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Silouan
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« on: September 27, 2005, 08:51:40 PM »

I am transfering a box of old cassette tapes (I think some must be older than me!) that someone from church wanted to get rid of, so gave to me, to my computer....so I happen to come acrros two tapes of Divine liturgy from Holy Nativity Convent so it caused me to think of the whole topic of English liturgy.  The tapes were very beautiful, the liturgy well translated (IMO) and set very well to the Byzantine melodies.

Now GiC makes the claim that the liturgy cannot be accurately translating into English without creating theological errors.  While I admit no translation process is ever entirely smooth - the liturgy is served in African Languages, Arabic, Chineses, Japanese and other languages much further from Greek than English is (and in some cases Russian is used as the source for the translations, not Greek!).  So I challange GiC to explain precisely what cannot be translated into English in the Liturgy and to cite one Church Father that contemporary to these missionary movements (i.e the era of Sts. Kyril and Methodios, or the other languages mentioned) to say that the liturgy should not be translated from Greek.   
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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2005, 09:43:05 PM »

Yes, I am eagerly awaiting GiC's response as well on this subject.


Now, a reverse anecdote though.  I attend an OCA parish that does over 90%+ in English, with a few things occasionally in Slavonic and sometimes Greek.  I was out of town last weekend and attended an OCA parish in the Sacramento area.  I had some time to kill in the afternoon until I was to sing in a concert at a Serbian Orthodox parish later on, and so I drove down south a few miles to say hi to friends at the Antiochian parish close by, as they would likely be having lunch about that time.  When I arrived, there was only a few people left to lock up and no lunch out back.  I said hi to one of the two deacons and talked for a few minutes.  Previously, I had gotten the vibe from many in the former AEOM that all English should ONLY be used as we are in America and that any foreign language (except maybe Spanish) is just inappropriate.  This really bothered me.  Well, I mentioned to this deacon that I was singing in a men's Slavonic choir later in the evening and he expressed this hostle vibe, stating he had no interest.  He didn't even seem to know 'Lord Have Mercy' or the Trisagion in any non-English languages and I teased him, well why not Arabic like where your Church is from?  He said that he had absolutely no interest and that the Bishop had tried to teach a little on occasion, but that he was uninterested.  He said that he'd have to adapt if he was assigned to Damascus, but otherwise English only.  He said that 'America' wants English in order to be evangelized as his excuse for 100% English.  I just find this whole attitude to be culturall insensitive, ignorant and flat out disrespeciful to the established Orthodox peoples in this country.  As condescending as this sounds, is it too much to at least give a little effort to throw a bone per se to the "ethnics" in the parishes?  Are you going to tell them 100% English or the highway?  The Church is supposed to be pastoral to her people and it seems to me that some of these people just perpetuate the "ugly American" stereotype that is seen in Europe at times.

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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2005, 12:47:24 AM »

I am all for English liturgy.  I also believe in keeping some of the Old language. Case in point: one Antiochian priest I know drove off a large number of Arabs from his parish because he wouldn't use even one bit of Arabic.  Now they are all Maronite Catholics!!

Anastasios
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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2005, 12:56:24 AM »

The Antiochian parish here had a huge battle between the evangical Protestant "converts" and the Arabs - it was really quite sad.  The ROCOR parish here has a nice balance between cradles and converts, using mostly English but a fair amount of slavonic.  It is really a nice parish and if it were just a wee bit closer to my house I'd probably go there most the time, but now that I am giving up driving in favor of the bus anyway - who knows. 
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Silouan
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2005, 03:56:33 AM »

In further response I agree with Elisha that Orthodox people in the United States simply have to learn to be flexible with language and be willing to make some compromises.  I really enjoyed the linquistic diversity of the  Holy Mountain (but I also like languages in general).  But that leads me to my question - as arabic is my big weak point in common Orthodox liturgical languages does anyone have a link (or a file they could email me) of the Liturgy in Arabic?  (preferably in Arabic script, not Romanization)  I've got some learning to do.   
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« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2005, 12:09:09 PM »

In further response I agree with Elisha that Orthodox people in the United States simply have to learn to be flexible with language and be willing to make some compromises.  I really enjoyed the linquistic diversity of the  Holy Mountain (but I also like languages in general).  But that leads me to my question - as arabic is my big weak point in common Orthodox liturgical languages does anyone have a link (or a file they could email me) of the Liturgy in Arabic?  (preferably in Arabic script, not Romanization)  I've got some learning to do.  ÃƒÆ’‚Â

PM the poster here who goes by kelfar.  He can hook you up.  He's also the one who produced a somewhat recent Liturgy CD  of Byzantine in English with a choit in Lebanon.  If he doesn't respond (he stops by this board infrequently), then contact me and I'll give you his e-mail.
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« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2005, 08:35:10 PM »

I am transfering a box of old cassette tapes (I think some must be older than me!) that someone from church wanted to get rid of, so gave to me, to my computer....so I happen to come acrros two tapes of Divine liturgy from Holy Nativity Convent ... ÂÂ

Did you transfer this to your computer too?  Do you mean it's in MP3 format?  I have never heard the Divine Litrugy in English, and would love to hear it, particularly in the Byzantine melodies.  (I go to a Russian Orthodox church, and even though I'm of Russian decent, I don't speak the language, and have only ever heard Liturgy in slavonic!)  Is it possible to send me a copy?  I would greatly appreciate it ... if possible.

