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« on: May 21, 2013, 10:32:03 PM »

What language do you prefer during Divine Liturgy and why? Do you prefer understanding of the text over the melody? Would you perhaps rather hear a combination of few languages instead of only one?
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2013, 11:09:09 PM »

I prefer English, as it is my best language, but I don't mind hearing more than one language in the Liturgy if it's done for a good enough reason and not simply to "be exotic" or "be ethnic" or whatever.  In fact, I'm used to hearing two or three languages in any given Liturgy, so when I hear it all in English or all in another language, even if the language is familiar enough, I'm thrown off.

I'm not sure why there's a dichotomy between "understanding the text" and "the melody".  I prefer understanding the text, but I also prefer that the music be executed well; if one suffers, they're both failing. 

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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2013, 11:12:59 PM »

My parish uses mostly English with a bit of Arabic, which I enjoy. I would be fine with more Arabic so long as I can understand the majority of the service.

My experience is limited so I can't answer understanding vs melody.
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« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2013, 06:06:54 AM »

Any language I can understand.
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« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2013, 08:05:32 AM »

Old-fashioned vernacular languages.
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« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2013, 08:56:18 AM »

Church Slavonic. Because it's a special liturgical language, but after some investigating likely to understand. Words full of theological meaning, beautiful sound (doesn't matter which variant). Definitely not Polish, nor even Serbian (although it's more acceptable as it's close to Church Slavonic).

But as for readings (especially Old Testament, but also lectures from the Apostle, possibly Gospel), I prefer vernacular. Because generally they're not poetry like hymns, and the their first purpose is teaching (of course, it's also intent of the hymns, but not in the first place, because they aim to enable people to pray and focus on Divine matters).


Of course, I love also Arabic, Syriac, old Greek languages... They have beautiful melody, and I suppose, the meaning and richness of the theological vocabulary is very similar to Church Slavonic (especially it[s the case of Greek, as CS was based on it).

I also really like when on the greatest feasts (Pascha, Nativity, Epiphany, Pentecost) some parts are chanted in other languages (that's practice of my parish). Then some parts in vernacular are for me OK. Also when we celebrate a feast of particular saint and one-two prayers are chanted in the language of this saint (e.g st. Sava - Serbian; st. John Damascene - Arabic; Chinese Martyrs - Chinese etc.)
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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2013, 11:45:28 AM »

I have found that I like diversity. I was discussing this with a friend of mine who is an experienced memberof a church choir and taught by a professional...he explained how due to the language difference a change in rythm is inevitable...but that's not alwaysbecause of a language. There a different melodies of a same hymn in the same language...i am not a music expert, but those are some things that you can hear. For me it is important to understand the language but I find sometimes the language you do not know as much sometimes adds a mysterious feeling to it. I remember reading somewhere about the sacred language, which is a theory that only certain languages should be used during DL and also because they are more apt dor creating a melody aka sound better...One argument I found when reading about whether to use Serbian or Church Slavonic is that Serbian and other such languages is considered mundane while CS is not
 Plus we dont swear in CS. I am not going into justifying these claims but will agree that it sounds interesting.
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2013, 11:56:19 AM »

I've gotten into a lot of trouble for this with my parish priest, but I prefer Greek. Our parish is an English-speaking parish with a few native Arabs, Greeks and Russians, but the majority is convert or 2nd generation who learned English.  I will pray at home almost exclusively in Greek.  When I'm in church, I have to work to turn the Greek off because it's automatic.  i'm not a native Greek, but I can speak the language and Greek was a major part of my studies in college and grad school. I also lived in Greece for a while. My first exposure to the Church Fathers was through Greek (I read St. John Chrysostom's On the Priesthood in Greek).  If it were not for Greek, I would not have become an Orthodox Christian.

Though I'm a native English speaker, I think that the English language is too harsh and imprecise for prayers that are rooted in Orthodoxy which is Hellenic.  I remember a talk given by a Greek Archbishop who said that to be an Orthodox one must also be a Greek speaker. Now, he did not mean that literally, but considering that Greek is at the root of our liturgy and the Scriptures and a great number of Holy Fathers, not knowing Greek is depriving oneself (I realize that not everyone has the time nor the knack for learning other languages; I'm lucky that I do).  So, I pray in Greek.

Also, English set to Byzantine chant doesn't really work that well since the accentuation in Greek is naturally recessive.  It really changes up the melodies. However, I do applaud the monks of HTM who have metered the major hymns in the Menaion and Pentecostarion so that the English fits better with the traditional Byzantine melodies.  Still, I prefer Greek.  Sue me.  Wink
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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2013, 11:57:35 AM »

Also when we celebrate a feast of particular saint and one-two prayers are chanted in the language of this saint (e.g st. Sava - Serbian; st. John Damascene - Arabic; Chinese Martyrs - Chinese etc.)

