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Author Topic: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy  (Read 10069 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #360 on: October 08, 2012, 09:13:28 PM »

^ Language has never been dogmatized in the Orthodox Church, so why would it be so now? I agree, if there is a need for services in the 'old' languages, of course it should be met. However, many - and I don't mean you - tend to elevate the 'old' languages to a level of veneration approaching 'dogma' and that is where I have a problem. Keep in mind, I learned to read and chant in Slavonic long before I could chant in English and although we rarely use Slavonic, just point me to the page and it's off to the races. I love singing in Slavonic and I understand that it is for reasons of nostalgia, memories of loved ones who have passed on etc....

It's funny, LBK will offer the correct statement that we shouldn't be tied to old interior Church paintings etc.. which are not truly icons just for sentimental reasons or because we have venerated them for centuries...I have an internal problem with that which I recognize, yet I offer a similar point of view on the equally emotional issue of language, I suspect that our attachments to these things probably stem from the same internal source - sort of like cooking smells reminding one of one's mother or grandmother..... In think in the final analysis, neither of these issues should become an insurmountable barrier to faith for any of us. Sorry if I sound conflicted, but I suppose I am.....

I agree with Vamrat in general, and I'll only add for Podkarpatska that if you even look through this thread, you will see JUST how dogmatic people are about this subject & English in general. 

I will also mention another caveat to this.  The real argument IS that we need to be open to all languages & serve as many people as possible.  Period.  I think that obviously English is the language that everyone should share, as the language of the majority in america, but if you have a Spanish neighborhood around you, that should be considered, as part of our church life, but also throw in Greek for the old ladies in the front

Ah - being dogmatic as opposed to something being dogmatized....  I think I missed that distinction in my earlier replies. Of course, I think the three of us really have no disagreement on this point at all.... There are some, and more than a few are clergy, who take a ridiculous, absolutist view of this. I remember a priest who nearly drove my in-laws parish into the ground by 'banning' ALL Slavonic, claiming it was the Bishop's directive. Of course, he failed to count on my reporting such nonsense back to the Chancery. The funny thing is that when he managed to pilfer a few Greek families seeking English, he told the choir director to learn Christos Anesti after telling him the year before not to sing Christos Voskrese - only Christ is Risen....
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« Reply #361 on: December 16, 2012, 07:24:26 PM »

The Holy Spirit wouldnt have given the ability to speak in tongues if God didnt want His message to be delivered in the language of the people. We can respect an honor each others cultural believes without forgetting that in order to transmit a message one must share a common language.
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« Reply #362 on: December 16, 2012, 08:20:27 PM »

The Holy Spirit wouldnt have given the ability to speak in tongues if God didnt want His message to be delivered in the language of the people. We can respect an honor each others cultural believes without forgetting that in order to transmit a message one must share a common language.

Yeah, because speaking a common language is bad, and people who speak English should go somewhere else. Faith is about ethnicity, and nobody should ever have to learn something.
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« Reply #363 on: December 16, 2012, 11:19:57 PM »

The Holy Spirit wouldnt have given the ability to speak in tongues if God didnt want His message to be delivered in the language of the people. We can respect an honor each others cultural believes without forgetting that in order to transmit a message one must share a common language.

Yeah, because speaking a common language is bad, and people who speak English should go somewhere else. Faith is about ethnicity, and nobody should ever have to learn something.

Biro, i think that she was saying the same thing you were, and saying that doing things in English is a good thing, and should be done. (could be wrong though)
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« Reply #364 on: December 16, 2012, 11:30:36 PM »

If you say so.
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« Reply #365 on: December 17, 2012, 12:34:21 AM »

She was, biro.
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« Reply #366 on: December 17, 2012, 01:55:42 AM »

The Holy Spirit wouldnt have given the ability to speak in tongues if God didnt want His message to be delivered in the language of the people. We can respect an honor each others cultural believes without forgetting that in order to transmit a message one must share a common language.

Yeah, because speaking a common language is bad, and people who speak English should go somewhere else. Faith is about ethnicity, and nobody should ever have to learn something.