Joy in the Resurrected Christ!
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« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2005, 08:45:37 PM »

The files of are in m4a format which is the apple / itunes version of mp3, but they play on a windows computer.  There are four files, each one is 15 MBs so I can't email them.  If anyone wants them drop me an IM on AIM, my SN is Nektarios014.   
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« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2005, 01:18:01 AM »

Can you dropload them?  www.dropload.com
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« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2005, 03:18:58 PM »

I am all for English liturgy.ÂÂ  I also believe in keeping some of the Old language. Case in point: one Antiochian priest I know drove off a large number of Arabs from his parish because he wouldn't use even one bit of Arabic.ÂÂ  Now they are all Maronite Catholics!!

Anastasios

If cradle-Orthodox are willing to become Catholics just to hear Arabic on Sunday morning then good riddance. Obviously, they're just there for the shay.

Honestly, when a person moves to America, hey, guess what? the language is English! (Unless, of course, you're Hispanic  Roll Eyes ). If you still want the old language then don't immigrate, problem solved. Getting to continue the old language in America is a grace which a priest may give if he so chooses. Complaining about not getting it is like asking your bank to please speak to you only in Arabic and send you an Arabic checkbook, because you prefer it better. To complain when the bank says no is pretty silly.

Good solution which many churches do: most of those who want the old language are older, so do a mid-week liturgy sometimes for them (esp. on feast days). The only people who can show up to church on a week day morning is usually the retired anyways, so then you can do the old language for them.
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« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2005, 03:48:28 PM »

-sigh-

That attitude among converts is really the root of most of the power battles I've seen among Antiochians.  It shows a great deal of arrogance and also a sketchy knowledge of American history.  Even my parents remember the days of finding church services in English, German, Norweigen or Polish and that wasn't all that long ago.

Try to remember that these people have been worshipping with these same prayers all their life - and it is not easy for most people to switch the language of their prayer.  You could just as easily (and fairly) turn your statement around: if you aren't willing to learn a new language (which after all isn't that hard) for the true faith, then good riddance. 
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« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2005, 04:47:21 PM »

-sigh-

That attitude among converts is really the root of most of the power battles I've seen among Antiochians.ÂÂ  It shows a great deal of arrogance and also a sketchy knowledge of American history.ÂÂ  Even my parents remember the days of finding church services in English, German, Norweigen or Polish and that wasn't all that long ago.

Try to remember that these people have been worshipping with these same prayers all their life - and it is not easy for most people to switch the language of their prayer.ÂÂ  You could just as easily (and fairly) turn your statement around: if you aren't willing to learn a new language (which after all isn't that hard) for the true faith, then good riddance.ÂÂ  

Let's talk about the tradition of Orthodoxy in new lands: Sts. Cyril and Methodius, giving Orthodoxy to the Slavs in the Slavic langauge, a language which was not the native tongue of Cyril nor Methodius. This is Orthodox tradition: to celebrate the liturgical offices in the vernacular of the country. People who complain about not getting a foriegn language are going against that tradition. This is not arrogance. Neither is it ignorance of American history, the German immigrants to America in the 18-19th century were using English almost exclusively within 50 years. And this was in the day when German was considered a "better" language than English.

While I live in America, I expect to go to a church which is in English. When I live in the Netherlands I expect to go to a church in Dutch. When I live in Jerusalem I expect to go to a church in Arabic. Telling me to learn a language other than the country I live in just to go to church is stupid.
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« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2005, 04:49:31 PM »

If cradle-Orthodox are willing to become Catholics just to hear Arabic on Sunday morning then good riddance. Obviously, they're just there for the shay.

Do you have any formal, pastoral training?

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Honestly, when a person moves to America, hey, guess what? the language is English! (Unless, of course, you're HispanicÂÂ  Roll Eyes ). If you still want the old language then don't immigrate, problem solved. Getting to continue the old language in America is a grace which a priest may give if he so chooses. Complaining about not getting it is like asking your bank to please speak to you only in Arabic and send you an Arabic checkbook, because you prefer it better. To complain when the bank says no is pretty silly.

My response to this will depend on your response to my question above.

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Good solution which many churches do: most of those who want the old language are older, so do a mid-week liturgy sometimes for them (esp. on feast days). The only people who can show up to church on a week day morning is usually the retired anyways, so then you can do the old language for them.

