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Italo-Greek Albanian Divine Liturgy #413103 09/22/15 03:56 PM
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Economos Roman V. Russo Offline OP
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On Sunday, October 4 at 10:00 a.m. the Sts. Cosmas and Damian Society will sponsor their annual patronal feast day at Most Precious Blood Church on Mulberry Street (bet. Canal and Hester Sts.) in the Little Italy section of Lower Manhattan. Since 1903 this is the first and only time the society has returned to ancestral tradition and sponsored the Divine Liturgy according to the Byzantine Rite. Rt. Rev. Economos Romanos V. Russo will serve the liturgy in English (at the society's request) assisted by Subdeacon Alexei Woltornist.
Though an Italo-Greek Albanian parish (Our Lady of Grace) existed in lower Manhattan between 1904 and 1946, it served predominantly Arbereshe from Sicily. The Sts. Cosmas and Damian Society represents the Calabrese Arbereshe. Bishop Donato Oliverio of Lungro sends his apostolic benediction.

Last edited by Ot'ets Nastoiatel'; 09/25/15 04:24 PM.
Re: Italo-Greek Albanian Divine Liturgy [Re: Economos Roman V. Russo] #413301 10/05/15 10:40 AM
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More than one hundred faithful crowded the Church of the Most Precious Blood for the Italo-Greek Albanian Divine Liturgy, including the President of Vatra, the Albanian Orthodox organization. Patrick O'Boyle represented the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George, the nobiliary chivalric order of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. My fondest wish is that we make this Divine Liturgy an annual event! From there, God knows . . .!

Last edited by Ot'ets Nastoiatel'; 10/05/15 10:45 AM.
Re: Italo-Greek Albanian Divine Liturgy [Re: Economos Roman V. Russo] #413305 10/05/15 01:52 PM
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Thank you for celebrating the Divine Liturgy, Father! I wish I were able to attend. Will there be anyone photos or video forthcoming?

Re: Italo-Greek Albanian Divine Liturgy [Re: Anthony] #413379 10/09/15 09:27 AM
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Economos Roman V. Russo Offline OP
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If you access my facebook site (Economos Roman V. Russo) you will find the page dedicated to Saint Michael's Russian Catholic Chapel. I believe that four pictures from the Sts. Cosmas & Damian Liturgy were posted there. Please recall that the Liturgy was celebrated in Most Precious Blood church of the Latin Rite so we had to 'improvise' the Byzantine setting.

Re: Italo-Greek Albanian Divine Liturgy [Re: Economos Roman V. Russo] #413724 11/02/15 03:36 PM
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Congratulations to you, Fr. Roman, and the Sts. Cosmas & Damian Society upon recapturing this critical part of their heritage, the Byzantine/Greek Rite. My family and I spent a few weeks this summer amongst the Arberesh of Calabria where the Rita Greca has been well-maintained. Previously, I worshipped and chanted for two years in their parish in Lecce, Puglia. The liturgical languages employed are Greek and/or Albanian with Italian used for the scriptural readings and the sermons.

One small correction, "Vatra" is not an Albanian Orthodox organization, although Orthodox Albanians clearly played the overwhelming role in its establishment and progress. The local Albanian Orthodox organization is the Church of St. Nicholas located in Jamaica Estates, Queens. It is part of the Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America under His Eminence, Archbishop Nikon (Liolin) of Boston.

Many years, per shume vjet!

Last edited by Andrew J. Rubis; 11/02/15 03:37 PM.
Re: Italo-Greek Albanian Divine Liturgy [Re: Andrew J. Rubis] #413748 11/04/15 11:21 AM
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The president and some members of Vatra attended the Divine Liturgy. If it is not officially Albanian Orthodox is it an Albanian social and cultural organization? I would like to be in touch with them to thank them for their kind interest.

Re: Italo-Greek Albanian Divine Liturgy [Re: Economos Roman V. Russo] #413760 11/06/15 12:44 PM
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My godfather (an Albanian American) said Muslim Albanians would often show up for coffee hour at his home church in Philadelphia just to be able to chat with their fellow Albanians.