I agree.  It should be the ethnicity of the land, not some foreign ethnicity though.  So don't be Russian or Greek or Ukrainian in Canada or America.  Here we should worship as Canadians or Americans.
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« Reply #367 on: December 17, 2012, 05:45:21 AM »

I don't know if I said it before but in Russia they don't use Russian in the liturgy and in Greece they use koine Greek which is probably largely unintelligable to the average parishioner. I would rather have a liturgy in Greek or Church Slavonic than one in English.
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« Reply #368 on: December 17, 2012, 06:24:05 AM »

She was, biro.

That's what I meant. My apologies for the confusion, English is my 2nd language and Sometimes I can't express exactly what I want. But yes, we should br able to understand the Liturgy so it should offered in a common language. If I go to PR I expect to hear it in Spanish, in Russia in whatever language they speak, and in US in English. Im blessed with an English parish although there are 24 different nationalities in it. We all recite the Lord's Prayer in our mother tongues; it takes longer than in any other parish but it helps you make the Liturgy something personal.
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« Reply #369 on: December 17, 2012, 06:57:44 AM »

So don't be Russian or Greek or Ukrainian in Canada or America. 

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« Reply #370 on: December 17, 2012, 08:39:11 AM »

I agree.  It should be the ethnicity of the land, not some foreign ethnicity though.  So don't be Russian or Greek or Ukrainian in Canada or America.  Here we should worship as Canadians or Americans.

Then you should worship like those mega churches do, since that is the only form of "worship" that's purely American.

The Divine Liturgy developed in the "Old World", in the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. Can't have that, of course.
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« Reply #371 on: December 17, 2012, 10:13:06 AM »

She was, biro.

That's what I meant. My apologies for the confusion, English is my 2nd language and Sometimes I can't express exactly what I want. But yes, we should br able to understand the Liturgy so it should offered in a common language. If I go to PR I expect to hear it in Spanish, in Russia in whatever language they speak, and in US in English. Im blessed with an English parish although there are 24 different nationalities in it. We all recite the Lord's Prayer in our mother tongues; it takes longer than in any other parish but it helps you make the Liturgy something personal.

Forgive me. I was probably out of line.

It's hard, in a large parish with lots of different folks, to make something that suits everyone. Maybe more parishes could make simple paper copies of booklets with service scripts in different languages. There are diocesan sites where you can download and then print the liturgy or whatever you need. My parish makes a few copies of Orthros every week. That helps.

Again, sorry I got all ticked. I think I'll have some tea.
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« Reply #372 on: December 17, 2012, 10:50:01 AM »

She was, biro.

That's what I meant. My apologies for the confusion, English is my 2nd language and Sometimes I can't express exactly what I want. But yes, we should br able to understand the Liturgy so it should offered in a common language. If I go to PR I expect to hear it in Spanish, in Russia in whatever language they speak, and in US in English. Im blessed with an English parish although there are 24 different nationalities in it. We all recite the Lord's Prayer in our mother tongues; it takes longer than in any other parish but it helps you make the Liturgy something personal.

Forgive me. I was probably out of line.

It's hard, in a large parish with lots of different folks, to make something that suits everyone. Maybe more parishes could make simple paper copies of booklets with service scripts in different languages. There are diocesan sites where you can download and then print the liturgy or whatever you need. My parish makes a few copies of Orthros every week. That helps.

Again, sorry I got all ticked. I think I'll have some tea.


No problem, I understand. Could you share the link to those sites where one can download the Liturgy, please? Although in my parish everything is in English, I'm still having difficulties following Liturgy. I think I'm getting better, but having everything printed out could help me, and my family, a lot! Thanks in advance.
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« Reply #373 on: December 17, 2012, 10:56:57 AM »

I don't know if I said it before but in Russia they don't use Russian in the liturgy and in Greece they use koine Greek which is probably largely unintelligable to the average parishioner. I would rather have a liturgy in Greek or Church Slavonic than one in English.

Why do you think the the Fathers chose Koine Greek and Old Church Slavonic in the first place?
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« Reply #374 on: December 17, 2012, 10:58:19 AM »

I agree.  It should be the ethnicity of the land, not some foreign ethnicity though.  So don't be Russian or Greek or Ukrainian in Canada or America.  Here we should worship as Canadians or Americans.

The Divine Liturgy developed in the "Old World", in the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.