You just contradicted yourself. If it's English or the highway, why even bother with this?

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« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2005, 05:33:49 PM »

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Let's talk about the tradition of Orthodoxy in new lands: Sts. Cyril and Methodius, giving Orthodoxy to the Slavs in the Slavic langauge, a language which was not the native tongue of Cyril nor Methodius. This is Orthodox tradition: to celebrate the liturgical offices in the vernacular of the country. People who complain about not getting a foriegn language are going against that tradition.

The difference though is America is that the Church is not solely here as a missionary presence (and it is only recently that people began to realize, oh wait we can convert Americans to Orthodoxy).  Orthodoxy came to this country to serve immigrant communities.  Thus Churches in America need to form a balance - is it really that much of an imposition to do a few litanies in Slavonic, Arabic or Greek?  Can you not understand the Trisagion if it done once in English, once in Greek and once in Slavonic?  Really you should be thankful for what you do have, as America is light years ahead of other diaspora countries in using vernacular - in the churches that I visited in Germany for instance no German was used.  But even there I found a fair number of converts to talk to after Church - but Europeans don't fear polyglotic conditions like Americans seem to. 

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Neither is it ignorance of American history, the German immigrants to America in the 18-19th century were using English almost exclusively within 50 years.

And eventually English will take over in Orthodox parishes (with the exception of areas of new immigration) - have some patience.  As it stands at my GOA parish I am the chanter that knows the most Greek and I'm a convert.  Not even the GOA will be able to force Greek forever. 

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While I live in America, I expect to go to a church which is in English. When I live in the Netherlands I expect to go to a church in Dutch. When I live in Jerusalem I expect to go to a church in Arabic. Telling me to learn a language other than the country I live in just to go to church is stupid.

Apparently you don't get around much.  In Thessaloniki there is a semi-regular English Liturgy (and I believe in Athens as well, but am not positive), there are Russian, Serbian and Romanian parishes there as well.  On the Holy Mountain there are monasteries and sketes that use Greek, Slavonic and Romanian - in times past there was even more linquistic diversity.  In St. Paisius Velichkhovky's monastery one kliros sang in Slavonic and the other in Moldavian. 

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Telling me to learn a language other than the country I live in just to go to church is stupid.

I'm only saying that you should be flexible and willing to compromise. 

 
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« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2005, 05:50:28 PM »

Thus Churches in America need to form a balance - is it really that much of an imposition to do a few litanies in Slavonic, Arabic or Greek?ÂÂ  Can you not understand the Trisagion if it done once in English, once in Greek and once in Slavonic?

Exactly.  English bore's like this need a thicker skin.
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« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2005, 05:55:17 PM »

Honestly, when a person moves to America, hey, guess what? the language is English! (Unless, of course, you're Hispanic  Roll Eyes ). If you still want the old language then don't immigrate, problem solved. Getting to continue the old language in America is a grace which a priest may give if he so chooses. Complaining about not getting it is like asking your bank to please speak to you only in Arabic and send you an Arabic checkbook, because you prefer it better. To complain when the bank says no is pretty silly.

All people should have the right to speak their native language everywhere and at all times if they so desire. A lot of businesses are discovering that this is a good thing. Local governments in immigrant communities in the U.S. for years have tried to serve the immigrants in their own language, and you'll see pamphlets in languages from Bengali to Vietnamese. Language diversity is a good thing, you seem to be saying that anything other than English is undesirable here. I'd hate to live in a country that boring.
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« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2005, 05:57:52 PM »

Let's talk about the tradition of Orthodoxy in new lands: Sts. Cyril and Methodius, giving Orthodoxy to the Slavs in the Slavic langauge, a language which was not the native tongue of Cyril nor Methodius.

Cyril and Methodius were native speakers of Slavonic. Their mother was Slavic. And the comments made by Byzantine Emperor Michael III suggest that in 9th century Thessaloniki all people learned Slavic while growing up so that it was a natural medium of communication for them. See the Vita Metodii.
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« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2005, 06:38:56 PM »

 Roll Eyes  Roll Eyes  Roll Eyes

Example: Last year I lived in the Netherlands. Going to an Orthodox church meant going to a service done in Dutch. I only know about 10 words in Dutch. I brought a book of the liturgy in English with me to church. I still missed a lot, the book lacked a lot of festal things, but I still followed along with the all-Dutch service. I did not ask the church to change to doing their service in English because English is "better" and because that's my native language and the language I prayed in. Then I sometimes went to monastery in the Netherlands, which for weekday mornings with the monk when there were only a few people there all of whom knew English, we did Matins and Vespers in English (though the only book for this available for this was Hapgood's, a disaster for the native-Dutch monk). I got the brunt of the readings though.....

