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Katie,

"Are those parishes growing?"

Some are, some are not. Allgheny County is the second oldest county in the nation. Dropping numbers have to due with demographics not ethnicity.

"Are most of the Ruthenian people older, or are there lots of young families with kids?"

People of Rusyn heritage come in all age groups. My parish has lots of young families with kids.

"But what about people who are simply curious? If we're deciding whether or not a particular practice is inviting to outsiders or if it is alienating, I think we should err on the side of being inviting."

Some will actually be attracted by it, others will find it alienating. However, I bet more find the use of incense and chanting alienating, should we discard those to be less alien too? Are we really talking about what alienates possible converts or what alienates you? I am seeing in some converts and youths that because they do not speak or understand Slavonic they feel left out of the club so to speak. In reaction they want Slavonic totally suppressed so they don't feel left out. Understandable but wrong.

"The sooner we stop presenting Byzantine Catholicism as an ethnic package, the better, in my opinion."

I agree the Church is not an ethnic club. On the other hand I do not see doing a few Slavonic hymns as presenting an ethnic package, but honoring and recognizing where and from whom our faith comes. And I say this as a person who does not speak Church Slavonic or Rusyn or Slovak and is not of Rusyn heritage.

"Why? Honestly, I haven't heard any compelling reasons to do so. Maybe if I were a philologist or a liturgist it would be profitable for me to study a very old liturgical language that I have no connection to. But as a layperson? How is knowing Church Slavonic going to make me a better Byzantine Catholic?"

Do not misunderstand, I am not saying you have to become fluent in Slavonic, but it isn't going to kill anyone to learn Christ is Risen, the Trisagion, the Cherubic Hymn, Many Years, Eternal Memory or Godbearer Virgin in Slavonic, or Greek for that matter. And You will be better for knowing and being able to participate in your heritage.

"There were all kinds of problems affecting the Roman Catholic Church after Vatican II, all of which contributed to their decline in membership. Replacing Latin with English was hardly the deciding factor."

We also have all kinds of problems and the limited use Slavonic sees in our Metropolia is hardly a deciding factor. It does not change the fact the Roman Rite's complete elimination was a mistake and is now recognized as such.

"The RC Church had a long history of using a liturgical language in place of the vernacular. We do not."

But we do. Church Slavonic is a liturgical language, not vernacular. Church Slavonic and Rusyn are as comparably close as Latin and Italian are.

Fr. Deacon Lance


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SLAVA ISUSU CHRISTU!

I know that the numbers for the Slavonic Liturgy keep growing and growing at the Otpust! This past Sunday, they had 6 or 7 priests distributing the Holy Communion during the Divine Liturgy.

I've been to one parish's Festival and it was standing room only for the Slavonic Divine Liturgy.

I, for one, look forward to the Slavonic Divine Liturgy at the Otpust. It's a chance for me to renew and refresh and recharge myself spiritually! To be sitting there in the bright sunshine, the breeze, listening and singing with the Litmanova ladies and everyone else brings back memories of my Baba and those who have gone before me! It's the spark that makes me keep alive our traditions when so many are saying the heck with it all and are leaving our Church!!!

jmho....

mark
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I could see the Slavonic Divine Liturgy in an area that has some connections to the Old Country. In East Tennessee, there are some people who have Slavic ancestors, but they are strictly English speakers. We have one family of Ukrainians who would go for a Slavonic Divine Liturgy, although I suspect they would prefer everything in modern Ukrainian. Actually, if they had they option of a Ukrainian church, I don't think they would have much to do with our Metropolia mission to begin with. The vast majority of our folks are content with the Divine Liturgy in English. As I jokingly implied on another post, where does this "heritage" stuff end? Do we have Divine Liturgy in the vernacular, or must it be in liturgical languages? If we want to insist on authenticity, then we would have to revert to the original Greek of Constantinople. Church Slavonic is a modern invention as well, in comparison to that.

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ByzanTN writes that "I could see the Slavonic Divine Liturgy in an area that has some connections to the Old Country." To which Old Country do you refer? There are people in our Church who refer to PENNSYLVANIA as "the Old Country", and they are not joking.

There is not and never was any such country as Church-Slavonicia (and please, will everyone refrain from trying to creat one?).

Nothing and no one is about to attempt to compel you to learn Church Slavonic. These days, in fact, someone who wishes to learn the stuff is apt to have difficulty locating courses (tip: start by a taking a Russian course).

Father Deacon is almost correct: ALMOST anybody can learn a few simple and easily repeated chants. Why? Because history and origins do matter. For precisely the same reason, it is actually good to learn a few bits and pieces in Greek (such as "Christ is Risen"). But if you don't enjoy it, then don't bother with it - and don't take offense at those who do enjoy it.

Modern Ukrainians do tend to prefer things in modern Ukrainian (seems logical, one must admit), but nobody is forbidding the use of Church-Slavonic for those who like it. Besides, there are Ukrainians who think that Church-Slavonic IS modern Ukrainian (after all, Ukrainians sing it so it must be Ukrainian); lots of choirs still enjoy Church-Slavonic.

On the other hand, I'm told that the Russian Greek-Catholic parishes in the West, who had long since adopted the local vernaculars, are now serving new arrivals from Russia - who tell them that nobody in Russia (well, almost nobody) really understands Church-Slavonic and that services in English or French are quite welcome thank you very much. And there is at least one parish in Moscow using modern Russian, despite the Patriarchate's icy disapproval. So I really doubt that we are all in danger of militant Church-Slavonics trying to impose "their" language on everyone.

