, 07:27:35 PM »

I think this translation issue is an interesting question. I happen to go to a Greek parish where most of the people there spak better Greek than English. I, on the other hand, barely understand any Greek. However, I can read and understand Koine, making me the only--the ONLY--layperson in the parish who can follow the Liturgy.

The dilemma is, Greek is the language of the New Testament as well as the theology of the Ecumenical Councils. So I am really for retaining the use of the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and other parts of the services that everyone understands anyway in Greek because of the nuances of theological meaning. But I do not understand why people insist on doing the parts that people do not understand (esp the Readings) in ancient Greek. I believe that we should strongly encourage and provide the means for learning scriptural and liturgical languages like Koine, Aramaic and Hebrew, but why, why, why do people refuse to understand anything? Perhaps it's just because they don't know what they're missing....

I have no problem with parishes of Greek heritage retaining the use of Greek for parts of the Liturgy if that is what they want to do, but I hope that you are not suggesting that it become normative for all of the parishes which are not of Greek heritage. I understand that you appreciate and understand the nuances of the Koine, but I hope that others aren't for preserving its usage for nostalgic reasons alone.

I'm certainly not suggesting anything for non-Greek parishes, nor am I in favor of mostly-English liturgies at my own particular parish, since so many people here do not understand English well. I suppose that I am simply trying to point out the dilemma of Greek churches--both in America and in Greece--that are faced with the choice of either understanding the Liturgy or abandoning the language that most of Christian doctrine was built on. I understand that for parishes of a Slavonic background, it may be a different issue. The reasons for Greeks to continue using liturgical Greek are, in my opinion, a little different from the reasons for Russian/Eastern European parishes to continue using Slavonic, or for Antiochian parishes to continue using Arabic. Everyone's situation is a little different.

Nostalgia is exactly the problem, at least where I am. I think it is healthy to retain some use of the ancient languages, but when it becomes a disservice to the people, that is crossing the line. In short, I am all for the use of the vernacular, but I am not in favor of the total abolition of the ancient languages either.
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« Reply #51 on: April 17, 2010, 07:48:00 PM »

I think this translation issue is an interesting question. I happen to go to a Greek parish where most of the people there spak better Greek than English. I, on the other hand, barely understand any Greek. However, I can read and understand Koine, making me the only--the ONLY--layperson in the parish who can follow the Liturgy.

The dilemma is, Greek is the language of the New Testament as well as the theology of the Ecumenical Councils. So I am really for retaining the use of the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and other parts of the services that everyone understands anyway in Greek because of the nuances of theological meaning. But I do not understand why people insist on doing the parts that people do not understand (esp the Readings) in ancient Greek. I believe that we should strongly encourage and provide the means for learning scriptural and liturgical languages like Koine, Aramaic and Hebrew, but why, why, why do people refuse to understand anything? Perhaps it's just because they don't know what they're missing....

I have no problem with parishes of Greek heritage retaining the use of Greek for parts of the Liturgy if that is what they want to do, but I hope that you are not suggesting that it become normative for all of the parishes which are not of Greek heritage. I understand that you appreciate and understand the nuances of the Koine, but I hope that others aren't for preserving its usage for nostalgic reasons alone.

I'm certainly not suggesting anything for non-Greek parishes, nor am I in favor of mostly-English liturgies at my own particular parish, since so many people here do not understand English well. I suppose that I am simply trying to point out the dilemma of Greek churches--both in America and in Greece--that are faced with the choice of either understanding the Liturgy or abandoning the language that most of Christian doctrine was built on. I understand that for parishes of a Slavonic background, it may be a different issue. The reasons for Greeks to continue using liturgical Greek are, in my opinion, a little different from the reasons for Russian/Eastern European parishes to continue using Slavonic, or for Antiochian parishes to continue using Arabic. Everyone's situation is a little different.

Nostalgia is exactly the problem, at least where I am. I think it is healthy to retain some use of the ancient languages, but when it becomes a disservice to the people, that is crossing the line. In short, I am all for the use of the vernacular, but I am not in favor of the total abolition of the ancient languages either.

I would say that you and I are in basic agreement then on this subject.
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« Reply #52 on: April 17, 2010, 10:55:55 PM »

It is a delicate balance.  Even with English there is an ongoing battle between "modern English" and "traditional English" as we see in various liturgical translations.   People "get used to" one translation or the other, which poses a problem with new translations, which do not replace, but simply are piled onto a list of various options different from the church down the street.       
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« Reply #53 on: April 18, 2010, 12:01:35 AM »

It is a delicate balance.  Even with English there is an ongoing battle between "modern English" and "traditional English" as we see in various liturgical translations.   People "get used to" one translation or the other, which poses a problem with new translations, which do not replace, but simply are piled onto a list of various options different from the church down the street.       

I still cannot recite the Creed in English at my parish because everyone is reciting a different translation from how I know it, and the translation people recite is different from the translation in the pew cards, which is different from the translation in the Liturgy book. I just stick to the Greek, but no one else quite understands the Greek. Hence the pressing need for an authoritative translation.
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« Reply #54 on: April 18, 2010, 12:37:46 AM »

I think that the GOC is just trying to preserve the purity of their faith amongst Greek speaking peoples by insisting on using the language which has, for all times been the vehicle for expressing and promoting that faith.  The Koine Greek is an "upper class" type of Greek, but it isn't unintelligible to modern Greek speakers.  The use of English versus an old world liturgical language in churches that we often times face in America really isn't comparable to what the GOC is trying to promote.

Also, while it may be true that various Christians sectarians might play on the issue of archaic language in liturgical worship to make converts, this alone probably isn't the only reason why Orthodox people choose leave the Church and go over to their side.  Just look at the large numbers of people that the RCC have lost to sectarians in recent years, and they have used the vernacular in their liturgy since the mid 60's.

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« Reply #55 on: April 18, 2010, 12:50:33 AM »

The translation of the creed by +Soterios of Toronto, and the Holy Cross translation, both read, "of one essence with the Father",  yet my ears perked up one Sunday when the translation the parish recited was "consubstantial with the Father." While not wrong ("substance = essence"), it was interesting they were working from a translation from the Latin (!)

Kind of reminds me of the plethora of versions of Psalm 50 that are out there. The Antiochian Little Red Book is the KJV, Holy Cross prayer book (English) appears to use the RSV, my beloved Catholic Douay bible reads "in sins [pl.] did my mother conceive me", which Holy Transfiguration follows as well as the OSB ("in sins my mother bore me"). Meanwhile, I've just come across the recently published Slavic Orthodox Psalter, which is yet another LXX translation for the stack.

Regarding the Novus Ordo Missae and Vatican II, my view is that there is nothing wrong with providing a liturgy in the vernacular. It's all the other things that went along with it that were problematic (new mass text with "dynamic" translations, mass facing people, folk music etc..). Had they left the Tridentine Mass alone and rendered it in a sacral and formal-equivalent vernacular, and stayed true to the Latin chant tradition and the traditional hymns (perhaps borrowing a few from the Anglicans), there would have been far fewer problems. Do not forget that the Dalmatians of Croatia were celebrating the Liturgy of St. Peter in Church Slavonic for centuries. Even the Latin-rite wasn't Latin only.
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« Reply #56 on: April 18, 2010, 01:50:57 AM »

Fortunately, in order to sympathise with the wishes of the Synod, there is no need for me to wrap my head around all the arguments or comment on whether the reasons the Church of Greece gives for its decision have any merit.  Since I understand the basilect used by my church, it is easy to compare it with spoken Arabic.  I cannot imagine "khudu kulu, haada huw'wi jismi/jasadi l'li byin'kisir minshaankun lamaghfirtil-khataaya" replacing (and being even chanted in a proper tone) "khuthu kulu, haatha huwa jasadi al'lathi yuksaru min ajlikum limaghfiratil khataaya".  Out of the bloody question, unless one hasn't the most basic sense of hearing to realise how awful the former sounds.
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« Reply #57 on: April 18, 2010, 03:05:34 AM »

The translation of the creed by +Soterios of Toronto, and the Holy Cross translation, both read, "of one essence with the Father",  yet my ears perked up one Sunday when the translation the parish recited was "consubstantial with the Father." While not wrong ("substance = essence"), it was interesting they were working from a translation from the Latin (!)

Kind of reminds me of the plethora of versions of Psalm 50 that are out there. The Antiochian Little Red Book is the KJV, Holy Cross prayer book (English) appears to use the RSV, my beloved Catholic Douay bible reads "in sins [pl.] did my mother conceive me", which Holy Transfiguration follows as well as the OSB ("in sins my mother bore me"). Meanwhile, I've just come across the recently published Slavic Orthodox Psalter, which is yet another LXX translation for the stack.

Regarding the Novus Ordo Missae and Vatican II, my view is that there is nothing wrong with providing a liturgy in the vernacular. It's all the other things that went along with it that were problematic (new mass text with "dynamic" translations, mass facing people, folk music etc..). Had they left the Tridentine Mass alone and rendered it in a sacral and formal-equivalent vernacular, and stayed true to the Latin chant tradition and the traditional hymns (perhaps borrowing a few from the Anglicans), there would have been far fewer problems. Do not forget that the Dalmatians of Croatia were celebrating the Liturgy of St. Peter in Church Slavonic for centuries. Even the Latin-rite wasn't Latin only.


VII demonstrated the problem of long overdue changes opening the floodgates, because they were overdue, to all sorts of unnecessary changes. As Tocqueville said, corrupt regimes are never so vulnerable to fall as when they try to reform themselves. For similiar reasons, although mandated clerical celibacy has got to go, now cannot be the time. I was glad to see on CAF that the Traditionalists would rather see a Tridentine Mass in the vernacular than a Novus Ordo in Latin.
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« Reply #58 on: April 18, 2010, 03:07:52 AM »

almasiiHu qaam!
Fortunately, in order to sympathise with the wishes of the Synod, there is no need for me to wrap my head around all the arguments or comment on whether the reasons the Church of Greece gives for its decision have any merit.  Since I understand the basilect used by my church, it is easy to compare it with spoken Arabic.  I cannot imagine "khudu kulu, haada huw'wi jismi/jasadi l'li byin'kisir minshaankun lamaghfirtil-khataaya" replacing (and being even chanted in a proper tone) "khuthu kulu, haatha huwa jasadi al'lathi yuksaru min ajlikum limaghfiratil khataaya".  Out of the bloody question, unless one hasn't the most basic sense of hearing to realise how awful the former sounds.
Then then, we wouldn't abandon al-fuSHaa for colloquial in our formal needs now, would we?
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« Reply #59 on: April 18, 2010, 04:04:11 AM »

almasiiHu qaam!
Fortunately, in order to sympathise with the wishes of the Synod, there is no need for me to wrap my head around all the arguments or comment on whether the reasons the Church of Greece gives for its decision have any merit.  Since I understand the basilect used by my church, it is easy to compare it with spoken Arabic.  I cannot imagine "khudu kulu, haada huw'wi jismi/jasadi l'li byin'kisir minshaankun lamaghfirtil-khataaya" replacing (and being even chanted in a proper tone) "khuthu kulu, haatha huwa jasadi al'lathi yuksaru min ajlikum limaghfiratil khataaya".  Out of the bloody question, unless one hasn't the most basic sense of hearing to realise how awful the former sounds.
Then then, we wouldn't abandon al-fuSHaa for colloquial in our formal needs now, would we?
Is that apparent attempt at a passive-aggressive response supposed to mean anything? Huh
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« Reply #60 on: April 18, 2010, 07:00:25 AM »

Fortunately, in order to sympathise with the wishes of the Synod, there is no need for me to wrap my head around all the arguments or comment on whether the reasons the Church of Greece gives for its decision have any merit.  Since I understand the basilect used by my church, it is easy to compare it with spoken Arabic.  I cannot imagine "khudu kulu, haada huw'wi jismi/jasadi l'li byin'kisir minshaankun lamaghfirtil-khataaya" replacing (and being even chanted in a proper tone) "khuthu kulu, haatha huwa jasadi al'lathi yuksaru min ajlikum limaghfiratil khataaya".  Out of the bloody question, unless one hasn't the most basic sense of hearing to realise how awful the former sounds.

Many people feel that way, so translation is always a difficult pastoral challenge. Nowadays, the vast majority of Orthodox churches in the world do not use the vernacular, but the people in them have grown up hearing and chanting hymns which they love. Since those hymns never change, some people have come to understand the ecclesiastical language, while others have memorized the hymns by rote, and, even if they don't understand everything, they still have years of prayerful memories built upon them, so they don't like things to change.

Since I can chant anything in English in the proper tones, I do 50% English. Usually, that's fine, especially at a service like Vespers or Orthros, where a good chunk is variable and the people don't necessarily have the whole thing memorized. But during the Akathist to the Theotokos, for example, I did 50% English and many in attendance asked: "Why did you do so much in English? Everyone here knows it in Greek." I doubt everyone "understands" it in Greek, but that's still how they "know" it.
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« Reply #61 on: April 18, 2010, 02:32:02 PM »

almasiiHu qaam!
Then then, we wouldn't abandon al-fuSHaa for colloquial in our formal needs now, would we?

Haq'qan qaam.

Laa twaakhizni ya khooy, ma`leish t`edli n'nu'Ta mar'ra taanyeh: ma fhimt `aleik mleeH.  Shoo b'tu'Sud b'formal needs'?  There are of course registers within `aam'miy'yeh, and 'posh' vernacular sometimes substitutes for FuS'Ha in certain high-profile situations, but even that remains sounding awkward within a liturgical environment.  Sorry if I'm not able to follow what you mean to say.
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« Reply #62 on: April 18, 2010, 05:33:34 PM »

almasiiHu qaam!
Then then, we wouldn't abandon al-fuSHaa for colloquial in our formal needs now, would we?

Haq'qan qaam.

Laa twaakhizni ya khooy, ma`leish t`edli n'nu'Ta mar'ra taanyeh: ma fhimt `aleik mleeH.  Shoo b'tu'Sud b'formal needs'?  There are of course registers within `aam'miy'yeh, and 'posh' vernacular sometimes substitutes for FuS'Ha in certain high-profile situations, but even that remains sounding awkward within a liturgical environment.  Sorry if I'm not able to follow what you mean to say.

almasiiHu qaam!

LOL.  khooy.  LOL. Syrians.

There are different registers, as there once was in Greek.  Since the Church hiearchy brought the Church into disrepute by embracing the Junta, as the Junta brought Kathareuousa and by extension these upper registers into disrepute enforcing them with a vengence, I am that the Church is further undermining the links between it and the Greek people, as the Greeks no longer speak in such registers. There are fading more and more into the past, and it seems that the hiearchy wants to fall back with them.  This is the opposite to Arabic, where the colloquials are bending to fuSHa.
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« Reply #63 on: April 18, 2010, 06:58:50 PM »

There are different registers, as there once was in Greek.  Since the Church hiearchy brought the Church into disrepute by embracing the Junta, as the Junta brought Kathareuousa and by extension these upper registers into disrepute enforcing them with a vengence, I am that the Church is further undermining the links between it and the Greek people, as the Greeks no longer speak in such registers.

Can you clarify the term, registers, in the above context?  Thanks.   Smiley
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« Reply #64 on: April 18, 2010, 07:20:30 PM »

But that is why we have so many liturgical chant traditions.   Lesser and greater Znammeny, Kievan, Serbian, Romanian, Georgian, Obikhod.   The chant was revised to fit the language.  But as the Bulgarians have shown, this is not even necessary.   Slavonic was able to be put beautifully to even Byzantine chant.   We have terrible English translations that are not even accurate.  Nonetheless, we have many English translations that have been put perfectly to other chant traditions, most of which were done either by the OCA or by the Antiochians.   Too bad the rest of us don't use some of these instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.

Amen!

I get so frustrated with my choir director who refuses to change things into English claiming we'd have to "re-write" the music. I think to myself, "The OCA and Antiochians seem to have functioned just fine without having to re-write the music!"

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if there have there been any attempts to write an "American" Liturgy? I mean, I would assume that as long as the music was acappella and conformed with the theology of the Church, there is no reason why the Liturgy should have to be in either a Slavonic or Byzantine style.

*braces herself and prepares to be called a heretic for such a suggestion*
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« Reply #65 on: April 18, 2010, 07:30:05 PM »

But that is why we have so many liturgical chant traditions.   Lesser and greater Znammeny, Kievan, Serbian, Romanian, Georgian, Obikhod.   The chant was revised to fit the language.  But as the Bulgarians have shown, this is not even necessary.   Slavonic was able to be put beautifully to even Byzantine chant.   We have terrible English translations that are not even accurate.  Nonetheless, we have many English translations that have been put perfectly to other chant traditions, most of which were done either by the OCA or by the Antiochians.   Too bad the rest of us don't use some of these instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.

Amen!

I get so frustrated with my choir director who refuses to change things into English claiming we'd have to "re-write" the music. I think to myself, "The OCA and Antiochians seem to have functioned just fine without having to re-write the music!"

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if there have there been any attempts to write an "American" Liturgy? I mean, I would assume that as long as the music was acappella and conformed with the theology of the Church, there is no reason why the Liturgy should have to be in either a Slavonic or Byzantine style.

*braces herself and prepares to be called a heretic for such a suggestion*

How dare you suggest such a thing! Go join Vatican II, you heretic!!! police >:O

No, just kidding. What exactly do you mean? What is the difference between your suggestion and simply doing the Liturgy in English?
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« Reply #66 on: April 18, 2010, 07:34:31 PM »

I get so frustrated with my choir director who refuses to change things into English claiming we'd have to "re-write" the music. I think to myself, "The OCA and Antiochians seem to have functioned just fine without having to re-write the music!"

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if there have there been any attempts to write an "American" Liturgy? I mean, I would assume that as long as the music was acappella and conformed with the theology of the Church, there is no reason why the Liturgy should have to be in either a Slavonic or Byzantine style.

*braces herself and prepares to be called a heretic for such a suggestion*

Why change it?  It's not broken, don't fix it.  I balk at any suggestion that because we are Americans we have to have "our own" style when it comes to anything.  Besides, if you look historically at what happened in places such as Russia or Serbia or Bulgaria, their own liturgical style developed organically over centuries.  What you are suggesting seems to boil down to a bunch of scholars, musicians and priests sitting in a room generating ideas for a new liturgy that best reflects American sympathies.   That is not organic; it is artificial and will really rob us of our heritage.  I, for one, have no problem whatsoever with being an American in an old-world church.

Having said that, I have to agree with the choir director.  Byzantine chant is for the Greek and Arabic languages; it doesn't really work well with English.  The Kazan project has some good and accessible pieces but the English itself is of such archaic quality that chanting it really doesn't work.  I favor chanting of MORE Greek and Arabic during the services.  Unfortunately, I am in a very small minority.
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« Reply #67 on: April 18, 2010, 07:47:18 PM »

It is a delicate balance.  Even with English there is an ongoing battle between "modern English" and "traditional English" as we see in various liturgical translations.   People "get used to" one translation or the other, which poses a problem with new translations, which do not replace, but simply are piled onto a list of various options different from the church down the street.       

I still cannot recite the Creed in English at my parish because everyone is reciting a different translation from how I know it, and the translation people recite is different from the translation in the pew cards, which is different from the translation in the Liturgy book. I just stick to the Greek, but no one else quite understands the Greek. Hence the pressing need for an authoritative translation.

A very good example.   There are so many parishes where what is said is different from the pew books, in part because the choir's translation in the music is different.   But with something so basic as the creed, there really is no excuse for the ridiculous amounts of translations flying about. 
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« Reply #68 on: April 18, 2010, 07:48:29 PM »

There are different registers, as there once was in Greek.  Since the Church hiearchy brought the Church into disrepute by embracing the Junta, as the Junta brought Kathareuousa and by extension these upper registers into disrepute enforcing them with a vengence, I am that the Church is further undermining the links between it and the Greek people, as the Greeks no longer speak in such registers.

Can you clarify the term, registers, in the above context?  Thanks.   Smiley

A set of features that mark a form of the language as a higher (according to the standardized norms) or lower (usually closer to what is usually spoken in normal convesation). In English, for instance, the use of "thou," "ye," the use of the ending of "-th" for verbs for the 3rd singular, the use of preposition compounds like "thereo,f" "wherefor," "therin," etc. which mark that language as Elizabethan, the language used for religious texts up until recently.  In Greek, like English, the "higher" archaic form has been officialy abandoned as the standard language.
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« Reply #69 on: April 18, 2010, 07:51:07 PM »

I get so frustrated with my choir director who refuses to change things into English claiming we'd have to "re-write" the music. I think to myself, "The OCA and Antiochians seem to have functioned just fine without having to re-write the music!"

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if there have there been any attempts to write an "American" Liturgy? I mean, I would assume that as long as the music was acappella and conformed with the theology of the Church, there is no reason why the Liturgy should have to be in either a Slavonic or Byzantine style.

*braces herself and prepares to be called a heretic for such a suggestion*

Why change it?  It's not broken, don't fix it.  I balk at any suggestion that because we are Americans we have to have "our own" style when it comes to anything.  Besides, if you look historically at what happened in places such as Russia or Serbia or Bulgaria, their own liturgical style developed organically over centuries.  What you are suggesting seems to boil down to a bunch of scholars, musicians and priests sitting in a room generating ideas for a new liturgy that best reflects American sympathies.   That is not organic; it is artificial and will really rob us of our heritage.  I, for one, have no problem whatsoever with being an American in an old-world church.

Having said that, I have to agree with the choir director.  Byzantine chant is for the Greek and Arabic languages; it doesn't really work well with English.  The Kazan project has some good and accessible pieces but the English itself is of such archaic quality that chanting it really doesn't work.  I favor chanting of MORE Greek and Arabic during the services.  Unfortunately, I am in a very small minority.
Byzantine chant seems also very much adaptable to the Romance languages as well. At least I perceive it that way.
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« Reply #70 on: April 18, 2010, 07:56:27 PM »

I get so frustrated with my choir director who refuses to change things into English claiming we'd have to "re-write" the music. I think to myself, "The OCA and Antiochians seem to have functioned just fine without having to re-write the music!"

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if there have there been any attempts to write an "American" Liturgy? I mean, I would assume that as long as the music was acappella and conformed with the theology of the Church, there is no reason why the Liturgy should have to be in either a Slavonic or Byzantine style.

*braces herself and prepares to be called a heretic for such a suggestion*

Why change it?  It's not broken, don't fix it.  I balk at any suggestion that because we are Americans we have to have "our own" style when it comes to anything.  Besides, if you look historically at what happened in places such as Russia or Serbia or Bulgaria, their own liturgical style developed organically over centuries.  What you are suggesting seems to boil down to a bunch of scholars, musicians and priests sitting in a room generating ideas for a new liturgy that best reflects American sympathies.   That is not organic; it is artificial and will really rob us of our heritage.  I, for one, have no problem whatsoever with being an American in an old-world church.

Having said that, I have to agree with the choir director.  Byzantine chant is for the Greek and Arabic languages; it doesn't really work well with English.  The Kazan project has some good and accessible pieces but the English itself is of such archaic quality that chanting it really doesn't work.  I favor chanting of MORE Greek and Arabic during the services.  Unfortunately, I am in a very small minority.
Byzantine chant seems also very much adaptable to the Romance languages as well. At least I perceive it that way.
same prosodic features.  Arabic doesn't fit in as well.
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« Reply #71 on: April 18, 2010, 08:00:40 PM »

Why change it?  It's not broken, don't fix it.  I balk at any suggestion that because we are Americans we have to have "our own" style when it comes to anything.  Besides, if you look historically at what happened in places such as Russia or Serbia or Bulgaria, their own liturgical style developed organically over centuries.  What you are suggesting seems to boil down to a bunch of scholars, musicians and priests sitting in a room generating ideas for a new liturgy that best reflects American sympathies.   That is not organic; it is artificial and will really rob us of our heritage.  I, for one, have no problem whatsoever with being an American in an old-world church.

Having said that, I have to agree with the choir director.  Byzantine chant is for the Greek and Arabic languages; it doesn't really work well with English.  The Kazan project has some good and accessible pieces but the English itself is of such archaic quality that chanting it really doesn't work.  I favor chanting of MORE Greek and Arabic during the services.  Unfortunately, I am in a very small minority.
Your "very small minority" is an exclusive one into which I'm not likely to find my way  Smiley. Other than that, you've made some really good points. Being in a small Antiochian parish, Byzantine chant works best. We simply don't have the numbers to use the polyphonic Slavic tones effectively. So the few of us who are available have been trying our best to do it as close to properly as we can. Unfortunately, our priest has no background whatsoever in Byzantine chant and often "suggests" arrangements that he has created that even with the little I know, do not fit the general pattern. His idea is that if it is close, and sounds good to him, it's what we will use. He and I have clashed occasionally; I know I need to defer to him, but at the same time, I'm really trying to use our differences as a learning opportunity for both of us. I'm learning to pick my battles. Kazan is our default and we're generally comfortable with that. Once in a while, we'll change a bit of wording to reflect a more natural English style.

I know I (and no one else in my parish) will never be able to reproduce the microtones of Greek and Middle Eastern chanters. That simply isn't going to happen. So accommodations have to be made. This is where I agree with you that change will occur organically. Some things will just happen in their own time; eventually new patterns and "rules" will emerge and there will be a North American style of chant alongside Byzantine and Slavic. Some melodic patterns will have to change to be sure that the words in English will be the message.