Hypothetical example: Say next year I move to Norway. I understand that by this move I will most likely have to attend all-Norwegian liturgies in order to continue attending an Orthodox church. I buckle down, dig back out my English liturgy book, and as I learn Norwegian I participate more and more in the Norwegian prayers done at church. Now maybe at that church in Norway there is a smattering of people who have English as their native language, we get together and ask if we can gather at a special time to do an English service. He agrees and on a particular day we celebrate together in English. This only happens a few times a year, but we cherish and love the times it comes around. But we would never dream of asking the Norwegians to switch their regular Sunday liturgy to English in a million years. In Norway anything other than a liturgy done in Norwegian is simply an extra cookie.

In both example if I cared about "praying in my native language" more than being Orthodox I would save myself the headaches of trying to use Hapgood to follow along with a service I don't understand and just go to the Anglican church around the corner. But I think we can all agree that taking the easy way out and just going Anglican for the sake of English is wrong. Yet when immigrants come to America we're supposed to excuse them for becoming Catholics just because they want to continue speaking the language of their home country??? Fact: you give up your rights to demand things in your native language when you immigrate and become a citizen of another country which has a different language. I immigrate to Norway, I learn Norwegian. I don't know why on earth I am being lambasted here for asking that people who move to America extend the same courtesy.
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« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2005, 06:44:00 PM »

Fact: you give up your rights to demand things in your native language when you immigrate and become a citizen of another country which has a different language. I immigrate to Norway, I learn Norwegian. I don't know why on earth I am being lambasted here for asking that people who move to America extend the same courtesy.

Wrong, you never give up the right to use your native language. And more and more countries are allowing people to immigrate without being forced to use the main local language. Just think about how much immigrants from Mexico and elsewhere are now able to use Spanish in the United States. It's a good thing. I don't think I know a single immigrant who doesn't want to learn English--this isn't a matter of refusing to learn the local language. Instead, it's a matter of trying to preserve your own native language, a precious contribution to diversity, because if languages aren't used, they die for future generations. I see nothing wrong with continuing the practise of having some parishes in English, and others in immigrant languages.
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« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2005, 06:59:31 PM »

Xaira,
You still don't get it - we're not saying a separate liturgy should even be done.  We're just saying to do a few prayers/regular hymns on occasion in a language of some of the immigrants.  That's not asking very much!
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« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2005, 12:31:35 AM »

Wrong, you never give up the right to use your native language. And more and more countries are allowing people to immigrate without being forced to use the main local language. Just think about how much immigrants from Mexico and elsewhere are now able to use Spanish in the United States. It's a good thing.

Ehhhh...yes and no.  As a teacher of language, I obviously appreciate the enrichment brought to one's life through learning another language.  To be able to communicate past what would be a language barrier is a great thing.  But that's in personal communication.  In commerce?  Mmm...not so much.  Most every country out there has a main, official language that is the lingua franca of the "town square."  In our country, that's primarily English.  I have seen a Hispanic (who was obviously Limited English Proficiency) communicating with an Asian gentleman (Vietnamese?) in English, which was not the chief language of either man.  And even multi-national corporations are choosing English as their common tongue; even corporations in which NONE of the countries represented has English as their first language! (All equally challenged then, I guess).

For Hispanics (and others) to not be able to conduct business in Engish is a tragedy; not only does it severely limit their productivity and growth by being closed to the greater English-speaking market, it puts them at a disadvantage when they enter an English-speaking place of business; they are completely dependent upon someone else to interpret for them; if no one can, they're SOL.

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I don't think I know a single immigrant who doesn't want to learn English--

Oh, I have!  Lazy folks who slide by in their all-Spanish-speaking barrios, carrying on their business in Spanish, their social events in Spanish, etc...which is fine...if that's what a situation calls for.  But to not be prepared for the very likely event that, in the USA you will be confronted with someone who speaks English and expects you to respond is something I can neither understand nor condone.

Quote
this isn't a matter of refusing to learn the local language. Instead, it's a matter of trying to preserve your own native language, a precious contribution to diversity, because if languages aren't used, they die for future generations.

Again, I'm with you on the social level, but most definitely not on the commercial and accidental one.

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I see nothing wrong with continuing the practise of having some parishes in English, and others in immigrant languages.

The problem is that nothing (or next to nothing) gets done between the two sister parishes.  Seen this many times, as I used to straddle an Anglo and a Hispanic Baptist congregation.  Same building, two different families.  There's NO reason Ukranian and English and Russian and Greek and Arabic speakers can't all worship together under the same roof.  I'm with most folks here--certain, repeated prayers are good places to slip in "old country language"--but this should be a treat, if you will; the exception to the rule.  The majority of the liturgy should be as understandable as possible to the greatest number of people...and this means the vast majority of it should be in English, period.
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« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2005, 09:00:23 AM »

Xaira,
You still don't get it - we're not saying a separate liturgy should even be done.ÂÂ  We're just saying to do a few prayers/regular hymns on occasion in a language of some of the immigrants.ÂÂ  That's not asking very much!

