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Author Topic: Greece, Synod condemns Mass in modern Greek  (Read 22904 times) Average Rating: 0
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mike
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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]."

Quote
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.

Quote
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?
Quote
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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« Reply #162 on: April 20, 2010, 10:46:10 AM »

Your argument that better Sunday School programs need to be developed is a fallacy.

Is the development of "better" Cathethetical studies also a fallacy?   Smiley

"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.

How about Cathethetical studies for adult converts which takes place in Modern English?  How do Priests draw the connection between the ancient languages used in Liturgy with modern realities?
 
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.

Do the OCA, Antiochians, UOC-USA and GOA use the same and consistent English translations?  Do any two or more Churches of each Jurisdiction use the same translations without each respective Synod waiting for an official English translation to be approved by a higher Synod elsewhere?  The first two are struck out because their Synods (being self-ruled) can make the decision for all of their Parishes; however, the latter two are waiting on Istanbul for an "official" English translation.
 
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.

In such an "enlightened" environment, what was the response of the adults to the children saying that they wished that they understood more of the Liturgy?  Who should help the children understand the Liturgy?  Parents?  Clergy?  Sunday School teachers?  In my case, my Sunday School teachers helped me far more than Parents and Clergy.  I'm sorry to hear if that is not the case elsewhere.   Sad

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.

A teenager chooses what they want to see on their cell phone whether it's the latest Lady Gaga video or the DL or something else.  A teenager can understand a Lady Gaga video but not the Divine Liturgy even if it's 100% English.   Huh

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?

Who's forcing anyone to stand through hours of services they don't understand?   Huh

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.

So the Orthodox Church, the Bride of Christ, is forced to compete against Evangelical Protestants who appeal to reason like: God is the same everywhere regardless of language and culture.  I'm as tempted as anyone else to "defect" to Evangelical Protestantism and I remain an Orthodox Christian because I'm convinced in any language that the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is the "ark of salvation."
 
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.

Not everyone understands a Powerpoint presentation, the primary means of communication among Evangelical Protestant Churches.   Wink
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« Reply #163 on: April 20, 2010, 11:26:05 AM »

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.

It may certainly appear that way to you (I used to think the same thing), but I don't think you'd find that to actually be the case if you carefully examined all of the parishes' members. Undoubtedly, you would find a higher percentage of converts in the OCA parishes (and, depending on your location, in the Antiochian parishes as well), but absolute numbers are a different manner.

There are several reasons why this common misconception is false in most areas (and most certainly false when looked at on a jurisdiction-wide basis):

1) The math on the macro level. According to the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute, 51% of members of the OCA are converts, while 29% of the GOA's members are. However, no matter what means you use to determine total membership (Sunday worship attendance, stewards, "adherents"), the GOA is at least 4 times the size of the OCA. 51% of 25 will never equal or exceed 29% of 100.

2) The math on the regional level. Your average OCA parish most certainly has a higher percentage of converts and, thus, naturally feels more convert heavy. However, having been active in Pan-Orthodox activities in four very different areas of the country, I have found that the macro trend is replicated on the regional level (in general, it would have to be, or the macro wouldn't be true!). For example, in my current area, there are 4 OCA parishes and 3 GOA parishes. The OCA parishes have anywhere between 20 and 70 people at an average Sunday Liturgy, with two of those parishes being much closer to the lower number. Probably very close to 50% of those worshipers are converts, but that's simply not that many people. One of the GOA parishes in the area is mid-size (~250 in worship), one is a bit larger (~380), and the little mission where I chant has about 130 in worship each week. If you only attend two or three times, you might think there aren't many converts. However, now that I've been in the area for over a year, I've found, once again, that there are many converts in each Greek parish, easily reaching 30%, even though this is an "ethnic" area. When you crunch the numbers, there are about 80 more converts in those three GOA parishes than there are in the four OCA parishes. I found very similar trends in New England and the South. In the Midwest, the numbers weren't quite as skewed.