Then why did Sts. Cyrill and Methodius translate the Liturgy at all?
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« Reply #375 on: December 17, 2012, 11:02:43 AM »

http://www.orthodoxepubsoc.org/

Wilma, if your parish is ACROD, this may help. This site has some documents and things to help with Church Slavonic. I hope it is helpful to you.
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« Reply #376 on: December 17, 2012, 11:07:51 AM »

Why do you think the the Fathers chose Koine Greek and Old Church Slavonic in the first place?

Old Church Slavonic was never a spoken language, but one artificially constructed specifically for the purpose of liturgical translation, retaining much of the grammatical features of the original Greek texts. While it shows a concern for intelligibility, it also shows a preference for precision over the spoken vernacular.
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« Reply #377 on: December 17, 2012, 11:17:10 AM »

Why do you think the the Fathers chose Koine Greek and Old Church Slavonic in the first place?

Old Church Slavonic was never a spoken language, but one artificially constructed specifically for the purpose of liturgical translation, retaining much of the grammatical features of the original Greek texts. While it shows a concern for intelligibility, it also shows a preference for precision over the spoken vernacular.

However, it was still mutually intelligible with the Late Common Slavic which was spoken at the time. At least according to the UT Austin Linguistics Research Center.

The point is, they used the language because people could understand it. Otherwise, they could have stuck with Koine.
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« Reply #378 on: December 17, 2012, 11:28:09 AM »

The point is, they used the language because people could understand it. Otherwise, they could have stuck with Koine.

Indeed, I just wanted to make the distinction between liturgical language and the spoken vernacular.


I wonder, though, what the approach of the early Church would have been had the literacy rate been 99% and if liturgical books could be mass produced at a very low cost.
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« Reply #379 on: December 17, 2012, 11:45:19 AM »

I don't know if I said it before but in Russia they don't use Russian in the liturgy and in Greece they use koine Greek which is probably largely unintelligable to the average parishioner. I would rather have a liturgy in Greek or Church Slavonic than one in English.

Why? And would that extend to Dutch also? In Romania the Liturgy is in Romanian. It's somewhat old fashioned Romanian but it's perfectly intelligible even if, like me, you only speak Romanian as a second language. It's certainly not worse than Elizabethan English (which is the form of English I prefer in church, but then I grew up with that not to mention in an area where thee and thou are still parts of normal speech). Why on earth would you prefer that the liturgy be unintelligible? We used to attend a 100% Greek liturgy because we had no other choice but I would have gone considerably out of my way to attend an English or Romanian one if I could have. In fact I now do - driving 40 minutes each way to attend a liturgy my family can actually understand rather than walking 5 minutes from my house to get to a Greek parish.

James
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« Reply #380 on: December 17, 2012, 11:47:08 AM »

The point is, they used the language because people could understand it. Otherwise, they could have stuck with Koine.

Indeed, I just wanted to make the distinction between liturgical language and the spoken vernacular.

Then we see eye to eye.  Smiley
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« Reply #381 on: December 17, 2012, 11:52:06 AM »

http://www.orthodoxepubsoc.org/

Wilma, if your parish is ACROD, this may help. This site has some documents and things to help with Church Slavonic. I hope it is helpful to you.

Thanks a lot!
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« Reply #382 on: December 17, 2012, 12:42:18 PM »

I don't know if I said it before but in Russia they don't use Russian in the liturgy and in Greece they use koine Greek which is probably largely unintelligable to the average parishioner. I would rather have a liturgy in Greek or Church Slavonic than one in English.

Why? And would that extend to Dutch also? In Romania the Liturgy is in Romanian. It's somewhat old fashioned Romanian but it's perfectly intelligible even if, like me, you only speak Romanian as a second language. It's certainly not worse than Elizabethan English (which is the form of English I prefer in church, but then I grew up with that not to mention in an area where thee and thou are still parts of normal speech). Why on earth would you prefer that the liturgy be unintelligible? We used to attend a 100% Greek liturgy because we had no other choice but I would have gone considerably out of my way to attend an English or Romanian one if I could have. In fact I now do - driving 40 minutes each way to attend a liturgy my family can actually understand rather than walking 5 minutes from my house to get to a Greek parish.