That's not a bad idea.  However, though St. John Damascene was an Arab he wrote exclusively in Greek. 
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« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2013, 02:24:59 PM »

I find sometimes the language you do not know as much sometimes adds a mysterious feeling to it.

Liturgy is already a mystery. No fog is needed.

Quote
I remember reading somewhere about the sacred language, which is a theory that only certain languages should be used during DL and also because they are more apt dor creating a melody aka sound better...One argument I found when reading about whether to use Serbian or Church Slavonic is that Serbian and other such languages is considered mundane while CS is not

Your sources are wrong. It's Ethiopian that is spoken by God, Adam and Eve. At least some posters here claimed so.

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Plus we dont swear in CS.

You shouldn't swear in any language.

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« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2013, 02:26:35 PM »

You shouldn't swear in any language.

Why not? It might be a little impolite around decent folks but hardly anything else.
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« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2013, 02:36:21 PM »

I've gotten into a lot of trouble for this with my parish priest, but I prefer Greek. Our parish is an English-speaking parish with a few native Arabs, Greeks and Russians, but the majority is convert or 2nd generation who learned English.  I will pray at home almost exclusively in Greek.  When I'm in church, I have to work to turn the Greek off because it's automatic.  i'm not a native Greek, but I can speak the language and Greek was a major part of my studies in college and grad school. I also lived in Greece for a while. My first exposure to the Church Fathers was through Greek (I read St. John Chrysostom's On the Priesthood in Greek).  If it were not for Greek, I would not have become an Orthodox Christian.

Though I'm a native English speaker, I think that the English language is too harsh and imprecise for prayers that are rooted in Orthodoxy which is Hellenic.  I remember a talk given by a Greek Archbishop who said that to be an Orthodox one must also be a Greek speaker. Now, he did not mean that literally, but considering that Greek is at the root of our liturgy and the Scriptures and a great number of Holy Fathers, not knowing Greek is depriving oneself (I realize that not everyone has the time nor the knack for learning other languages; I'm lucky that I do).  So, I pray in Greek.

Also, English set to Byzantine chant doesn't really work that well since the accentuation in Greek is naturally recessive.  It really changes up the melodies. However, I do applaud the monks of HTM who have metered the major hymns in the Menaion and Pentecostarion so that the English fits better with the traditional Byzantine melodies.  Still, I prefer Greek.  Sue me.  Wink

I'm a native Greek, in an English-speaking parish for six years now, and I still can't get used to it. You're very right about the chanting. I pray mostly in Greek, though I don't turn down resources in English (like the Akathist of Thanksgiving, for which I'm not even sure there is a Greek translation).

Liturgical Greek is, beyond whatever religious merit - like the privilege of not needing NT translations - a matter of national identity for me, and I miss it.
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« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2013, 02:39:55 PM »

like the privilege of not needing NT translations

OT was written in Greek too.
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« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2013, 02:56:00 PM »

like the privilege of not needing NT translations

OT was written in Greek too.

Moses didn't speak Attic Greek.
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« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2013, 02:57:15 PM »

What language do you prefer during Divine Liturgy and why? Do you prefer understanding of the text over the melody? Would you perhaps rather hear a combination of few languages instead of only one?

Any language, although I have my doubts about fantasy languages like Klingon and Dothraki.
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« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2013, 03:49:20 PM »

I find sometimes the language you do not know as much sometimes adds a mysterious feeling to it.

Liturgy is already a mystery. No fog is needed.

Quote
I remember reading somewhere about the sacred language, which is a theory that only certain languages should be used during DL and also because they are more apt dor creating a melody aka sound better...One argument I found when reading about whether to use Serbian or Church Slavonic is that Serbian and other such languages is considered mundane while CS is not

Your sources are wrong. It's Ethiopian that is spoken by God, Adam and Eve. At least some posters here claimed so.

Quote
Plus we dont swear in CS.

You shouldn't swear in any language.



I am using iphone so I am sorry for not quoting each comment separately. Instead I will number them.
1. I am not talking about a fog as you simplify it here. It is a whole different matter. Interesting how you like putting words in people's mouth...
2. Those definitions are not mine, but of others. There has been a longstanding discussion in SOC which of the two languages should be used...
3. That is not the point I am trying to make.
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« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2013, 03:50:32 PM »

like the privilege of not needing NT translations

OT was written in Greek too.

Moses didn't speak Attic Greek.

Moses didn't write the Septuagint.
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« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2013, 03:54:17 PM »

like the privilege of not needing NT translations

OT was written in Greek too.

Moses didn't speak Attic Greek.

Moses didn't write the Septuagint.

The Septuagint is a translation.

Any language, although I have my doubts about fantasy languages like Klingon and Dothraki.

The Akathist would sound stupendous in Quenya. Wink
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« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2013, 03:55:56 PM »

The Septuagint is a translation.

The Septuagint is the Old Testament.
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« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2013, 04:04:28 PM »

The Septuagint is a translation.