There certainly is enough "McDonald's culture" in me to want the change to happen today, but you are so very right about letting the process take its own course without forcing it along.
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« Reply #72 on: April 18, 2010, 08:01:20 PM »

I get so frustrated with my choir director who refuses to change things into English claiming we'd have to "re-write" the music. I think to myself, "The OCA and Antiochians seem to have functioned just fine without having to re-write the music!"

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if there have there been any attempts to write an "American" Liturgy? I mean, I would assume that as long as the music was acappella and conformed with the theology of the Church, there is no reason why the Liturgy should have to be in either a Slavonic or Byzantine style.

*braces herself and prepares to be called a heretic for such a suggestion*

Why change it?  It's not broken, don't fix it.  I balk at any suggestion that because we are Americans we have to have "our own" style when it comes to anything.  Besides, if you look historically at what happened in places such as Russia or Serbia or Bulgaria, their own liturgical style developed organically over centuries.  What you are suggesting seems to boil down to a bunch of scholars, musicians and priests sitting in a room generating ideas for a new liturgy that best reflects American sympathies.   That is not organic; it is artificial and will really rob us of our heritage.  I, for one, have no problem whatsoever with being an American in an old-world church.

Having said that, I have to agree with the choir director.  Byzantine chant is for the Greek and Arabic languages; it doesn't really work well with English.  The Kazan project has some good and accessible pieces but the English itself is of such archaic quality that chanting it really doesn't work.  I favor chanting of MORE Greek and Arabic during the services.  Unfortunately, I am in a very small minority.
Byzantine chant seems also very much adaptable to the Romance languages as well. At least I perceive it that way.
same prosodic features.  Arabic doesn't fit in as well.

English is tricky for Byz chant. St. Anthony's Monastery in Arizona is doing a huge translation project of the liturgical misic into English. It's not perfect, but it's the best I've seen by a long, long shot.
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« Reply #73 on: April 18, 2010, 08:15:38 PM »

How dare you suggest such a thing! Go join Vatican II, you heretic!!! police >:O

No, just kidding. What exactly do you mean? What is the difference between your suggestion and simply doing the Liturgy in English?

What I would like to see happen in my parish (where the Liturgy is currently sung 20% Ukrainian, 80% English) is for the entire thing to be sung in English. Our current choir director (who has been directing for 6 years at our parish) has been introducing more and more Ukrainian hymns lately, and I see that as moving backwards, rather than forwards. (We have fewer and fewer people in our parish who even understand Ukrainian. Why continue to use it? Even the old folks are asking for more English.)

In regards to the second part of my post, the OCA and Antiochian successfully took Slavonic and Antiochian chant and just translated the lyrics from Church Slavonic and Arabic to English. This was an important and needed first step.

What I am asking is has any American composers written an Orthodox Liturgy implementing American-style music? (Acapella of course.)

I am not saying that we should replace all existing music with "American music." I'm just asking if any has been written.

I mean, would it be un-canonical to write the Thrice Holy Hymn in an acapella Gospel/Spiritual style? (I'm just tossing ideas around. Not suggesting a revolution.)

Why change it?  It's not broken, don't fix it.  I balk at any suggestion that because we are Americans we have to have "our own" style when it comes to anything.  Besides, if you look historically at what happened in places such as Russia or Serbia or Bulgaria, their own liturgical style developed organically over centuries.  What you are suggesting seems to boil down to a bunch of scholars, musicians and priests sitting in a room generating ideas for a new liturgy that best reflects American sympathies.   That is not organic; it is artificial and will really rob us of our heritage.  I, for one, have no problem whatsoever with being an American in an old-world church.

I am not trying to create a revolution. Yes, it happened organically in the Slavic countries, but in order for it to happen, someone at one point had to sit down and say "Ya know, I'm kind of tired of the Thrice Holy Hymn in this here Greek-Style. I think I'm going to write it in a style that reflects the Russian style of music a little more." Wink

All I am asking is if any American Orthodox composers have taken the same initiative. Nobody is asking anyone to throw out the choir books. Wink

Having said that, I have to agree with the choir director.  Byzantine chant is for the Greek and Arabic languages; it doesn't really work well with English.  The Kazan project has some good and accessible pieces but the English itself is of such archaic quality that chanting it really doesn't work.  I favor chanting of MORE Greek and Arabic during the services.  Unfortunately, I am in a very small minority.
[/quote]

Um, I hate to break it to you, but Ukrainians are not Greek. (I'm used to being called Russian, but never been called Greek! lol) Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

Furthermore, we currently use a large percentage of English in our Liturgy, and the OCA has successfully translated all of the hymns into English. What frustrates me is that he is trying to ADD more Ukrainian hymns under the arguement that the hymns would have to be re-written to accomodate English lyrics. This is not true.

Ukrainians use polyphonic chant. We use Western notation in our music. It would not be difficult to take the Ukrainian words out and replace them with English words.

In Byzantine chant, the length of a note is determined by the length of the word. (Or that's how it was explained to me.) Ukrainian chant is not like that. The length of the note is as long as the composer wants it to be. It has nothing to do with how many syllables are in the word.

So while I see your arguement for English in Byzantine Chant, it really doesn't work the same way with us Slavs.
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« Reply #74 on: April 18, 2010, 08:28:52 PM »

Quote
I am not trying to create a revolution. Yes, it happened organically in the Slavic countries, but in order for it to happen, someone at one point had to sit down and say "Ya know, I'm kind of tired of the Thrice Holy Hymn in this here Greek-Style. I think I'm going to write it in a style that reflects the Russian style of music a little more.
"
Actually no chanting styles were born out of  conscious effort to create something original and nationally representative (these are very modern developments). They were rather born of "unsuccessful/failed", albeit sincere attempts at rendering a style seen as normative within the specific condition of a certain place.
The psaltic modes, influenced by all sorts of folk melodies/modes etc gave birth to all these plethora of local chanting styles: znamenny, prostopinie, poianie, Transylvanian etc.
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« Reply #75 on: April 18, 2010, 08:33:08 PM »

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« Reply #76 on: April 18, 2010, 08:38:17 PM »

Is this some kind of sick joke? You want to replace Byzantine Chant with this semi-erotic devil-worshipping "spiritual" garbage?!?!

While I agree that gospel music isn't appropriate for liturgy, as liturgical chant is all about calm, clarity of the sung text and suppression of the individual's own recitative style, I wouldn't put "spiritual" in quotes like that and deprecate by extension the faith of those Christians. I've heard several American Orthodox priests testify to the sincerity of the worshippers as evidenced in Southern Gospel music and Black Spirituals. They may be heterodox and their traditions are not appropriate for the Orthodox Church, but they aren't all sex-obsessed devil worshippers. Their zeal could be a great boon for Orthodoxy once they are brought to the true Church.

Furthermore, a musical style inappropriate for liturgical use may nonetheless praise Christ outside of church. A great many Romanian and Bulgarian pious songs have Christian texts but melodies going back thousands of years (the colinde that Bartók transcribed are a fine example). Clearly indigenous musical transcriptions may be baptized and praise God, and the folk musics of American southerners should be no different.
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« Reply #77 on: April 18, 2010, 08:43:31 PM »

Quote
I mean, would it be un-canonical to write the Thrice Holy Hymn in an acapella Gospel/Spiritual style?

Is this some kind of sick joke? You want to replace Byzantine Chant with this semi-erotic devil-worshipping "spiritual" garbage?!?! Chant--whether it be Byzantine, Znammeny, Coptic, or Gregorian, is chant. It is not music like "gospel" music is music. It is prayer enlivened with melodic tones. It vanquishes the passions and troubles of the soul, orients one towards the grace of God, drives one into humility and repentence. It is part of Step 19 of the Ladder of Divine Ascent. It is a spiritual discipline like fasting and prayer. It uses pleasing melodies to teach us the doctrines that would otherwise taste bitter to us.

And you want to replace it with what?!?!

*he looses his mind. "Get a grip," he tells himself.*

Are you intentionally trying to be mean and sarcastic or am I just reading your tone wrong?

Please re-read my posts. I am not trying to replace anything! Furthermore, not all of the Orthodox world currently uses your precious Byzantine Chant, nor does all of the Orthodox world find it pleasing to the ear. (Including those within the Greek community. I know plenty of Greeks who can't stand Byzantine chant, and they are pious Orthodox Christians!)

I used Gospel/Spiritual style as an example because it is a truly "American" style of music. I could have chosen to use Gershwin, Copland, or Bernstein as an example, however I couldn't think of any acapella pieces they had written. (Nor are they known to be writers of sacred music.)

What I am asking is "Would it be uncanonical for an American composer to write an acapella piece of choral music that is not in the Slavic or Byzantine style of chant?" Could it be used in Liturgy? Has this been done?

Again, I am not telling anyone to throw out their choir books. I am not suggesting a Revolution. I am not telling anyone to change anything.

Sheesh. There's no need to be mean-spirited about this. It's just a question. If you can't answer me in a polite manner, don't answer me at all.
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« Reply #78 on: April 18, 2010, 08:46:46 PM »

Is this some kind of sick joke? You want to replace Byzantine Chant with this semi-erotic devil-worshipping "spiritual" garbage?!?!

While I agree that gospel music isn't appropriate for liturgy, as liturgical chant is all about calm, clarity of the sung text and suppression of the individual's own recitative style, I wouldn't put "spiritual" in quotes like that and deprecate by extension the faith of those Christians. I've heard several American Orthodox priests testify to the sincerity of the worshippers as evidenced in Southern Gospel music and Black Spirituals. They may be heterodox and their traditions are not appropriate for the Orthodox Church, but they aren't all sex-obsessed devil worshippers. Their zeal could be a great boon for Orthodoxy once they are brought to the true Church.

Furthermore, a musical style inappropriate for liturgical use may nonetheless praise Christ outside of church. A great many Romanian and Bulgarian pious songs have Christian texts but melodies going back thousands of years (the colinde that Bartók transcribed are a fine example). Clearly indigenous musical transcriptions may be baptized and praise God, and the folk musics of American southerners should be no different.

Well, I don't mean that they are sex-obsessed or unspiritual, but that sort of music in the context of the Divine Liturgy would be. Talk about a step backwards. I, a passionate sinner, would never judge those people, but I have no problem judging whose music is or is not appropriate for prayer.
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« Reply #79 on: April 18, 2010, 08:47:44 PM »

What I am asking is "Would it be uncanonical for an American composer to write an acapella piece of choral music that is not in the Slavic or Byzantine style of chant?" Could it be used in Liturgy? Has this been done?

The late 19th century saw Russian composers writing liturgical music in the style of Western classical music. Think about Rachmaninov's Vespers. In the 1970s, the Finnish Orthodox Church commissioned a vigil from the contemporary composer Einojuhani Rautavaara. The resulting controversy across world Orthodoxy in these cases was so large that I cannot imagine a friendly reception to Americans writing music for liturgical use in their own style.
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« Reply #80 on: April 18, 2010, 08:50:57 PM »

Quote
I mean, would it be un-canonical to write the Thrice Holy Hymn in an acapella Gospel/Spiritual style?

Is this some kind of sick joke? You want to replace Byzantine Chant with this semi-erotic devil-worshipping "spiritual" garbage?!?! Chant--whether it be Byzantine, Znammeny, Coptic, or Gregorian, is chant. It is not music like "gospel" music is music. It is prayer enlivened with melodic tones. It vanquishes the passions and troubles of the soul, orients one towards the grace of God, drives one into humility and repentence. It is part of Step 19 of the Ladder of Divine Ascent. It is a spiritual discipline like fasting and prayer. It uses pleasing melodies to teach us the doctrines that would otherwise taste bitter to us.

And you want to replace it with what?!?!

*he looses his mind. "Get a grip," he tells himself.*
Like this?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSvU39fdYyA
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« Reply #81 on: April 18, 2010, 08:53:21 PM »

Quote
I mean, would it be un-canonical to write the Thrice Holy Hymn in an acapella Gospel/Spiritual style?

Is this some kind of sick joke? You want to replace Byzantine Chant with this semi-erotic devil-worshipping "spiritual" garbage?!?! Chant--whether it be Byzantine, Znammeny, Coptic, or Gregorian, is chant. It is not music like "gospel" music is music. It is prayer enlivened with melodic tones. It vanquishes the passions and troubles of the soul, orients one towards the grace of God, drives one into humility and repentence. It is part of Step 19 of the Ladder of Divine Ascent. It is a spiritual discipline like fasting and prayer. It uses pleasing melodies to teach us the doctrines that would otherwise taste bitter to us.

And you want to replace it with what?!?!

*he looses his mind. "Get a grip," he tells himself.*

Are you intentionally trying to be mean and sarcastic or am I just reading your tone wrong?

Please re-read my posts. I am not trying to replace anything! Furthermore, not all of the Orthodox world currently uses your precious Byzantine Chant, nor does all of the Orthodox world find it pleasing to the ear. (Including those within the Greek community. I know plenty of Greeks who can't stand Byzantine chant, and they are pious Orthodox Christians!)

I used Gospel/Spiritual style as an example because it is a truly "American" style of music. I could have chosen to use Gershwin, Copland, or Bernstein as an example, however I couldn't think of any acapella pieces they had written. (Nor are they known to be writers of sacred music.)

What I am asking is "Would it be uncanonical for an American composer to write an acapella piece of choral music that is not in the Slavic or Byzantine style of chant?" Could it be used in Liturgy? Has this been done?

Again, I am not telling anyone to throw out their choir books. I am not suggesting a Revolution. I am not telling anyone to change anything.

Sheesh. There's no need to be mean-spirited about this. It's just a question. If you can't answer me in a polite manner, don't answer me at all.


I am sorry about the tone of my last post. I hate it too when I go out on a limb and get it from all sides from other posters. I would like nothing better, however, than for a hard ad fast line to be drawn between Church music and secular music.

I also do not think Copland or Gershwin would be any more appropriate than gospel or spiritual. It is all secular music.
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« Reply #82 on: April 18, 2010, 08:59:46 PM »

I deleted the post. I lost it, and I apologize. I do not think there is *anything* wrong with this sort of music. I was speaking in hyperbole to make a point. I am only saying that it does not have a place in the Liturgy. I know that sounds harsh, but there is a reason it has been done the way it has been done for centuries.
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« Reply #83 on: April 18, 2010, 09:02:17 PM »

I am sorry about the tone of my last post. I hate it too when I go out on a limb and get it from all sides from other posters. I would like nothing better, however, than for a hard ad fast line to be drawn between Church music and secular music.

I also do not think Copland or Gershwin would be any more appropriate than gospel or spiritual. It is all secular music.

*deep sigh* *face palm*

I am not suggesting Copland or Gershwin is appropriate. Please stop taking me so literally. *bangs head against wall*

What I am suggesting is that an American writes an Orthodox hymn that is appropriate for Church that is not in Slavic or Byzantine style.

I mean, at some point the Slavic style became distinct and separate from Byzantine style. That style at some point in some way had to based on the way that Slavic folk songs were written. (Otherwise, what would be the reference for the Slavic style?) Obviously they were changed and modified for Church, as they should be. Not all American music is full of sex and emotion. Some is quite beautiful and sacred.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9i-X4IJzkNM

(I am not suggesting the above be included in the Divine Liturgy. I am merely showing that there is some beautiful sacred American music.)

Somehow I think the larger point I am trying to make is being lost on the details.


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« Reply #84 on: April 18, 2010, 09:05:26 PM »

I am sorry about the tone of my last post. I hate it too when I go out on a limb and get it from all sides from other posters. I would like nothing better, however, than for a hard ad fast line to be drawn between Church music and secular music.

I also do not think Copland or Gershwin would be any more appropriate than gospel or spiritual. It is all secular music.

*deep sigh* *face palm*

I am not suggesting Copland or Gershwin is appropriate. Please stop taking me so literally. *bangs head against wall*

What I am suggesting is that an American writes an Orthodox hymn that is appropriate for Church that is not in Slavic or Byzantine style.

I mean, at some point the Slavic style became distinct and separate from Byzantine style. That style at some point in some way had to based on the way that Slavic folk songs were written. (Otherwise, what would be the reference for the Slavic style?) Obviously they were changed and modified for Church, as they should be. Not all American music is full of sex and emotion. Some is quite beautiful and sacred.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9i-X4IJzkNM

(I am not suggesting the above be included in the Divine Liturgy. I am merely showing that there is some beautiful sacred American music.)

Somehow I think the larger point I am trying to make is being lost on the details.




Very well, that works fine. I am not a stickler for any particular tradition, Byzantine or otherwise. I am simply concerned about losing the proper ethos that is essential to the proper celebration of the Liturgy. Perhaps we are in agreement.
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« Reply #85 on: April 18, 2010, 09:07:52 PM »

What I am asking is "Would it be uncanonical for an American composer to write an acapella piece of choral music that is not in the Slavic or Byzantine style of chant?" Could it be used in Liturgy? Has this been done?

Yes, it has been done. In the GOA, there are parishes with choirs who sing music in the Divine Liturgy that has been composed by this or that (Greek)-American composer. Some of it is elaborate, multi-part harmony -- even with rounds -- and it has very, very little to do with the Byzantine hymn that it is theoretically based on. Steals the melody here and there.
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« Reply #86 on: April 18, 2010, 09:09:12 PM »

What I am asking is "Would it be uncanonical for an American composer to write an acapella piece of choral music that is not in the Slavic or Byzantine style of chant?" Could it be used in Liturgy? Has this been done?

The late 19th century saw Russian composers writing liturgical music in the style of Western classical music. Think about Rachmaninov's Vespers.
In reality, the majority of Rachmaninoff's Vespers and All-Night Vigil was not his original creation.  He merely arranged melodies that had been in use in the Russian Orthodox Church for many years.  His setting of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chryosostom is actually more of an original composition than the All-Night Vigil.
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« Reply #87 on: April 18, 2010, 09:14:41 PM »

What I am asking is "Would it be uncanonical for an American composer to write an acapella piece of choral music that is not in the Slavic or Byzantine style of chant?" Could it be used in Liturgy? Has this been done?

Yes, it has been done. In the GOA, there are parishes with choirs who sing music in the Divine Liturgy that has been composed by this or that (Greek)-American composer. Some of it is elaborate, multi-part harmony -- even with rounds -- and it has very, very little to do with the Byzantine hymn that it is theoretically based on. Steals the melody here and there.
One parish in my home town is like that.  Virtually everything they sing is in the Byzantine chant, yet they'll sing Tikey Zes's four-part setting of Soma Christou (Receive the Body of Christ) during Communion of their Sunday Paschaltide Liturgies.  Such a beautiful (and appropriate) work of music that I've often visited that church during a Sunday of Paschaltide just to hear their choir sing it.
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« Reply #88 on: April 18, 2010, 09:41:25 PM »

Very well, that works fine. I am not a stickler for any particular tradition, Byzantine or otherwise. I am simply concerned about losing the proper ethos that is essential to the proper celebration of the Liturgy. Perhaps we are in agreement.

Thank you, I'm glad we came to an understanding. Smiley
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« Reply #89 on: April 18, 2010, 10:02:55 PM »

The OCA has arranged polyphonic Kievan and Znammeny chant using Western notation for many years in English. We in ACROD have arranged the Rusyn plainchant in English, not only for Liturgy but vespers, matins and other services in the eight tones and sung them liturgically for years. It works well for both of us and in many of our Churches we still honor the Slavonic, while predominately being English. Most of our choirs have adapted the traditionanal Slavic masterpieces to English for years.
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« Reply #90 on: April 18, 2010, 11:43:31 PM »

Does the ACROD use the OCA style translation or the Byzantine Catholic one (The same that was used in the 1970's Byzantine book of prayer)?  I've always liked the Byzantine Catholic version of the DL (The older version, not the new "revised" one that has been forced onto a lot of parishes).  Especially moving to me is the phrase "Mother of God" which sounds more pleasant and familiar to our English speaking ears as opposed to the more theological "Theotokos" and the more strange sounding "Birth Giver of God".  
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« Reply #91 on: April 19, 2010, 12:11:33 AM »

Especially moving to me is the phrase "Mother of God" which sounds more pleasant and familiar to our English speaking ears as opposed to the more theological "Theotokos" and the more strange sounding "Birth Giver of God". 

The neologism bogorodica must have sounded very odd to the Slavs when it was introduced by Ss. Cyril and Methodius, but it's good that it caught on. Similarly, I favour "Theotokos" or "Birthgiver of God". There's nothing wrong with the title "Mother of God", and it is used in iconography, but it doesn't give the whole story about Mary's role. The Third Ecumenical Council found that a title inextricably combining "God" and "childbirth" was necessary to keep the Nestorian heresy surpressed. Why let our defences down?
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« Reply #92 on: April 19, 2010, 02:07:50 AM »

Hey Everyone! Hristos Anesti!

Wonder how they are planning on rendering that in modern Greek... um.... you can't. Koinie Greek and modern Greek are 98% related, and many words are shared. It's not two languages. It's the modern and ancient version of the same language, so there is no issue about translating. Many of the hymns like the eight resurrectional troparia, the hymns from the octoechos for Sundays, the hymns for major saints and major feasts - including kathismata, stihira, eirmoi for the canons doxastika - are known to the average Church goer. The Holy Week hymns sung at Matins each night, especially of the last few days, and of Pascha are imprinted I'd say in the faithfuls memory and heart. Changing all that would.... it would ruin ecclesiastical life. First of all they can't be re rendered, simplifying them will just cause them to loose their depth and beauty.

The main argument for modern Greek is: Why, people don't come cause they don't understand!

People don't come because they are lazy and just would rather stay up all night partying and then sleep in on Sunday morning, in other words they don't care. Greece as a nation has been on the down hill since being freed from the Turks in 1821, one disaster after the other. Like where to begin. They brought in a Catholic monarch to rule them, and everyone went to modernize the Church and be pro Western. They eventually changed the order of services, and then the calender in 1924. In the late 70s when the social democrats took over they did away with politonics (multiple stresses in the alphabet) which only the Church retained. Result? You can still read Church texts, but with some difficulty. They also stopped teaching kids koinie Greek in school. Now everyone knows about the massive campaign the social democrats are undertaking to rid the Church from society. Taking down icons from government institutions, schools, court rooms etc, abolishing morning prayer in the schools so we don't "offend" anyone. Alls I have to say about that is this, when you come to my house, you follow my rules. They let in all those Albanians are Muslims and God knows what else, the place is going to turn out into a little Kurdistan pretty soon. The new thing now is to tax the Church to kingdom come. And people who don't know anything will say oh yes, the Greek Church is rich, owns everything, so tax it! Ok and who is going to run Greece's social program? The Government, I don't think so. The Church is welfare, food pantry line, shut in visitor, homeless shelter provider, alcoholics anonymous provider, drug helper, psychological help counselor you name it: the Orthodox Church in Greece is the backbone of the country. Rip it out, everything will collapse.

Our kids are genius. All of them have picked up either German, Italian, English, French, or Spanish. They are all bilingual. Yet for some reason the government persists in telling them that they won't be able to grasp classical Greek, which is very much related to what we speak in our daily lives. In order to "understand" classical Greek one must just pay closer attention, focus more, and come to Church often. Our children have a mania with listening to foreign music which they can't understand one word of, yet they tell us that our kids are 100 percent clueless and they can't even get a general gist of what is going on. Please. Obviously, "someone" is trying to use the youth's lack of Church attendance to further some sort of secret agenda to ultimately crash the Greek Church on the rocks.

The question isn't about understand, people understand whats going on. The question is to simplify the texts, so we can get all wishy washy, it will effect our theology, we will introduce some heresies too, we will add some guitars, take out the Altar put it in the middle of the Church so people can "understand" whats going on, we will do teach and learn Proskomedia (that's already being done), and maybe we'll get some girls to serve, heck maybe even a woman priest. Maybe even a woman Bishop. Hello Vatican II, and hello Church of England.

So you see... this most definitely ain't about "understanding." It's about buldozzing a 5,000 year old society and creating... something, well to put it mildly, re inventing the Soviet Union. That's to put it mildly.

I hope to translate Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos recent article on this issue, as well as the Metropolis of Pireaus recent statement on this.

Rd. Ioannis

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« Reply #93 on: April 19, 2010, 03:12:40 AM »

I've heard several American Orthodox priests testify to the sincerity of the worshippers as evidenced in Southern Gospel music and Black Spirituals.

Gospel music and Negro Spirituals (you'll pardon me: the old name has an attractively classic ring to it) are things much too different to occupy the same sentence.  I've never come to like the former--or to shake off an acute feeling of annoyance when listening to it--but the latter often reaches the level of the sublime.  Gospel had to face opposition from the old guard in black churches when it started to emerge.


Very nice opening; the black Americans were really the Russians of that country, weren't they, with that basso profundo range of voice.  But jazz had to kick in to this one eventually.  Oh well.

I'm reminded of how humorous it was when Sinatra sang a jazzed up version of Old Man River.
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« Reply #94 on: April 19, 2010, 03:35:11 AM »

"Once a Russian called Fr Tobias, who lived in the skete, came to the vigil and revealed to Fr Gideon that he was bored because he did not understand anything in the service. Fr Gideon consoled him: ‘It doesn’t matter: don’t grieve because you don’t understand. Sit in your stall, keep praying and don’t be troubled because you don’t understand. Look at a ship on the sea, there are various passengers on it: Greeks, Romanians, Russians, Arabs. They don’t understand each other but they’re on the same ship, sitting down together, and the ship will take them all to the port. So it is with the Church; it doesn’t matter who is in it, whether they understand or not, the Church will take them all to the port of the Kingdom of Heaven."