James

In the Greek liturgy you hear the same words and chants that the Church Fathers and many of the saints heard. The same is to a lesser extend true for the Slavonic liturgy and the Latin mass. It adds to the mystery, I think.
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« Reply #383 on: December 17, 2012, 12:48:21 PM »

I wonder, though, what the approach of the early Church would have been had the literacy rate been 99% and if liturgical books could be mass produced at a very low cost.

Tradeswomen at the market were arguing about the number of Christ's wills and barbers were asking their clients about the origins of the Son. I couldn't go much worse.

In the Greek liturgy you hear the same words and chants that the Church Fathers and many of the saints heard. The same is to a lesser extant true for the Slavonic liturgy and the Latin mass. It adds to the mystery, I think.

We could use Mongolian. It will be even more mysterious.
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« Reply #384 on: December 17, 2012, 12:51:37 PM »

Ah yes, that was not my point.
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« Reply #385 on: December 17, 2012, 12:57:02 PM »

In the Greek liturgy you hear the same words and chants that the Church Fathers and many of the saints heard. The same is to a lesser extant true for the Slavonic liturgy and the Latin mass. It adds to the mystery, I think.

When I go to the monastery in Essex, I hear the same English translation of the Liturgy Elder Sophrony would have heard when he was alive. He will undoubtedly be canonised (many, inc. everyone on Mount Athos, say he'll be called St. Sophrony the Great) and numbered among the Fathers. I doubt that particular translation will survive unchanged over centuries, but hopefully at some point a decent English translation will come about that stands the test of time, much like the KJV and BCP, with which the future saints of the English speaking world will come to be associated.
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« Reply #386 on: December 17, 2012, 01:00:00 PM »

http://www.orthodoxepubsoc.org/

Wilma, if your parish is ACROD, this may help. This site has some documents and things to help with Church Slavonic. I hope it is helpful to you.

Thanks a lot!

You're welcome. Smiley
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« Reply #387 on: December 17, 2012, 01:03:56 PM »

I don't know if I said it before but in Russia they don't use Russian in the liturgy and in Greece they use koine Greek which is probably largely unintelligable to the average parishioner. I would rather have a liturgy in Greek or Church Slavonic than one in English.

Why? And would that extend to Dutch also? In Romania the Liturgy is in Romanian. It's somewhat old fashioned Romanian but it's perfectly intelligible even if, like me, you only speak Romanian as a second language. It's certainly not worse than Elizabethan English (which is the form of English I prefer in church, but then I grew up with that not to mention in an area where thee and thou are still parts of normal speech). Why on earth would you prefer that the liturgy be unintelligible? We used to attend a 100% Greek liturgy because we had no other choice but I would have gone considerably out of my way to attend an English or Romanian one if I could have. In fact I now do - driving 40 minutes each way to attend a liturgy my family can actually understand rather than walking 5 minutes from my house to get to a Greek parish.

James

In the Greek liturgy you hear the same words and chants that the Church Fathers and many of the saints heard. The same is to a lesser extend true for the Slavonic liturgy and the Latin mass. It adds to the mystery, I think.

No, it doesn't, except in the sense Michal was mocking. I've been there and done that and believe me that none of the (genuine) Mystery is lost in the Divine Liturgy by it being in a language I can understand. The understanding, however, is certainly lost when the Liturgy is in a language that is unintelligible and that seems to me far more important than any romantic idea of hearing the words the Fathers heard. If you do stick to this, in my view misguided, belief and have children I hope you have them learn Koine and/or Church Slavonic alongside their mother tongue. It doesn't surprise me one bit when I hear that non-Greek speaking children of Greek immigrants leave the church as they grow up. For them its always been a mystery - and not in a good way.

James
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« Reply #388 on: December 17, 2012, 01:53:45 PM »

I don't know if I said it before but in Russia they don't use Russian in the liturgy and in Greece they use koine Greek which is probably largely unintelligable to the average parishioner. I would rather have a liturgy in Greek or Church Slavonic than one in English.