What's not to get? Not getting few prayers and hymns in the language of the country you left behind is valid grounds to become Catholic? To go back to the example to which I originally responded....many Antiochian churches these days are actually Anglican parishes that converted, that the priest wanted to do all English suggests to me that this was likely the situation here, in which case it is wrong for the immigrant parishioners to demand that the priest do things in their language, and when the priest refuses to meet that demand to just leave Orthodoxy altogether. They could have at least appealed to the bishop to sort things out. That they didn't suggests that the problem ran much deeper than just language, and extended to the coffee hour serving Arabica's and donuts instead of turkish coffee and baklava. Honestly, I am sick and tired of these ethnic congregations which have their language and culture so mixed up into their faith that as lnag as the service is done in the proper home tongue (even if they don't understand a word of it) and the proper home foods are served after church and, most imporatantly, no one of a "different" ethnicity dares darken the door of the church (if they do they deserve to be ignored.......wish I was making that up, but I'm not), then they are perfectly content to be Orthodox. But as soon as all that changes, wow, they're out of there in a flash, and it doesn't even matter if they stop being Orthodox. I really don't know why so many priests put up having those shay-only-Orthodox in their church, I'd much rather have a few people there who actually cared about their faith and what the church stands for then a bunch of people who want to turn the church into a plane-less trip to Syria. I fear that in most cases priests put up with it just because the immigrant crowd is often richer and "well-connected". In my opinion, and yes, this is only my opinion, good riddance. Don't like it? then emigrate.

On a more pratical level, yes, many Antiochians solve this by having two different parishes in a city, one for immigrants, and one for American converts. Not only does this smack of phyletism, but it destroys the community and makes it impossible for the two groups to learn from eachother. Many American converts, as I've seen, could use a good dose of cradle-Orthodox company to tear down their Orthodox-veneer-Protestantism. But many Cradles could also use a good dose of converts to show them the sheer joy of Orthodoxy again. Both groups need eachother. To seperate them is not only wrong, it is spiritually damaging.
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« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2005, 11:50:41 AM »

What's not to get? Not getting few prayers and hymns in the language of the country you left behind is valid grounds to become Catholic? To go back to the example to which I originally responded
Of course it is not a valid reason - there is none ever!

....many Antiochian churches these days are actually Anglican parishes that converted, that the priest wanted to do all English suggests to me that this was likely the situation here, in which case it is wrong for the immigrant parishioners to demand that the priest do things in their language, and when the priest refuses to meet that demand to just leave Orthodoxy altogether.
Now you're mentioning "Western Rite" parishes for the most part.  That is a different discussion altogether.  There are a couple threads that have much detail about this if you search.

No, what I'm talking about are parishes with clergy that are former Baptists/evangelicals/whatever that have an ignorant redneck mentality towards the Orthodox Cultures and other languages.  Again, as I've already said, a little effort is greatly appreciated and will go a long way.  Not to make an effort is pastorally bad and inexcusable.

On a more pratical level, yes, many Antiochians solve this by having two different parishes in a city, one for immigrants, and one for American converts. Not only does this smack of phyletism, but it destroys the community and makes it impossible for the two groups to learn from eachother. Many American converts, as I've seen, could use a good dose of cradle-Orthodox company to tear down their Orthodox-veneer-Protestantism. But many Cradles could also use a good dose of converts to show them the sheer joy of Orthodoxy again. Both groups need eachother. To seperate them is not only wrong, it is spiritually damaging.
Your first point I think everyone here agrees with!  I think you discovered the answer yourself, which I bolded.
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« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2005, 03:03:54 AM »

Does anyone know where GisC is at? I hope nothing's wrong since he hasn't answered for about 6 days?
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« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2005, 05:02:37 AM »

GiC has been busy lately, but is aware that he hasn't posted in some time.  But he is doing just fine.
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« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2005, 12:25:35 PM »

Quote
GiC has been busy lately, but is aware that he hasn't posted in some time. But he is doing just fine.

Well, or as 'fine' as he ever gets... Cheesy
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« Reply #26 on: October 05, 2005, 03:16:35 PM »

I have no problem as my parish uses only English and that is the only language I speak. We do not know fully the situation at the particular Antiochian parish mentioned above. Chances are that it was handled rather insensitively for a whole group to get up and leave. More sensitivity on the side of the converts, more understanding on the side of the cradle. I will give you this that Americans can be a pretty arrogant lot. As an aside the United States does not have an official language although English is the lingua franca of business, commerce and government.