- From Elder Gideon the Greek (9 1896) in Lives of Nineteenth Century Athonite Ascetics of Piety by Hieromonk Antony of the Holy Mountain, Jordanville 1988.
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« Reply #95 on: April 19, 2010, 03:51:48 AM »

Very well, that works fine. I am not a stickler for any particular tradition, Byzantine or otherwise. I am simply concerned about losing the proper ethos that is essential to the proper celebration of the Liturgy. Perhaps we are in agreement.

Thank you, I'm glad we came to an understanding. Smiley

 Smiley
May I speak further on the subject?

I think there seems to be three main musical options for parishes in America:
1. Classical chant. Advantage: the most austere and prayerful form of music. Disadvantage: so many chanters like to show off. When they do, it only comes across to the people as medieval-sounding garble. This truly is diabolical! Translation is also an issue, but not so much as the chant-o-phobes like to think.
2. Choirs with four-part harmonies. Nothing like a beautiful, emotional, stirring, dramatic four-part chorus to distance the people from the Liturgy and make them spectators. In my parish, the choir does this, and congregation does not even sing the Christos Anesti or the Holy Friday Lamantations anymore, because it is impossible to sing along with a multi-part harmony. I would hate to see ths practice spread.
3. Something like Handmaiden is saying, perhaps simplified forms of the traditional melodies put into Western minor scales. (Major scales in church have a tendency to sound like Walt Disney music.) This could be done by either chanters or choirs. It would make the music more accessible to people and encourage congregational singing, without sacrificing the austerity of the traditional chants. I can already hear parishioners complaining about how ugly it sounds. I do not care. Worship is worship, prayer is prayer, and four-part harmonies/medieval garble are usually neither, as nice as they might sound to some people.
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« Reply #96 on: April 19, 2010, 04:33:39 AM »

LOL.  khooy.  LOL. Syrians.

Allah, Allah, ei da l'bit'oulo, ya khooya?  LOL  We don't really use it so much as akhi to have it qualify as a quintessentially Syrian word.  In fact it is more closely associated with you lot who speak Egyptian: 'ya khooya'.  

Quote
There are different registers, as there once was in Greek.  Since the Church hiearchy brought the Church into disrepute by embracing the Junta, as the Junta brought Kathareuousa and by extension these upper registers into disrepute enforcing them with a vengence, I am that the Church is further undermining the links between it and the Greek people, as the Greeks no longer speak in such registers. There are fading more and more into the past, and it seems that the hiearchy wants to fall back with them.  This is the opposite to Arabic, where the colloquials are bending to fuSHa.

Modern political manipulation, engineering, and interference in language is a disheartening affair--and smacks of hubris.  To think a form of language can be associated with an actual political regime is almost surreal, I find.  There is something ironic in that if in Arabic we could associate a form of language to political currents, at least taking the Lebanese context as our perspective, things would be the reverse of Greece.  The 'Right' (e.g. Lebanese Maronite Phalangists), would claim Lebanese `Aam'miy'yeh for its banner, playing the populist Η γλώσσα ΤΟΥ ΛΑΟΥ!!! populist card, whereas the 'Left' would have the greater respect for katharevousa Arabic.

In the end of things, the Greeks have lost their diglossia which in my view is a blessing that always makes the language more dynamic and gives it multiple registers as well as expands the mind and strengthens the faculty of communication from a young age, giving one access to understanding different contexts of speech.  I detest particularly the politicised rhetoric that creates a polarised dichotomy between the two registers and disregards that they are two ends of a full spectrum that enrichens the language, not only in speech, but in music and song as well.  (The late Iraqi Naazim il-Ghazaali liked to sing classical poetry and then segue into a song in full Iraqi colloquial.)  This is somewhat off topic for the thread, but I would like to post a few videos illustrating the two forms of the language and how they can mix.  The following comes from something I've written before to a contact of mine:

I have two videos of him [Baasil il-Assad] that demonstrate the multiple overlapping registers of Arabic I mentioned to you before, neither pure katharevousa nor pure dimotiki:
 
He is speaking about equestrianism here in high register (i.e. educated class) dimotiki mixed in with the occasional slip of Fus'hah (i.e. katharevousa), but pronounced in a dimotiki manner (e.g. 'haakatha' being pronounced 'haakaza'--the dimotiki word itself would be 'heik'):
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZJOOU5buPE
 
Here he is, but this time speaking the inverse of the above: mostly katharevousa with a relaxed dimotiki 'sound' (accent) and pronunciation (and also the occasional slip of a dimotiki word).
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwXn5j0AdVo
 
Here is his father, the late president.  Full katharevousa speech and tone, but there is still that small lingering demotiki 'z' in place of Fus'ha 'th', but other than that, this is real Fus'ha.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KarP9Ov5tUI
 
Now, the two extremes: the full blown educated class katharevousa (with virtually no instance of dimotiki pronunciation and nary a hint of a provincial accent) vs. the 'rustic' dimotiki of a Lebanese aristocrat and politician.
 
Katharevousa: the incumbent Syrian president in an Al-Jazeera interview:
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaqzXX2WTck
 
And this is the scion of one of the important Lebanese Maronite aristocratic families, Suleiman Franjiy'yeh--the man's tongue is quite sharp (had you only heard the hilarious insult he made by way of innuendo towards the Maronite Patriarch commenting on his libido), and his talk is as provincial as you can expect from a mountain aristocrat whose clan doesn't come from the city.  If a movement to abolish Fus'ha ever arose, it would come from the Lebanese, no doubt.  
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhoBuTS_ZrA
 
And here's Aoun's what I like to call 'angry-military-general-style demotiki'.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WC1eeE7_6A
 
One must love this man's temper; he yells 'shut up' at the very end: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cf22nzmCoyg

No, Lebanese generals certainly do not talk like this (Daffy Duck speaking katharevousa as my Greek friend describes him). LOL

One final bonus for those who like linguistic comparisons.  The sound of Biblical Hebrew pronounced by an Ashkenazi vs. a Yemenite.
 
Ashkenazi Hebrew (with a hint of American accent):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q9Q7AFZlS4
 
Yemenite Hebrew (skip directly to 7:05)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yP9RKfU7hJA
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« Reply #97 on: April 19, 2010, 05:41:41 AM »

First of all they can't be re rendered, simplifying them will just cause them to loose their depth and beauty.

A simple but still important point.  Semantic value, or the way the mind grasps the meaning or perceives the depth of even the most basic words, often can be tied to something as basic as the phonetic structure of the word, and this sensitivity heightens in musical verse.  (Take the simplest of things, relative pronouns: one form in the colloquial: l'li, whereas classical has multisyllabic inflected forms that come alive in verse, including forms for the dual: al'lathi, al'lati, al'lathaani etc.)  This is why we have synonyms for words, that even though can mean on the whole the same thing will still carry their own nuances simply on the merits of the way they sound out.  Also, with archaic synonyms present in the liturgical tongue even for the most basic concepts, the most common phrases are able to take on a weightier meaning in the way that one in the habit of saying the Jesus prayer comes upon a stronger connexion with what the words of the prayer say by constant repetition.  Also, in the liturgical language one might find full expressive quality in things as small as short particles.  The classical Arabic in'na, very frequently used and absent in the colloquial, has a nuance that makes it a challenge to translate into English, almost like 'it is so, that...' encapsulated in one disyllabic word.  In'na alone adds tremendous declarative and narrative (and initial rhythmic) force on its own.

An example concerning the phonetic factor: liturgical Arabic has more vowels intertwined within the consonantal structure of a word than is the case with the colloquial.  Take the hymn Fotizou H nea Ierousalim, Rejoice O New Jerusalem, and from it the line 'and you o pure one, Bearer of God, rejoice in the resurrection of your Son'.  Before 'rejoice' the chant has normally reached a musical climax and begins a firm resolution with the imperative 'rejoice' which in colloquial is fraHi, whereas in liturgical Arabic it is IfraHi--both quite similar to each other here as can be seen.  In non-musical reciting, the stress is on the antepenult 'if', but in chant, it becomes the secondary stress, but provides the essential momentum in a tri-syllabic word to carry the force of the imperative towards the ultimate 'Hi'.  So the classical 'if' both provides a stronger punctuation carrying imperative force, which would be lacking in the colloquial version of the word, and by adding an extra syllable, providing momentum that allows for the full stress on the final syllable.  Writing this out in words, it looks utterly convoluted, but the mind understands it perfectly on the subconscious level.
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« Reply #98 on: April 19, 2010, 07:25:21 AM »

"Once a Russian called Fr Tobias, who lived in the skete, came to the vigil and revealed to Fr Gideon that he was bored because he did not understand anything in the service. Fr Gideon consoled him: ‘It doesn’t matter: don’t grieve because you don’t understand. Sit in your stall, keep praying and don’t be troubled because you don’t understand. Look at a ship on the sea, there are various passengers on it: Greeks, Romanians, Russians, Arabs. They don’t understand each other but they’re on the same ship, sitting down together, and the ship will take them all to the port. So it is with the Church; it doesn’t matter who is in it, whether they understand or not, the Church will take them all to the port of the Kingdom of Heaven."

- From Elder Gideon the Greek (9 1896) in Lives of Nineteenth Century Athonite Ascetics of Piety by Hieromonk Antony of the Holy Mountain, Jordanville 1988.

I Corinthians 14:23
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« Reply #99 on: April 19, 2010, 07:32:48 AM »

Unless I'm very mistaken, has not the Orthodox church already decided the opposite of the current Greek Synod? specifically when Sts Cyril and Methodios got into big trouble with the Romans for their translation efforts, and the Latins argued that there were only 3 sacred languages vis Hebrew, Greek and Latin, and the Greek church and all the Orthodox said "no way" and supported the holy saints. Has not the Orthodox church repeatedly argued *for vernacular translation* in every new language and done exactly that throughout 2000 years of history.

If we read the holy fathers and their exposition on Pentecost and languages what do they teach? Do they teach translation or not?? Really, I suspect that the issue here is more about Greek church unity rather than the translation issue per se. And unity is very important. So whoever's (Ialmisry's?) question a few pages back about the authority of the bishop is very relevant.

Does anyone know any precedents about the limits to bishop's authority in this issue?

It is sad to see so many argue for what is essentially a RC "sacred language" viewpoint and forget the whole Sts Cyril and Methodios lesson.

And Handmaidenof God is right to ask what she asks- especially since such musical adaptation has been happening for 2000 years as well. Any serious student of the Orthodox liturgy will recognise changes with time, just look at musical developments even in the Byzantine and Russian traditions. This whole romantic notion of an "unchanging perfect 300AD form of Orthodoxy" is worrying actually. It denies the human dimension of the Church, which is ultimately a subtle form of the docetic heresy, which we need to be very wary of. Orthodoxy is NOT about preserving the past unchanged, but communicating it to each generation. The content of the Creed stays the same, but the language that over 80% of Orthodox say it in is NOT Greek any longer.

Change needs to be done sensibly in light of the past, yes, but still change must happen.

in Christ,
Fr. John D'Alton
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in Christ,
Fr. John D'Alton
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« Reply #100 on: April 19, 2010, 07:46:01 AM »

Very well, that works fine. I am not a stickler for any particular tradition, Byzantine or otherwise. I am simply concerned about losing the proper ethos that is essential to the proper celebration of the Liturgy. Perhaps we are in agreement.

Thank you, I'm glad we came to an understanding. Smiley

 Smiley
May I speak further on the subject?

I think there seems to be three main musical options for parishes in America:
1. Classical chant. Advantage: the most austere and prayerful form of music. Disadvantage: so many chanters like to show off. When they do, it only comes across to the people as medieval-sounding garble. This truly is diabolical! Translation is also an issue, but not so much as the chant-o-phobes like to think.
2. Choirs with four-part harmonies. Nothing like a beautiful, emotional, stirring, dramatic four-part chorus to distance the people from the Liturgy and make them spectators. In my parish, the choir does this, and congregation does not even sing the Christos Anesti or the Holy Friday Lamantations anymore, because it is impossible to sing along with a multi-part harmony. I would hate to see ths practice spread.
3. Something like Handmaiden is saying, perhaps simplified forms of the traditional melodies put into Western minor scales. (Major scales in church have a tendency to sound like Walt Disney music.) This could be done by either chanters or choirs. It would make the music more accessible to people and encourage congregational singing, without sacrificing the austerity of the traditional chants. I can already hear parishioners complaining about how ugly it sounds. I do not care. Worship is worship, prayer is prayer, and four-part harmonies/medieval garble are usually neither, as nice as they might sound to some people.

Um, the Slavs have been using Choirs with four part harmonies for centuries. Seems to work for us just fine. The music is beautiful, accessible, and not everything is in a minor scale. They are simple harmonies that the faithful can sing along with, and do sing along with the choir. (And none of it sounds Disney-ish.)

If you take everything and put it in a minor scale, then every song will sound like we are in mourning.

At the risk of being called a heretic again, the West has already set forth a model of sacred music in the Gregorian chant of the Catholic Church.

***I AM NOT SAYING THE ORTHODOX CHURCH SHOULD ADOPT GREGORIAN CHANT***

What I am saying is, that it has already been proven that Western chant can be written, it can be sacred, non-emotive, and can be quite beautiful.
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« Reply #101 on: April 19, 2010, 08:10:52 AM »

Hey Everyone! Hristos Anesti!

Wonder how they are planning on rendering that in modern Greek... um.... you can't. Koinie Greek and modern Greek are 98% related,

Can't be 98% related (I think you mean identical). For one thing, the modern Greek has dropped its dative, and has to use pariphrastic constructions instead. Btw, the language in the Church and the high forms of Katharevousa are not Koine, they are Attic, even worse.

Quote
and many words are shared.

but don't necessarily mean the same thing. "Androgynos" means "man and wife" in the one, and "hermaphrodite" in the other.

Quote
It's not two languages. It's the modern and ancient version of the same language, so there is no issue about translating.

Oh? You obviously understand English.  Read this:
Quote
Hwæt! We Gardena         in geardagum,
þeodcyninga,         þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas         ellen fremedon.
Oft Scyld Scefing         sceaþena þreatum,
It's English too.


Quote
Many of the hymns like the eight resurrectional troparia, the hymns from the octoechos for Sundays, the hymns for major saints and major feasts - including kathismata, stihira, eirmoi for the canons doxastika - are known to the average Church goer.

I've had Muslims who could recite the whole Quran for me in Arabic, not understanding a word.

Quote
The Holy Week hymns sung at Matins each night, especially of the last few days, and of Pascha are imprinted I'd say in the faithfuls memory and heart. Changing all that would.... it would ruin ecclesiastical life. First of all they can't be re rendered, simplifying them will just cause them to loose their depth and beauty.

So you are saying that Modern Greek has no depth nor beauty?

Quote
The main argument for modern Greek is: Why, people don't come cause they don't understand!

People don't come because they are lazy and just would rather stay up all night partying and then sleep in on Sunday morning, in other words they don't care.

so we provide them a reason so they don't have to come up with excuses.

Quote
Greece as a nation has been on the down hill since being freed from the Turks in 1821,

Never heard of the Turkocratia as the good ol' days.

Quote
one disaster after the other. Like where to begin. They brought in a Catholic monarch to rule them, and everyone went to modernize the Church and be pro Western.

You left out, "borrowing Peter's monstrosity, the Holy Governing Synod, instead of a primate."

Quote
They eventually changed the order of services, and then the calender in 1924. In the late 70s when the social democrats took over they did away with politonics (multiple stresses in the alphabet) which only the Church retained. Result? You can still read Church texts, but with some difficulty.

Reading without them is not a problem. Only in a few cases did they settle any ambiguity.  They were done away with because of the enormous time devoted to teaching them in school, for no productive purpose (btw, the Classical Greeks didn't have them, their mandatory use is Medieval)  Sort of like the dropping of the Ъ in Russian.

Quote
They also stopped teaching kids koinie Greek in school.

You mean teaching Koine, or teaching katharevousa? They are not the same.

Quote
Now everyone knows about the massive campaign the social democrats are undertaking to rid the Church from society. Taking down icons from government institutions, schools, court rooms etc, abolishing morning prayer in the schools so we don't "offend" anyone. Alls I have to say about that is this, when you come to my house, you follow my rules. They let in all those Albanians are Muslims and God knows what else,

like Orthodox?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_Orthodox

Just yesterday on TV there was something on an Olympian who was ethnic Greek from Albania, who had fled to Greece.

Quote
the place is going to turn out into a little Kurdistan pretty soon.

Are we scapgoating?

Quote
The new thing now is to tax the Church to kingdom come. And people who don't know anything will say oh yes, the Greek Church is rich, owns everything, so tax it! Ok and who is going to run Greece's social program? The Government, I don't think so. The Church is welfare, food pantry line, shut in visitor, homeless shelter provider, alcoholics anonymous provider, drug helper, psychological help counselor you name it: the Orthodox Church in Greece is the backbone of the country. Rip it out, everything will collapse.

I'll agree there.

Quote
Our kids are genius. All of them have picked up either German, Italian, English, French, or Spanish. They are all bilingual. Yet for some reason the government persists in telling them that they won't be able to grasp classical Greek, which is very much related to what we speak in our daily lives.

So close and yet so far: in Arabic, the standard of Classical Arabic in Morroco is much higher than, say, Egypt, and a good reason why is the distance of Morrocan colloquial to the Standard-its foreigness makes it hard to slip into colloquial-whereas in Egypt people fall back into colloquial, which resembles the Classical but is not it.

Quote
In order to "understand" classical Greek one must just pay closer attention, focus more, and come to Church often.

Because that's how Homer did it.

Quote
Our children have a mania with listening to foreign music which they can't understand one word of, yet they tell us that our kids are 100 percent clueless and they can't even get a general gist of what is going on. Please. Obviously, "someone" is trying to use the youth's lack of Church attendance to further some sort of secret agenda to ultimately crash the Greek Church on the rocks.

Would that be Met. Melitio?

Quote
The question isn't about understand, people understand whats going on. The question is to simplify the texts, so we can get all wishy washy,

Like SS. Methodius and Cyril did.

Quote
it will effect our theology,

Yes, it will stop us from acting like Muslims.

Quote
we will introduce some heresies too,

Yes, the Church hasn't been the same without the Three Language heresy.

Quote
we will add some guitars,

would you be happier if it was a lyre?

Quote
take out the Altar put it in the middle of the Church so people can "understand" whats going on,

I don't know if you haven't noticed, but the Altar isn't against the wall in Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Quote
we will do teach and learn Proskomedia (that's already being done),

I recall a number of people, every Sunday Church goers, having no idea about the Prosmedia.  It was like finding gold in Grandma's attic.

Quote
and maybe we'll get some girls to serve, heck maybe even a woman priest. Maybe even a woman Bishop.

My, skiing right down the slope, are you?  The pagan Greeks had women priestesses, and they spoke Classical Greek.

Quote
Hello Vatican II, and hello Church of England.

Goodbye Parthenon.

Quote
So you see... this most definitely ain't about "understanding."

This post, can't say it is.

Quote
It's about buldozzing a 5,000 year old society and creating... something, well to put it mildly, re inventing the Soviet Union.

Do you know how fossils are made?

Quote
That's to put it mildly.

I hope to translate Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos recent article on this issue, as well as the Metropolis of Pireaus recent statement on this.

Rd. Ioannis

Why translate it?  We "just [need to] pay closer attention, focus more, and come to Church often.' Of course, for some who attend all the services but don't speak Classical Greek, the last one is going to be difficult.
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« Reply #102 on: April 19, 2010, 08:40:41 AM »

Hey Everyone! Hristos Anesti!

Wonder how they are planning on rendering that in modern Greek... um.... you can't. Koinie Greek and modern Greek are 98% related,

Can't be 98% related (I think you mean identical). For one thing, the modern Greek has dropped its dative, and has to use pariphrastic constructions instead. Btw, the language in the Church and the high forms of Katharevousa are not Koine, they are Attic, even worse.

Quote
and many words are shared.

but don't necessarily mean the same thing. "Androgynos" means "man and wife" in the one, and "hermaphrodite" in the other.

Quote
It's not two languages. It's the modern and ancient version of the same language, so there is no issue about translating.

Oh? You obviously understand English.  Read this:
Quote
Hwæt! We Gardena         in geardagum,
þeodcyninga,         þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas         ellen fremedon.
Oft Scyld Scefing         sceaþena þreatum,
It's English too.


Quote
Many of the hymns like the eight resurrectional troparia, the hymns from the octoechos for Sundays, the hymns for major saints and major feasts - including kathismata, stihira, eirmoi for the canons doxastika - are known to the average Church goer.

I've had Muslims who could recite the whole Quran for me in Arabic, not understanding a word.

Quote
The Holy Week hymns sung at Matins each night, especially of the last few days, and of Pascha are imprinted I'd say in the faithfuls memory and heart. Changing all that would.... it would ruin ecclesiastical life. First of all they can't be re rendered, simplifying them will just cause them to loose their depth and beauty.

So you are saying that Modern Greek has no depth nor beauty?

Quote
The main argument for modern Greek is: Why, people don't come cause they don't understand!

People don't come because they are lazy and just would rather stay up all night partying and then sleep in on Sunday morning, in other words they don't care.

so we provide them a reason so they don't have to come up with excuses.

Quote
Greece as a nation has been on the down hill since being freed from the Turks in 1821,

Never heard of the Turkocratia as the good ol' days.

Quote
one disaster after the other. Like where to begin. They brought in a Catholic monarch to rule them, and everyone went to modernize the Church and be pro Western.

You left out, "borrowing Peter's monstrosity, the Holy Governing Synod, instead of a primate."

Quote
They eventually changed the order of services, and then the calender in 1924. In the late 70s when the social democrats took over they did away with politonics (multiple stresses in the alphabet) which only the Church retained. Result? You can still read Church texts, but with some difficulty.

Reading without them is not a problem. Only in a few cases did they settle any ambiguity.  They were done away with because of the enormous time devoted to teaching them in school, for no productive purpose (btw, the Classical Greeks didn't have them, their mandatory use is Medieval)  Sort of like the dropping of the Ъ in Russian.

Quote
They also stopped teaching kids koinie Greek in school.

You mean teaching Koine, or teaching katharevousa? They are not the same.

Quote
Now everyone knows about the massive campaign the social democrats are undertaking to rid the Church from society. Taking down icons from government institutions, schools, court rooms etc, abolishing morning prayer in the schools so we don't "offend" anyone. Alls I have to say about that is this, when you come to my house, you follow my rules. They let in all those Albanians are Muslims and God knows what else,

like Orthodox?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_Orthodox

Just yesterday on TV there was something on an Olympian who was ethnic Greek from Albania, who had fled to Greece.

Quote
the place is going to turn out into a little Kurdistan pretty soon.

Are we scapgoating?

Quote
The new thing now is to tax the Church to kingdom come. And people who don't know anything will say oh yes, the Greek Church is rich, owns everything, so tax it! Ok and who is going to run Greece's social program? The Government, I don't think so. The Church is welfare, food pantry line, shut in visitor, homeless shelter provider, alcoholics anonymous provider, drug helper, psychological help counselor you name it: the Orthodox Church in Greece is the backbone of the country. Rip it out, everything will collapse.

I'll agree there.

Quote
Our kids are genius. All of them have picked up either German, Italian, English, French, or Spanish. They are all bilingual. Yet for some reason the government persists in telling them that they won't be able to grasp classical Greek, which is very much related to what we speak in our daily lives.

So close and yet so far: in Arabic, the standard of Classical Arabic in Morroco is much higher than, say, Egypt, and a good reason why is the distance of Morrocan colloquial to the Standard-its foreigness makes it hard to slip into colloquial-whereas in Egypt people fall back into colloquial, which resembles the Classical but is not it.

Quote
In order to "understand" classical Greek one must just pay closer attention, focus more, and come to Church often.

Because that's how Homer did it.

Quote
Our children have a mania with listening to foreign music which they can't understand one word of, yet they tell us that our kids are 100 percent clueless and they can't even get a general gist of what is going on. Please. Obviously, "someone" is trying to use the youth's lack of Church attendance to further some sort of secret agenda to ultimately crash the Greek Church on the rocks.

Would that be Met. Melitio?

Quote
The question isn't about understand, people understand whats going on. The question is to simplify the texts, so we can get all wishy washy,

Like SS. Methodius and Cyril did.

Quote
it will effect our theology,

Yes, it will stop us from acting like Muslims.

Quote
we will introduce some heresies too,

Yes, the Church hasn't been the same without the Three Language heresy.

Quote
we will add some guitars,

would you be happier if it was a lyre?

Quote
take out the Altar put it in the middle of the Church so people can "understand" whats going on,

I don't know if you haven't noticed, but the Altar isn't against the wall in Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Quote
we will do teach and learn Proskomedia (that's already being done),

I recall a number of people, every Sunday Church goers, having no idea about the Prosmedia.  It was like finding gold in Grandma's attic.

Quote
and maybe we'll get some girls to serve, heck maybe even a woman priest. Maybe even a woman Bishop.