Why? And would that extend to Dutch also? In Romania the Liturgy is in Romanian. It's somewhat old fashioned Romanian but it's perfectly intelligible even if, like me, you only speak Romanian as a second language. It's certainly not worse than Elizabethan English (which is the form of English I prefer in church, but then I grew up with that not to mention in an area where thee and thou are still parts of normal speech). Why on earth would you prefer that the liturgy be unintelligible? We used to attend a 100% Greek liturgy because we had no other choice but I would have gone considerably out of my way to attend an English or Romanian one if I could have. In fact I now do - driving 40 minutes each way to attend a liturgy my family can actually understand rather than walking 5 minutes from my house to get to a Greek parish.

James

In the Greek liturgy you hear the same words and chants that the Church Fathers and many of the saints heard. The same is to a lesser extend true for the Slavonic liturgy and the Latin mass. It adds to the mystery, I think.

No, it doesn't, except in the sense Michal was mocking. I've been there and done that and believe me that none of the (genuine) Mystery is lost in the Divine Liturgy by it being in a language I can understand. The understanding, however, is certainly lost when the Liturgy is in a language that is unintelligible and that seems to me far more important than any romantic idea of hearing the words the Fathers heard. If you do stick to this, in my view misguided, belief and have children I hope you have them learn Koine and/or Church Slavonic alongside their mother tongue. It doesn't surprise me one bit when I hear that non-Greek speaking children of Greek immigrants leave the church as they grow up. For them its always been a mystery - and not in a good way.

James

Also, the Fathers understood the language back then.  We don't today.  I am sort of miffed by this desire fo "mystery" in the language.  Isn't God mysterious enough for us that we need to pray mysterious with human language?
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« Reply #389 on: December 17, 2012, 01:59:06 PM »

When Jesus was not understood by His hearers, it was due to a spiritual matter, not a linguistic one.
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« Reply #390 on: December 17, 2012, 06:47:37 PM »

I don't know if I said it before but in Russia they don't use Russian in the liturgy and in Greece they use koine Greek which is probably largely unintelligable to the average parishioner. I would rather have a liturgy in Greek or Church Slavonic than one in English.

Why? And would that extend to Dutch also? In Romania the Liturgy is in Romanian. It's somewhat old fashioned Romanian but it's perfectly intelligible even if, like me, you only speak Romanian as a second language. It's certainly not worse than Elizabethan English (which is the form of English I prefer in church, but then I grew up with that not to mention in an area where thee and thou are still parts of normal speech). Why on earth would you prefer that the liturgy be unintelligible? We used to attend a 100% Greek liturgy because we had no other choice but I would have gone considerably out of my way to attend an English or Romanian one if I could have. In fact I now do - driving 40 minutes each way to attend a liturgy my family can actually understand rather than walking 5 minutes from my house to get to a Greek parish.

James

In the Greek liturgy you hear the same words and chants that the Church Fathers and many of the saints heard. The same is to a lesser extend true for the Slavonic liturgy and the Latin mass. It adds to the mystery, I think.

Mystery vs understanding?Huh Such a hard choice.
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« Reply #391 on: December 17, 2012, 07:30:59 PM »

^It is a hard choice, especially considering that modern English is farther from the Greek than middle English.  And yet, when people don't know what is being said... What good is mystery without prayer with understanding, as St. Paul states that we ought have.  I myself am torn. 
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« Reply #392 on: December 17, 2012, 07:49:43 PM »

^It is a hard choice, especially considering that modern English is farther from the Greek than middle English.  And yet, when people don't know what is being said... What good is mystery without prayer with understanding, as St. Paul states that we ought have.  I myself am torn. 

I still think there's a case to be made that if you KNOW the liturgy you can experience it in ANY language & still feel the grace of God & participate fully.  I've been to a Georgian Liturgy & had no problem knowing what I was praying for & when to do things. 
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« Reply #393 on: December 17, 2012, 07:51:50 PM »

But firstly, you need to somehow get to know it.
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« Reply #394 on: December 17, 2012, 07:58:44 PM »

But firstly, you need to somehow get to know it.

let me throw a theory out at you:

your priest takes you into his office & explains the liturgy to you, in detail.

Or even another theory: the priest does teaching liturgies in the modern language on Saturdays, so people learn, but does the ancient languages on sundays. 

thoughts?
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« Reply #395 on: December 17, 2012, 08:00:37 PM »

Are we talking about real or at least possible situations?
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« Reply #396 on: December 17, 2012, 08:02:10 PM »

Are we talking about real or at least possible situations?

i've done this before.  How's that for an answer.   Wink Grin
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« Reply #397 on: December 17, 2012, 08:07:08 PM »

I've never seen that in real.