Of course, if one TRULY wants insurance, it would help to promote a publication of a consistent, complete set of the service-books into English. I can dream, can't I? Oh yes, a condition of this is, of course, that what comes from Greek is translated directly from Greek, and what comes from Church-Slavonic is directly translated from Church-Slavonic. Translations of translations are a nuisance, since they are invariably inaccurate. Anybody want to start a thread about translation problems?

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ByzanTN writes that "I could see the Slavonic Divine Liturgy in an area that has some connections to the Old Country." To which Old Country do you refer? There are people in our Church who refer to PENNSYLVANIA as "the Old Country", and they are not joking.

There is not and never was any such country as Church-Slavonicia (and please, will everyone refrain from trying to creat one?).
I have heard some of the older folks refer to the "Old Country" and they essentially meant areas of Carpathia. Some said they were Ruthenian, and some said they were Russian. I realize from recent threads, that everyone really wants to be Ukrainian, they just don't fully realize it yet. wink My ancestors were from Austria, so I have no link to Slavonic, Russian, or, Ukrainian - which to the great horror of Ukrainians, many Americans still think of as a part of Russia. biggrin

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Of course, if one TRULY wants insurance, it would help to promote a publication of a consistent, complete set of the service-books into English. I can dream, can't I?
You are clergy, aren't you? - or so I have heard. Don't you guys call all the shots since the Church is patriarchal? What's keeping you guys from authorizing new translations biggrin All kidding aside, new translations would be wonderful. I don't know where the bottleneck is that's holding that up.

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On the other hand, I'm told that the Russian Greek-Catholic parishes in the West, who had long since adopted the local vernaculars, are now serving new arrivals from Russia - who tell them that nobody in Russia (well, almost nobody) really understands Church-Slavonic and that services in English or French are quite welcome thank you very much.
It's funny you mention that, I just spoke with a newish immigrant family from Russia who recently joined one of the Western U.S. Russian Catholic parishes. The father said nearly exactly the same thing. He actually preferres English in the Liturgy for their children, the youngest American-born, but certainly didn't mind "Christos Voskrese" at Pascha.

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Originally posted by incognitus:
The Eucharistic and Marian Hymns which Katie A. mentions are not in Church-Slavonic; they are in an Eastern European vernacular language which prudence forbids me to name.

incognitus
Since Katie A. wasn't specific as to which Eucharistic or Marian hymns she referred, how can one make a statement as you have?
Since you brought up the subject in a backhanded way, what language are you referring to?

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Steve, since Katie A. heard the songs and describes tham as "Slavonic", I take it for granted that they are hymns in a Slav idiom customarily sung among the Ruthenians (Hungarian versions exist for most of them). That refers to a limited number of pieces, and I'm familiar with most of them.

If you know your way around the languages spoken in the Carpathian Mountains, have a look. Watch for specific grammar forms, specific spellings of the relative pronoun, and other indicators. I think a few of them are even in Sokol's blue-covered prostopinije book.

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I for one would hope Slavonic makes a modest comeback in the American Byzantine Church. I certainly see no harm in singing parts of the Liturgy (the Trisagion, etc.)in Slavonic and other historic languages of the Church.

Some Latin is making its way back into the mainstream of the American Roman Rite through liturgical responses and simple chants.

Sounds good to me!

Michael

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In New Zealand most of the Eastern Church members are from behind the Iron Curtain and/or from traditional families.
Exept the Orthodox Churches there is no Eastern Tradition as the Roman Church did its utmost to assimilate.
As we are under the Australian Eparchs, with a bit of pushing we wil have some visits of traditional priests.
We have to cater for people that have been denied their roots for all these many years. It is therefor essential that a " universal" language belonging to the Slavonic people is used. We have to tell these people that they belong and that is not possible in the English language as that language was used to shut them out.
I don't understand the Slavonic language but know most of the answers. I was the only one that started answering the priest. On the end of the Liturgy I had several people singing with me.

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I always grew up hearing liturgical slavonic in my church...so i thought it was the norm for all churches. We do each liturgy with about 2/3 english, 1/3 slavonic. I CANNOT imagine going to liturgy and not hearing it....i would be starved of my heritage. For all of those reading this, please request it in your parish. And, just having a lutrgy in slavonic one a year is not enough to capture interests. I believe that it is the continuous use that has driven me to learn the church language.

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I forgot to mention! In my school, there is a foreign exchange student from Russia. And, he said that his orthodox church, and many tha the knows, still uses liturgiucal slavonic until this day. Evenmore, he understood everything I was saying that I could remember from church. So, I believe it is very cool a kid from the otehrside of thr globe and I have something in common, similar religions that we can both relate to...

Are there any ppl from the MOn Valley reading this? If so, you can IM me on AOL @ brandon15033

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I am well past the ByzanTEEN age, I am a convert and I first heard Church Slavonic on cassette and it was different, yet beautiful! I do prefer English, but I also feel comfortable in a church where Church Slavonic is used. To me, as I listen and read the English/Slavonic text, I can begin to chant some of the Slavonic. I believe it is a worthy effort to learn even at 41 years old. My son who is 13 knows if I play a CD in Greek or Church Slavonic. To me Church Slavonic is the chanting of the Byzantine Catholic Church and I find it quite relaxing.


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I didn't read the whole topic, but my opinion is a church shouldn't lose track of her Traditions, such as old Slavonic in church. The only Byzantine Liturgy I have ever attended was a Greek Orthodox one, and It did not negatively(sp?) me at all that I could not understand what was being said. But hey, I'm weird like that haha. cool

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Too bad the Ruthenian Metropolian Church in America has no need for Church Slavonic, and that's a real shame. There will be no Slavonic texts or musical settings in the "new" pew book, which will seperate the Byzantine Catholic Church in America from it's liturgical heritage.

Vichnaja Pamjat'!

Ungcsertezs

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