While attending the Sunday of Orthodoxy vespers this year, the presence of ROCOR for the first time locally was noted. It occurred to me that the fact that we Orthodox have a range of practice and liturgical yet we are united in one Faith and dogmatic teaching is amazing. To the outside world these differences are not readily apparent as they lump us together in one "exotic" stew. We tend to overstate those differences and turn them into a barrier. Within reason, there is room in our faith community to understand and respect those differences.
awesome post, post of the month if you ask me. I remember the first time the catechumens attended a rural parish (they were coming from a multi ethnic parish). The priest was from Poland but he was Belarussian. He'd forget the English and just use slavonic. It was also a soul sat. and they were having a blini dinner for cheesefare. So the slavonic tripped the catechumens out but they weren't prepared for the choir and priest fight over the panachida. Horrified was their look and I said, ah, this is just how it can be.
The argument was over the fact that the choir didn't want to sing the panachida because they wanted to go start serving lunch. And the priest said, this is for your departed brothers and sisters. Ended up with the priest behind the icon screen and fifteen minutes later everyone was fine over at the lunch.
That maybe a long winded story but it's how life is and goes, and Orthodoxy being Christ's Church attended by man, well, you get different results and well, you get life and its quirks.
Sometimes I think people want to make church the way they want it to be. If it doesn't feel right or fit some notion then it must be wrong.
Probably any parish that uses any non-English language does it for a reason. And if there really isn't a reason it's probably just because how it is and has been done and probably best to roll with it.
My family parish is Ukrainian. I often wondered why they use Slavonic and insist on it. Even though Ukrainian is easier to pronounce and a working language. I thumbed through the archives of the choir and found when they had a formal choir they used Ukrainian mostly and sang parts also in Slavonic. The ladies now don't remember the Ukrainian but for some reason they can belt out Dotojno Jest like any baba in any village church of Ukrainian heritage throughout the world. Why? Who knows. It just is.
Just think if you learn a little Slavonic you might make friends with the Russians etc.. at coffee hour. You'll not only know more people in your parish but you'll have new friends and learn a lot from them.
I've seen so much I could't possibly put it in here. But its best to go with the flow.