Author Topic: More Than One Language  (Read 275 times)

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Offline Asteriktos

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More Than One Language
« on: September 15, 2018, 07:48:23 PM »
What is the history of using more than one language during worship/liturgy, such as "Lord have mercy" in Greek, English and Slavonic?

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: More Than One Language
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2018, 09:12:52 PM »
No idea, but some things that would account for my ten cents since I love both liturgy and language:

  • I doubt Hebrew, Greek and local languages like Aramaic didn't overlap each other in very early liturgy, it would make a lot of sense. Code-switching was widespread all across the Roman Empire.
  • I recall that St. Cyril of Jerusalem mentioned interpreters in Jerusalem, for pilgrims to better understand the Liturgy, but of course this doesn't mean celebrating in many languages.
  • The Coptic rite is traditionally bilingual (Coptic and Greek), with Arabic, English, French, etc, recently creeping into the services just like in other rites.
  • Some minor stuff would work like miniatures of Coptic bilingualism sometimes. Ton Despotin is traditionally sung in Greek across all Byzantine-rite churches (although Bulgarians don't, AFAIK), the Trisagion appears in Greek in some Roman rites, etc.
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Offline CarolS

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Re: More Than One Language
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2018, 09:20:13 PM »
I attended a Divine Liturgy in Sevastopol, where in addition to Church Slavonic, they sang some parts in Greek.  I was told that this is a long standing tradition there because of the number of Greeks who had settled around the Black Sea.
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Re: More Than One Language
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2018, 11:23:50 PM »
The use of "axios" in Russia harkens back to when the bishops and metropolitans were sent by Constantinople: they only understood Greek, or it was their primary language, so Greek was used.
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Offline Alpha60

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Re: More Than One Language
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2018, 07:51:01 AM »
What is the history of using more than one language during worship/liturgy, such as "Lord have mercy" in Greek, English and Slavonic?

Briven cites Axios, which I believe is used in all Eastern churches (EO, OO, Assyrian), so that is a very good example.

Hellenic-derived phrases like “Stomenkaloskurieeleison”, pronounced kind of as one four syyable word, but meaning the same thing as in Greek, appear in the Syriac Orthodox liturgy.  There are also Qanones, hymns following the pattern of Canons, some of which are adapted from Byzantine canons.

The Coptic liturgy uses direct Greek phrases, for example, the Trsagion “Hagios, O Theos” is sung using the same words as in Greek, with a melody I have also heard in Greek liturgy (I think the standard Coptic melody might be taken from one of the older settings of one of the eight tones of Byzantine chant).  Coptic Liturgy also uses Greek phraseology elsewhere, for example, the reading from Acts is called the Praxis, and there is the hymn “O Monoges” sung during Holy Week.   This same hymn, which we believe was written by St. Severus, translated into Syriac, is sung at the very  beginning of every Syriac Orthodox Qurbono Qadisho, and follows the Second Antiphon (“Praise the Lord O My Soul” in Armenian, in the Soorp Badarak as sung language of that church (the Armenian liturgy of the catechumens is almost identical to the Byzantine).

Qurbono Qadisho and Soorp Badarak are of course translations of “Holy Sacrifice” but I believe the Coptic Church uses the word “Liturgy”.  Also Coptic letters are very similiar to their Koine Greek equivalents, with the addition of a few characters, and they tend to share common names, like Delta or Lambda.

I believe the least amount of Hellenic linguistic influence is in the East Syriac Rite, since the Roman Rite famously contains a litany with “Kyrie Eleison” repeated thrice, then “Christie Eleison” repeated thrice, followed by three more Kyries, and I believe Greek phrases pop up elsewhere in the Latin liturgies.  Also, the word Pope is derived from the Greek word Papem, and the first autocephalous archbishop to be so styled was the Pope of Alexandria, in the See of St. Mark, in the Second Century.  The Church in Rome started styling their Archbishop using the old Pagan term of Pontifex Maximus during the reign of Archbishop Leo, but it was not until the sixth century that the Roman Archbishops began following the Alexandrian practice; the first noteworthy Roman Pope stylef as such to be venerated as a saint in Orthodoxy is Pope St. Gregory Diologos, known not undeservedly as Gregory the Great in the West. 