My, skiing right down the slope, are you?  The pagan Greeks had women priestesses, and they spoke Classical Greek.

Quote
Hello Vatican II, and hello Church of England.

Goodbye Parthenon.

Quote
So you see... this most definitely ain't about "understanding."

This post, can't say it is.

Quote
It's about buldozzing a 5,000 year old society and creating... something, well to put it mildly, re inventing the Soviet Union.

Do you know how fossils are made?

Quote
That's to put it mildly.

I hope to translate Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos recent article on this issue, as well as the Metropolis of Pireaus recent statement on this.

Rd. Ioannis

Why translate it?  We "just [need to] pay closer attention, focus more, and come to Church often.' Of course, for some who attend all the services but don't speak Classical Greek, the last one is going to be difficult.

Thank you ialmisry for your point by point rebuttal. I was thinking of how to frame a reasoned response given my lack of knowledge of classical languages.Those of us not schooled in linguistics may have 'felt' we could answer, but you did it for us.  The 'Ole English' was great. Sort of like trying to read the original of Beowulf! Thanks again!
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« Reply #103 on: April 19, 2010, 09:04:06 AM »

"Once a Russian called Fr Tobias, who lived in the skete, came to the vigil and revealed to Fr Gideon that he was bored because he did not understand anything in the service. Fr Gideon consoled him: ‘It doesn’t matter: don’t grieve because you don’t understand. Sit in your stall, keep praying and don’t be troubled because you don’t understand. Look at a ship on the sea, there are various passengers on it: Greeks, Romanians, Russians, Arabs. They don’t understand each other but they’re on the same ship, sitting down together, and the ship will take them all to the port. So it is with the Church; it doesn’t matter who is in it, whether they understand or not, the Church will take them all to the port of the Kingdom of Heaven."

- From Elder Gideon the Greek (9 1896) in Lives of Nineteenth Century Athonite Ascetics of Piety by Hieromonk Antony of the Holy Mountain, Jordanville 1988.

I Corinthians 14:23


Not only this but 1 Cor. 14.14-17.   How can the people say Amen to something that is not understood?  Perhaps we can just make it silent and have the deacon respond on behalf of the people.   Wink
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« Reply #104 on: April 19, 2010, 09:24:30 AM »

This issue is rather complicated.  We are dealing with several issues here.  One is the feared disappearance of a longstanding usage of the elder Greek text.   This does relate to the other issue, as to how to apply pertinant canons, such as Apostolic Canon 34, which states that a bishop has prerogative to pastorally act within his diocese, but at the same time, with things that are matters that reach beyond the diocese he must be in accord with the synod and primate (add to this that in this case, there really is no primate, further complicating such application).   Does the issue have broader reprocussions other than just an archpastoral move within a single diocese?  If so, it is no longer an archpastoral issue, but a synodical issue, and thus properly dealt with by the synod.   The issue of traditional vs. modern language is not an easy one, and we need to pray that God continue to guide them on this issue.   Ialmisry points out correctly that, for example, Beowulf English is drastically different from King James and Shakespearian, which in turn is distinct from American Standard, which is distinct from modern.   There has to be an adequate amount of comprehension.   Beowulf English is unsatisfactory.   Even Hapgood is rough.   But again with the Greek, it is more complicated because of longstanding usage and continuity.  Nonetheless, the issue of comprehension has to be dealt with on some level, if not through change of text then through, perhaps modification of education on liturgical Greek in schools so that there can be adequate comprehension. 
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« Reply #105 on: April 19, 2010, 09:33:11 AM »

Christos Voskrese!
Thank you ialmisry for your point by point rebuttal.
No problem.
Quote
I was thinking of how to frame a reasoned response given my lack of knowledge of classical languages.Those of us not schooled in linguistics may have 'felt' we could answer,
Not everyone of us can be a pinhead or egghead.  The sense of the Faithful is as good a barometer as it ever was.  Stopped a good number of the heresies of the Theologians in their tracks.

Quote
but you did it for us.  The 'Ole English' was great. Sort of like trying to read the original of Beowulf!

LOL. So it is: here's the modern translation.
Quote
LO, praise of the prowess of people-kings
of spear-armed Danes, in days long sped,
we have heard, and what honor the athelings won!
Oft Scyld the Scefing from squadroned foes,
http://etext.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=AnoBeow.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=1&division=div1
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« Reply #106 on: April 19, 2010, 09:45:29 AM »

I think we're missing the point on this, y'all.  We're arguing about the decision to forbid the translation of the Liturgy to modern Greek and missing the real objection that this translation, as necessary and good as it may have been, was undertaken unilaterally and didn't have the approval of the whole synod.  It appears that the synod of the Orthodox Church in Greece wants the work of translating the Liturgy to be carried out for the whole of the Church of Greece according to the approval of the synod and not by just one bishop in his own diocese.  Now we can certainly question this resistance to such decision-making by one individual ruling bishop for his own local church, but I think it more accurate to argue over this than over the issue of liturgical translation in and of itself.
This is part of a larger issue of the "Language Question" in Greece.  I am not sure that the reference to "unity' just means CoG, but also the rest of the branches of the Greek Church (C'ple, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Cyprus). Back when the standard language was archaic, that was one thing, but not that that has been abandoned for nearly 40 years, it is quite another. Even in the school in Jerusalem, they teach the Arabs modern Greek, which doesn't mean they can understand the services.  This is somewhat an existential question for the Greeks to decide, but it seems the Holy Synod has either a) made its decision, but not admitting that, or b) ignoring the question, which means it will errupt later.
What decision?  That the Liturgy in Greece is not to be translated to Modern Greek, or that Bishop Meletio rebelled against the authority of the synod by unilaterally conducting the work of translation for his own diocese?  AISI, translation is not the real issue here.  The real issue is the boundary between synodal authority and the right of the local bishop to rule his own diocese.  (Kinda like the issue at the root of the American Civil War:  state rights vs. the authority of the federal government.)
AHEM!!  As an aside, and not to hijack the thread, the "issue at the root of the American Civil War" was SLAVERY - that was the "States Right" the CSA was fighting for; it was the key issue in both the Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850.  Where this effort to cleanse the South of its support for black chattel slavery comes from is beyond me.

Now, back to our sponsor....
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« Reply #107 on: April 19, 2010, 09:57:33 AM »

This issue is rather complicated.  We are dealing with several issues here.  One is the feared disappearance of a longstanding usage of the elder Greek text.   This does relate to the other issue, as to how to apply pertinant canons, such as Apostolic Canon 34, which states that a bishop has prerogative to pastorally act within his diocese, but at the same time, with things that are matters that reach beyond the diocese he must be in accord with the synod and primate (add to this that in this case, there really is no primate, further complicating such application).   Does the issue have broader reprocussions other than just an archpastoral move within a single diocese?  If so, it is no longer an archpastoral issue, but a synodical issue, and thus properly dealt with by the synod.   The issue of traditional vs. modern language is not an easy one, and we need to pray that God continue to guide them on this issue.   Ialmisry points out correctly that, for example, Beowulf English is drastically different from King James and Shakespearian, which in turn is distinct from American Standard, which is distinct from modern.   There has to be an adequate amount of comprehension.   Beowulf English is unsatisfactory.   Even Hapgood is rough.   But again with the Greek, it is more complicated because of longstanding usage and continuity.  Nonetheless, the issue of comprehension has to be dealt with on some level, if not through change of text then through, perhaps modification of education on liturgical Greek in schools so that there can be adequate comprehension. 
Exactly. The only reason why I come somewhat hard on the question of text modification is that, looking at things coming out in Greek, the role of Katharevousa as a productive element seems to be spent (much like the influence of French or Latin, when it was expected that every educated Englishman spoke them).  There used to be the issue of different varieties of Greek (Cypriot, for instance) for which the use of Katharevousa or Attic served to link the various communities, but with the dominance of Greece's media, Dhimotiki has appropriated that role.  I'm all for basilects and Classical forms of the language, but it seems that the Greeks have made a new choice in their basilect. It also touches on questions of authority, as you state, Father, in particular that it may come to being a pastoral concern, for which a bishop defending himself by saying "I was following the Holy Synod's orders" are not going to make a good defense before a judgement seat dreader than Nurenberg's (Goodwin alert! Goodwin alert!).
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« Reply #108 on: April 19, 2010, 10:29:09 AM »

How can the people say Amen to something that is not understood?

This is something that needs to not just be addressed by the Church in Greece, but the Church in Diaspora as well. Any parish that uses a language that is not the vernacular of the people has to be aware that the faithful will have no idea as to what is going on.

I saw this clearly illustrated to me last with with my very own father.

My Dad was raised in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church his entire life. Every time he would try to follow along in the Liturgy books, he would get lost, frustrated, put the book down, and carry along even though he did not know what was going on. (He does not speak/read/write Ukrainian, and for most of his life the Liturgy in our parish was done mostly in Ukrainian, with a little English. Only in recent years that has changed.)

He keeps telling me he wants to learn the Liturgy.

Last week I had a cold, so rather than going up in the choir I sat with him during Liturgy and tried to help him along in the service book. He kept getting lost and frustrated, but really tried to stick with it.

At one point he leaned over and said to me "Where are we?"

We had just started to sing "Otche Nash."

In my mind, since I studied a little Ukrainian (very little...very, very little) and I sing in the choir, I *know* this is the "Our Father." For a moment I was going to give him a look like "How can you not know what this is?"

Then it occurred to me, "Why should he know? He doesn't speak the language."

So I simply pointed it out to him and carried on.

This broke my heart. For over 57 years my father has been coming to Church every week, not knowing when the most fundamental prayer of our faith, the prayer given to us by Christ himself began.

And it isn't just my father but all of my relatives and many members of the parish. Heck, when I was going to the GOA Cathedral in Atlanta, I had friends who could read, write, and speak modern Greek fluently, but could not understand the Liturgy.

To keep the Liturgy in a language that the faithful cannot understand is ludicrous and goes against the mission of the Church. Why did the Holy Spirit descend upon the Apostles with the gift of tongues on Pentacost if the Gospel is to be proclaimed in one language only?

On Pascha, we exclaim "Christ is risen!" in a plethora of languages to emphasize the universal message of the Resurrection of Christ. Why then, are we ignorant of the universal message of the Gospel the other 51 weeks of the year?
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« Reply #109 on: April 19, 2010, 10:45:53 AM »

Coming from a family of priests, I can relate to Handmaiden's most recent post. My father's favorite such story involved a woman who was about 65 and a long time parishioner. (I apologize as I may have related this in the past in other discussions, but it is a good anecdotal story.)

Following the funeral of her mother (who was in her late 80's), the woman approached my father and complained about the use of English in the services. She quite emphatically told my dad that her mother taught her 'church slavish' (whatever that was) and that she 'understood' it and didn't like English.

My dad calmly and quietly asked her to explain and give him an example.

She said something like this, " Well, Father, you know that 'Svatyj Boze, Svatyj Krypkyj' song."  (i.e. The Thrice Holy Hymn)

My dad nodded in the affirmative.

She went on in triumph saying, "Well, that is obviously about Jesus leaving the crypt on Easter!"

Sigh.....

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« Reply #110 on: April 19, 2010, 11:42:32 AM »

Peter's point on, and Father HLL's eloboration of, the boundaries or freedom of action of a diocesan bishop is on point. Canon 34 does say that the diocesan bishop must not do anything of import without getting his Metropolitan's OK (in this case it would be the Holy Synod). It is clear that the diocesan bishop had not obtained the approval of the Holy Synod. What is not clear is why this issue was considered by the Holy Synod to be a matter of such import that it lays within its purview.

I would submit that language is at the heart of the identification of oneself as part of a particular nation or ethnicity. In the case of modern Greeks/Hellenes, the language may also be what bridges the history of Greeks throughout the ages. It may be that the use of an ancient version of the language means sharing of the glory that once was Greece. It may be that language is integral to the modern interpretation of Hellenism as a universal blessing, that all mankind can benefit from. Thus, I would think that any kind of deviation is a matter of import to all Greeks and/or Hellenes, be they in the Patriarchate of Constantinople or the Church of Greece, in the old country or in the barbarian lands of Australia, the Americas, and even Western Europe.  The following excerpts may be useful in understanding what I am driving at.

"The Ideals of Ancient Greece Important to All
AHEPA members are proud of the contributions the ancient Greeks gifted to Western Civilization.  As Americans, we share many of the values put forth by them: civic responsibility, philanthropy, education, family and individual excellence, and the ideals of democracy.  This is the essence of our heritage.  This is the core of our mission."
http://ahepa.org/dotnetnuke/About/Mission.aspx

"The mission of the Greek Education and Culture Committee of the Atlanta Metropolis is the preservation and promotion of the Greek language: the language of the Bible, Greek Orthodoxy and the Fathers of the Greek Orthodox Church; the language of our ancestors; the richest language and mother of many other languages in the world. Together with the preservation and promotion of the Greek language, the Committee's mission is the promotion of the great Greek civilization, the glorious Greek history and traditions, holy heritage and unsurpassed values for the generations of today and tomorrow."
http://www.atlanta.goarch.org/index.php?pr=Greek_Education

I think other Orthodox churches, who also use ancient forms of their national language (Russia and Bulgaria come to mind), could make similar arguments. In any case, all of these arguments would be based on more than theological or ecclesiastical reasons. We all know how important the Church was to the shedding of the Ottoman yoke in the Balkans. We all know that nascent nations do need to have something from their past that they can point to with pride. I just hope that we acknowledge these many and very important non-religious factors that have, nonetheless, become intertwined into our faith.
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« Reply #111 on: April 19, 2010, 12:04:56 PM »

For what it is worth, I came across this:
Quote
Orthodox Bishop Fan Noli, who translated into Dimotiki works of Shakespeare and Henrik Ibsen, emphasized the necessity for a people's language and recalled in his memoirs that because of Katharevousa "there were humorous scenes in a comedy and it happened that no one laughed."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_language_question#cite_note-5

Btw, for those who don't know Greek, by way of some background to this discussion:
http://books.google.com/books?id=b55B1J7I99AC&pg=PA116&dq=Medieval+and+Modern+Greek+Browning+Katharevousa&lr=&cd=1#v=onepage&q&f=false
Medieval and modern Greek By Robert Browning
is somewhat dated, but gives you the idea of the issues.
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« Reply #112 on: April 19, 2010, 12:26:38 PM »

Peter's point on, and Father HLL's eloboration of, the boundaries or freedom of action of a diocesan bishop is on point. Canon 34 does say that the diocesan bishop must not do anything of import without getting his Metropolitan's OK (in this case it would be the Holy Synod). It is clear that the diocesan bishop had not obtained the approval of the Holy Synod. What is not clear is why this issue was considered by the Holy Synod to be a matter of such import that it lays within its purview.

I would submit that language is at the heart of the identification of oneself as part of a particular nation or ethnicity. In the case of modern Greeks/Hellenes, the language may also be what bridges the history of Greeks throughout the ages. It may be that the use of an ancient version of the language means sharing of the glory that once was Greece. It may be that language is integral to the modern interpretation of Hellenism as a universal blessing, that all mankind can benefit from. Thus, I would think that any kind of deviation is a matter of import to all Greeks and/or Hellenes, be they in the Patriarchate of Constantinople or the Church of Greece, in the old country or in the barbarian lands of Australia, the Americas, and even Western Europe.  The following excerpts may be useful in understanding what I am driving at.

"The Ideals of Ancient Greece Important to All
AHEPA members are proud of the contributions the ancient Greeks gifted to Western Civilization.  As Americans, we share many of the values put forth by them: civic responsibility, philanthropy, education, family and individual excellence, and the ideals of democracy.  This is the essence of our heritage.  This is the core of our mission."
http://ahepa.org/dotnetnuke/About/Mission.aspx

"The mission of the Greek Education and Culture Committee of the Atlanta Metropolis is the preservation and promotion of the Greek language: the language of the Bible, Greek Orthodoxy and the Fathers of the Greek Orthodox Church; the language of our ancestors; the richest language and mother of many other languages in the world. Together with the preservation and promotion of the Greek language, the Committee's mission is the promotion of the great Greek civilization, the glorious Greek history and traditions, holy heritage and unsurpassed values for the generations of today and tomorrow."
http://www.atlanta.goarch.org/index.php?pr=Greek_Education

I think other Orthodox churches, who also use ancient forms of their national language (Russia and Bulgaria come to mind), could make similar arguments. In any case, all of these arguments would be based on more than theological or ecclesiastical reasons. We all know how important the Church was to the shedding of the Ottoman yoke in the Balkans. We all know that nascent nations do need to have something from their past that they can point to with pride. I just hope that we acknowledge these many and very important non-religious factors that have, nonetheless, become intertwined into our faith.

This argument can lead to a slippery slope. The devotion to the preservation of an ancient liturgical language may historically be based upon many justifications - both theological and cultural. But, can the justifications actually narrow in the minds of the faithful over the passage of time to rest exclusively upon a misplaced theological assumption?

If that is the case, one is led to an absolutist position that no modern language should ever be used to express the ancient teachings. Why then would Slavonic be excepted from such a broad conclusion? It didn't exist in the days of the Fathers, did it? What about the rubrics of the Church? Are they to reflect say, Constantinopolitan practice of 1450. or 1200 or 700 or 1959? How about pre- and post- Nikonian Russian practice? We can spin round and round until we drop thinking about these things.

In my heart, I truly believe that there is a valid place for our 'old' languages in our devotions. However, this place IMHO should not exclude the modern, spoken word as the primary means to express and propagate our Faith.
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« Reply #113 on: April 19, 2010, 12:34:46 PM »

^
I would say that we are at the slippery slope already. Last week, I watched a u-tube video of many Russian young men and women  being baptized in a river--by Evangelical pastors! In contrast, just yesterday, three heterodox couples showed up at our church. They all had favorable impressions, but I cannot help but think that had our services not been in the vernacular, they would not have stayed around after the Liturgy and socialized with us, asking many questions. BTW, four of the six visitors were Evangelicals.

I completely agree with Handmaiden and you. Sometimes, we just must make a choice between what we want and what the Lord wants.
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« Reply #114 on: April 19, 2010, 12:57:51 PM »

^
I would say that we are at the slippery slope already. Last week, I watched a u-tube video of many Russian young men and women  being baptized in a river--by Evangelical pastors! In contrast, just yesterday, three heterodox couples showed up at our church. They all had favorable impressions, but I cannot help but think that had our services not been in the vernacular, they would not have stayed around after the Liturgy and socialized with us, asking many questions. BTW, four of the six visitors were Evangelicals.

I completely agree with Handmaiden and you. Sometimes, we just must make a choice between what we want and what the Lord wants.

I do agree with you. Often we will hear some of our brothers complain about choral pieces sung in the Slavic tradition by proclaiming,      'The Church is NOT a concert hall." Neither is she a MUSEUM!

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« Reply #115 on: April 19, 2010, 02:45:16 PM »

"Once a Russian called Fr Tobias, who lived in the skete, came to the vigil and revealed to Fr Gideon that he was bored because he did not understand anything in the service. Fr Gideon consoled him: ‘It doesn’t matter: don’t grieve because you don’t understand. Sit in your stall, keep praying and don’t be troubled because you don’t understand. Look at a ship on the sea, there are various passengers on it: Greeks, Romanians, Russians, Arabs. They don’t understand each other but they’re on the same ship, sitting down together, and the ship will take them all to the port. So it is with the Church; it doesn’t matter who is in it, whether they understand or not, the Church will take them all to the port of the Kingdom of Heaven."

- From Elder Gideon the Greek (9 1896) in Lives of Nineteenth Century Athonite Ascetics of Piety by Hieromonk Antony of the Holy Mountain, Jordanville 1988.

I Corinthians 14:23
Rather than just throw up a random reference to some Bible passage, could you please tell us what this passage says and explain how it applies to this discussion?
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« Reply #116 on: April 19, 2010, 02:55:30 PM »

I think we're missing the point on this, y'all.  We're arguing about the decision to forbid the translation of the Liturgy to modern Greek and missing the real objection that this translation, as necessary and good as it may have been, was undertaken unilaterally and didn't have the approval of the whole synod.  It appears that the synod of the Orthodox Church in Greece wants the work of translating the Liturgy to be carried out for the whole of the Church of Greece according to the approval of the synod and not by just one bishop in his own diocese.  Now we can certainly question this resistance to such decision-making by one individual ruling bishop for his own local church, but I think it more accurate to argue over this than over the issue of liturgical translation in and of itself.
This is part of a larger issue of the "Language Question" in Greece.  I am not sure that the reference to "unity' just means CoG, but also the rest of the branches of the Greek Church (C'ple, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Cyprus). Back when the standard language was archaic, that was one thing, but not that that has been abandoned for nearly 40 years, it is quite another. Even in the school in Jerusalem, they teach the Arabs modern Greek, which doesn't mean they can understand the services.  This is somewhat an existential question for the Greeks to decide, but it seems the Holy Synod has either a) made its decision, but not admitting that, or b) ignoring the question, which means it will errupt later.
What decision?  That the Liturgy in Greece is not to be translated to Modern Greek, or that Bishop Meletio rebelled against the authority of the synod by unilaterally conducting the work of translation for his own diocese?  AISI, translation is not the real issue here.  The real issue is the boundary between synodal authority and the right of the local bishop to rule his own diocese.  (Kinda like the issue at the root of the American Civil War:  state rights vs. the authority of the federal government.)
AHEM!!  As an aside, and not to hijack the thread, the "issue at the root of the American Civil War" was SLAVERY - that was the "States Right" the CSA was fighting for; it was the key issue in both the Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850.  Where this effort to cleanse the South of its support for black chattel slavery comes from is beyond me.

Now, back to our sponsor....
I'm not as ignorant as you must think I am, since I have studied this issue a bit.  All I will say is that your assessment of the Civil War is very much debatable and that your assertion does not undermine the analogy I drew from my analysis of the war.
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« Reply #117 on: April 19, 2010, 03:03:50 PM »

And it isn't just my father but all of my relatives and many members of the parish. Heck, when I was going to the GOA Cathedral in Atlanta, I had friends who could read, write, and speak modern Greek fluently, but could not understand the Liturgy.

To keep the Liturgy in a language that the faithful cannot understand is ludicrous and goes against the mission of the Church. Why did the Holy Spirit descend upon the Apostles with the gift of tongues on Pentacost if the Gospel is to be proclaimed in one language only?

On Pascha, we exclaim "Christ is risen!" in a plethora of languages to emphasize the universal message of the Resurrection of Christ. Why then, are we ignorant of the universal message of the Gospel the other 51 weeks of the year?

The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate has been working on approving a standard English translation to be used in all Churches under her Jurisdiction for the past decade. 

I recall seeing an example of the Nicene Creed in Modern Greek and I was mortified.   Shocked  However, if the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece wishes to experiment with Modern Greek translations, no one is stopping them just as no one in the USA stopped the introduction of the Revised Standard Version of the Gospel, which I personally find mortifying.   Shocked
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« Reply #118 on: April 19, 2010, 03:12:51 PM »

His Eminance Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos wrote an article a few days ago on this issue. I don't have the time to translate it fully, but I put it in google translator, and cleaned up the first part. I might be able to clean up parts 2 and 3 sometime later, but for the most part it makes sense. Oh... the English rendering of parts 2 and 3 actually illustrates pretty well the difference between ancient and modern Greek. You all know English, it's a bit clunky, but if you read it slowly you'll be able to understand whats being said.

Here goes...

Recently as never before, there is a 'Frenzy' of translations of liturgical texts and prayers, operating with unpredictable consequences.
One of the consequences, the most characteristic, is creating new hopes of the Divine Liturgy, the use of Homeric words. That is, some moves to simplify the liturgical language, others to "enrich" it in epic terms, while not realizing that the Fathers of the Church were very good at reading Homer.

I think this whole mindset needs to be addressed by the Holy Synod, because arbitrage must stop. Nowadays attempts are being made that were not undertaken during the time of the Turks, but then the level of education was low, now it is high.

There are many arguments have been raised by many against the translation of liturgical prayers, even while it was blessed by Archbishop Christodoulos as he tried to introduce a parallel reading of the Epistle and Gospel  in the vernacular language and it is well known as he realized the damage done to the unity of Church, he restored things to their old state. The new trend is likely to damage the texts of the Divine Liturgy, the holy Mysteries, and other liturgical texts by introducing them into the folk tongue. We risk seeing schisms within the Body of the Church.

Bypassing many arguments against the introduction of the demotic language into divine worship already made, I will confine myself only to emphasize that such an effort is truly deficit of Orthodox theology, not to express myself harder. It shows that there is no basic Orthodox theology, or rather with such a surface is expressed Orthodox theology, based on practical usefulness. The trend was initiated from a pastoral need, however, it selected but the easiest solution. I think that is an influence from the western scholasticism.
Basically, this idea is the "last temptation" of Christ on the Cross faced by bystanders there: "If Thou art the Son of God, save Thyself and descended from the Cross ... Let the Christ the King of Israel come down now from the Cross, so we may see and believe in Him."(Gospel of Mark).

As contemporary Jews of Christ, even the scribes and the High Priests wanted to get Christ down from the Cross to believe in Him to be the Son of God, essentially tempting Christ, so now the act of translation of liturgical texts in some way, wants to take down the knowledge of the Divine Liturgy at a reasonable level rather than experiencing the mystery of the Cross. Ignatius Brantzianinof said: "The Cross is the Cathedral Orthodox theology.”

