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Re: [rocaclergy] 2003.08.20 NG-Religion: What Should The Church Be Like Today

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  • frpeterjackson
    ... I think the Greek-speaking early Church Fathers would be puzzled to hear that Slavonic, a Slavic language, is closer to what they wrote in than Russian or
    Message 1 of 13 , Sep 3, 2003
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      > In the end pious people who care will try to learn the language so
      > they can see the greater beauty of the service. Those who don't
      > really care about the language....just don't really care about the
      > purity of the church anyway.
      >
      I think the Greek-speaking early Church Fathers would be puzzled to
      hear that Slavonic, a Slavic language, is closer to what they wrote
      in than Russian or English. Church Slavonic has parallels with Greek
      for two reasons: 1) Sts. Cyril and Methodius and their disciples
      borrowed vocabulary from Greek and coined new words (e.g. blago-
      slovit' to render the Greek eu-logein) out of existing vocabulary and
      2) Church Slavonic's grammar attempts to artificially mimic Greek
      grammar in a way that is unnatural for a Slavic language. New
      vocabulary was needed for the Slavic languages, and it wasn't
      difficult to do so, but grammar is a different issue. Anyone who has
      had training or experience in translation or interpreting will know
      that slavishly trying to adhere to the source language's grammar will
      more often distort the true meaning than reflect it.

      Slavonic was not naturally suited to convey liturgical texts. It was
      artificially tinkered with. Any language be it Russian, English or
      Swahili, can borrow or coin vocabulary in order to preserve nuances
      of meaning. Any language can adapted for liturgical purposes just as
      Slavonic very consciously and intentionally was. We can listen to a
      Slavonic service and appreciate the *idea* that it is faithfully
      rendering the Greek, but what good does it do those who do not
      understand it? Even most Russian speakers do not understand it, in my
      experience.

      If the argument put forth is that we should have an accurate language
      regardless of whether it is understood, then the optimal choice would
      be Greek, of course. But I don't expect anyone in our Russian Church
      to propose that. The issue, then, is really an emotional one: this is
      the language I heard while I held my babushka's hand at Pascha.
      Emotion is a powerful factor, and I am not diminishing its importance
      in our lives and in our worship, but we must not dress up an emotion-
      based desire for preserving Slavonic in purportedly intellectual
      arguments.

      To use a local language instead of Slavonic is not to "dumb down" the
      services, as some have suggested in this string. It is not justified
      to point to the Roman Catholics after Vatican II. The problem was not
      that they abandoned Latin, but that they rewrote the text of the
      Mass, leaving out references to the Mother of God, etc. Obviously, no
      Orthodox advocate of local language use would countenance any
      revisions of the liturgical texts themselves. Indeed, the whole
      intention is to actually have access to those texts.

      Finally, I find it outrageous when anyone suggests that everyone
      should "just learn Slavonic". Tell that to St. Stephen of Perm who
      translated our texts into Permian, or to St. Innocent of Alaska
      (Aleut) or St. Nicholas of Japan. None of them advocated imposing
      Slavonic on converts. Sts. Cyril and Methodius never took Slavonic to
      non-Slavonic speakers. Indeed, their philosophy -- and that of the
      whole Church -- was to make the services accessible to everyone in
      the own tongue. I doubt they saw themselves as "creating a sacred
      language". They just wanted people to understand, plain and simple.
      Nowadays, we want to prevent people from understanding the services.
      God forgive us.

      Priest Peter Jackson
    • Saint Edward Brotherhood
      Dear Fr Peter, thank you for your posting on Slavonic - unfortunately it appears that we only received the end of it, from the words in the en pious
      Message 2 of 13 , Sep 3, 2003
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        Dear Fr Peter,

        thank you for your posting on Slavonic - unfortunately it appears that we
        only received the end of it, from the words "in the en pious people...."

        In the love of Christ,

        Fr Alexis.
      • byakimov@csc.com.au
        Father Peter, I believe everyone is gone of the track in regard to what modernist Pospelovsky s interview was all about. It had everything to do with Russia
        Message 3 of 13 , Sep 3, 2003
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          Father Peter,

          I believe everyone is gone of the track in regard to what modernist
          Pospelovsky's interview was all about. It had everything to do with Russia
          today & that the MP should modernise the services by using Russian instead
          of Church Slavonic & other issues such as allowing married clergy to
          become bishops, etc. In Australia & elsewhere the native language is being
          introduced in to the service as & when it is required & no one is arguing
          against using a language other then Church Slavonic in these circumstances.
          Personally I prefer Church Slavonic to English or to my limited usage in
          services of Greek but that is another matter.

          protodeacon Basil from Canberra



          "frpeterjackson" <frpeterjackson@...> on 03/09/2003 11:21:32 PM

          Please respond to orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com

          To: orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com
          cc:
          Subject: [orthodox-synod] Re: [rocaclergy] 2003.08.20 NG-Religion: What
          Should The Church Be Like Today