Re: Italo-Greek Albanian Divine Liturgy [Re: Economos Roman V. Russo] #413766 11/09/15 05:43 PM
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Swan, yes, the Vatra is now primarily a cultural organization which celebrated it's 100th anniversary a few years ago. Its founding as a nationalist political organization preceded that of the modern Albanian republic in 1912 and was instrumental in securing international recognition of that independence. Most would also agree that Vatra's newspaper "Dielli" expresses a bias toward one of the current two major political parties in Albania and a distinct hostility toward the Archbishop of the Albanian Orthodox Church. You may find them at www.vatrafederation.org

The Muslim Albanians, both in Albania proper and the diaspora have rarely shown the reticence that Christian Albanians feel toward attending services or social events associated with the local Mosque or Teqe (Bektashi temple). Certainly, the fact that Muslim prayer is conducted in Arabic presents a major disincentive to attend prayer services. Whereas the Albanian Orthodox parishes use Albanian and English (in USA) with the possibility that Romanian, Greek, or Slavonic might be the dominant language of worship depending upon the ethno-linguistic make-up of the congregation. In Selenica, it's Romanian. In Saranda, it's Greek. In Liqenas, it's Slavonic. As it should be!

In Philadelphia at the Albanian Orthodox Church of Sts. Peter & Paul, one will normally hear during the Divine Liturgy, in order of plurality: English, Albanian, Slavonic/Russian, Romanian, and Greek. Up until our Georgian friends founded their own community a few years back, we used that language as well.

Also in Philadelphia, the parish of St. John Chrysostom uses English almost exclusively since the departure of the Albanian-speaking deacons and chanters. The choir does what it can.

In both communities, it is normal to find Albanian Muslims attending both the worship and social activities. At least three of my Godchildren were from Muslim backgrounds.

Feel free to send me a private message to find out if I'm acquainted with your Godfather personally.

Re: Italo-Greek Albanian Divine Liturgy [Re: Economos Roman V. Russo] #413776 11/13/15 12:06 PM
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One of the earliest English Divine Liturgy books I saw was one by Bishop Theophan "Fan" Noli who seemed to be pretty liberal at the time.

Re: Italo-Greek Albanian Divine Liturgy [Re: Economos Roman V. Russo] #413777 11/13/15 04:59 PM
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Bergschlawiner,

"Liberal" is a tricky word since each era has its own context and definition. Still, one would have been hard-pressed to call him "conservative."

Bishop Theophan, while ABp of the then self-declared (in 1922) autocephalous Albanian Orthodox Church (recognized in 1937 by the Ecumenical Patriarch), also served briefly as Foreign Minister and then Prime Minister of Albania. He pushed for an aggressive land reform against those who had acquired very large holdings and simultaneously recognized the nascent Soviet regime in Moscow, before the blood was dry on the battlefields of that terrible civil war (which the Whites came close to winning). The leader he had pushed out, Ahmed Bey Zogu, was not only a large land holder but also had retreated to Serbia where the remnant of the White Russian Army was camped out in Sremski Karlovci (Novi Sad). It probably didn't take much to enlist their support to oust the "liberal" Prime Minister.

Fan Noli fled to Austria and Germany from where he visited and spoke in Moscow in 1929 and from where he remained active in the Comintern until his return to the USA in 1932.

In 1934 in his St. George Cathedral, he celebrated what was probably the first Divine Liturgy ever entirely in English.

His English translations, unlike the excellent ones from Greek to Albanian, were quite "liberal" in their use of paraphrasing and poetic license. A brilliant man by any measure (probably of genius level), he always had a goal behind his actions. In the case of these English translations, he was pitching to the youth whom he felt would not endure a classical linguistic format and lengthy liturgical services.

Foti Cici has published his own extensive and excellent analysis of Noli's translations at www.bizantin.wordpress.com

Last edited by Andrew J. Rubis; 11/13/15 05:04 PM.

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