But, as Jesus did not meet this demand and has remained on the Cross, thus saving people from death, so here, mutatis mutandis, should the Divine Liturgy and the Sacraments to remain at the level of Orthodox theology, as to experience the Cross and Resurrection, and not to descend to the level of intellectualism, rationalism.
I regret that I say that, but I will try to illustrate with the following.
The Language of Symbols

Within the Divine Liturgy in addition to verbal language is the language of symbols, by which it is understood and what can not be understood by the linguistic formulation, which anyway is not enough to fully understand what exactly is going on.

The language of symbols experienced with the lighting of a candle, kissing of a sacred image, the oil lamps that give off tranquil light, the holy vessels and all that is to be found, and all that takes place in the Holy Temple, the way the Small and Great Entrances take place, the way the Presbyters and Deacons function, the way the Presbyters bless etc.

It is worthy noting that the Priest who is about to give the Apostolic blessing, that is to sign the people with the sign of the Cross, makes the Lord’s initials with his right hand, so the language of words is fulfilled with the language of symbols. There is a chance someone might see the grace contained in this blessing, as happened with a Turk, Ahmet, who did not know the Greek language, but he saw the Priest blessing and coming out of the Priest’s hands he saw the rays of Divine Grace, going from his hands to the  all the heads of the Christians that were there, except for his, something which made him believe in Christ, which in turn lead him to Baptism, after which he was martyred.

Within the Divine Liturgy only with the language of symbols can there be involved a little boy who is deaf and mute, but the same goes to us when we participate in Divine Liturgy in foreign languages that we do not understand logically. The identification of our participation in the Divine Liturgy to worship only in the verbal language, overlooking the importance of the symbolic language, in essence assumes that many categories of Christians do not participate in the Divine Liturgy.
Thus, the devaluation of the language symbols and the over appreciation the language of words in the  communion of divine worship is a serious theological problem.

The Logical Vision of Worship

The translation of prayers in order to understand the Divine Liturgy, anapodrastos leads to the view that perceived sense as a center of ecclesiastical and sacramental life, which is the logikokratia and rationalism.

Having said that, I know that another is the right reason is necessary for understanding among the people, for the formation and structure of thought in a reasonable shape, the proposals and the use of words, and another is the rationality that considers the center of all things logic and self-interpreted and even those connected with God and man.

When the Fathers of the Church, the soul is not only sensible course of action, but has other effects, such as mental energy, imagination, feeling, etc. Also, the logic is not a source of knowledge, even for human things . That is why science developed the so-called "emotional intelligence" claiming that there is within man "two minds", the logic and emotion and sees people being apolytopoii only one reason. This is demonstrated by imaging of the brain.

Also, these days we developed the so-called existential philosophy and psychology, which they consider beyond the logic there are other functions in the human person. Here lies the mistake of enlightenment, as shown later, another stream of romanticism, and later school of Chicago, who broke the authority of reason.

If this happens in human affairs, even more so in Orthodox theology. It is known that the center of the view that divine knowledge is the logic and processing done by it, created by Scholastic, and all this meticulous, rational system that we find in Thomas Aquinas and even in his «Summa Theologica».

Saturated and Varlaam by western scholasticism reached an agnosticism and even underestimate the Revelations of God and therefore thought the ancient Greek philosophers excess of the Prophets and the Apostles. Considering that the logic is the noblest part of man given by God, set in a weak position the visions of the Prophets, who believed "Our own noiseos watches.

St. Gregory grinding literally here, as they taught, the visions of the Prophets, the uncreated light seen by the students at Mount Tabor is a great revelation and manifestation of God in man. So the illiterate students was higher than the philosophers who had a strong sense.

Quote even many icons and patristic passages, like the stunning village of St. Gregory the Theologian that orthodox theology "alieftikos (as unlettered Apostles who were fishermen) and not aristotelikos. It is the classic maxim that St. "god frasai impossible noisai (= stochasthinai) and adynatoteron. We can not in logic to understand God. God revealed in the human heart and then makes sense as possible, this Revelation.

The amazing textbook of St. Gregory Palamas "On the sacredly hush 'so-called" Three triplets, thoroughly analyze the issue and has virtually guaranteed passengers.

The view that a logical understanding of liturgical texts in order to participate in divine worship and to gain knowledge of God excludes the illiterate from the worship and knowledge of God, deprive their infants, toddlers and children to worship and Holy Communion.

The western scholasticism is that led to the practice of separation of the Sacrament of Baptism by the sacrament of Confirmation and thus the sacrament of Holy Communion until puberty. The basis for this practice is that to accept the child to handle Confirmation and Holy Communion must understand the logic of what is happening.

We chrioume infants and Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, we know from our theology that infants receive the grace of God and developed before the brain and logic, and then having them act within the mental energy. Even the unborn can receive the Holy Spirit, as was done by John the Baptist, who when he was a baby was six months since the Prophet and made and Mother Profitida at St Gregory Palamas.

I feel that a thorough attempt to introduce a culture of the Orthodox Church with the translations of liturgical texts that we must understand the text reasonably be involved, which reverses the basic theological principle of double methodological knowledge, whereby otherwise known One of a created truth and otherwise know the uncreated truth, God, and part of that. In other words, no single truth about God and the world, and no single method is knowledge of God and the world as supportive of the practice of Western scholasticism.

Therefore, logikokratiki vision of Divine Worship introduces a kind of scholasticism in orthodox theology.

3. The logic and mental worship

Consequence of the above is that the worship of the Church is divided into logical worship and mental worship the man who really damage in the Church may participate together in both cults. This is the basis of Hesychasm Orthodox, the Orthodox niptikis life. According to the teachings of the holy Fathers of the Church of the human soul is rational and mentally. Hence there is a reasonable worship and mental worship.

From the tradition of the Church we know that infants have mental power, whereby they can see angels and saints, but not yet developed the logical brain, which will be refined later, as the child grows.

Thus, the Divine Liturgy is not simply to develop the logic function, but rather the development of mental functioning. That is, the translation of the apostolic blessing to the demotic language as "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you, will never to arrive in humans to understand logically What is the Grace of God, love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit, what is the Triune God and how can the grace of communion.

This knowledge is a matter of mental cardiac experience. The Apostle Paul speaks of engagement given to heart: "And the plus assurer us unto you in Christ and Christ greet God, and advancements sfragisamenos us and the engagement of the Spirit in our hearts" (II Cor a, 21-22 ).

After all, Christ said to His beatitudes necessary condition of pure heart for the sight of God and not the excitement of logic: "Blessed are the pure of heart that they opsontai God" (Matt. e, Cool. The same encounter, and the letters of the Apostles, which speaks to the heart as a prerequisite and basis theoptias.

It is known that when Jesus appeared to His disciples' diinoixen these synienai of the mind to the Scriptures "(Luke x, 45). The knowledge of the mystery is expressed in words is the human mind through the Revelation of God. We see clearly the wish before the Gospel: "illumination in our hearts, philanthropist, O Lord, to the knowledge of God Akiratos ing light and the eye opening of our intellectual (mind) at the preaching of the gospel I understand how ... Council For he, if the illumination of our souls and our bodies ...».

The main purpose of man is not reasonably understand the words, but to get into the depth of mystery, experience and communion emptying of the Son and Word of God through the revelation of God in the pure heart. Hence the apophatic theology is "the Golgotha of the human sense.

This means that the Divine Liturgy, which is reasonable worship, is closely connected with the mental worship. Furthermore, the kingdom of God to speak which many contemporary performers, teachers and academics, which is the manifestation and the communion of the uncreated grace of God, it is a matter of logic processing, but the case of pure mind and pure heart.

Infants, children and the saints participate in the Mass, making a mental worship may see yperkosmia dance floor, which the Saints speak, can see angels, while those based on rational understanding of the words are completely unaware of the knowledge of the mystery.

In the biography of Saint Nicholas Father Plana read that a child who had developed the mental energy he saw the Holy Father functioning Nicholas yperypsoutai to the ground, and shouted with enthusiasm to his mother. I think the kid that attended the Divine Liturgy in fact, even if they do not understand the words, while others were watching the logic simply watched. Or, to express myself in another way, I can not exclude the child from this communion of worship, because they could not understand the words. I guess that attended the Divine Liturgy more abstemious by other scholars who know the etymology and meaning of words.

The Apostle Paul writes: "the ability of us from God, who ikanosen us deacons and New Testament, my letter, but spirit; For what apoktennei letter, and the spirit gives life" (II Cor c 5-6).

Therefore, the mental worship Failure to take a deficit of Orthodox theology.

Generally, those simpler words of divine worship, even those with "high, conceptual, virtual, symbolic and emotional level" to understand logically the one hand, destroy our cultural wealth, on the other hand ignore the orthodox theology in full expression. Orthodox theology is meticulous, rational, but Disclosed mystery. And the mystery is not only logically understood.

Thus, the wording in the spirit moving through all the ascetic tradition of the Church. This means that those who hear analysis of the products and prattomenon the Divine Liturgy, it is also value preaching, the people who participate regularly in the Divine Liturgy can easily understand the letter and, above all, can get into the spirit with purity of heart and knowledge of the symbolic language of the Church.

Filokalikoi The Fathers of the 18th century, and dubbing done in various patristic texts, not daring to compile the wishes of the Divine Liturgy and the Sacraments, though the intellectual level of the people was low.

So, those who remain at a reasonable understanding of liturgical texts show that ignoring the orthodox theology, so when the Great Kingdom 'and my technologousi theologousi. It only needs a reasonable understanding of the texts for translation, but initiation in the life of the Church and the mystery of Christ and emptying of theosis of man.

I think we have some modern Orthodox theology and deficit reflect a theology, which is influenced by the Papal Protestant scholasticism and moralism, so arbitrary and improvise within the Church.
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« Reply #119 on: April 19, 2010, 03:26:39 PM »

His Eminance Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos wrote an article a few days ago on this issue. I don't have the time to translate it fully, but I put it in google translator, and cleaned up the first part. I might be able to clean up parts 2 and 3 sometime later, but for the most part it makes sense. Oh... the English rendering of parts 2 and 3 actually illustrates pretty well the difference between ancient and modern Greek. You all know English, it's a bit clunky, but if you read it slowly you'll be able to understand whats being said.

Here goes...

Recently as never before, there is a 'Frenzy' of translations of liturgical texts and prayers, operating with unpredictable consequences.
One of the consequences, the most characteristic, is creating new hopes of the Divine Liturgy, the use of Homeric words. That is, some moves to simplify the liturgical language, others to "enrich" it in epic terms, while not realizing that the Fathers of the Church were very good at reading Homer.

I think this whole mindset needs to be addressed by the Holy Synod, because arbitrage must stop. Nowadays attempts are being made that were not undertaken during the time of the Turks, but then the level of education was low, now it is high.

There are many arguments have been raised by many against the translation of liturgical prayers, even while it was blessed by Archbishop Christodoulos as he tried to introduce a parallel reading of the Epistle and Gospel  in the vernacular language and it is well known as he realized the damage done to the unity of Church, he restored things to their old state. The new trend is likely to damage the texts of the Divine Liturgy, the holy Mysteries, and other liturgical texts by introducing them into the folk tongue. We risk seeing schisms within the Body of the Church.

Bypassing many arguments against the introduction of the demotic language into divine worship already made, I will confine myself only to emphasize that such an effort is truly deficit of Orthodox theology, not to express myself harder. It shows that there is no basic Orthodox theology, or rather with such a surface is expressed Orthodox theology, based on practical usefulness. The trend was initiated from a pastoral need, however, it selected but the easiest solution. I think that is an influence from the western scholasticism.
Basically, this idea is the "last temptation" of Christ on the Cross faced by bystanders there: "If Thou art the Son of God, save Thyself and descended from the Cross ... Let the Christ the King of Israel come down now from the Cross, so we may see and believe in Him."(Gospel of Mark).

As contemporary Jews of Christ, even the scribes and the High Priests wanted to get Christ down from the Cross to believe in Him to be the Son of God, essentially tempting Christ, so now the act of translation of liturgical texts in some way, wants to take down the knowledge of the Divine Liturgy at a reasonable level rather than experiencing the mystery of the Cross. Ignatius Brantzianinof said: "The Cross is the Cathedral Orthodox theology.”

But, as Jesus did not meet this demand and has remained on the Cross, thus saving people from death, so here, mutatis mutandis, should the Divine Liturgy and the Sacraments to remain at the level of Orthodox theology, as to experience the Cross and Resurrection, and not to descend to the level of intellectualism, rationalism.
I regret that I say that, but I will try to illustrate with the following.
The Language of Symbols

Within the Divine Liturgy in addition to verbal language is the language of symbols, by which it is understood and what can not be understood by the linguistic formulation, which anyway is not enough to fully understand what exactly is going on.

The language of symbols experienced with the lighting of a candle, kissing of a sacred image, the oil lamps that give off tranquil light, the holy vessels and all that is to be found, and all that takes place in the Holy Temple, the way the Small and Great Entrances take place, the way the Presbyters and Deacons function, the way the Presbyters bless etc.

It is worthy noting that the Priest who is about to give the Apostolic blessing, that is to sign the people with the sign of the Cross, makes the Lord’s initials with his right hand, so the language of words is fulfilled with the language of symbols. There is a chance someone might see the grace contained in this blessing, as happened with a Turk, Ahmet, who did not know the Greek language, but he saw the Priest blessing and coming out of the Priest’s hands he saw the rays of Divine Grace, going from his hands to the  all the heads of the Christians that were there, except for his, something which made him believe in Christ, which in turn lead him to Baptism, after which he was martyred.

Within the Divine Liturgy only with the language of symbols can there be involved a little boy who is deaf and mute, but the same goes to us when we participate in Divine Liturgy in foreign languages that we do not understand logically. The identification of our participation in the Divine Liturgy to worship only in the verbal language, overlooking the importance of the symbolic language, in essence assumes that many categories of Christians do not participate in the Divine Liturgy.
Thus, the devaluation of the language symbols and the over appreciation the language of words in the  communion of divine worship is a serious theological problem.

The Logical Vision of Worship

The translation of prayers in order to understand the Divine Liturgy, anapodrastos leads to the view that perceived sense as a center of ecclesiastical and sacramental life, which is the logikokratia and rationalism.

Having said that, I know that another is the right reason is necessary for understanding among the people, for the formation and structure of thought in a reasonable shape, the proposals and the use of words, and another is the rationality that considers the center of all things logic and self-interpreted and even those connected with God and man.

When the Fathers of the Church, the soul is not only sensible course of action, but has other effects, such as mental energy, imagination, feeling, etc. Also, the logic is not a source of knowledge, even for human things . That is why science developed the so-called "emotional intelligence" claiming that there is within man "two minds", the logic and emotion and sees people being apolytopoii only one reason. This is demonstrated by imaging of the brain.

Also, these days we developed the so-called existential philosophy and psychology, which they consider beyond the logic there are other functions in the human person. Here lies the mistake of enlightenment, as shown later, another stream of romanticism, and later school of Chicago, who broke the authority of reason.

If this happens in human affairs, even more so in Orthodox theology. It is known that the center of the view that divine knowledge is the logic and processing done by it, created by Scholastic, and all this meticulous, rational system that we find in Thomas Aquinas and even in his «Summa Theologica».

Saturated and Varlaam by western scholasticism reached an agnosticism and even underestimate the Revelations of God and therefore thought the ancient Greek philosophers excess of the Prophets and the Apostles. Considering that the logic is the noblest part of man given by God, set in a weak position the visions of the Prophets, who believed "Our own noiseos watches.

St. Gregory grinding literally here, as they taught, the visions of the Prophets, the uncreated light seen by the students at Mount Tabor is a great revelation and manifestation of God in man. So the illiterate students was higher than the philosophers who had a strong sense.

Quote even many icons and patristic passages, like the stunning village of St. Gregory the Theologian that orthodox theology "alieftikos (as unlettered Apostles who were fishermen) and not aristotelikos. It is the classic maxim that St. "god frasai impossible noisai (= stochasthinai) and adynatoteron. We can not in logic to understand God. God revealed in the human heart and then makes sense as possible, this Revelation.

The amazing textbook of St. Gregory Palamas "On the sacredly hush 'so-called" Three triplets, thoroughly analyze the issue and has virtually guaranteed passengers.

The view that a logical understanding of liturgical texts in order to participate in divine worship and to gain knowledge of God excludes the illiterate from the worship and knowledge of God, deprive their infants, toddlers and children to worship and Holy Communion.

The western scholasticism is that led to the practice of separation of the Sacrament of Baptism by the sacrament of Confirmation and thus the sacrament of Holy Communion until puberty. The basis for this practice is that to accept the child to handle Confirmation and Holy Communion must understand the logic of what is happening.

We chrioume infants and Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, we know from our theology that infants receive the grace of God and developed before the brain and logic, and then having them act within the mental energy. Even the unborn can receive the Holy Spirit, as was done by John the Baptist, who when he was a baby was six months since the Prophet and made and Mother Profitida at St Gregory Palamas.

I feel that a thorough attempt to introduce a culture of the Orthodox Church with the translations of liturgical texts that we must understand the text reasonably be involved, which reverses the basic theological principle of double methodological knowledge, whereby otherwise known One of a created truth and otherwise know the uncreated truth, God, and part of that. In other words, no single truth about God and the world, and no single method is knowledge of God and the world as supportive of the practice of Western scholasticism.

Therefore, logikokratiki vision of Divine Worship introduces a kind of scholasticism in orthodox theology.

3. The logic and mental worship

Consequence of the above is that the worship of the Church is divided into logical worship and mental worship the man who really damage in the Church may participate together in both cults. This is the basis of Hesychasm Orthodox, the Orthodox niptikis life. According to the teachings of the holy Fathers of the Church of the human soul is rational and mentally. Hence there is a reasonable worship and mental worship.

From the tradition of the Church we know that infants have mental power, whereby they can see angels and saints, but not yet developed the logical brain, which will be refined later, as the child grows.

Thus, the Divine Liturgy is not simply to develop the logic function, but rather the development of mental functioning. That is, the translation of the apostolic blessing to the demotic language as "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you, will never to arrive in humans to understand logically What is the Grace of God, love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit, what is the Triune God and how can the grace of communion.

This knowledge is a matter of mental cardiac experience. The Apostle Paul speaks of engagement given to heart: "And the plus assurer us unto you in Christ and Christ greet God, and advancements sfragisamenos us and the engagement of the Spirit in our hearts" (II Cor a, 21-22 ).

After all, Christ said to His beatitudes necessary condition of pure heart for the sight of God and not the excitement of logic: "Blessed are the pure of heart that they opsontai God" (Matt. e, Cool. The same encounter, and the letters of the Apostles, which speaks to the heart as a prerequisite and basis theoptias.

It is known that when Jesus appeared to His disciples' diinoixen these synienai of the mind to the Scriptures "(Luke x, 45). The knowledge of the mystery is expressed in words is the human mind through the Revelation of God. We see clearly the wish before the Gospel: "illumination in our hearts, philanthropist, O Lord, to the knowledge of God Akiratos ing light and the eye opening of our intellectual (mind) at the preaching of the gospel I understand how ... Council For he, if the illumination of our souls and our bodies ...».

The main purpose of man is not reasonably understand the words, but to get into the depth of mystery, experience and communion emptying of the Son and Word of God through the revelation of God in the pure heart. Hence the apophatic theology is "the Golgotha of the human sense.

This means that the Divine Liturgy, which is reasonable worship, is closely connected with the mental worship. Furthermore, the kingdom of God to speak which many contemporary performers, teachers and academics, which is the manifestation and the communion of the uncreated grace of God, it is a matter of logic processing, but the case of pure mind and pure heart.

Infants, children and the saints participate in the Mass, making a mental worship may see yperkosmia dance floor, which the Saints speak, can see angels, while those based on rational understanding of the words are completely unaware of the knowledge of the mystery.

In the biography of Saint Nicholas Father Plana read that a child who had developed the mental energy he saw the Holy Father functioning Nicholas yperypsoutai to the ground, and shouted with enthusiasm to his mother. I think the kid that attended the Divine Liturgy in fact, even if they do not understand the words, while others were watching the logic simply watched. Or, to express myself in another way, I can not exclude the child from this communion of worship, because they could not understand the words. I guess that attended the Divine Liturgy more abstemious by other scholars who know the etymology and meaning of words.

The Apostle Paul writes: "the ability of us from God, who ikanosen us deacons and New Testament, my letter, but spirit; For what apoktennei letter, and the spirit gives life" (II Cor c 5-6).

Therefore, the mental worship Failure to take a deficit of Orthodox theology.

Generally, those simpler words of divine worship, even those with "high, conceptual, virtual, symbolic and emotional level" to understand logically the one hand, destroy our cultural wealth, on the other hand ignore the orthodox theology in full expression. Orthodox theology is meticulous, rational, but Disclosed mystery. And the mystery is not only logically understood.

Thus, the wording in the spirit moving through all the ascetic tradition of the Church. This means that those who hear analysis of the products and prattomenon the Divine Liturgy, it is also value preaching, the people who participate regularly in the Divine Liturgy can easily understand the letter and, above all, can get into the spirit with purity of heart and knowledge of the symbolic language of the Church.

Filokalikoi The Fathers of the 18th century, and dubbing done in various patristic texts, not daring to compile the wishes of the Divine Liturgy and the Sacraments, though the intellectual level of the people was low.

So, those who remain at a reasonable understanding of liturgical texts show that ignoring the orthodox theology, so when the Great Kingdom 'and my technologousi theologousi. It only needs a reasonable understanding of the texts for translation, but initiation in the life of the Church and the mystery of Christ and emptying of theosis of man.

I think we have some modern Orthodox theology and deficit reflect a theology, which is influenced by the Papal Protestant scholasticism and moralism, so arbitrary and improvise within the Church.


A brutal translation, lol.
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« Reply #120 on: April 19, 2010, 03:26:58 PM »

His Eminance Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos wrote an article a few days ago on this issue. I don't have the time to translate it fully, but I put it in google translator, and cleaned up the first part. I might be able to clean up parts 2 and 3 sometime later, but for the most part it makes sense. Oh... the English rendering of parts 2 and 3 actually illustrates pretty well the difference between ancient and modern Greek. You all know English, it's a bit clunky, but if you read it slowly you'll be able to understand whats being said.

Here goes...

Recently as never before, there is a 'Frenzy' of translations of liturgical texts and prayers, operating with unpredictable consequences.
One of the consequences, the most characteristic, is creating new hopes of the Divine Liturgy, the use of Homeric words. That is, some moves to simplify the liturgical language, others to "enrich" it in epic terms, while not realizing that the Fathers of the Church were very good at reading Homer.

I think this whole mindset needs to be addressed by the Holy Synod, because arbitrage must stop. Nowadays attempts are being made that were not undertaken during the time of the Turks, but then the level of education was low, now it is high.

There are many arguments have been raised by many against the translation of liturgical prayers, even while it was blessed by Archbishop Christodoulos as he tried to introduce a parallel reading of the Epistle and Gospel  in the vernacular language and it is well known as he realized the damage done to the unity of Church, he restored things to their old state. The new trend is likely to damage the texts of the Divine Liturgy, the holy Mysteries, and other liturgical texts by introducing them into the folk tongue. We risk seeing schisms within the Body of the Church.

Bypassing many arguments against the introduction of the demotic language into divine worship already made, I will confine myself only to emphasize that such an effort is truly deficit of Orthodox theology, not to express myself harder. It shows that there is no basic Orthodox theology, or rather with such a surface is expressed Orthodox theology, based on practical usefulness. The trend was initiated from a pastoral need, however, it selected but the easiest solution. I think that is an influence from the western scholasticism.
Basically, this idea is the "last temptation" of Christ on the Cross faced by bystanders there: "If Thou art the Son of God, save Thyself and descended from the Cross ... Let the Christ the King of Israel come down now from the Cross, so we may see and believe in Him."(Gospel of Mark).

As contemporary Jews of Christ, even the scribes and the High Priests wanted to get Christ down from the Cross to believe in Him to be the Son of God, essentially tempting Christ, so now the act of translation of liturgical texts in some way, wants to take down the knowledge of the Divine Liturgy at a reasonable level rather than experiencing the mystery of the Cross. Ignatius Brantzianinof said: "The Cross is the Cathedral Orthodox theology.”

I'm pressed for time but 1) demotic does not=folk, and hasn't for some time now (I'd have to see the original to see what he was refering to for sure). 2) Christ spoke Aramaic, not Hebrew from the Cross, if we want to make comparisons.

I don't know of anyone who wants to put the DL in Epic verse, so I don't know what HE+ is alleging here.

Quote
But, as Jesus did not meet this demand and has remained on the Cross, thus saving people from death, so here, mutatis mutandis, should the Divine Liturgy and the Sacraments to remain at the level of Orthodox theology, as to experience the Cross and Resurrection, and not to descend to the level of intellectualism, rationalism.

hocus pocus, or hoc corpus meus est?

Quote
I regret that I say that, but I will try to illustrate with the following.
The Language of Symbols

Within the Divine Liturgy in addition to verbal language is the language of symbols, by which it is understood and what can not be understood by the linguistic formulation, which anyway is not enough to fully understand what exactly is going on.