3) The type of convert. Speaking in very broad strokes, one isn't hard-pressed to find several fair-haired, former Bible thumpers in an OCA parish; or a bookish, bearded college student or recent grad; or a nice, middle class family that permanently offended their relatives by leaving the ancestral denomination; or a convert who reads Fr. Stephen Freeman's blog every day and wears a chotki to bed (not that Fr. Stephen would approve!). Speaking as someone who has some of those characteristics, it's a common mistake to think that is the only type of convert. In our mission, for example, there are dozens of converts, many of whom married a Greek girl or guy, came to Liturgy with their kids every week for several years, and, at some point, decided they wanted to convert. When I first started chanting here, I just assumed many of these people were Greeks. They attend all the Holy Week services. They teach Sunday School, organize the New Year's ball, are officers in the Philoptochos, sit on the Parish Council. They bring Greek food to coffee hour. Their kids know the Creed in Greek and English. They are godparents of other kids in the parish, and their families engage each other frequently outside of Liturgy over the dinner table, at Greek School, at GOYA, at diocesan-wide religious and cultural events. In short, they are totally integrated into the worship and social life of the mission. As I've gotten to know them, it turns out they converted 5 or 10 or 15 years ago. Now, their story is unlikely to show up in a new edition of Becoming Orthodox or be documented on their ortho-blog, but they are strong Christians and true converts to Orthodoxy. And, according to the numbers, they are by far the majority of converts in the U.S. over the last 30 years (especially because there are plenty that fall into this category in the other jurisdictions as well).
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« Reply #164 on: April 20, 2010, 12:52:09 PM »

I loved the story from one of our parishioners who married a Greek man, but was a confirmed and certainly convicted Roman Catholic.  She at one point had told my proistamenos that the day she wasn't a RC would be a terrible day indeed.  However, after participating in a book study group (studying "Partakers of Divine Nature" by Archim. Christoforos Stavropoulos, Fr. Haraks transl.) she dove right into conversion and hasn't looked back.  She is very active, as are her kids and husband, and even though the family is very busy we can always count on them to be involved as much as possible.

We have a number of people who converted after they married an Orthodox person, but they did not convert for marriage, instead doing so years afterward, after experiencing the Liturgy and the community life.
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« Reply #165 on: April 20, 2010, 01:07:58 PM »

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.

It may certainly appear that way to you (I used to think the same thing), but I don't think you'd find that to actually be the case if you carefully examined all of the parishes' members. Undoubtedly, you would find a higher percentage of converts in the OCA parishes (and, depending on your location, in the Antiochian parishes as well), but absolute numbers are a different manner.

There are several reasons why this common misconception is false in most areas (and most certainly false when looked at on a jurisdiction-wide basis):

1) The math on the macro level. According to the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute, 51% of members of the OCA are converts, while 29% of the GOA's members are. However, no matter what means you use to determine total membership (Sunday worship attendance, stewards, "adherents"), the GOA is at least 4 times the size of the OCA. 51% of 25 will never equal or exceed 29% of 100.

2) The math on the regional level. Your average OCA parish most certainly has a higher percentage of converts and, thus, naturally feels more convert heavy. However, having been active in Pan-Orthodox activities in four very different areas of the country, I have found that the macro trend is replicated on the regional level (in general, it would have to be, or the macro wouldn't be true!). For example, in my current area, there are 4 OCA parishes and 3 GOA parishes. The OCA parishes have anywhere between 20 and 70 people at an average Sunday Liturgy, with two of those parishes being much closer to the lower number. Probably very close to 50% of those worshipers are converts, but that's simply not that many people. One of the GOA parishes in the area is mid-size (~250 in worship), one is a bit larger (~380), and the little mission where I chant has about 130 in worship each week. If you only attend two or three times, you might think there aren't many converts. However, now that I've been in the area for over a year, I've found, once again, that there are many converts in each Greek parish, easily reaching 30%, even though this is an "ethnic" area. When you crunch the numbers, there are about 80 more converts in those three GOA parishes than there are in the four OCA parishes. I found very similar trends in New England and the South. In the Midwest, the numbers weren't quite as skewed.

3) The type of convert. Speaking in very broad strokes, one isn't hard-pressed to find several fair-haired, former Bible thumpers in an OCA parish; or a bookish, bearded college student or recent grad; or a nice, middle class family that permanently offended their relatives by leaving the ancestral denomination; or a convert who reads Fr. Stephen Freeman's blog every day and wears a chotki to bed (not that Fr. Stephen would approve!). Speaking as someone who has some of those characteristics, it's a common mistake to think that is the only type of convert. In our mission, for example, there are dozens of converts, many of whom married a Greek girl or guy, came to Liturgy with their kids every week for several years, and, at some point, decided they wanted to convert. When I first started chanting here, I just assumed many of these people were Greeks. They attend all the Holy Week services. They teach Sunday School, organize the New Year's ball, are officers in the Philoptochos, sit on the Parish Council. They bring Greek food to coffee hour. Their kids know the Creed in Greek and English. They are godparents of other kids in the parish, and their families engage each other frequently outside of Liturgy over the dinner table, at Greek School, at GOYA, at diocesan-wide religious and cultural events. In short, they are totally integrated into the worship and social life of the mission. As I've gotten to know them, it turns out they converted 5 or 10 or 15 years ago. Now, their story is unlikely to show up in a new edition of Becoming Orthodox or be documented on their ortho-blog, but they are strong Christians and true converts to Orthodoxy. And, according to the numbers, they are by far the majority of converts in the U.S. over the last 30 years (especially because there are plenty that fall into this category in the other jurisdictions as well).