So, Greek tends to pop up nearly everywhere.  Also, a little Aramaic, in the form of “Anathema.”
« Last Edit: September 17, 2018, 07:52:57 AM by Alpha60 »
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Offline Alpha60

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Re: More Than One Language
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2018, 07:54:29 AM »
I attended a Divine Liturgy in Sevastopol, where in addition to Church Slavonic, they sang some parts in Greek.  I was told that this is a long standing tradition there because of the number of Greeks who had settled around the Black Sea.

Was the liturgy sung using the traditional Slavonic melodies or was it sung using the eight tine system of Byzantine chant?
"It is logical that the actions of the human race over time will lead to its destruction.  I, Alpha 60, am merely the agent of this destruction."

- The computer Alpha 60, from Alphaville (1964) by Jean Luc Godard, the obvious inspiration for HAL-9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. 

This signature is not intended to offend any user, nor the relatives of Discovery 1 deputy commander Dr. Frank Poole,  and crew members Dr. Victor Kaminsky, Dr. Jack Kimball, and Dr. Charles Hunter.

Offline CarolS

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Re: More Than One Language
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2018, 09:04:22 AM »
It was all Russian-style harmonized music, though the communion hymn- Soma Christou was a harmonized Greek melody that I recognized.
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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: More Than One Language
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2018, 09:31:22 AM »
Anathema is not Aramaic, it's Greek for "dedicated". Across languages, the association between dedication and unholiness is also reflected on Arabic "haram" and Latin "homo sacer".

Apart from a multitude of proper names, Semitic terms that did enter liturgy are Hallelujah (glorify God), Sabaoth (hosts) and hosanna (save us).
« Last Edit: September 17, 2018, 09:33:34 AM by RaphaCam »
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Offline Orthodox_Slav

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Re: More Than One Language
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2018, 09:43:09 AM »
Anathema is not Aramaic, it's Greek for "dedicated". Across languages, the association between dedication and unholiness is also reflected on Arabic "haram" and Latin "homo sacer".

Apart from a multitude of proper names, Semitic terms that did enter liturgy are Hallelujah (glorify God), Sabaoth (hosts) and hosanna (save us).

it is Alleluia not  Hallelujah!

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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: More Than One Language
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2018, 09:51:18 AM »
Alliluija in Slavonic!
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: More Than One Language
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2018, 10:46:26 AM »
Anathema is not Aramaic, it's Greek for "dedicated". Across languages, the association between dedication and unholiness is also reflected on Arabic "haram" and Latin "homo sacer".

Apart from a multitude of proper names, Semitic terms that did enter liturgy are Hallelujah (glorify God), Sabaoth (hosts) and hosanna (save us).

it is Alleluia not  Hallelujah!

It's Hallelujah when the Liturgy is translated into Hebrew  8)
« Last Edit: September 17, 2018, 10:46:40 AM by Volnutt »
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Offline Alpha60

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Re: More Than One Language
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2018, 06:29:21 PM »
Anathema is not Aramaic, it's Greek for "dedicated". Across languages, the association between dedication and unholiness is also reflected on Arabic "haram" and Latin "homo sacer".

Apart from a multitude of proper names, Semitic terms that did enter liturgy are Hallelujah (glorify God), Sabaoth (hosts) and hosanna (save us).

You are of course quite correct, I made a dyslexic transposition error with “Maranatha” which is Aramaic, e.g. anathema (greek) maranatha (aramaic)
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- The computer Alpha 60, from Alphaville (1964) by Jean Luc Godard, the obvious inspiration for HAL-9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. 

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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: More Than One Language
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2018, 08:58:48 PM »
Anathema is not Aramaic, it's Greek for "dedicated". Across languages, the association between dedication and unholiness is also reflected on Arabic "haram" and Latin "homo sacer".

Apart from a multitude of proper names, Semitic terms that did enter liturgy are Hallelujah (glorify God), Sabaoth (hosts) and hosanna (save us).

You are of course quite correct, I made a dyslexic transposition error with “Maranatha” which is Aramaic, e.g. anathema (greek) maranatha (aramaic)
Yeah, this is "our Lord, come!" The terms I mentioned are Hebrew though. Western languages tend to draw Hebrew names regarding the OT and Aramaic names regarding the NT, while Eastern languages tend to use Aramaic as a source for the OT too, which leads to more consistent readings, say, in Jacob/James, Joshua/Jesus, Mattathias/Matthew, etc.

This is no problem anyway, although I know an English-speaking Russian who insists on using just one version for each pair, although a bit inconsistently (Jacob the Apostle, but Book of Jesus). :P
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