The language of symbols experienced with the lighting of a candle, kissing of a sacred image, the oil lamps that give off tranquil light, the holy vessels and all that is to be found, and all that takes place in the Holy Temple, the way the Small and Great Entrances take place, the way the Presbyters and Deacons function, the way the Presbyters bless etc.

It is worthy noting that the Priest who is about to give the Apostolic blessing, that is to sign the people with the sign of the Cross, makes the Lord’s initials with his right hand, so the language of words is fulfilled with the language of symbols. There is a chance someone might see the grace contained in this blessing, as happened with a Turk, Ahmet, who did not know the Greek language, but he saw the Priest blessing and coming out of the Priest’s hands he saw the rays of Divine Grace, going from his hands to the  all the heads of the Christians that were there, except for his, something which made him believe in Christ, which in turn lead him to Baptism, after which he was martyred.

Within the Divine Liturgy only with the language of symbols can there be involved a little boy who is deaf and mute, but the same goes to us when we participate in Divine Liturgy in foreign languages that we do not understand logically. The identification of our participation in the Divine Liturgy to worship only in the verbal language, overlooking the importance of the symbolic language, in essence assumes that many categories of Christians do not participate in the Divine Liturgy.

Excuses, not reasons, not to translate.

Quote
Thus, the devaluation of the language symbols and the over appreciation the language of words in the  communion of divine worship is a serious theological problem.

The Logical Vision of Worship

The translation of prayers in order to understand the Divine Liturgy, anapodrastos leads to the view that perceived sense as a center of ecclesiastical and sacramental life, which is the logikokratia and rationalism.

Having said that, I know that another is the right reason is necessary for understanding among the people, for the formation and structure of thought in a reasonable shape, the proposals and the use of words, and another is the rationality that considers the center of all things logic and self-interpreted and even those connected with God and man.

When the Fathers of the Church, the soul is not only sensible course of action, but has other effects, such as mental energy, imagination, feeling, etc. Also, the logic is not a source of knowledge, even for human things . That is why science developed the so-called "emotional intelligence" claiming that there is within man "two minds", the logic and emotion and sees people being apolytopoii only one reason. This is demonstrated by imaging of the brain.

Also, these days we developed the so-called existential philosophy and psychology, which they consider beyond the logic there are other functions in the human person. Here lies the mistake of enlightenment, as shown later, another stream of romanticism, and later school of Chicago, who broke the authority of reason.

If this happens in human affairs, even more so in Orthodox theology. It is known that the center of the view that divine knowledge is the logic and processing done by it, created by Scholastic, and all this meticulous, rational system that we find in Thomas Aquinas and even in his «Summa Theologica».

Saturated and Varlaam by western scholasticism reached an agnosticism and even underestimate the Revelations of God and therefore thought the ancient Greek philosophers excess of the Prophets and the Apostles. Considering that the logic is the noblest part of man given by God, set in a weak position the visions of the Prophets, who believed "Our own noiseos watches.

St. Gregory grinding literally here, as they taught, the visions of the Prophets, the uncreated light seen by the students at Mount Tabor is a great revelation and manifestation of God in man. So the illiterate students was higher than the philosophers who had a strong sense.

Quote even many icons and patristic passages, like the stunning village of St. Gregory the Theologian that orthodox theology "alieftikos (as unlettered Apostles who were fishermen) and not aristotelikos. It is the classic maxim that St. "god frasai impossible noisai (= stochasthinai) and adynatoteron. We can not in logic to understand God. God revealed in the human heart and then makes sense as possible, this Revelation.

The amazing textbook of St. Gregory Palamas "On the sacredly hush 'so-called" Three triplets, thoroughly analyze the issue and has virtually guaranteed passengers.

The view that a logical understanding of liturgical texts in order to participate in divine worship and to gain knowledge of God excludes the illiterate from the worship and knowledge of God, deprive their infants, toddlers and children to worship and Holy Communion.

The western scholasticism is that led to the practice of separation of the Sacrament of Baptism by the sacrament of Confirmation and thus the sacrament of Holy Communion until puberty. The basis for this practice is that to accept the child to handle Confirmation and Holy Communion must understand the logic of what is happening.

We chrioume infants and Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, we know from our theology that infants receive the grace of God and developed before the brain and logic, and then having them act within the mental energy. Even the unborn can receive the Holy Spirit, as was done by John the Baptist, who when he was a baby was six months since the Prophet and made and Mother Profitida at St Gregory Palamas.

I feel that a thorough attempt to introduce a culture of the Orthodox Church with the translations of liturgical texts that we must understand the text reasonably be involved, which reverses the basic theological principle of double methodological knowledge, whereby otherwise known One of a created truth and otherwise know the uncreated truth, God, and part of that. In other words, no single truth about God and the world, and no single method is knowledge of God and the world as supportive of the practice of Western scholasticism.

Therefore, logikokratiki vision of Divine Worship introduces a kind of scholasticism in orthodox theology.

Somehow I doubt the Greek would clear things up here: seems to be saying words don't matter.


Quote
3. The logic and mental worship

Consequence of the above is that the worship of the Church is divided into logical worship and mental worship the man who really damage in the Church may participate together in both cults. This is the basis of Hesychasm Orthodox, the Orthodox niptikis life. According to the teachings of the holy Fathers of the Church of the human soul is rational and mentally. Hence there is a reasonable worship and mental worship.

From the tradition of the Church we know that infants have mental power, whereby they can see angels and saints, but not yet developed the logical brain, which will be refined later, as the child grows.

Thus, the Divine Liturgy is not simply to develop the logic function, but rather the development of mental functioning. That is, the translation of the apostolic blessing to the demotic language as "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you, will never to arrive in humans to understand logically What is the Grace of God, love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit, what is the Triune God and how can the grace of communion.

This knowledge is a matter of mental cardiac experience. The Apostle Paul speaks of engagement given to heart: "And the plus assurer us unto you in Christ and Christ greet God, and advancements sfragisamenos us and the engagement of the Spirit in our hearts" (II Cor a, 21-22 ).

After all, Christ said to His beatitudes necessary condition of pure heart for the sight of God and not the excitement of logic: "Blessed are the pure of heart that they opsontai God" (Matt. e, Cool. The same encounter, and the letters of the Apostles, which speaks to the heart as a prerequisite and basis theoptias.

It is known that when Jesus appeared to His disciples' diinoixen these synienai of the mind to the Scriptures "(Luke x, 45). The knowledge of the mystery is expressed in words is the human mind through the Revelation of God. We see clearly the wish before the Gospel: "illumination in our hearts, philanthropist, O Lord, to the knowledge of God Akiratos ing light and the eye opening of our intellectual (mind) at the preaching of the gospel I understand how ... Council For he, if the illumination of our souls and our bodies ...».

The main purpose of man is not reasonably understand the words, but to get into the depth of mystery, experience and communion emptying of the Son and Word of God through the revelation of God in the pure heart. Hence the apophatic theology is "the Golgotha of the human sense.

This means that the Divine Liturgy, which is reasonable worship, is closely connected with the mental worship. Furthermore, the kingdom of God to speak which many contemporary performers, teachers and academics, which is the manifestation and the communion of the uncreated grace of God, it is a matter of logic processing, but the case of pure mind and pure heart.

Infants, children and the saints participate in the Mass, making a mental worship may see yperkosmia dance floor, which the Saints speak, can see angels, while those based on rational understanding of the words are completely unaware of the knowledge of the mystery.

In the biography of Saint Nicholas Father Plana read that a child who had developed the mental energy he saw the Holy Father functioning Nicholas yperypsoutai to the ground, and shouted with enthusiasm to his mother. I think the kid that attended the Divine Liturgy in fact, even if they do not understand the words, while others were watching the logic simply watched. Or, to express myself in another way, I can not exclude the child from this communion of worship, because they could not understand the words. I guess that attended the Divine Liturgy more abstemious by other scholars who know the etymology and meaning of words.

The Apostle Paul writes: "the ability of us from God, who ikanosen us deacons and New Testament, my letter, but spirit; For what apoktennei letter, and the spirit gives life" (II Cor c 5-6).

Therefore, the mental worship Failure to take a deficit of Orthodox theology.

Generally, those simpler words of divine worship, even those with "high, conceptual, virtual, symbolic and emotional level" to understand logically the one hand, destroy our cultural wealth, on the other hand ignore the orthodox theology in full expression. Orthodox theology is meticulous, rational, but Disclosed mystery. And the mystery is not only logically understood.

Thus, the wording in the spirit moving through all the ascetic tradition of the Church. This means that those who hear analysis of the products and prattomenon the Divine Liturgy, it is also value preaching, the people who participate regularly in the Divine Liturgy can easily understand the letter and, above all, can get into the spirit with purity of heart and knowledge of the symbolic language of the Church.

Filokalikoi The Fathers of the 18th century, and dubbing done in various patristic texts, not daring to compile the wishes of the Divine Liturgy and the Sacraments, though the intellectual level of the people was low.

So, those who remain at a reasonable understanding of liturgical texts show that ignoring the orthodox theology, so when the Great Kingdom 'and my technologousi theologousi. It only needs a reasonable understanding of the texts for translation, but initiation in the life of the Church and the mystery of Christ and emptying of theosis of man.

I think we have some modern Orthodox theology and deficit reflect a theology, which is influenced by the Papal Protestant scholasticism and moralism, so arbitrary and improvise within the Church.

Is he propsing that the Faithful be kept on a milk diet?
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« Reply #121 on: April 19, 2010, 03:29:17 PM »

Peter's point on, and Father HLL's eloboration of, the boundaries or freedom of action of a diocesan bishop is on point. Canon 34 does say that the diocesan bishop must not do anything of import without getting his Metropolitan's OK (in this case it would be the Holy Synod). It is clear that the diocesan bishop had not obtained the approval of the Holy Synod. What is not clear is why this issue was considered by the Holy Synod to be a matter of such import that it lays within its purview.

I would submit that language is at the heart of the identification of oneself as part of a particular nation or ethnicity. In the case of modern Greeks/Hellenes, the language may also be what bridges the history of Greeks throughout the ages. It may be that the use of an ancient version of the language means sharing of the glory that once was Greece. It may be that language is integral to the modern interpretation of Hellenism as a universal blessing, that all mankind can benefit from. Thus, I would think that any kind of deviation is a matter of import to all Greeks and/or Hellenes, be they in the Patriarchate of Constantinople or the Church of Greece, in the old country or in the barbarian lands of Australia, the Americas, and even Western Europe.  The following excerpts may be useful in understanding what I am driving at.

"The Ideals of Ancient Greece Important to All
AHEPA members are proud of the contributions the ancient Greeks gifted to Western Civilization.  As Americans, we share many of the values put forth by them: civic responsibility, philanthropy, education, family and individual excellence, and the ideals of democracy.  This is the essence of our heritage.  This is the core of our mission."
http://ahepa.org/dotnetnuke/About/Mission.aspx

"The mission of the Greek Education and Culture Committee of the Atlanta Metropolis is the preservation and promotion of the Greek language: the language of the Bible, Greek Orthodoxy and the Fathers of the Greek Orthodox Church; the language of our ancestors; the richest language and mother of many other languages in the world. Together with the preservation and promotion of the Greek language, the Committee's mission is the promotion of the great Greek civilization, the glorious Greek history and traditions, holy heritage and unsurpassed values for the generations of today and tomorrow."
http://www.atlanta.goarch.org/index.php?pr=Greek_Education

I think other Orthodox churches, who also use ancient forms of their national language (Russia and Bulgaria come to mind), could make similar arguments. In any case, all of these arguments would be based on more than theological or ecclesiastical reasons. We all know how important the Church was to the shedding of the Ottoman yoke in the Balkans. We all know that nascent nations do need to have something from their past that they can point to with pride. I just hope that we acknowledge these many and very important non-religious factors that have, nonetheless, become intertwined into our faith.

This argument can lead to a slippery slope. The devotion to the preservation of an ancient liturgical language may historically be based upon many justifications - both theological and cultural. But, can the justifications actually narrow in the minds of the faithful over the passage of time to rest exclusively upon a misplaced theological assumption?

If that is the case, one is led to an absolutist position that no modern language should ever be used to express the ancient teachings. Why then would Slavonic be excepted from such a broad conclusion? It didn't exist in the days of the Fathers, did it? What about the rubrics of the Church? Are they to reflect say, Constantinopolitan practice of 1450. or 1200 or 700 or 1959? How about pre- and post- Nikonian Russian practice? We can spin round and round until we drop thinking about these things.

In my heart, I truly believe that there is a valid place for our 'old' languages in our devotions. However, this place IMHO should not exclude the modern, spoken word as the primary means to express and propagate our Faith.

All good points.  
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« Reply #122 on: April 19, 2010, 03:36:44 PM »

^
Sometimes, we just must make a choice between what we want and what the Lord wants.

Excellent statement.   That's the difficult part.  We have to be a people that are more than just nominal Christians in order to even consider that we must make this choice.  What God wants is not even on the radar screen for many of our people (clergy included).  We must constantly struggle and pray that God delivers us from our own reasonings.  Otherwise we will continue to be in the mess that we are in or worse. 
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« Reply #123 on: April 19, 2010, 03:37:07 PM »

Peter's point on, and Father HLL's eloboration of, the boundaries or freedom of action of a diocesan bishop is on point. Canon 34 does say that the diocesan bishop must not do anything of import without getting his Metropolitan's OK (in this case it would be the Holy Synod). It is clear that the diocesan bishop had not obtained the approval of the Holy Synod. What is not clear is why this issue was considered by the Holy Synod to be a matter of such import that it lays within its purview.

I would submit that language is at the heart of the identification of oneself as part of a particular nation or ethnicity. In the case of modern Greeks/Hellenes, the language may also be what bridges the history of Greeks throughout the ages. It may be that the use of an ancient version of the language means sharing of the glory that once was Greece. It may be that language is integral to the modern interpretation of Hellenism as a universal blessing, that all mankind can benefit from. Thus, I would think that any kind of deviation is a matter of import to all Greeks and/or Hellenes, be they in the Patriarchate of Constantinople or the Church of Greece, in the old country or in the barbarian lands of Australia, the Americas, and even Western Europe.  The following excerpts may be useful in understanding what I am driving at.

"The Ideals of Ancient Greece Important to All
AHEPA members are proud of the contributions the ancient Greeks gifted to Western Civilization.  As Americans, we share many of the values put forth by them: civic responsibility, philanthropy, education, family and individual excellence, and the ideals of democracy.  This is the essence of our heritage.  This is the core of our mission."
http://ahepa.org/dotnetnuke/About/Mission.aspx

"The mission of the Greek Education and Culture Committee of the Atlanta Metropolis is the preservation and promotion of the Greek language: the language of the Bible, Greek Orthodoxy and the Fathers of the Greek Orthodox Church; the language of our ancestors; the richest language and mother of many other languages in the world. Together with the preservation and promotion of the Greek language, the Committee's mission is the promotion of the great Greek civilization, the glorious Greek history and traditions, holy heritage and unsurpassed values for the generations of today and tomorrow."
http://www.atlanta.goarch.org/index.php?pr=Greek_Education

I think other Orthodox churches, who also use ancient forms of their national language (Russia and Bulgaria come to mind), could make similar arguments. In any case, all of these arguments would be based on more than theological or ecclesiastical reasons. We all know how important the Church was to the shedding of the Ottoman yoke in the Balkans. We all know that nascent nations do need to have something from their past that they can point to with pride. I just hope that we acknowledge these many and very important non-religious factors that have, nonetheless, become intertwined into our faith.

This argument can lead to a slippery slope. The devotion to the preservation of an ancient liturgical language may historically be based upon many justifications - both theological and cultural. But, can the justifications actually narrow in the minds of the faithful over the passage of time to rest exclusively upon a misplaced theological assumption?

If that is the case, one is led to an absolutist position that no modern language should ever be used to express the ancient teachings. Why then would Slavonic be excepted from such a broad conclusion? It didn't exist in the days of the Fathers, did it? What about the rubrics of the Church? Are they to reflect say, Constantinopolitan practice of 1450. or 1200 or 700 or 1959? How about pre- and post- Nikonian Russian practice? We can spin round and round until we drop thinking about these things.

In my heart, I truly believe that there is a valid place for our 'old' languages in our devotions. However, this place IMHO should not exclude the modern, spoken word as the primary means to express and propagate our Faith.

All good points.  

While we Orthodox twiddle around, the devil does his work and more Pentacostals baptize the churched and the unchurched in the Dneiper and elsewhere across the globe. The Theotokos surely weeps for Her Son's Church, left to the hands of man's vanity and fear.
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« Reply #124 on: April 19, 2010, 03:41:28 PM »

How can the people say Amen to something that is not understood?

This is something that needs to not just be addressed by the Church in Greece, but the Church in Diaspora as well. Any parish that uses a language that is not the vernacular of the people has to be aware that the faithful will have no idea as to what is going on.

I saw this clearly illustrated to me last with with my very own father.

My Dad was raised in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church his entire life. Every time he would try to follow along in the Liturgy books, he would get lost, frustrated, put the book down, and carry along even though he did not know what was going on. (He does not speak/read/write Ukrainian, and for most of his life the Liturgy in our parish was done mostly in Ukrainian, with a little English. Only in recent years that has changed.)

He keeps telling me he wants to learn the Liturgy.

Last week I had a cold, so rather than going up in the choir I sat with him during Liturgy and tried to help him along in the service book. He kept getting lost and frustrated, but really tried to stick with it.

At one point he leaned over and said to me "Where are we?"

We had just started to sing "Otche Nash."

In my mind, since I studied a little Ukrainian (very little...very, very little) and I sing in the choir, I *know* this is the "Our Father." For a moment I was going to give him a look like "How can you not know what this is?"

Then it occurred to me, "Why should he know? He doesn't speak the language."

So I simply pointed it out to him and carried on.

This broke my heart. For over 57 years my father has been coming to Church every week, not knowing when the most fundamental prayer of our faith, the prayer given to us by Christ himself began.

And it isn't just my father but all of my relatives and many members of the parish. Heck, when I was going to the GOA Cathedral in Atlanta, I had friends who could read, write, and speak modern Greek fluently, but could not understand the Liturgy.

To keep the Liturgy in a language that the faithful cannot understand is ludicrous and goes against the mission of the Church. Why did the Holy Spirit descend upon the Apostles with the gift of tongues on Pentacost if the Gospel is to be proclaimed in one language only?

On Pascha, we exclaim "Christ is risen!" in a plethora of languages to emphasize the universal message of the Resurrection of Christ. Why then, are we ignorant of the universal message of the Gospel the other 51 weeks of the year?

Excellent post.  Perhaps this should be submitted to the UOW.   
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« Reply #125 on: April 19, 2010, 04:29:34 PM »

Some recent anecdotes from a GOA parish:

Priest: I think I'm going to have you read the Epistle in Hebrew next week.
Me: But no one, including me, will know what I am saying.
Priest: No one knows what you are saying when you read it in Greek, either.
(No, I didn't do it, and yes, we read it in English whenever they LET us.)

Quote
In my mind, since I studied a little Ukrainian (very little...very, very little) and I sing in the choir, I *know* this is the "Our Father." For a moment I was going to give him a look like "How can you not know what this is?"

My dad can recite the Lord's Prayer and Creed in Greek, but cannot translate either.

Quote
ialmisry: ...hoc corpus meus est

It took me a minute to figure out what this meant Wink

Quote
ialmisry: Is he propsing that the Faithful be kept on a milk diet?

Not long after Holy Week, my dad was somewhat upset because someone showed him a Russian icon of the Descent into Hades. He had no idea that Orthodox believe in the Descent into Hades; he thought it was Roman Catholics only. If 10% of the Holy Week services had been a language he could understand...

Want to hear another one? A priest in Greece has the Epistle read in English. People go up to him after the Liturgy and tell him they understood the Reading for the first time in their life....
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« Reply #126 on: April 19, 2010, 04:32:54 PM »

Hey Everyone! Hristos Anesti!

Wonder how they are planning on rendering that in modern Greek... um.... you can't. Koinie Greek and modern Greek are 98% related, and many words are shared. It's not two languages. It's the modern and ancient version of the same language, so there is no issue about translating. Many of the hymns like the eight resurrectional troparia, the hymns from the octoechos for Sundays, the hymns for major saints and major feasts - including kathismata, stihira, eirmoi for the canons doxastika - are known to the average Church goer. The Holy Week hymns sung at Matins each night, especially of the last few days, and of Pascha are imprinted I'd say in the faithfuls memory and heart. Changing all that would.... it would ruin ecclesiastical life. First of all they can't be re rendered, simplifying them will just cause them to loose their depth and beauty.

The main argument for modern Greek is: Why, people don't come cause they don't understand!

People don't come because they are lazy and just would rather stay up all night partying and then sleep in on Sunday morning, in other words they don't care. Greece as a nation has been on the down hill since being freed from the Turks in 1821, one disaster after the other. Like where to begin. They brought in a Catholic monarch to rule them, and everyone went to modernize the Church and be pro Western. They eventually changed the order of services, and then the calender in 1924. In the late 70s when the social democrats took over they did away with politonics (multiple stresses in the alphabet) which only the Church retained. Result? You can still read Church texts, but with some difficulty. They also stopped teaching kids koinie Greek in school. Now everyone knows about the massive campaign the social democrats are undertaking to rid the Church from society. Taking down icons from government institutions, schools, court rooms etc, abolishing morning prayer in the schools so we don't "offend" anyone. Alls I have to say about that is this, when you come to my house, you follow my rules. They let in all those Albanians are Muslims and God knows what else, the place is going to turn out into a little Kurdistan pretty soon. The new thing now is to tax the Church to kingdom come. And people who don't know anything will say oh yes, the Greek Church is rich, owns everything, so tax it! Ok and who is going to run Greece's social program? The Government, I don't think so. The Church is welfare, food pantry line, shut in visitor, homeless shelter provider, alcoholics anonymous provider, drug helper, psychological help counselor you name it: the Orthodox Church in Greece is the backbone of the country. Rip it out, everything will collapse.

Our kids are genius. All of them have picked up either German, Italian, English, French, or Spanish. They are all bilingual. Yet for some reason the government persists in telling them that they won't be able to grasp classical Greek, which is very much related to what we speak in our daily lives. In order to "understand" classical Greek one must just pay closer attention, focus more, and come to Church often. Our children have a mania with listening to foreign music which they can't understand one word of, yet they tell us that our kids are 100 percent clueless and they can't even get a general gist of what is going on. Please. Obviously, "someone" is trying to use the youth's lack of Church attendance to further some sort of secret agenda to ultimately crash the Greek Church on the rocks.

The question isn't about understand, people understand whats going on. The question is to simplify the texts, so we can get all wishy washy, it will effect our theology, we will introduce some heresies too, we will add some guitars, take out the Altar put it in the middle of the Church so people can "understand" whats going on, we will do teach and learn Proskomedia (that's already being done), and maybe we'll get some girls to serve, heck maybe even a woman priest. Maybe even a woman Bishop. Hello Vatican II, and hello Church of England.

So you see... this most definitely ain't about "understanding." It's about buldozzing a 5,000 year old society and creating... something, well to put it mildly, re inventing the Soviet Union. That's to put it mildly.

I hope to translate Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos recent article on this issue, as well as the Metropolis of Pireaus recent statement on this.

Rd. Ioannis



Amen to your words.  Those of us with eyes to see know what road all these subtile "reforms" are going to lead us down.  I believe that there is more of an ulterior motive to all these demands for the use of "modern" languages in place of the ancient ones in our sacred Liturgies. 
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« Reply #127 on: April 19, 2010, 04:57:02 PM »

The example of infants being charismated and communed does not refute, I think, the need for a liturgy in the vernacular. Infants might not understand the liturgy, but they don't think about it either. However, I've heard many adults misrepresent Orthodox theology and espouse outright heresies because they simply either don't understand or misunderstand the liturgy. When the liturgy can be understood, it serves to teach and guide the people present in the orthodox faith. When the liturgy cannot be understood, the people are left without that guide.

My professor of Greek as an undergraduate, a member of a Russian Orthodox church, expressed dismay at how many people in his parish did not really get the fact that Jesus Christ is the incarnate Logos, the Son of the Father and the second person of the Holy Trinity, even though this point is expressed again and again in the Liturgy. These sometimes elderly parishioners had been attending church for decades, but only memorized the Church Slavonic by rote and never really thought about what was being said.
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« Reply #128 on: April 19, 2010, 04:58:06 PM »


At the risk of being called a heretic again, the West has already set forth a model of sacred music in the Gregorian chant of the Catholic Church.

***I AM NOT SAYING THE ORTHODOX CHURCH SHOULD ADOPT GREGORIAN CHANT***

What I am saying is, that it has already been proven that Western chant can be written, it can be sacred, non-emotive, and can be quite beautiful.

Handmaiden: I agree with you except on the above issue.

I just read somewhere that the Gregorian was an adaptation of the Byzantine. In any case, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the Gregorian chant. You said it all when you said "...Western chant can be written, it can be sacred, non-emotive, and can be quite beautiful." I think those are indeed the standards that all Orthodox music strives to achieve. Now, it is true that folks can turn any type of music into operatic performances (listen to any dueling Greek, Bulgarian or Arabic chanters; or to some of the elaborate choral pieces in the Slavic tradition). Same with gospel or spirituals. You have the simplicity of "Down to the River to Pray" in Bluegrass a cappella, on the one hand, and say "Onward Christian Soldiers" with the organ a-blaring and folks a-hollering on the other hand. The same can be said of the difference between old-time spirituals and modern African-American gospel sounds, or between tender and not terribly emotive ballads such as "Just as I Am" or "Amazing Grace," and the modern rock-based praise songs.