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« Reply #27 on: October 25, 2005, 08:56:41 PM »

Language is a HUGE and important challenge for the Orthodox in North America. Because the Orthodox Church, in most "old world countries" became the deposit of the native Christian culture (as against the Muslim Ottoman occupation) language has an important tie to this identity. As the Ottoman empire fell apart, the different Christian groups (i.e. Greeks, Arabs, Serbs, Bulgarians etc.) grasped their local Orthodox Church as the centre of their indentity.  This was both a reaction against the Turkish Muslim Ottomans, as well as the Greek Phanarites who had dominated the Orthodox Church under the Turks, after the fall of the Byzantine Empire.  As a result, for many "ethnic" Orthodox, their Orthdoxy is as much tribal as it is religious.  The challenge we face is how to manage the conflicting demands of "old world" immigrants and their grandchildren and converts.

In regards to Arabs, being a minority and as a result of many factors, many Arabs see little difference between the Orthodox Church, Melkite Church and the Maronite Church.  The "rise" of Jerusalem Patriarchate parishes in American was not originally a result of moderate conservative converts, but as a reaction to the "Englishization" (is their such a world?) of Antiochian (aka Arab) Orthodox parishes in the United States. Interestingly, in Canada, there is no Jerusulem Arab parish primarily because almost every Antiochian parish in that country either uses Arabic predominately or exclusively.

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« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2005, 01:35:30 AM »

I have a unique persepective into the question of language in the liturgy.

I am a Greek Orthodox Christian.  I come from a greek family (mother is from Kefalonia, father is from Sparta) although I live in this country.  My first language is English.  In fact, my greek is rather poor.

From what I have seen in the GOA, I believe more english is necessary.  I love Greek Chants, especially from the countryside parishes in Kefalonia.  (where the music almost sounds polyphonic)  Although I cannot understand a word they are saying.  So many greek kids I know end up going to non-denom parishes and coming back because they felt they were missing something at church.   This is so true-  especially because no one really speaks greek anymore at our church who can't understand english.

Yet I love Greek, Slavonic, and Serbian.  I think these chants enrich my spiritual life.  I can't think of an easter without the Encomia in Greek.  However I did go to a Romanian parish for the falling asleep of the virgin mary and I could not appreciate the chants for the falling asleep (which were song wonderfully according to the greek tones) as they were all in Romanian !

So i must say, people, for the sake of the young people have 90% in English please where there isn't an immigrant population.

- oh and by the way I like the Classical iconography before Photios Kontoglou.  (Like the village churches in greece)  Although I can appreciate that what he did was amazing for orthodoxy.  Is ANYONE with me?
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« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2005, 03:23:15 AM »

Is ANYONE with me?

I think most us are.  Those that aren't would either say that it isn't that important that you don't understand or that you need to learn Koine Greek.  But that's not me nor most of us.
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« Reply #30 on: November 05, 2005, 04:51:53 AM »

Hello

Regarding the language translations, wouldn't be a good option to say all those prayers and phrases that we all know (the Our Father, Trisagion, Kyrie Eleison, Glory be to the Father, etc) in Greek and the rest in the vernacular language? This would not lead to confusion and would preserve the "dogmatic" or didactic parts of the liturgy in the language of the people.

By the way, do you think all languages can be liturgical? From what I know, all Orthodox parishes in the US (and even in Britain) have droped the use of liturgical-religious English (that with "thee" and "thou") and now use the vulgar language with "your" and "you". Is that fine? Even in Gospel songs you can notice that the use of religious English is prefered when adressing to God.

Modern languages have a problem. Spanish for example, is a very broad term. We use "Standard Spanish" in official documents, in writing, at school, to communicate with people from other places,  but the spoken dialect takes a very different form in almost every Spanish-speaking country (not to mention the local variants). Just as in English, Orthodox Churches are replacing Standard (or liturgical) translations with the local form (to make it worse, some "unfrequent" liturgical texts are not avaible in Spanish and translations have to be made).

This is not always desirable. Roman-Catholics have started this long ago, and now they have to publish books in several local forms (even the afro-mexican dialect of the Coast has been approved for the liturgy). In Mexico-City some churches now have to host Paraguayan masses, Argentinian masses for inmigrants and in small villages priests have to "translate" what the people do not understand (it then becomes a wordly text, adopting pidginized and deficient forms).





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« Reply #31 on: November 05, 2005, 01:10:00 PM »

Believe I heard RC liturgy in Switzerland using the Swiss dialect of German!
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« Reply #32 on: November 07, 2005, 07:28:11 PM »

I don't want to offend, but boy, does it confuse me to go a ROCOR church, with dual Slavonic/English services and *still* have converts complaining that there aren't services solely in English (except once a month.)  I cannot comprehend that mindset.  It reminds me of the title of that play or musical, whatever "You're Pefect, I Love You, Now Change."  I mean, are we so impatient that we don't have the time to listen to Liturgy done in both languages?  Actually, when I attend the all-English liturgy, I always think "Over already?  Where's the rest of it? (!)  I do think however, that there's more to this than just language. 
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« Reply #33 on: November 07, 2005, 09:36:15 PM »

By the way, do you think all languages can be liturgical? From what I know, all Orthodox parishes in the US (and even in Britain) have droped the use of liturgical-religious English (that with "thee" and "thou") and now use the vulgar language with "your" and "you". Is that fine? Even in Gospel songs you can notice that the use of religious English is prefered when adressing to God.