          > In the end pious people who care will try to learn the language so
          > they can see the greater beauty of the service. Those who don't
          > really care about the language....just don't really care about the
          > purity of the church anyway.
          >
          I think the Greek-speaking early Church Fathers would be puzzled to
          hear that Slavonic, a Slavic language, is closer to what they wrote
          in than Russian or English. Church Slavonic has parallels with Greek
          for two reasons: 1) Sts. Cyril and Methodius and their disciples
          borrowed vocabulary from Greek and coined new words (e.g. blago-
          slovit' to render the Greek eu-logein) out of existing vocabulary and
          2) Church Slavonic's grammar attempts to artificially mimic Greek
          grammar in a way that is unnatural for a Slavic language. New
          vocabulary was needed for the Slavic languages, and it wasn't
          difficult to do so, but grammar is a different issue. Anyone who has
          had training or experience in translation or interpreting will know
          that slavishly trying to adhere to the source language's grammar will
          more often distort the true meaning than reflect it.

          Slavonic was not naturally suited to convey liturgical texts. It was
          artificially tinkered with. Any language be it Russian, English or
          Swahili, can borrow or coin vocabulary in order to preserve nuances
          of meaning. Any language can adapted for liturgical purposes just as
          Slavonic very consciously and intentionally was. We can listen to a
          Slavonic service and appreciate the *idea* that it is faithfully
          rendering the Greek, but what good does it do those who do not
          understand it? Even most Russian speakers do not understand it, in my
          experience.

          If the argument put forth is that we should have an accurate language
          regardless of whether it is understood, then the optimal choice would
          be Greek, of course. But I don't expect anyone in our Russian Church
          to propose that. The issue, then, is really an emotional one: this is
          the language I heard while I held my babushka's hand at Pascha.
          Emotion is a powerful factor, and I am not diminishing its importance
          in our lives and in our worship, but we must not dress up an emotion-
          based desire for preserving Slavonic in purportedly intellectual
          arguments.

          To use a local language instead of Slavonic is not to "dumb down" the
          services, as some have suggested in this string. It is not justified
          to point to the Roman Catholics after Vatican II. The problem was not
          that they abandoned Latin, but that they rewrote the text of the
          Mass, leaving out references to the Mother of God, etc. Obviously, no
          Orthodox advocate of local language use would countenance any
          revisions of the liturgical texts themselves. Indeed, the whole
          intention is to actually have access to those texts.

          Finally, I find it outrageous when anyone suggests that everyone
          should "just learn Slavonic". Tell that to St. Stephen of Perm who
          translated our texts into Permian, or to St. Innocent of Alaska
          (Aleut) or St. Nicholas of Japan. None of them advocated imposing
          Slavonic on converts. Sts. Cyril and Methodius never took Slavonic to
          non-Slavonic speakers. Indeed, their philosophy -- and that of the
          whole Church -- was to make the services accessible to everyone in
          the own tongue. I doubt they saw themselves as "creating a sacred
          language". They just wanted people to understand, plain and simple.
          Nowadays, we want to prevent people from understanding the services.
          God forgive us.

          Priest Peter Jackson



          Archives located at http://www.egroups.com/group/orthodox-synod



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        • larry most
          GLORY TO JESUS CHRIST-GLORY TO HIM FOREVER Dear Father Peter, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. Love in Christ, Sub-deacon Lawrence ... I think the
          Message 4 of 13 , Sep 3, 2003
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            GLORY TO JESUS CHRIST-GLORY TO HIM FOREVER
            Dear Father Peter,
            Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.
            Love in Christ,
            Sub-deacon Lawrence

            frpeterjackson <frpeterjackson@...> wrote:

            > In the end pious people who care will try to learn the language so
            > they can see the greater beauty of the service. Those who don't
            > really care about the language....just don't really care about the
            > purity of the church anyway.
            >
            I think the Greek-speaking early Church Fathers would be puzzled to
            hear that Slavonic, a Slavic language, is closer to what they wrote
            in than Russian or English. Church Slavonic has parallels with Greek
            for two reasons: 1) Sts. Cyril and Methodius and their disciples
            borrowed vocabulary from Greek and coined new words (e.g. blago-
            slovit' to render the Greek eu-logein) out of existing vocabulary and
            2) Church Slavonic's grammar attempts to artificially mimic Greek
            grammar in a way that is unnatural for a Slavic language. New
            vocabulary was needed for the Slavic languages, and it wasn't
            difficult to do so, but grammar is a different issue. Anyone who has
            had training or experience in translation or interpreting will know
            that slavishly trying to adhere to the source language's grammar will
            more often distort the true meaning than reflect it.