Interesting figures, I shall be on the look-out for any converts we have hiding in our rather enormous parish (several hundred in attendance on any Sunday). Whenever I go back to visit the Greek parish I went to as a boy, I am always surprised by the variety of hair colors and skin colors in the pews. They use a lot of English there, though.

I do not doubt in the least that if someone is immersed in Orthodoxy, for example, through marriage to an Orthodox, it often has a profound effect on them whether they know the language/culture or not. I still get the impression, however, that some parishes have the feel of being an "inside" ethnic group. I know that in the minds of the parishioners this is totally untrue, but it is the impression outsiders get, and it is our fault. Perhaps this will just change naturally with time.
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« Reply #166 on: April 20, 2010, 01:15:55 PM »

I loved the story from one of our parishioners who married a Greek man, but was a confirmed and certainly convicted

LOL. Spanish inquisition?

Quote
convinced Roman Catholic.  She at one point had told my proistamenos that the day she wasn't a RC would be a terrible day indeed.  However, after participating in a book study group (studying "Partakers of Divine Nature" by Archim. Christoforos Stavropoulos, Fr. Haraks transl.)
higly recommended.

Quote
she dove right into conversion and hasn't looked back.  She is very active, as are her kids and husband, and even though the family is very busy we can always count on them to be involved as much as possible.

We have a number of people who converted after they married an Orthodox person, but they did not convert for marriage, instead doing so years afterward, after experiencing the Liturgy and the community life.
Amen!
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« Reply #167 on: April 20, 2010, 03:32:18 PM »

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.

You know, I recently converted (to ROCOR).  I was raised a Catholic and am old enough to remember the Latin Mass.  We'd carry our Missals to Church; on one side was the Latin and on the other side of the book/missal was the English translation.  We all read along with the Service.  Many of us memorized both the English and the Latin, so we knew easily what was being said.  It wasn't a problem.  In fact, once the Roman Church changed to English Service completely, it was just awful.  (along with those horrible Guitars in the background; why do those who occasionally pluck a guitar think they are gifted in music?  ...but that's another story). 
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« Reply #168 on: April 20, 2010, 05:43:50 PM »

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.

You know, I recently converted (to ROCOR).  I was raised a Catholic and am old enough to remember the Latin Mass.  We'd carry our Missals to Church; on one side was the Latin and on the other side of the book/missal was the English translation.  We all read along with the Service.  Many of us memorized both the English and the Latin, so we knew easily what was being said.  It wasn't a problem.  In fact, once the Roman Church changed to English Service completely, it was just awful.  (along with those horrible Guitars in the background; why do those who occasionally pluck a guitar think they are gifted in music?  ...but that's another story). 

Sounds like us during Holy Week, spending the services with our noses in books. I hear young Roman Catholics saying they hate the Latin Mass; but I've never heard older folks complain.

Of course, following along is not an option for services like Orthros--many of the hymns change weekly, and it is difficult to find an orthros book. There is no point in people coming to such services if they have no chance of understanding. But during the Liturgy, language isn't really a big barrier as long as you're willing to take the trouble to look in the book until you get used to it.