When it comes down to music, the beauty is often in the ear of the hearer but  when it comes to church music, it should match the ethos and the approach of the church. Thus, I find immense satisfaction in Orthodox melodies that are simple yet melodic so that most everybody can sing along. And, these simple melodies are not necessarily restricted to Slavic ones: even in the Russian music, you will often see "Greek melody, adapted by X/y/z).
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« Reply #129 on: April 19, 2010, 05:08:10 PM »

His Eminance Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos wrote an article a few days ago on this issue.

Do you have a source?  Thanks.   Smiley
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« Reply #130 on: April 19, 2010, 05:18:47 PM »

If people don't know the faith, its because they haven't been catechized properly. If your a prayerful person and you approach Church with real humility and senserity, you'll experience the grace of God. Everyone standing under the sun feels its warmth.

Do I have a source, sure do! Smiley http://www.romfea.gr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4790:-q-q&catid=26:2009-12-18-08-38-40&Itemid=123

If I'm living in Africa and the local Church serves in Swahili, will I be benefited in absolutely no way from the Mysteries and Church services because I can't understand?? Thinking that to not understand = to leave with absolutely nothing is a very Latin and Western way of looking at it. Besides, God doesn't communicate with us using languages. He communicates to us in silence through the heart.

Rd. Ioannis
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« Reply #131 on: April 19, 2010, 05:19:35 PM »

The call for the use of modern languages is a cop out for the poor cathechesis which has taken place in the last 1-2 Centuries or so.

In the "Diaspora" (specifically the GOA) the Sunday School has been hijacked by GOYA with basketball tournaments and the like.  I recall attending Sunday School classes where there were only one or two attendees because of GOYA and Church dances, et al which I could neither afford nor chose not to attend.

My Sunday School classes were taught in English, not ancient Greek, not modern Greek and yet I understood both the ancient Greek and the English as served in the Liturgy and other services.  I would imagine similar analogies would be used for Ukrainian, Russian, Arabic, et al.  To this day, I see many of my former Sunday School teachers who taught me the Orthodox faith and very few of them relate to me in an "Orthodox mindset."  So much for "do as I say and not as I do."

Obviously, Modern Greek is spoken in Greece.  If the tenets of Orthodoxy cannot be communicated in modern languages, then the Hierarchy and the flock deserve the consequences of choosing to apostatize.   Angry
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« Reply #132 on: April 19, 2010, 05:26:29 PM »

If people don't know the faith, its because they haven't been catechized properly. If your a prayerful person and you approach Church with real humility and senserity sincerity, you'll experience the grace of God. Everyone standing under the sun feels its warmth.

Do I have a source, sure do! Smiley http://www.romfea.gr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4790:-q-q&catid=26:2009-12-18-08-38-40&Itemid=123

If I'm living in Africa and the local Church serves in Swahili, will I be benefited in absolutely no way from the Mysteries and Church services because I can't understand?? Thinking that to not understand = to leave with absolutely nothing is a very Latin and Western way of looking at it. Besides, God doesn't communicate with us using languages. He communicates to us in silence through the heart.

If one doesn't know Swahili, the Divine Services remain the same.  I don't know Arabic; yet, I have no problem following Services in Arabic whether or not I have a service book in front of me.  If I were in presence of a DL in Swahili, I would still be able to follow the service.  Unfortunately, many of us choose to take the easy way out by claiming not to understand.
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« Reply #133 on: April 19, 2010, 05:37:38 PM »

If people don't know the faith, its because they haven't been catechized properly.

Sadly, many Orthodox priests show no interest in catechizing their parishioners. As a catechumen, I've spent time in parishes where my request for instruction in the faith was answered by "Just attend services, that's all you need to do". When the liturgy is not in the vernacular, that means essentially no catechesis.

I miss churches in the West because, with the large amount of converts coming in, the priest is more likely to schedule time to sit down and teach. In the Old World, there's no tradition for that.
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« Reply #134 on: April 19, 2010, 05:40:57 PM »

The call for the use of modern languages is a cop out for the poor cathechesis which has taken place in the last 1-2 Centuries or so.



Give me a break. Don't tell me that my ancestors were better educated in the Church when they were landless peasants scattered across Europe. I can't speak for Greeks but most of us Slavs who are now Orthodox in the United States trace their origins to Austria Hungary or Tsarist Russia where the great-grandparents of the American baby-boomer generation were illiterate serfs tied to the manor and the feudal lords until the time of the American Civil War. In Austria Hungary even the Orthodox clergy were serfs and uneducated. In Orthodox Russia their counterparts fared little better until the 19th century in terms of their education. One of the historical reasons that the Ukrainian and Rusyn clergy adopted the Unia in the 16th and 17th centuries was to raise their societal status out of serfdom so as to be on the same level as the Roman clergy in the Hungarian empire. The peasants learned faith by means of oral traditions handed down within families, rote recitation of prayers and by the veneration of Holy Icons and the scenes they depicted. Many beliefs were not even Christian, having survived in folk culture from pagan days. Yet despite all of this, the Faith was preserved and handed down by these pious and God fearing people in spite of their illiteracy. But we are no longer illiterate. God has blessed us and allowed the type of class and societal distinctions that existed for much of the first two millennia of the Church to disappear. I am sorry, but the notion that a dead language is needed to preserve a living Faith is, frankly to use a word that some of you apparently think is heresy - simply irrational.

This is an interesting discussion with a wide range of honestly held, deeply divided opinions. It is not my intention to offend anyone in their opinions, I just want to state the basis of my disagreement with them.

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« Reply #135 on: April 19, 2010, 05:41:23 PM »

If one doesn't know Swahili, the Divine Services remain the same.  I don't know Arabic; yet, I have no problem following Services in Arabic whether or not I have a service book in front of me.  If I were in presence of a DL in Swahili, I would still be able to follow the service.  Unfortunately, many of us choose to take the easy way out by claiming not to understand.

The main difference is that for many people every Liturgy is in Swahili. You attended the Liturgies in the language you know and they did not. They don't have the point they could catch.
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« Reply #136 on: April 19, 2010, 05:49:58 PM »

The call for the use of modern languages is a cop out for the poor cathechesis which has taken place in the last 1-2 Centuries or so.

In the "Diaspora" (specifically the GOA) the Sunday School has been hijacked by GOYA with basketball tournaments and the like.  I recall attending Sunday School classes where there were only one or two attendees because of GOYA and Church dances, et al which I could neither afford nor chose not to attend.

My Sunday School classes were taught in English, not ancient Greek, not modern Greek and yet I understood both the ancient Greek and the English as served in the Liturgy and other services.  I would imagine similar analogies would be used for Ukrainian, Russian, Arabic, et al.  To this day, I see many of my former Sunday School teachers who taught me the Orthodox faith and very few of them relate to me in an "Orthodox mindset."  So much for "do as I say and not as I do."

Obviously, Modern Greek is spoken in Greece.  If the tenets of Orthodoxy cannot be communicated in modern languages, then the Hierarchy and the flock deserve the consequences of choosing to apostatize.   Angry

I agree completely that one can participate in the Liturgy whether or not one understands the language. I also agree that if one happens to live in a place where the Liturgy is served in the non-vernacular, there is no excuse for a serious Christian not to know what is going on, even if one cannot learn the language. However, that does not alter the fact that the experience is always better if you can actualy understand it. Also, even though people will know the hymns that are sung every week by heart (Trisagion, Cherubic Hymn, etc), no one benefits whatsoever from the less common hymns or the priest's parts if they do not know what is being said. It is not asking too much for people to learn the weekly hymns by heart. They should. But it is aking way too much for people to know everything that is being done/said if they do not know the language. Why would you ever use a language people have to learn when you could use one the already understand?

Let me put it in yet another perspective. For us cradles, serving the Liturgy in another language is really not that big a problem. But how do you ever expect to gain converts? "If you want to become Orthodox, you have to learn to understand this Liturgy in Ancient Greek/Medieval Slavonic/Arabic/insert language." That is not the mission of the Church. What a miserable failure. Two generations from now, what will the Church in America look like? I do not know what the situation is Greece or Russia is, but here in America, English is the long-term solution.
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« Reply #137 on: April 19, 2010, 05:53:40 PM »

I Corinthians 14:23

Going a little Protestant are we?? All you have to do is toss out a Bible verse and we all must fall into agreement?? I offered a quote from a source that presents a perspective on the issue at hand. I don't require you to agree with it, and I'm sure you don't. But certainly as a perspective it's at least due a little consideration.

Not only this but 1 Cor. 14.14-17.   How can the people say Amen to something that is not understood?  Perhaps we can just make it silent and have the deacon respond on behalf of the people.   Wink

Father, I can't speak for all people, but as a convert I have found the DL quite easy to follow along with. I have no conversational Ukrainian whatsoever, but the only time I don't understand what's being said is the homily, and in my case, my parish has two priests who every week each do a homily--one in Ukrainian and one in English. I also have found I am more than capable of following along in DLs in Greek, Arabic, Church Slavonic etc. I have noticed in some parishes that young people will complain that they can't follow along, and they even speak the language. I don't sit at home reading the liturgical texts, I just go to Church, pray and come home.

AHEM!!  As an aside, and not to hijack the thread, the "issue at the root of the American Civil War" was SLAVERY - that was the "States Right" the CSA was fighting for; it was the key issue in both the Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850.  Where this effort to cleanse the South of its support for black chattel slavery comes from is beyond me.

Now, back to our sponsor....

No matter what the CSA was fighting FOR, the Union was not fighting to free slaves, but to preserve the Union.
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« Reply #138 on: April 19, 2010, 06:05:19 PM »

The call for the use of modern languages is a cop out for the poor cathechesis which has taken place in the last 1-2 Centuries or so.

Give me a break. Don't tell me that my ancestors were better educated in the Church when they were landless peasants scattered across Europe.

My ancestors were also landless and iliterate peasants.  Even the Clergy in Greece, in those times, were illiterate by serving services from memory and not because they knew how to read them.

I can't speak for Greeks but most of us Slavs who are now Orthodox in the United States trace their origins to Austria Hungary or Tsarist Russia where the great-grandparents of the American baby-boomer generation were illiterate serfs tied to the manor and the feudal lords until the time of the American Civil War. In Austria Hungary even the Orthodox clergy were serfs and uneducated.

What is the point of your history lesson when both Greeks and Slavs you describe were illiterate, landless peasants?   Huh

In Orthodox Russia their counterparts fared little better until the 19th century in terms of their education. One of the historical reasons that the Ukrainian and Rusyn clergy adopted the Unia in the 16th and 17th centuries was to raise their societal status out of serfdom so as to be on the same level as the Roman clergy in the Hungarian empire.

So they sold out Orthodoxy for a better social status - sounds like what many have done in the USA from ALL Orthodox Jurisdictions.

The peasants learned faith by means of oral traditions handed down within families, rote recitation of prayers and by the veneration of Holy Icons and the scenes they depicted. Many beliefs were not even Christian, having survived in folk culture from pagan days. Yet despite all of this, the Faith was preserved and handed down by these pious and God fearing people in spite of their illiteracy. But we are no longer illiterate. God has blessed us and allowed the type of class and societal distinctions that existed for much of the first two millennia of the Church to disappear. I am sorry, but the notion that a dead language is needed to preserve a living Faith is, frankly to use a word that some of you apparently think is heresy - simply irrational.

I never said that the use of dead languages were needed to preserve a living Faith.  What I said is that the demand for services in the vernacular is a response to the failure to catechize in the modern Language what was being said in the ancient Language.

This is an interesting discussion with a wide range of honestly held, deeply divided opinions. It is not my intention to offend anyone in their opinions, I just want to state the basis of my disagreement with them.

You said it yourself that people embraced Eastern Catholicism to improve and raise their social status just as many people in the Diaspora have rejected ancient languages to maintain or elevate their social status.  That hasn't changed especially in Greece where they want to become just like the Europeans; Interpret that as you see fit.   Smiley
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« Reply #139 on: April 19, 2010, 06:19:02 PM »

The call for the use of modern languages is a cop out for the poor cathechesis which has taken place in the last 1-2 Centuries or so.

In the "Diaspora" (specifically the GOA) the Sunday School has been hijacked by GOYA with basketball tournaments and the like.  I recall attending Sunday School classes where there were only one or two attendees because of GOYA and Church dances, et al which I could neither afford nor chose not to attend.

My Sunday School classes were taught in English, not ancient Greek, not modern Greek and yet I understood both the ancient Greek and the English as served in the Liturgy and other services.  I would imagine similar analogies would be used for Ukrainian, Russian, Arabic, et al.  To this day, I see many of my former Sunday School teachers who taught me the Orthodox faith and very few of them relate to me in an "Orthodox mindset."  So much for "do as I say and not as I do."

Obviously, Modern Greek is spoken in Greece.  If the tenets of Orthodoxy cannot be communicated in modern languages, then the Hierarchy and the flock deserve the consequences of choosing to apostatize.   Angry

I agree completely that one can participate in the Liturgy whether or not one understands the language. I also agree that if one happens to live in a place where the Liturgy is served in the non-vernacular, there is no excuse for a serious Christian not to know what is going on, even if one cannot learn the language. However, that does not alter the fact that the experience is always better if you can actualy understand it. Also, even though people will know the hymns that are sung every week by heart (Trisagion, Cherubic Hymn, etc), no one benefits whatsoever from the less common hymns or the priest's parts if they do not know what is being said. It is not asking too much for people to learn the weekly hymns by heart. They should. But it is aking way too much for people to know everything that is being done/said if they do not know the language. Why would you ever use a language people have to learn when you could use one the already understand?

Let me put it in yet another perspective. For us cradles, serving the Liturgy in another language is really not that big a problem. But how do you ever expect to gain converts? "If you want to become Orthodox, you have to learn to understand this Liturgy in Ancient Greek/Medieval Slavonic/Arabic/insert language." That is not the mission of the Church. What a miserable failure. Two generations from now, what will the Church in America look like? I do not know what the situation is Greece or Russia is, but here in America, English is the long-term solution.

What if the Gospel has been thoroughly evangelized in one's own language and people choose to either understand the Gospel based on their own reasoning or reject the Gospel without taking the time to understand it.  I brought up in another thread how a long time friend of mine and his wife were baptized in a non-denominational Evangelical Christian Church.  They view Orthodox Christianity as political, cultural and language dependent and my friend warns me that his wife will find Orthodox Christianity offensive to her.  I can rebut those arguments; however, I risk losing him and his wife as friends which is something that I can accept.

People can choose to identify with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church based on their own understanding and not by an externally imposed entity.  I apologize if I deviated from the thread; however, the use of Modern Languages will not help gain converts because people already have their own understanding of God in their own language.
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« Reply #140 on: April 19, 2010, 06:36:13 PM »

The call for the use of modern languages is a cop out for the poor cathechesis which has taken place in the last 1-2 Centuries or so.

In the "Diaspora" (specifically the GOA) the Sunday School has been hijacked by GOYA with basketball tournaments and the like.  I recall attending Sunday School classes where there were only one or two attendees because of GOYA and Church dances, et al which I could neither afford nor chose not to attend.

My Sunday School classes were taught in English, not ancient Greek, not modern Greek and yet I understood both the ancient Greek and the English as served in the Liturgy and other services.  I would imagine similar analogies would be used for Ukrainian, Russian, Arabic, et al.  To this day, I see many of my former Sunday School teachers who taught me the Orthodox faith and very few of them relate to me in an "Orthodox mindset."  So much for "do as I say and not as I do."

Obviously, Modern Greek is spoken in Greece.  If the tenets of Orthodoxy cannot be communicated in modern languages, then the Hierarchy and the flock deserve the consequences of choosing to apostatize.   Angry

I agree completely that one can participate in the Liturgy whether or not one understands the language. I also agree that if one happens to live in a place where the Liturgy is served in the non-vernacular, there is no excuse for a serious Christian not to know what is going on, even if one cannot learn the language. However, that does not alter the fact that the experience is always better if you can actualy understand it. Also, even though people will know the hymns that are sung every week by heart (Trisagion, Cherubic Hymn, etc), no one benefits whatsoever from the less common hymns or the priest's parts if they do not know what is being said. It is not asking too much for people to learn the weekly hymns by heart. They should. But it is aking way too much for people to know everything that is being done/said if they do not know the language. Why would you ever use a language people have to learn when you could use one the already understand?

Let me put it in yet another perspective. For us cradles, serving the Liturgy in another language is really not that big a problem. But how do you ever expect to gain converts? "If you want to become Orthodox, you have to learn to understand this Liturgy in Ancient Greek/Medieval Slavonic/Arabic/insert language." That is not the mission of the Church. What a miserable failure. Two generations from now, what will the Church in America look like? I do not know what the situation is Greece or Russia is, but here in America, English is the long-term solution.

What if the Gospel has been thoroughly evangelized in one's own language and people choose to either understand the Gospel based on their own reasoning or reject the Gospel without taking the time to understand it.  I brought up in another thread how a long time friend of mine and his wife were baptized in a non-denominational Evangelical Christian Church.  They view Orthodox Christianity as political, cultural and language dependent and my friend warns me that his wife will find Orthodox Christianity offensive to her.  I can rebut those arguments; however, I risk losing him and his wife as friends which is something that I can accept.

People can choose to identify with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church based on their own understanding and not by an externally imposed entity.  I apologize if I deviated from the thread; however, the use of Modern Languages will not help gain converts because people already have their own understanding of God in their own language.

The GOA gets very few converts. Most of them go into the Antiochian Archdiocese or other jurisdictions where English is more commonly used. Why?
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« Reply #141 on: April 19, 2010, 06:42:55 PM »

The GOA gets very few converts. Most of them go into the Antiochian Archdiocese or other jurisdictions where English is more commonly used. Why?

The Antiochians and OCA have done a better job in using modern English to articulate the Orthodox Faith.

The GOA receives a fair share of converts thanks to a vast majority of Priests being proficient in Modern English.  However, the political and cultural aspects of the past permeate the GOA (which I've expounded elsewhere).  The Antiochians and OCA may celebrate the 4th of July; however, I doubt they celebrate the fall of the Caliphate (Antioch) or even the fall of the USSR (OCA) with parades down 5th Avenue in NYC and high stepping men and women dressed in military fatigues.   Smiley
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« Reply #142 on: April 19, 2010, 06:54:26 PM »

If people don't know the faith, its because they haven't been catechized properly.
LOL. Of course not. They are too busy in language classes.... Roll Eyes

I had a friend who was going to marry an Orthodox.  He was studying a language book, and explained to me how "they don't go to Sunday school to learn about God. They go to learn X [language omitted here so as to not single anyone out]."

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If your a prayerful person and you approach Church with real humility and senserity, you'll experience the grace of God. Everyone standing under the sun feels its warmth.

Even the unattentive, and those just lying about on the grass.

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Do I have a source, sure do! Smiley http://www.romfea.gr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4790:-q-q&catid=26:2009-12-18-08-38-40&Itemid=123

If I'm living in Africa and the local Church serves in Swahili, will I be benefited in absolutely no way from the Mysteries and Church services because I can't understand??

If you die, you will not benefit from the prayers of the Church services for you? Is that a valid excuse not to go while you are living?

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Thinking that to not understand = to leave with absolutely nothing is a very Latin and Western way of looking at it.

Are you saying not thinking is Eastern?
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There is a story that a woman once interrupted one of John Chrysostom's sermons to complain that she could not understand half of what he was saying.
He immediately switched to the vernacular.
Medieval and modern Greek By Robert Browning p. 50
http://books.google.com/books?id=b55B1J7I99AC&pg=PA50&dq=Medieval+Greek+Chrysostom+Woman+not+understand&cd=1#v=onepage&q&f=false

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Besides, God doesn't communicate with us using languages. He communicates to us in silence through the heart.
Then we can go to Church, sit around in silence, and be Quakers.
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« Reply #143 on: April 19, 2010, 07:01:47 PM »

Well, since in our church the liturgy has been in a higher and now slightly antiquated form of the vernacular for about three centuries-more in some places-I don't see how that turned the faithful into armchair theologians, supposedly the goal of the liturgy, as I gather from some comments.
They, I would argue, are as well catechized as the Greeks or the Serbs or the Russians.
I talked to some old women, and although they get the words of the services because it is their own language, they often don't get the meaning because they are unfamiliar with basic theological concepts. Yet, that doesn't stop anybody from coming to church and from praying.
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« Reply #144 on: April 19, 2010, 07:06:44 PM »

Well, since in our church the liturgy has been in a higher and now slightly antiquated form of the vernacular for about three centuries-more in some places-I don't see how that turned the faithful into armchair theologians, supposedly the goal of the liturgy, as I gather from some comments.

How is knowing the tenets of the Orthodox Faith in one's own language equivalent to being an armchair theologian?   Huh
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« Reply #145 on: April 19, 2010, 07:46:24 PM »

Well, since in our church the liturgy has been in a higher and now slightly antiquated form of the vernacular for about three centuries-more in some places-I don't see how that turned the faithful into armchair theologians, supposedly the goal of the liturgy, as I gather from some comments.
They, I would argue, are as well catechized as the Greeks or the Serbs or the Russians.
I talked to some old women, and although they get the words of the services because it is their own language, they often don't get the meaning because they are unfamiliar with basic theological concepts. Yet, that doesn't stop anybody from coming to church and from praying.

The DL in Romania is not in antiquated form of the vernacular.  To see the difference look at the Patriarchal edition of the Bucarest Bible. The facing page is in modern Romanian script which transliterates the old Romanian Cyrillic script. THAT's antiquated. Btw, the introduction is written on Patriarch Dositheus of Synod of Jerusalem fame, in which he goes on on the importance of the sacred texts in the people's language.

They're not supposed to be armchair theologians.  They're supposed to be standing or prostrating.
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« Reply #146 on: April 19, 2010, 08:28:55 PM »

The GOA gets very few converts.

Totally untrue. Between 1982 and 1996, there were 23,823 converts received into the GOA by Holy Chrismation. I don't have the actual stats from the Chancellor since 1996, but a very conservative estimate would be an additional 20,000. That's conversion in house. Then there are people like me, having been received as a convert elsewhere and now worshiping or serving in the GOA. A survey conducted by the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute found that 29 percent of people in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese are converts, which means there are at least 80,000 converts in the GOA today. Quite probably several ten thousand more.

Most of them go into the Antiochian Archdiocese or other jurisdictions where English is more commonly used.

Debatable. When I was at SVS, they told me the best estimates put the OCA's membership at less than 50,000. Sociologists at Hartford and the U.S. Congregational Survey put the Antiochian Archdiocese at about 50,000 as well. If true, that would mean there are more converts in the GOA than there are total members in the OCA or Antiochian Archdiocese. Even if that's not true, it is quite unlikely that there are more converts. The numbers just aren't there.
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« Reply #147 on: April 19, 2010, 08:34:14 PM »

The DL in Romania is not in antiquated form of the vernacular.

As a historical linguist and speaker of Romanian as a second language, I disagree. The amount of words in the Romanian divine liturgy no longer in vernacular use (except in discussing the liturgy or stock phrases not understood literally) is legion: just out of the top of my head: strana, smerenie, evlavie, slava, locas, savarsi, glas... And some of these words were probably never in use in the vernacular, but were introduced by borrowing or calquing the Slavonic -- liturgical Romanian is to some extent artificial just like Church Slavonic.

That said, liturgical Romanian is close enough to the vernacular that it is easy to pick up, but one should not claim that it is the contemporary language. When I first moved to Romania, I had few friends and my contact with the Romanian language was in church, so I learned from there. Once I started making acquaintances, they all laughed at my quaint way of speaking.

Except perhaps for the recent translations of the Divine Liturgy into African languages like Kikuyu, there's probably no liturgical language that isn't antiquated. Even the translation of the liturgy of the Finnish Orthodox Church, not even a hundred years old, is already rather musty-sounding due to the immense changes that have taken place in Finnish over the last 50 years especially.
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« Reply #148 on: April 19, 2010, 08:48:05 PM »

The GOA gets very few converts.

Totally untrue. Between 1982 and 1996, there were 23,823 converts received into the GOA by Holy Chrismation. I don't have the actual stats from the Chancellor since 1996, but a very conservative estimate would be an additional 20,000. That's conversion in house. Then there are people like me, having been received as a convert elsewhere and now worshiping or serving in the GOA. A survey conducted by the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute found that 29 percent of people in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese are converts, which means there are at least 80,000 converts in the GOA today. Quite probably several ten thousand more.

Most of them go into the Antiochian Archdiocese or other jurisdictions where English is more commonly used.

Debatable. When I was at SVS, they told me the best estimates put the OCA's membership at less than 50,000. Sociologists at Hartford and the U.S. Congregational Survey put the Antiochian Archdiocese at about 50,000 as well. If true, that would mean there are more converts in the GOA than there are total members in the OCA or Antiochian Archdiocese. Even if that's not true, it is quite unlikely that there are more converts. The numbers just aren't there.

The GOA does tend to have a stronger presence, at least in some parts of the country. Where I live, there are a whole lot of Orthodox parishes from almost every jurisdiction imaginable. The amount of English they use is directly proportional to the number of converts they get, even if the parish is tiny. When people who do not speak the ancient language get a choice of where to go, they go to where they speak English.
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« Reply #149 on: April 19, 2010, 10:24:45 PM »

How can the people say Amen to something that is not understood?