            Slavonic was not naturally suited to convey liturgical texts. It was
            artificially tinkered with. Any language be it Russian, English or
            Swahili, can borrow or coin vocabulary in order to preserve nuances
            of meaning. Any language can adapted for liturgical purposes just as
            Slavonic very consciously and intentionally was. We can listen to a
            Slavonic service and appreciate the *idea* that it is faithfully
            rendering the Greek, but what good does it do those who do not
            understand it? Even most Russian speakers do not understand it, in my
            experience.

            If the argument put forth is that we should have an accurate language
            regardless of whether it is understood, then the optimal choice would
            be Greek, of course. But I don't expect anyone in our Russian Church
            to propose that. The issue, then, is really an emotional one: this is
            the language I heard while I held my babushka's hand at Pascha.
            Emotion is a powerful factor, and I am not diminishing its importance
            in our lives and in our worship, but we must not dress up an emotion-
            based desire for preserving Slavonic in purportedly intellectual
            arguments.

            To use a local language instead of Slavonic is not to "dumb down" the
            services, as some have suggested in this string. It is not justified
            to point to the Roman Catholics after Vatican II. The problem was not
            that they abandoned Latin, but that they rewrote the text of the
            Mass, leaving out references to the Mother of God, etc. Obviously, no
            Orthodox advocate of local language use would countenance any
            revisions of the liturgical texts themselves. Indeed, the whole
            intention is to actually have access to those texts.

            Finally, I find it outrageous when anyone suggests that everyone
            should "just learn Slavonic". Tell that to St. Stephen of Perm who
            translated our texts into Permian, or to St. Innocent of Alaska
            (Aleut) or St. Nicholas of Japan. None of them advocated imposing
            Slavonic on converts. Sts. Cyril and Methodius never took Slavonic to
            non-Slavonic speakers. Indeed, their philosophy -- and that of the
            whole Church -- was to make the services accessible to everyone in
            the own tongue. I doubt they saw themselves as "creating a sacred
            language". They just wanted people to understand, plain and simple.
            Nowadays, we want to prevent people from understanding the services.
            God forgive us.

            Priest Peter Jackson


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          • boulia_1
            Talk about getting emotional... ... plain and simple. ... services. ... Was someone here advocating imposing Slavonic on converts ? I recall that, in this
            Message 5 of 13 , Sep 4, 2003
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              Talk about getting emotional...
              --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "frpeterjackson"
              <frpeterjackson@y...> wrote:
              > >
              > Finally, I find it outrageous when anyone suggests that everyone
              > should "just learn Slavonic". Tell that to St. Stephen of Perm who
              > translated our texts into Permian, or to St. Innocent of Alaska
              > (Aleut) or St. Nicholas of Japan. None of them advocated imposing
              > Slavonic on converts. ... They just wanted people to understand,
              plain and simple.
              > Nowadays, we want to prevent people from understanding the
              services.
              > God forgive us.


              Was someone here advocating "imposing Slavonic on converts"? I recall
              that, in this thread, several people have said that the native
              language instead of Slavonic (or greek) is ideal for nonrussians.

              To repeat myself, the question of Slavonic vs. English (or German in
              Germany, French in France, etc.) is A DIFFERENT ISSUE than Slavonic
              vs. RUSSIAN. And i believe the latter question was the focus of this
              thread, begun with a posting of an interview, where an MP Bishop
              suggested that Russian should substitute for Slavonic.

              My take, for what it's worth (not much): I am a first-generation
              American and a Russian speaker and, yes, understanding the Slavonic
              requires an extra effort. I am glad to make that effort: I find it
              edifying and intellectually enriching. The texts often are multi
              layered in meaning anyway, so even understanding the WORDS doesn't
              guarantee understanding the text. (That's why we hope our spiritual
              fathers -- the clergy -- can help enlighten us, with well put
              sermons, discussions, etc.) I would hate to see Slavonic dropped,
              yes, partly because it's what I heard when I was in church with
              my "Babushka" (who, incidentally, contributed to the church
              literature extensively, composing IN Slavonic, not translating from
              some other language). But also because it is a beautiful, churchly
              language that crosses political Slavic boundaries.

              With all due respect, the problem often arises when converts enter a
              community (say, the Russian-speaking emigre community...) and then
              impose THEIR wishes and will on them, demanding change. Ultimately,
              I believe, the English speaking Orthodox community needs to be
              organized separately from the parishes that serve the emigre
              communities. I disagree thoroughly with the "English is the language
              of our country, learn it and expect to hear it in church" argument
              that has been put forth. If one learned the creed in Greek, or
              Slavonic, or Rumanian, one finds comfort in hearing those words in
              Greek, or Slavonic, or Rumanian when one goes to church. As a nation
              of immigrants, the U.S. in particular will always have people
              wanting --needing-- a church that they can feel at home in.
              Naturally, the English speakers need that too. Why can't there be
              both??

              in Christ, elizabeth
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