I wish more people were willing to take that trouble.
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« Reply #169 on: April 20, 2010, 10:39:54 PM »

Rufus there is always a point in going to Church. If you were to have told me there is no point in going to Orthros when I was 7 yrs old because I couldn't understand, well I wouldn't be where I am today. As a little kid I learned from going to Vespers and Orthros and I eventually became involved in reading/the choir. Going to Church is like standing under the sun. Whether you know whats going on, or rationally understand anything at all, it still benefits you. The sun is still hitting you. I hope people "understand" that analogy  Smiley
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« Reply #170 on: April 20, 2010, 11:35:00 PM »

Rufus there is always a point in going to Church. If you were to have told me there is no point in going to Orthros when I was 7 yrs old because I couldn't understand, well I wouldn't be where I am today. As a little kid I learned from going to Vespers and Orthros and I eventually became involved in reading/the choir. Going to Church is like standing under the sun. Whether you know whats going on, or rationally understand anything at all, it still benefits you. The sun is still hitting you. I hope people "understand" that analogy  Smiley

I do understand the analogy. But wouldn't it still be better of people could understand?
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« Reply #171 on: April 21, 2010, 01:50:58 AM »

Yes, it would be. And for the 10th billionth time what do people not get. The Greek they use in Church is perfectly comprehensible to everyone!!!! In fact they can't translate anything into modern Greek (because its the exact same language) so what do they do, they "re interpret" the prayers ie: change the words around, add some new words in, and get (literally) brand new prayers! People, this is about re inventing the Liturgy and the other Mysteries, not about helping people understand. Gesh.
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« Reply #172 on: April 21, 2010, 02:00:24 AM »

Yes, it would be. And for the 10th billionth time what do people not get. The Greek they use in Church is perfectly comprehensible to everyone!!!!

My own anecdotal experiences contradict that claim. It's not only that many Greeks say they can only understand a word here and there in the liturgy; one might assume that they are simply exaggerating, perhaps from anti-religious bias. But also when I've traveled around Greece, not having any spoken Modern Greek but trained in Koine and Attic Greek composition, I've occasionally tried to communicate with people with no English by writing, and the amount of zany misunderstandings that have arisen are immense.

Katharevousa has been obsolete for thirty years. The younger generations can no longer be expected to understand it on paper, let alone chanted in a church where the acoustics might be wonky. And that's only to be expected. Russians have problems with Russian texts more than a couple of hundred years old. English speakers either don't understand or wrongly understand Shakespeare or the KJV. Greek speakers don't have some magical ability to overcome the effects of language change without education.
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« Reply #173 on: April 21, 2010, 02:17:02 AM »

Two days later I officially give up. You people are the ones who have trouble understanding and comprehending. Clearly.
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« Reply #174 on: April 21, 2010, 02:18:36 AM »

Two days later I officially give up. You people are the ones who have trouble understanding and comprehending. Clearly.

Give up so easily?? Tsk, tsk Reader...
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« Reply #175 on: April 21, 2010, 02:26:06 AM »

Two days later I officially give up. You people are the ones who have trouble understanding and comprehending. Clearly.

Am I included among those who have trouble understanding and comprehending?   Huh
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« Reply #176 on: April 21, 2010, 02:32:34 AM »

No   Cheesy but like all these responses from people who are in the Ukrainian Church, or Finish Church, or Carpatho Rusyn Church, or Antiochean Church... gesh ya'll (most likely) don't know how to speak Greek, so maybe that's why you can't understand the issue at hand.
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« Reply #177 on: April 21, 2010, 02:44:04 AM »

No   Cheesy but like all these responses from people who are in the Ukrainian Church, or Finish Church, or Carpatho Rusyn Church, or Antiochean Church... gesh ya'll (most likely) don't know how to speak Greek, so maybe that's why you can't understand the issue at hand.
And what makes you think that?
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« Reply #178 on: April 21, 2010, 02:47:16 AM »

Rufus there is always a point in going to Church. If you were to have told me there is no point in going to Orthros when I was 7 yrs old because I couldn't understand, well I wouldn't be where I am today.
On the internet?
Quote
As a little kid I learned from going to Vespers and Orthros and I eventually became involved in reading/the choir. Going to Church is like standing under the sun. Whether you know whats going on, or rationally understand anything at all, it still benefits you. The sun is still hitting you. I hope people "understand" that analogy  Smiley
sure
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« Reply #179 on: April 21, 2010, 02:50:46 AM »

Yes, it would be. And for the 10th billionth time what do people not get. The Greek they use in Church is perfectly comprehensible to everyone!!!! In fact they can't translate anything into modern Greek (because its the exact same language)
Oure fadir þat art in heuenes halwid be þi name;
þi reume or kyngdom come to be.
Be þi wille don in herþe as it is doun in heuene.
yeue to us today oure eche dayes bred.
And foryeue to us oure dettis þat is oure synnys as we foryeuen to oure dettouris þat is to men þat han synned in us.
And lede us not into temptacion but delyuere us from euyl.

Exact same language.
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