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Author Topic: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy  (Read 9651 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #405 on: December 18, 2012, 01:02:06 AM »

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?

I'm always conflicted about these things.  I have felt the grace of god in languages I've never heard, in liturgy.  But is that the goal of liturgy? Donatism heresies leave us with a no. 

I don't have complete answers, and I wonder if its a disservice for me to answer yours one by one. 

But I will if you want me to!?
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« Reply #406 on: December 18, 2012, 01:07:15 AM »


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?

LoL!  Less than half a percent.  My goal is obviously to grow that number

Also we have a "children's sermon" where we focus exclusively on teaching the liturgy, during liturgy.


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.

I kind of like this idea.  Food for thought
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« Reply #407 on: December 18, 2012, 01:08:50 AM »

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?

At the very least in our case to be plugged into the gospel & the prayers of the liturgy that are in the language they were actually written in.

Would you like a further explanation?
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« Reply #408 on: December 18, 2012, 01:27:48 AM »

I notice that throughout much or most of the first thousand years of Christianity, the faith was spread to all sorts of tribes, tongues, and people, with every bit of the service being in a language which was not their own. This was never thought, back then, to represent a barrier to evangelization. Think of it: hordes of Irish monks travelling all across Europe, planting churches, converting heathen, baptizing hundreds of people, planting monasteries, and completely transforming the culture -- all in Latin, a foreign language not even cognate to their own (Gaelic). But they did speak the universal language of asceticism and love for men's souls.

If we had that kind of love and ascetic fire, we wouldn't need fancy churches, good reference books, or the English language, to be hugely successful all across America.

But, for us lazybones, I suppose whatever saves face is what we'll focus on.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2012, 01:30:01 AM by Fr.Aidan » Logged
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« Reply #409 on: December 18, 2012, 01:29:31 AM »

I notice that throughout much or most of the first thousand years of Christianity, the faith was spread to all sorts of tribes, tongues, and people, with every bit of the service being in a language which was not their own. This was never thought, back then, to represent a barrier to evangelization. Think of it: hordes of Irish monks travelling all across Europe, planting churches, converting heathen, baptizing hundreds of people, planting monasteries, and completely transforming the culture -- all in a foreign language. But with the universal language of asceticism and of love for men's souls.

If we had that kind of love and ascetic fire, we wouldn't need fancy churches, good reference books, or the English language, to be hugely successful all across America.

But whatever saves face...

I like this point as well
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« Reply #410 on: December 18, 2012, 02:45:27 AM »

I notice that throughout much or most of the first thousand years of Christianity, the faith was spread to all sorts of tribes, tongues, and people, with every bit of the service being in a language which was not their own. This was never thought, back then, to represent a barrier to evangelization. Think of it: hordes of Irish monks travelling all across Europe, planting churches, converting heathen, baptizing hundreds of people, planting monasteries, and completely transforming the culture -- all in a foreign language. But with the universal language of asceticism and of love for men's souls.

If we had that kind of love and ascetic fire, we wouldn't need fancy churches, good reference books, or the English language, to be hugely successful all across America.

But whatever saves face...

I like this point as well
The only problem is Orthodoxy spread, in large part, as a result of using the local languages.  Also, in that time, in those places, trade was key and to trade, one needed to know a variety of languages.  A skill no longer valued or really required in daily life.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2012, 02:47:41 AM by Kerdy » Logged
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« Reply #411 on: December 18, 2012, 02:49:02 AM »

As in most things, it's a lot of "both/and"
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« Reply #412 on: December 18, 2012, 04:40:41 AM »

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?

At the very least in our case to be plugged into the gospel & the prayers of the liturgy that are in the language they were actually written in.

I really don't see how it's valuable from the Orthodox POV.
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« Reply #413 on: December 18, 2012, 11:35:00 AM »

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?

I'm always conflicted about these things.  I have felt the grace of god in languages I've never heard, in liturgy.  But is that the goal of liturgy? Donatism heresies leave us with a no. 

I don't have complete answers, and I wonder if its a disservice for me to answer yours one by one. 

But I will if you want me to!?
Thank you for your honesty. What do you mean by "always conflicted about these things"?

Just to keep the record straight: I do believe there is a role for maintaining some knowledge of the ancient liturgical languages (OK, Slavonic is only semi-ancient  Cheesy). But it is a limited role - mostly scholarly. Any translations into modern languages ought to be made from those earlier languages. In my opinion, it would be dangerous to translate from say, English into Portuguese, then from Portuguese into Guaraní, then from Guaraní into Hungarian, etc. Here in the North American Antiochian Church, we have texts in English that have gone through multiple translations - various combinations of Greek, Arabic, and Slavonic - leaving us with some texts that look like those monstrosities you get when you use a computer translation back and forth between languages (although that is fun to do  Grin).