Even if there was such a possibility I would say active learning is more efficient than some lectures.
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« Reply #398 on: December 17, 2012, 08:16:35 PM »

But firstly, you need to somehow get to know it.

let me throw a theory out at you:

your priest takes you into his office & explains the liturgy to you, in detail.

Or even another theory: the priest does teaching liturgies in the modern language on Saturdays, so people learn, but does the ancient languages on sundays. 

thoughts?

Right, I have had to do this with the Lord's Prayer.  I asked my population what they think of each clause (in the middle English).  They just didn't know.  So I went through it with them in the Greek and English.  They were appreciative of the fact that "daily" does not quite express the supersubstantial (hyperessential) bread that we ask to receive from God. 

I am glad that you have done this with the Liturgy.  However, I am assuming that the majority of the parish was not there for the Saturday lessons.  That being said, most priests have not even done this, and the people are clueless on anything but the "general feeling."     
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« Reply #399 on: December 17, 2012, 08:16:44 PM »

I've never seen that in real.

Even if there was such a possibility I would say active learning is more efficient than some lectures.

that's why I recommended teaching liturgies.  

Obviously I agree with the consensus that praying in one's own language is the best.  However, I don't think that should come at the expense of losing the original languages.  those languages should not be left to a bunch of scholars.  That's how we ended up with the Erasmian pronunciation.  ugh.  
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« Reply #400 on: December 17, 2012, 08:19:45 PM »

But firstly, you need to somehow get to know it.

let me throw a theory out at you:

your priest takes you into his office & explains the liturgy to you, in detail.

Or even another theory: the priest does teaching liturgies in the modern language on Saturdays, so people learn, but does the ancient languages on sundays. 

thoughts?
Learning the structure of the Liturgy, even including the meaning behind all of its parts, is not a particularly difficult task. But what about all the other services - many of which, for example during Holy Week, that come up only once a year? What about all the hymns and readings of the Epistles and Gospels? You can know the structure of the Liturgy, but alone, it is a form without substance.

Michał Kalina is completely right. I have attended liturgies in languages unknown to me and been able to follow adequately because I know the structure from frequent and, I trust, deepening experience in English. But I have no idea what some of the hymns were - I might guess, as a example, "Troparion for the patron saint", but what would I learn? how would I benefit?
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« Reply #401 on: December 17, 2012, 08:27:50 PM »


that's why I recommended teaching liturgies. 

With all due respect Father, what percent of your parish comes to the teaching liturgies you offer on Saturdays?


Obviously I agree with the consensus that praying in one's own language is the best.  However, I don't think that should come at the expense of losing the original languages.  those languages should not be left to a bunch of scholars.  That's how we ended up with the Erasmian pronunciation.  ugh. 

I don't think anyone suggested the total eradication of Liturgical languages. Perhaps once a month or so is fine but IMO for more continuous use, some variant of the vernacular is best.
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« Reply #402 on: December 17, 2012, 08:29:12 PM »

However, I don't think that should come at the expense of losing the original languages.  those languages should not be left to a bunch of scholars.

Why? What is the reason for their existence?
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« Reply #403 on: December 17, 2012, 08:49:30 PM »

I've never seen that in real.

Even if there was such a possibility I would say active learning is more efficient than some lectures.

that's why I recommended teaching liturgies.  

Obviously I agree with the consensus that praying in one's own language is the best.  However, I don't think that should come at the expense of losing the original languages.  those languages should not be left to a bunch of scholars.  That's how we ended up with the Erasmian pronunciation.  ugh.  

But the original languages ARE spoken, in Greece, for example.  I suppose if Greece and Cyprus and Constantinople and Alexandria and Jerusalem and Antioch/Damascus, etc. were completely obliterated with regard to Greek; and if Bulgaria, Serbia, Russia, Ukraine, etc. were wiped off the map of Orthodoxy with regard to Slavonic; then this would be our concern in America.     
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« Reply #404 on: December 17, 2012, 08:56:17 PM »

Bulgaria uses Bulgarian, Serbia mostly uses Serbian.
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