The Septuagint is the Old Testament.

The books of the Old Testament weren't written in Greek.
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« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2013, 04:06:23 PM »

The Septuagint is a translation.

The Septuagint is the Old Testament.

The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Hebrew and Aramaic originals of the Old Testament. The only OT books written in Greek were Maccabees 2-4, the Prayer of Manasses, the Wisdom of Solomon and probably the Epistle of Jeremias.
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« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2013, 04:12:39 PM »

The Septuagint is a translation.

The Septuagint is the Old Testament.

The books of the Old Testament weren't written in Greek.

The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Hebrew and Aramaic originals of the Old Testament.

Doesn't really matter. The Hebrew (or Aramaic) text is not the normative Old Testament.
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« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2013, 04:18:40 PM »

That's because there is no original Hebrew text.
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« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2013, 04:31:11 PM »

I have found that I like diversity. I was discussing this with a friend of mine who is an experienced memberof a church choir and taught by a professional...he explained how due to the language difference a change in rythm is inevitable...but that's not alwaysbecause of a language. There a different melodies of a same hymn in the same language...i am not a music expert, but those are some things that you can hear. For me it is important to understand the language but I find sometimes the language you do not know as much sometimes adds a mysterious feeling to it. I remember reading somewhere about the sacred language, which is a theory that only certain languages should be used during DL and also because they are more apt dor creating a melody aka sound better...One argument I found when reading about whether to use Serbian or Church Slavonic is that Serbian and other such languages is considered mundane while CS is not
Plus we dont swear in CS. I am not going into justifying these claims but will agree that it sounds interesting.

One can easily take the Lord's name in vain in CS.  Or blaspheme.
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« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2013, 04:32:07 PM »

That's because there is no original Hebrew text.

Nope. it's because the Septuagint is the inspired text.
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« Reply #25 on: May 22, 2013, 04:37:01 PM »

That's because there is no original Hebrew text.

Nope. it's because the Septuagint is the inspired text.

And the text from which it was translated wasn't inspired? Was the text that Moses wrote inspired?
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« Reply #26 on: May 22, 2013, 04:48:27 PM »

That's because there is no original Hebrew text.

Nope. it's because the Septuagint is the inspired text.

And the text from which it was translated wasn't inspired? Was the text that Moses wrote inspired?

Perhaps but it end up in the Bible. Greek text did.
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« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2013, 06:36:41 AM »

Although I find Arabic more aesthetically pleasing, I prefer Greek in church for many of the same reasons given by scamandrius. The readings, however, should be in the vernacular, or at least repeated in the vernacular.

When praying alone at home, I prefer my mother tongue (more to do with intimacy than comprehension), despite the fact that it often cannot adequately express the meaning of the Greek original.
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« Reply #28 on: June 07, 2013, 03:58:44 AM »

for music, I only say it should not interweave with itself to make it impossible to understand what is being sung


I do not have an opinion on whether to use english or not. or whether to use the old greek or the new
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« Reply #29 on: August 16, 2013, 03:36:35 PM »

What language do you prefer during Divine Liturgy and why? Do you prefer understanding of the text over the melody? Would you perhaps rather hear a combination of few languages instead of only one?

I prefer English since it's my main language, but it's nice to hear snippets in languages I've had to worship in over the years - Greek, Kikuyu, Ukrainian, et cetera. At Pascha at my current parish there are litanies and/or hymns in Arabic, Greek, Slavonic, and Spanish, and that's always nice - a witness to the universality of Orthodoxy in an otherwise fairly homogenous community.
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« Reply #30 on: August 16, 2013, 08:31:35 PM »

The rule as it were that the liturgy should be done in the language of the land,so if your live and speek greek or in spain,spanish, the liturgy should be in that peoples language.
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« Reply #31 on: August 17, 2013, 09:15:37 AM »

The rule as it were that the liturgy should be done in the language of the land,so if your live and speek greek or in spain,spanish, the liturgy should be in that peoples language.
I don't disagree, but another idea to consider is that your liturgical services should be done in the language used in your parish council business meetings.
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« Reply #32 on: August 17, 2013, 01:52:17 PM »

I don't disagree, but another idea to consider is that your liturgical services should be done in the language used in your parish council business meetings.

LOL, please no!  I've heard some salty language at such meetings, and nary a "Peace be unto all".  Wink
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« Reply #33 on: August 17, 2013, 03:16:38 PM »

I don't disagree, but another idea to consider is that your liturgical services should be done in the language used in your parish council business meetings.

LOL, please no!  I've heard some salty language at such meetings, and nary a "Peace be unto all".  Wink
An excellent point. May I amend my earlier comment: Your parish council business meetings should be in the language of your liturgical services. Wilt thou agree to this?
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« Reply #34 on: August 17, 2013, 04:05:10 PM »

Nαί.  Tongue
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