I also agree that there is a beauty in the original languages that is difficult to recreate in translation. That is true in many situations. As a simple example, I took a university course in French composition about twenty years ago. I wrote one composition that received a high mark, but later when I tried to translate it into English, I couldn't get it to say exactly what it did in French - even though I was the author of the original and they were my own thoughts! It's also somewhat akin to our preferring an opera in its original language. However, in many opera houses, there will be a screen that gives a translation. Somehow, I don't think that's likely in our churches.

The preaching of the Gospel - including our worship - must be as clear as possible. It is true that even our native language will often fail to communicate adequately, but that is more likely a spiritual problem than a linguistic one. At that point, we must let the Holy Spirit do His work.

I don't think either of us (or any other person) has the complete answer. The best we can do is continue in discussion.
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« Reply #414 on: December 18, 2012, 10:41:02 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?

I'm always conflicted about these things.  I have felt the grace of god in languages I've never heard, in liturgy.  But is that the goal of liturgy? Donatism heresies leave us with a no. 

I don't have complete answers, and I wonder if its a disservice for me to answer yours one by one. 

But I will if you want me to!?
Thank you for your honesty. What do you mean by "always conflicted about these things"?

Just to keep the record straight: I do believe there is a role for maintaining some knowledge of the ancient liturgical languages (OK, Slavonic is only semi-ancient  Cheesy). But it is a limited role - mostly scholarly. Any translations into modern languages ought to be made from those earlier languages. In my opinion, it would be dangerous to translate from say, English into Portuguese, then from Portuguese into Guaraní, then from Guaraní into Hungarian, etc. Here in the North American Antiochian Church, we have texts in English that have gone through multiple translations - various combinations of Greek, Arabic, and Slavonic - leaving us with some texts that look like those monstrosities you get when you use a computer translation back and forth between languages (although that is fun to do  Grin).

I also agree that there is a beauty in the original languages that is difficult to recreate in translation. That is true in many situations. As a simple example, I took a university course in French composition about twenty years ago. I wrote one composition that received a high mark, but later when I tried to translate it into English, I couldn't get it to say exactly what it did in French - even though I was the author of the original and they were my own thoughts! It's also somewhat akin to our preferring an opera in its original language. However, in many opera houses, there will be a screen that gives a translation. Somehow, I don't think that's likely in our churches.

The preaching of the Gospel - including our worship - must be as clear as possible. It is true that even our native language will often fail to communicate adequately, but that is more likely a spiritual problem than a linguistic one. At that point, we must let the Holy Spirit do His work.

I don't think either of us (or any other person) has the complete answer. The best we can do is continue in discussion.

I like that last line a lot, and wholeheartedly agree.

As for always being conflicted, I understand that argument for modern languages & totally agree that we shouldn't have a mindless worship.  HOWEVER when entire volumes and entire segments of church history are dedicated to specific words such as Logos, and Homoousios, Theotokos, etc. to me it is a tragedy to lose these all-important words from our WORSHIP, just for the sake of modern understanding.  I just think there's a better way to do it. 
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« Reply #415 on: December 19, 2012, 09:54:51 AM »


As for always being conflicted, I understand that argument for modern languages & totally agree that we shouldn't have a mindless worship.  HOWEVER when entire volumes and entire segments of church history are dedicated to specific words such as Logos, and Homoousios, Theotokos, etc. to me it is a tragedy to lose these all-important words from our WORSHIP, just for the sake of modern understanding.  I just think there's a better way to do it. 
If what you're talking about is having the required vocabulary within English or other modern language then we have no disagreement. In fact, we English-speakers are privileged with a language that easily acquires and assimilates new words, whether coined from earlier constructions or introduced from other languages.

And yes, I do believe that it is quite appropriate for the Church to use a specialized vocabulary for worship. That is not unusual. It's done all the time for many activities - look, for example, at the vocabulary needed to play almost any sport; consider the changes in vocabulary that have come about since computers became common. We adapt well. The examples of Greek terms you give above really do have no equivalent in English, so cannot be translated with the proper nuances. Even our having to learn these new words forces us to examine our faith and understand the depth of it. A dumbed down faith does no one any good.
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« Reply #416 on: December 19, 2012, 12:28:56 PM »


As for always being conflicted, I understand that argument for modern languages & totally agree that we shouldn't have a mindless worship.  HOWEVER when entire volumes and entire segments of church history are dedicated to specific words such as Logos, and Homoousios, Theotokos, etc. to me it is a tragedy to lose these all-important words from our WORSHIP, just for the sake of modern understanding.  I just think there's a better way to do it. 
The examples of Greek terms you give above really do have no equivalent in English, so cannot be translated with the proper nuances.