I have no idea of the prevalence of "Your" and "you" instead of "thee" and "thou".  May parish and I know of others that use the latter.
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« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2005, 10:55:42 PM »

If I attended a Liturgy in Norway, I would expect to hear it in Norwegian.  When I attend Liturgy in the United States, I expect it to be in English.  I don't think it's a matter of being too impatient--God understands all languages. Wink  I just don't understand the need to repeat prayers or any part of the Liturgy to satisfy our preferences.  Bouncing back and forth from one language to the other can be quite distracting and disrupts the flow of the Liturgy.

If we have any hope of bringing Orthodoxy to America on a grand scale, I think we need to be inclusive.  I find it very rude and exclusionary to speak a language not common to everyone, especially in a worship service!  Being born American, I think, speak, pray in English.  Being a cradle Orthodox, I know what is happening in the Liturgy even if it's said in Greek or Arabic, but what about those visitors who have no ties to the "Old Country?"

There is no "right" language for the Liturgy; therefore, in our Liturgies, we should not have to pay homage to a language from the country of origin of our churches by using that language here in the USA.
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« Reply #35 on: November 08, 2005, 12:48:20 AM »

I have no idea of the prevalence of "Your" and "you" instead of "thee" and "thou".  May parish and I know of others that use the latter.


Thee and thou were the English equivalent of the vulgar, so anyone who claims they are "high" speech doesn't know much about king james english. "You" and "Your" were only allowed for the King. "Thee" and "thou" were common-everyday folk speech. There is a false sense that "thee" and "thou" are somehow higher or more respectful, when in fact, at the time it was put into that English, they were the more base of the two modes of address.

Today, since the English language does not have a "formal" and "informal" mode of speech, you and your are fine.

What gets me way more than that is the insistence on using antiquated verb forms such as "hast deliveredest". o my goodness, there's NO reason not to say "has delivered" or any equivalent.
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« Reply #36 on: November 08, 2005, 06:19:57 AM »

If I attended a Liturgy in Norway, I would expect to hear it in Norwegian. When I attend Liturgy in the United States, I expect it to be in English. I don't think it's a matter of being too impatient--God understands all languages. Wink I just don't understand the need to repeat prayers or any part of the Liturgy to satisfy our preferences. Bouncing back and forth from one language to the other can be quite distracting and disrupts the flow of the Liturgy.

If we have any hope of bringing Orthodoxy to America on a grand scale, I think we need to be inclusive. I find it very rude and exclusionary to speak a language not common to everyone, especially in a worship service! Being born American, I think, speak, pray in English. Being a cradle Orthodox, I know what is happening in the Liturgy even if it's said in Greek or Arabic, but what about those visitors who have no ties to the "Old Country?"

There is no "right" language for the Liturgy; therefore, in our Liturgies, we should not have to pay homage to a language from the country of origin of our churches by using that language here in the USA. 

While you are correct in principle, there must also be an understanding that the circumstances around the history of the United States are completely different than many other nations.  For here, in the US, society allowed ethnic ghettoes to flourish, and in some instances provide every means for a group to survive without learning the English language.  Because English isn't mandated by the Government (you are even allowed a translator on your citizenship test, or at least you were awhile ago) many people didn't feel the need to learn to speak the language.  This is, of course, ironic, because at the same time that immigrants from Europe are coming here and not having to learn English, people in Europe are spending all the energy learning English because it is considered the dominant language for economics, trade, and diplomacy - replacing French (thank goodness).

Anyway, because this country never forced people to learn English, it allowed the immigrants to perpetuate their own language - which is a leading factor in why you have "ethnic" jurisdictions in this country.  If everyone were forced to learn english, the situation wouldn't be as bad as it is now (of course, I would argue it would still exist, thanks to the differences in litrugcial practice between the different cultures).
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« Reply #37 on: November 16, 2005, 06:35:02 PM »

I am one who believes English should be the official language of the USA and that everyone, for the purpose of simple comprehension should eventually learn it.  But the question of liturgical language is a pastoral one.  Someone once told me that the language of the Liturgy should reflect the language of coffee hour.  For my Antiochian parish, that means about half Arabic and half English, which is fine with me.  The Epistle, Gospel, Our Father, and Words of Institution are read in both.  (The last one really throws our Roman catholic visitors for a loop!)
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« Reply #38 on: November 16, 2005, 07:24:39 PM »

I am one who believes English should be the official language of the USA and that everyone, for the purpose of simple comprehension should eventually learn it.