This is something that needs to not just be addressed by the Church in Greece, but the Church in Diaspora as well. Any parish that uses a language that is not the vernacular of the people has to be aware that the faithful will have no idea as to what is going on.

I saw this clearly illustrated to me last with with my very own father.

My Dad was raised in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church his entire life. Every time he would try to follow along in the Liturgy books, he would get lost, frustrated, put the book down, and carry along even though he did not know what was going on. (He does not speak/read/write Ukrainian, and for most of his life the Liturgy in our parish was done mostly in Ukrainian, with a little English. Only in recent years that has changed.)

He keeps telling me he wants to learn the Liturgy.

Last week I had a cold, so rather than going up in the choir I sat with him during Liturgy and tried to help him along in the service book. He kept getting lost and frustrated, but really tried to stick with it.

At one point he leaned over and said to me "Where are we?"

We had just started to sing "Otche Nash."

In my mind, since I studied a little Ukrainian (very little...very, very little) and I sing in the choir, I *know* this is the "Our Father." For a moment I was going to give him a look like "How can you not know what this is?"

Then it occurred to me, "Why should he know? He doesn't speak the language."

So I simply pointed it out to him and carried on.

This broke my heart. For over 57 years my father has been coming to Church every week, not knowing when the most fundamental prayer of our faith, the prayer given to us by Christ himself began.

And it isn't just my father but all of my relatives and many members of the parish. Heck, when I was going to the GOA Cathedral in Atlanta, I had friends who could read, write, and speak modern Greek fluently, but could not understand the Liturgy.

To keep the Liturgy in a language that the faithful cannot understand is ludicrous and goes against the mission of the Church. Why did the Holy Spirit descend upon the Apostles with the gift of tongues on Pentacost if the Gospel is to be proclaimed in one language only?

On Pascha, we exclaim "Christ is risen!" in a plethora of languages to emphasize the universal message of the Resurrection of Christ. Why then, are we ignorant of the universal message of the Gospel the other 51 weeks of the year?

Excellent post.  Perhaps this should be submitted to the UOW.   


Thank you Father! Although they probably would only print it if I provided a Ukrainian translation!  laugh

I kid, I kid

But oooh I get so frustrated when they print articles solely in Ukrainian without an English translation!  Angry
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« Reply #150 on: April 19, 2010, 10:48:31 PM »

The DL in Romania is not in antiquated form of the vernacular.

As a historical linguist and speaker of Romanian as a second language, I disagree. The amount of words in the Romanian divine liturgy no longer in vernacular use (except in discussing the liturgy or stock phrases not understood literally) is legion: just out of the top of my head: strana, smerenie, evlavie, slava, locas, savarsi, glas... And some of these words were probably never in use in the vernacular, but were introduced by borrowing or calquing the Slavonic -- liturgical Romanian is to some extent artificial just like Church Slavonic.

Interesting, none of your terms are here:
http://ro.orthodoxwiki.org/List%C4%83_de_arhaisme_%C3%AEn_c%C4%83r%C5%A3ile_de_cult

I just put a search on the internet, and each of your terms come up in non-liturgical contexts.  Even Slava (mărirea is what I am used to, though).


Quote
That said, liturgical Romanian is close enough to the vernacular that it is easy to pick up, but one should not claim that it is the contemporary language. When I first moved to Romania, I had few friends and my contact with the Romanian language was in church, so I learned from there. Once I started making acquaintances, they all laughed at my quaint way of speaking.

Except perhaps for the recent translations of the Divine Liturgy into African languages like Kikuyu,

If it has a basilect (and few languages don't), I am sure it was used.

Quote
there's probably no liturgical language that isn't antiquated. Even the translation of the liturgy of the Finnish Orthodox Church, not even a hundred years old, is already rather musty-sounding due to the immense changes that have taken place in Finnish over the last 50 years especially.
I'll have to take your word on that.
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« Reply #151 on: April 19, 2010, 10:51:09 PM »

What if the Gospel has been thoroughly evangelized in one's own language and people choose to either understand the Gospel based on their own reasoning or reject the Gospel without taking the time to understand it.  I brought up in another thread how a long time friend of mine and his wife were baptized in a non-denominational Evangelical Christian Church.  They view Orthodox Christianity as political, cultural and language dependent and my friend warns me that his wife will find Orthodox Christianity offensive to her.  I can rebut those arguments; however, I risk losing him and his wife as friends which is something that I can accept.

People can choose to identify with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church based on their own understanding and not by an externally imposed entity.  I apologize if I deviated from the thread; however, the use of Modern Languages will not help gain converts because people already have their own understanding of God in their own language.

I honestly don't understand what the benefit of keeping the services in a language that no one understands is supposed to be? Tell me, how do people benefit from that which they don't understand?

Were Ss. Cyril and Methodious supposed to have the Slavs worship in Ancient Greek for all eternity?

The arguement makes absolutely no sense!

You are saying "people choose to identify with the church or they don't." How are they supposed to identify with that which they don't understand.

If we pray what we believe, how are people supposed to know what we believe if they don't understand what we are praying?

I'm not just referring to converts, but "cradle" Orthodox Christians as well. My parish had a sound Sunday School System, yet my father still does not understand the Liturgy.

There is no reason that after 57 years of consistent attendance my father shouldn't know that the first Antiphon is Psalm 103, and yet he doesn't. Why? Because it's in a foreign language.

There is no Biblical or Canonical reason to keep the Liturgy in a foreign language. Koine Greek and Church Slavonic are not any "holier" than any other language on earth, so why keep the services in that which is incomprehensible to the layperson?
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« Reply #152 on: April 19, 2010, 11:26:37 PM »


That page is a very initial attempt. There are hundreds of words from Christian texts that could be added there.

Quote
I just put a search on the internet, and each of your terms come up in non-liturgical contexts.

A cursory Google search for lacas comes up only with church contexts -- look, all the top hits have the words biserica or manastire -- and the DEX entry notes that it is a rare word preserved only in this context. Glas and slava occasionally come up, but only in the literary standard, not the vernacular. When I've used glas in conversation as opposed to voce, or slava as opposed to glorie, the response is giggles and "why are you talking like a priest?" savarsi also gets a dictionary comment that it is obsolete; the current vernacular uses termina. smerenie gets a dictionary comment that it is restricted to church usage; the vernacular uses umilinta. Strana is so archaic that my friends that I've just asked who are not churchgoers cannot even guess what it means.


Quote
If it has a basilect (and few languages don't), I am sure it was used.

The notion that translations must be derived from a "basilect" is rubbish. Ss. Cyril and Methodius didn't translate the gospels into some florid literary language, but rather into the same everyday language they heard from their mother and fellow Thessalonians growing up. The Greek elements are generally ascribed to the speed with which they prepared their translation, with no time to polish out Hellenisms, and much recent scholarship has focused on how much they sought to avoid Greek influence.
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« Reply #153 on: April 20, 2010, 12:04:00 AM »

What if the Gospel has been thoroughly evangelized in one's own language and people choose to either understand the Gospel based on their own reasoning or reject the Gospel without taking the time to understand it.  I brought up in another thread how a long time friend of mine and his wife were baptized in a non-denominational Evangelical Christian Church.  They view Orthodox Christianity as political, cultural and language dependent and my friend warns me that his wife will find Orthodox Christianity offensive to her.  I can rebut those arguments; however, I risk losing him and his wife as friends which is something that I can accept.

People can choose to identify with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church based on their own understanding and not by an externally imposed entity.  I apologize if I deviated from the thread; however, the use of Modern Languages will not help gain converts because people already have their own understanding of God in their own language.

I honestly don't understand what the benefit of keeping the services in a language that no one understands is supposed to be? Tell me, how do people benefit from that which they don't understand?

In 2010, people are free to worship God in any language that they desire and understand.  I attend predominantly GOA Churches because I understand the Greek traditions, language and culture.   Wink  I could worship in an Orthodox Church where English is the vernacular; however, my loyalty (if that is the appropriate word) is to the GOA.  In an earlier post, I mentioned how my Sunday School classes were decimated by GOYA tournaments and Church functions.  My father made sure my sister and I attended Sunday School every Sunday.  The dedication and devotion from my father stuck with me and I wanted to learn more about my Orthodox faith.

Were Ss. Cyril and Methodious supposed to have the Slavs worship in Ancient Greek for all eternity?

The arguement makes absolutely no sense!

Sts. Cyril and Methodius believed that the Slavs were the only unenlightened people remaining on Earth at that time.  Therefore, the invention of Church Slavonic was appropriate for the Slavs to help them understand the Orthodox faith.  The Slavs were not a pluralistic society by any stretch of the imagination like the USA.
 
You are saying "people choose to identify with the church or they don't." How are they supposed to identify with that which they don't understand.

What you ask requires discussion like Sunday School attendance (or frequency of Cathethetical instruction) and what is taught in Sunday School (or Catechism) by whom.

If we pray what we believe, how are people supposed to know what we believe if they don't understand what we are praying?

I don't know.  The choices people make are the answer in that they stop attending Church.

I'm not just referring to converts, but "cradle" Orthodox Christians as well. My parish had a sound Sunday School System, yet my father still does not understand the Liturgy.

What kind of Sunday School instruction would your father have received in the late 1950's, early 1960's?  Was the instruction in English?  Have you asked him?   Huh

There is no reason that after 57 years of consistent attendance my father shouldn't know that the first Antiphon is Psalm 103, and yet he doesn't. Why? Because it's in a foreign language.

If no one taught your father in Ukrainian that Psalm 103 was the first Antiphon, how would he know?  Even if he was taught the significance of Psalm 103, people forget.   Embarrassed

There is no Biblical or Canonical reason to keep the Liturgy in a foreign language. Koine Greek and Church Slavonic are not any "holier" than any other language on earth, so why keep the services in that which is incomprehensible to the layperson?

The layperson has a multitude of options to worship God.  Example, every Roman Catholic Mass that I've attended (a grand total of 2 or 3 times) has been 100% English.  In the Orthodox Church, no one can agree on a suitable English translation and as the OP posted in northern Greece, a translation to modern Greek has caused scandal.  There are over 200 English translations of the Bible and Orthodox Churches in the USA use different translations seemingly at random.  What if there were 200 different English translations of the Divine Liturgy?  Would Orthodox Christianity fragment based on the English translation used by a particular Church? Diocese? Archdiocese? Metropolis?

The Old Church Slavonic and Koine Greek have been around for centuries, if not longer.  If there was one suitable English translation, I would agree with you; however, there are hundreds to choose from and not every English translation accurately communicates the Orthodox faith, practice and mindset like the ancient languages.   Smiley
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« Reply #154 on: April 20, 2010, 12:16:19 AM »

Sts. Cyril and Methodius believed that the Slavs were the only unenlightened people remaining on Earth at that time.  Therefore, the invention of Church Slavonic was appropriate for the Slavs to help them understand the Orthodox faith.

Your assertion that they "believed that the Slavs were the only unenlightened people remaining on Earth at that time" is patently false. St. Cyril had attempted to evangelize the Khazars but failed, and the Byzantines of the time knew well of the Finno-Ugrian and Turkic peoples. Furthermore, Ss. Cyril and Methodius did not "invent Church Slavonic". Church Slavonic is a language dating from hundreds of years later. They simply translated liturgical materials into their own vernacular. Only in retrospect did this language gain the appelation "Old Church Slavonic".
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« Reply #155 on: April 20, 2010, 12:27:35 AM »

Sts. Cyril and Methodius believed that the Slavs were the only unenlightened people remaining on Earth at that time.  Therefore, the invention of Church Slavonic the Glagolithic script was appropriate for the Slavs to help them understand the Orthodox faith.

Your assertion that they "believed that the Slavs were the only unenlightened people remaining on Earth at that time" is patently false. St. Cyril had attempted to evangelize the Khazars but failed, and the Byzantines of the time knew well of the Finno-Ugrian and Turkic peoples. Furthermore, Ss. Cyril and Methodius did not "invent Church Slavonic". Church Slavonic is a language dating from hundreds of years later. They simply translated liturgical materials into their own vernacular. Only in retrospect did this language gain the appelation "Old Church Slavonic".

I am aware that the Khazars ultimately chose Judaism and I apologize for claiming that Church Slavonic was invented by Sts. Cyril and Methodius.   Embarrassed   I hope the purple text is the proper correction.

Is the bolded text a reference to the Magyars who ultimately chose Roman Catholicism about 3 Centuries after Sts. Cyril and Methodius?
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« Reply #156 on: April 20, 2010, 12:39:11 AM »


That page is a very initial attempt. There are hundreds of words from Christian texts that could be added there.

Quote
I just put a search on the internet, and each of your terms come up in non-liturgical contexts.

A cursory Google search for lacas comes up only with church contexts -- look, all the top hits have the words biserica or manastire -- and the DEX entry notes that it is a rare word preserved only in this context.

It means temple, so that would narrow its non-liturgical usage a bit.  It is, however, used to refer to a mosque or a synagoge:
http://ro.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moschee
http://ro.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinagoga_Neolog%C4%83_din_Arad
Btw, where does it appear in the DL?

Quote
Glas and slava occasionally come up, but only in the literary standard, not the vernacular.

"Glas" I've come across enough in vernacular. Slava I've only come across in Church contexts and set phrases before, seeing it here
http://ro.wikipedia.org/wiki/Od%C4%83_bucuriei
but usually I've seen/heard "marirea" in Church.

Quote
When I've used glas in conversation as opposed to voce, or slava as opposed to glorie, the response is giggles and "why are you talking like a priest?"

My ex used "glas," definitely not a priest.

Quote
savarsi also gets a dictionary comment that it is obsolete; the current vernacular uses termina.
http://ro.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tentativ%C4%83

Quote
smerenie gets a dictionary comment that it is restricted to church usage; the vernacular uses umilinta. Strana is so archaic that my friends that I've just asked who are not churchgoers cannot even guess what it means.

How many pews are in Romanian Orthodox Churches?

Most liturgical words are Slavic, something that I was always aware of listening to my ex and the inlaws prattle on, amongst other Romanians.  Btw, IIRC I was told "gloria" was a Transylvanianism.

Quote
If it has a basilect (and few languages don't), I am sure it was used.

The notion that translations must be derived from a "basilect" is rubbish. Ss. Cyril and Methodius didn't translate the gospels into some florid literary language, but rather into the same everyday language they heard from their mother and fellow Thessalonians growing up. The Greek elements are generally ascribed to the speed with which they prepared their translation, with no time to polish out Hellenisms, and much recent scholarship has focused on how much they sought to avoid Greek influence.
[/quote]
Greek loans don't necessary have anything to do with higher registers. In Egypt, for example, they predominate in the colloquial, not the Classical. As to the Slavs, features as retension of all the dual forms hints at something that probably disappeared from normal speech. Just because a people are preliterate doesn't mean they haven't cultivated a standard, Classical Arabic and the Avesta Language are proof of that.
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« Reply #157 on: April 20, 2010, 12:49:21 AM »

My ex used "glas," definitely not a priest.

Glas is still used for some specialized contexts, but not in the general sense found in the liturgical language.

Quote
Quote
savarsi also gets a dictionary comment that it is obsolete; the current vernacular uses termina.
http://ro.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tentativ%C4%83

Again, the word is not used in the same meaning as in liturgical language. The general sense has disappeared, being replaced by other lexemes.

Quote
How many pews are in Romanian Orthodox Churches?

Quite a few in the churches in my town. But in any event, strana primarily means "people" as opposed to "clergy" (the meaning "pew" is a semantic extension) < Sl. strana "nation, crowd". This word was part of spoken Romanian centuries ago, but it has disappeared entirely. Were the Divine Liturgy in Romanian in "the vernacular" as you claimed above, it would not be using this word.

Quote
As to the Slavs, features as retension of all the dual forms hints at something that probably disappeared from normal speech.

The dual was alive and well in Common Slavonic at the time, disappearing only a couple of centuries after Ss. Cyril and Methodius. It still survives in Slovenian and Sorbian.

Quote
Just because a people are preliterate doesn't mean they haven't cultivated a standard.

The language of Ss. Cyril and Methodius possesses none of the features of an oral literary standard.
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« Reply #158 on: April 20, 2010, 12:55:04 AM »

May I point out that the central text of Christianity, the New Testament, was written in very simple vernacular, and that the Old Testament was read by Jews and Christians alike in Greek, not Hebrew? Does this mean anything to people?

For most people, who do not engage in extensive study of the faith in their own time, the Liturgy is their weekly exposure to the Gospel. Like the Four Gospels in the New Testament canon, should not the Liturgy be in a language people can fully understand?
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« Reply #159 on: April 20, 2010, 01:03:18 AM »

"Glas" is definitely used outside of a church context; we used it all the time, at home. My grandma would say "Ca stiu'ca n-are glas defel popa iesta" ("He has no voice whatsoever this priest" in the local parlance of Western Transylvania).
The list in wikipedia is amateurish , some of the words there not being archaisms.
"Strana" is also used and known to virtually everybody. It doesn't mean 'people" but the chanters' stand, whence "the chanters". I've known it since times immemorial.
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« Reply #160 on: April 20, 2010, 05:30:58 AM »

What if the Gospel has been thoroughly evangelized in one's own language and people choose to either understand the Gospel based on their own reasoning or reject the Gospel without taking the time to understand it.  I brought up in another thread how a long time friend of mine and his wife were baptized in a non-denominational Evangelical Christian Church.  They view Orthodox Christianity as political, cultural and language dependent and my friend warns me that his wife will find Orthodox Christianity offensive to her.  I can rebut those arguments; however, I risk losing him and his wife as friends which is something that I can accept.

People can choose to identify with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church based on their own understanding and not by an externally imposed entity.  I apologize if I deviated from the thread; however, the use of Modern Languages will not help gain converts because people already have their own understanding of God in their own language.

I honestly don't understand what the benefit of keeping the services in a language that no one understands is supposed to be? Tell me, how do people benefit from that which they don't understand?

In 2010, people are free to worship God in any language that they desire and understand.  I attend predominantly GOA Churches because I understand the Greek traditions, language and culture.   Wink  I could worship in an Orthodox Church where English is the vernacular; however, my loyalty (if that is the appropriate word) is to the GOA.  In an earlier post, I mentioned how my Sunday School classes were decimated by GOYA tournaments and Church functions.  My father made sure my sister and I attended Sunday School every Sunday.  The dedication and devotion from my father stuck with me and I wanted to learn more about my Orthodox faith.

Were Ss. Cyril and Methodious supposed to have the Slavs worship in Ancient Greek for all eternity?

The arguement makes absolutely no sense!

Sts. Cyril and Methodius believed that the Slavs were the only unenlightened people remaining on Earth at that time.  Therefore, the invention of Church Slavonic was appropriate for the Slavs to help them understand the Orthodox faith.  The Slavs were not a pluralistic society by any stretch of the imagination like the USA.
 
You are saying "people choose to identify with the church or they don't." How are they supposed to identify with that which they don't understand.

What you ask requires discussion like Sunday School attendance (or frequency of Cathethetical instruction) and what is taught in Sunday School (or Catechism) by whom.

If we pray what we believe, how are people supposed to know what we believe if they don't understand what we are praying?

I don't know.  The choices people make are the answer in that they stop attending Church.

I'm not just referring to converts, but "cradle" Orthodox Christians as well. My parish had a sound Sunday School System, yet my father still does not understand the Liturgy.

What kind of Sunday School instruction would your father have received in the late 1950's, early 1960's?  Was the instruction in English?  Have you asked him?   Huh

There is no reason that after 57 years of consistent attendance my father shouldn't know that the first Antiphon is Psalm 103, and yet he doesn't. Why? Because it's in a foreign language.

If no one taught your father in Ukrainian that Psalm 103 was the first Antiphon, how would he know?  Even if he was taught the significance of Psalm 103, people forget.   Embarrassed

There is no Biblical or Canonical reason to keep the Liturgy in a foreign language. Koine Greek and Church Slavonic are not any "holier" than any other language on earth, so why keep the services in that which is incomprehensible to the layperson?

The layperson has a multitude of options to worship God.  Example, every Roman Catholic Mass that I've attended (a grand total of 2 or 3 times) has been 100% English.  In the Orthodox Church, no one can agree on a suitable English translation and as the OP posted in northern Greece, a translation to modern Greek has caused scandal.  There are over 200 English translations of the Bible and Orthodox Churches in the USA use different translations seemingly at random.  What if there were 200 different English translations of the Divine Liturgy?  Would Orthodox Christianity fragment based on the English translation used by a particular Church? Diocese? Archdiocese? Metropolis?

The Old Church Slavonic and Koine Greek have been around for centuries, if not longer.  If there was one suitable English translation, I would agree with you; however, there are hundreds to choose from and not every English translation accurately communicates the Orthodox faith, practice and mindset like the ancient languages.   Smiley

Your argument that better Sunday School programs need to be developed is a fallacy. "Sunday School" is an American concept that was developed in New England by the Puritans around the time of the Revolution. It is not part of the ancient Holy Orthodox faith, so for you to rely on it to teach the faithful is not in accordance with Orthodox tradition. My father went to Sunday school as a child and was taught in English, however the Liturgy was in Ukrainian. Furthermore, Sunday School does not replace, nor is it intended to replace, the worship of the Divine Services.

The excuse that there is not a suitable English translation is bogus. How are the OCA and Antiochians able to successfully worship in English every week? How are GOA parishes able to go back and forth from Greek to English if no suitable English translation exists? (I even know of Greek parishes that do the entire Liturgy in English! And the walls don't fall down!  Shocked ) Furthermore, in my particular jurisdiction's case, we are using neither Greek nor Church Slavonic; we are using modern Ukrainian and English. So the idea that an ancient language must be used is completely irrelevant. Even if a "better" English translation is needed, rather than fight against developing one, a Synod should be put together to develop one rather than making arguments that we must stick with ancient languages nobody understands. That's about the equivalent of arguing that everyone should use a horse and buggy until an emissions free vehicle is developed.

Even if your argument about Ss. Cyril and Methodius was true (which it was in a later post proven to be false) that does not justify sticking to antiquated languages in the Pluralistic society that we now live in. Just as Ss. Cyril and Methodius made modifications to accommodate the "unenlightened" Slavs, we must make modifications to accommodate the Diaspora, and the "unenlightened" countries we now reside in.

In the GOA Cathedral I attended in Atlanta, they had a very strong Sunday School program, and a GOYA program that focused not just on social activities, but spiritual development as well. The one lament the kids had was that they wished they understood more of the Liturgy. Sunday school is meant to supplement Divine Worship. To stand for an hour and a half on a Sunday morning only comprehending half of what is going on is difficult for anyone to pay attention to; never mind an easily distracted teenager. Even if they were to figure out what was going on during Sunday Liturgy, what about the other Divine services that are served less frequently, such as the services of Holy Week? These are the most beautiful services of the year. Are the faithful just supposed to trudge through them in ignorance? Why are we forcing people to stand through hours of services they don't understand?

You say they make their choice in attendance. Unfortunately many have made the choice not to attend rather than endure hours of foreign language immersion. This is true even in the "Old Country" where Evangelicals are "cherry picking" our people out of the Church, and into their Protestant worship services that are served in the vernacular.

You state the ancient languages accurately communicate the Orthodox faith. How is that possible when no one understands them? I mean, if a person is standing before you using American Sign Language to communicate "the building is on fire" but you don't understand ASL, is that an effective means of communication?

I'm sorry, but I still do not see a valid reason to use languages that no one understands.
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« Reply #161 on: April 20, 2010, 07:37:01 AM »

Your argument that better Sunday School programs need to be developed is a fallacy. "Sunday School" is an American concept that was developed in New England by the Puritans around the time of the Revolution. It is not part of the ancient Holy Orthodox faith, so for you to rely on it to teach the faithful is not in accordance with Orthodox tradition. My father went to Sunday school as a child and was taught in English, however the Liturgy was in Ukrainian. Furthermore, Sunday School does not replace, nor is it intended to replace, the worship of the Divine Services.
I definitely agree with the point you're trying to make, but a little bit of historical correction: Sunday Schools actually developed in England as early as the 1750s, and in full force under the leadership of Robert Raikes in the 1780s. That the Puritans introduced it in the newly formed US as you describe is probably quite true. In England, the schools were developed in the industrial cities where child labour prevented young people from receiving any sort of education during the week. Sunday Schools taught academic subjects along with religious instruction. That was a very different society from New England.

Also to offer a slight correction to CRCulver's comment:
Quote
....Furthermore, Ss. Cyril and Methodius did not "invent Church Slavonic". Church Slavonic is a language dating from hundreds of years later. They simply translated liturgical materials into their own vernacular. Only in retrospect did this language gain the appelation "Old Church Slavonic".
SS C&M certainly did use the vernacular - that was their whole point! But certain concepts, and the vocabulary needed to express them, were unknown to the Slavic people, so SS C&M coined many words and expressions for this purpose. Perhaps that is the sense in which they are credited with "invent[ing] Church Slavonic". The reading of Cyril and Methodius of Thessalonica; The Acculturation of the Slavs by Anthony-Emil N. Tachiaos was a factor in my conversion to Orthodoxy. I have always admired the work of those brothers.
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