I'll give you Logos and Homoousious, but I fail to see the difference between the Greek Theotokos and the English Godbearer. If there is an English equivalent that properly conveys the meaning of a Greek word, why not use it?
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« Reply #417 on: December 19, 2012, 12:37:08 PM »


As for always being conflicted, I understand that argument for modern languages & totally agree that we shouldn't have a mindless worship.  HOWEVER when entire volumes and entire segments of church history are dedicated to specific words such as Logos, and Homoousios, Theotokos, etc. to me it is a tragedy to lose these all-important words from our WORSHIP, just for the sake of modern understanding.  I just think there's a better way to do it.  
The examples of Greek terms you give above really do have no equivalent in English, so cannot be translated with the proper nuances.

I'll give you Logos and Homoousious, but I fail to see the difference between the Greek Theotokos and the English Godbearer. If there is an English equivalent that properly conveys the meaning of a Greek word, why not use it?

Godbearer is not the same as Theotokos, at least not as I understand the term. Birthgiver of God would be but Godbearer could just as easily mean someone who carried God as someone who gave birth to God so to me the term would seem far too ambiguous. I think Mother of God would be preferrable to that even taking into account the way some misconstrue what that means. We don't use Theotokos in DL because we use the Romanian Născătoare de Dumnezeu, which translates exactly as Birthgiver of God.

James
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« Reply #418 on: December 19, 2012, 12:43:02 PM »

Godbearer could be used as a translation for Θεοφόρος, the nickname of St. Ignatius of Antioch, as well.
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« Reply #419 on: December 19, 2012, 12:47:47 PM »


As for always being conflicted, I understand that argument for modern languages & totally agree that we shouldn't have a mindless worship.  HOWEVER when entire volumes and entire segments of church history are dedicated to specific words such as Logos, and Homoousios, Theotokos, etc. to me it is a tragedy to lose these all-important words from our WORSHIP, just for the sake of modern understanding.  I just think there's a better way to do it.  
The examples of Greek terms you give above really do have no equivalent in English, so cannot be translated with the proper nuances.

I'll give you Logos and Homoousious, but I fail to see the difference between the Greek Theotokos and the English Godbearer. If there is an English equivalent that properly conveys the meaning of a Greek word, why not use it?

Godbearer is not the same as Theotokos, at least not as I understand the term. Birthgiver of God would be but Godbearer could just as easily mean someone who carried God as someone who gave birth to God so to me the term would seem far too ambiguous. I think Mother of God would be preferrable to that even taking into account the way some misconstrue what that means. We don't use Theotokos in DL because we use the Romanian Născătoare de Dumnezeu, which translates exactly as Birthgiver of God.

James
I quite agree. And even the term "Birthgiver" I've never heard outside an Orthodox context, so using it would still require explanations. It might work, but when English can easily assimilate "Theotokos", why coin the word "Birthgiver"?
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« Reply #420 on: December 19, 2012, 12:53:30 PM »


As for always being conflicted, I understand that argument for modern languages & totally agree that we shouldn't have a mindless worship.  HOWEVER when entire volumes and entire segments of church history are dedicated to specific words such as Logos, and Homoousios, Theotokos, etc. to me it is a tragedy to lose these all-important words from our WORSHIP, just for the sake of modern understanding.  I just think there's a better way to do it.  
The examples of Greek terms you give above really do have no equivalent in English, so cannot be translated with the proper nuances.

I'll give you Logos and Homoousious, but I fail to see the difference between the Greek Theotokos and the English Godbearer. If there is an English equivalent that properly conveys the meaning of a Greek word, why not use it?

Godbearer is not the same as Theotokos, at least not as I understand the term. Birthgiver of God would be but Godbearer could just as easily mean someone who carried God as someone who gave birth to God so to me the term would seem far too ambiguous. I think Mother of God would be preferrable to that even taking into account the way some misconstrue what that means. We don't use Theotokos in DL because we use the Romanian Născătoare de Dumnezeu, which translates exactly as Birthgiver of God.

James
I quite agree. And even the term "Birthgiver" I've never heard outside an Orthodox context, so using it would still require explanations. It might work, but when English can easily assimilate "Theotokos", why coin the word "Birthgiver"?

Either term would require explanation, I agree, but either term would also work and be preferable to either Mother of God or Godbearer. Most of us are used to Theotokos, though, so I'm not suggesting we change it. It was merely meant to illustrate how Godbearer isn't really equivalent to Theotokos.

James
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