But it isn't the official language... which is why you can get away with not knowing it.
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« Reply #39 on: November 23, 2005, 10:26:31 AM »

The Business Commerce language is an important and distinguishing fact as well as the fact that english is not the official US language. With that being said, I don't think that "Old Country" languages should be used in the US. When my grandparents and many of the Slavic people came from the Old Country to the US, they had to learn english. My grandparents and great-grandparents never learned english... Slavonic was their native tongue. But you know what happened? They came to America, learned English, transacted business, and were able to get better jobs. So if you can learn english for working purposes and to better your life and make life less complex in America, the church should be in English too. If you walk into McDonalds and start ordering in Slavonic, the people won't be able to help you with your order. Basically if you don't speak Polish or Spanish, you really do need to learn English because its the language of the majority of americans. To continue the examples. If I went to Russia, I would be able to probably conduct business in Americanized parts, but I wouldn't be able to take part in the entire russian experience (i'm not talking about the touristy areas). If I went to Slovokia, I would be expected to talk slavonic to the people there because that's the language they speak. So in America, we speak english, I should be expected to understand English and attend the liturgy in english. However, since there are still people who remember the old language, it is nice to throw in some hymns during the Great Censing or while people are going up to Kiss the cross and receive the antidoran.
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« Reply #40 on: November 23, 2005, 02:56:42 PM »

The Business Commerce language is an important and distinguishing fact as well as the fact that english is not the official US language. With that being said, I don't think that "Old Country" languages should be used in the US. When my grandparents and many of the Slavic people came from the Old Country to the US, they had to learn english. My grandparents and great-grandparents never learned english... Slavonic was their native tongue. But you know what happened? They came to America, learned English, transacted business, and were able to get better jobs. So if you can learn english for working purposes and to better your life and make life less complex in America, the church should be in English too. If you walk into McDonalds and start ordering in Slavonic, the people won't be able to help you with your order. Basically if you don't speak Polish or Spanish, you really do need to learn English because its the language of the majority of americans. To continue the examples. If I went to Russia, I would be able to probably conduct business in Americanized parts, but I wouldn't be able to take part in the entire russian experience (i'm not talking about the touristy areas). If I went to Slovokia, I would be expected to talk slavonic to the people there because that's the language they speak. So in America, we speak english, I should be expected to understand English and attend the liturgy in english. However, since there are still people who remember the old language, it is nice to throw in some hymns during the Great Censing or while people are going up to Kiss the cross and receive the antidoran.

There is no such language called "Slavonic". You must mean "Slovak". "Slavonic" is the British appelation for the branch of the Indo-European language family that contains Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Sorbian, Polish, et al.

The "old country" languages should be spoken in the U.S. because language diversity is a good thing. I'm happy that I'm hearing a lot more Spanish in the street, and English-only regions are boring. It's a pity your grandparents and great-grandparents didn't appreciate the value of their language. Learning English isn't a bad thing, but refusing to hand down the precious resource that is your native tongue is a betrayal of your heritage.
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« Reply #41 on: November 23, 2005, 04:28:47 PM »

Church Slavonic is a liturgical language descended from Old Church Slavonic, the first literary language of the Slavs. Modern Slavic languages are descended from them, i.e Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusan, Rusyn, Polish, Slovak, Czech, Sorbian, Kashubian, Croatian, Serbian, Slovenian, Bulgarian, and Macedonian.

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« Reply #42 on: November 23, 2005, 05:01:46 PM »

Church Slavonic is a liturgical language descended from Old Church Slavonic, the first literary language of the Slavs. Modern Slavic languages are descended from them, i.e Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusan, Rusyn, Polish, Slovak, Czech, Sorbian, Kashubian, Croatian, Serbian, Slovenian, Bulgarian, and Macedonian.

The Slavonic languages are descended from Proto-Slavonic. Old Church Slavonic was the language of the Slavs of Thessaloniki, and had already shown a number of innovations which distanced it from the common ancestor of all Slavonic languages. Metathesis and lengthening of vowel-liquid-consonant combinations is the most immediately recognisable. No living language today is actually descended from Old Church Slavonic, which was a bit of a dead end--even modern Bulgarian is based on a slightly different set of dialects--although literary Russian has borrowed immensely from Church Slavonic.
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« Reply #43 on: November 23, 2005, 07:31:39 PM »

I was referring to Church Slavonic which is what the people from the Old Country referred to the language as. Simplified, they referred to it as Slavonic.
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« Reply #44 on: November 28, 2005, 03:47:09 PM »

CRCUlver,

You stated there is no such language as Slavonic, which is incorrect as Church Slavonic is a liturgical language, and among those who use it liturgically as my Church does we commonly refer to it as sinmply Slavonic.  Scholars consider Old Church Slavonic a literary variant of Proto-Slavic.

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