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Slava Isusu Christu!

I think my post deals with many aspects of this conversation.

The issues of gender sensitive language, culture, idolatry of externals, contemporary liturgical contribution, divinization, all deal with the subject at hand. What surprises me is that the overall vision of history and liturgical scholarship may not be fully looked at in our dialogue--indeed, we are all imperfect in this regard.

I understand the issue with 'language as ideological weapon'. This is nothing new, and the problems of political theology deal with this--how one uses words to subvert paradigms both theological or otherwise. My concern is not support of a feminist or modernist vision of a Byzantine Church, but rather looking at the pastoral dimension of language usage--meaning if I was a presbyter 'what language are my parishoners using, and how as a pastor can the common people be reached'. Father Alexander Schmemann deals with many of these issues in his marvelous book: "Introduction to Liturgical Theology." A must read for anyone tackling the problems of Eastern liturgical theology and praxis in the modern age.

When I was Ruthenian, I still use the tones and prayerbooks ;), I discovered my Church was an Ark for many Catholics who who were scandalized by the liturgical experience in the Latin Church--because there was a sense that something was wrong. And indeed contrived liturgies with bad structure and intentionality are opposed to good liturgical sense which respects the tradition and seeks the contemporary contributions of the people. Now as an Orthodox Christian I have not changed my point-of-view on the the need for good liturgical scholarship and SVS/Holy Cross/Rome et alia, provide this for Eastern Churches. In fact the evolution of my understanding of liturgical praxis and history has been my exposure to scholars here at Gonzaga University--primarily liturgist Father James Dallen and others.

The true gist of this conversation is that Eastern Christians don't like people, especially bishops or committees, messing with our liturgy--and how in the Hades did we not learn from the Latins? Well, that thought is valid; and to some extent I agree. Language prayed over generations becomes a part of our identity as Christians and human beings. That is where language can be like a familiar pew (sic) in Church. (notice I gave pew the old *sic) can become a form of idolatry. Eastern Churches know struggle, and yet when we come to America we become cozy and caved in on our own communities, instead of noticing the world around us. I wonder how many become Eastern Christian each year to avoid the world--almost like going to a gated community? Well, one thing that is happening is we are losing people, because we told them they were to be no part of the world--and did not give them sufficient tools to go out into the world and do God's work--because we said Eastern Christians don't engage the world or do mission. We are told that Eastern Christians do mission with the Liturgy, but that needs to be critiqued because Divine Law says : "Go you into all the world and be my disciples." Christ said "Go!." And we must use liturgy as a point where praxis, or reflective action becomes a part of our lives. That is why I totally admire the Antiochians mission program. They get it!

There have always been a gap between the 'inner sanctum' of bishops and experts verses the people. People are saying 'where is the consulation with the laity in the Churches over the vital issue of liturgy and language?' But, we live in hierachial Churches and most times the people are NOT heard, but innovations or less thought out programs of action are forced on them. Church history really bears out that "Vox Populi-Vox Dei"--the 'Voice of the People is the Voice of God'. If the Ruthenian people don't want the RDL then it will fade into the liturgical dust bin of history--if they want to return to previous translations then it will happen, in spite of a hierarchial imposition of gender sensitive liturgical texts--which really does seem like an ideological tool, that does not use context. To be totally honest, the only demographic who would appreciate this language adaption are college kids and scholars--feminist or otherwise. Most Ruthenian people today tend, minus a few closet liberals, to be on the conservative side anyway--why impose issues on them that do not fit into their context and life experience? So do not think I fail to see the issues of Liturgicam Authenticum and the earlier papal docs on language and liturgy--they are important and reflect this stage of development/focus in the historical Church. I suppose one could question the intent of these neutered texts, but who knows maybe the bishops really believed that most people used gender sensitive language in everyday American life amongst their people and that this is the "new thing." What ever the case, I would think at the pastoral level a priest who doesn't want to use these texts can just put them in his pastors library and let them dust--isn't that what most priests do with things they don't care for, but have to keep ;)Now if the Cyncellus is doing liturgical audits every month--just be sure to prepare for him ahead of time--with the full gender neutered liturgical experience--hey even throw in some vertically inclusive names for God for good measure biggrin

I advocate for balance and context within our experience as Eastern Christian people--not periti or nouveau theologie. If it gets the message accross fine, but if it is an ideological tool--than toss it.

Thats my 2.45 cents

In the Theotokos,


Robert

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Originally Posted by PrJ
I have offered significant patristic support as well as presented significant scholarship from linguists (both English and Greek).

Somehow I missed this. Where?

Dn. Anthony

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AMM: This is really a matter of taste--after one has listened to liturgical English a while it is not as impressive--however exact and poetic the language may be. And the personal context of individual experience is what makes people like or not care for variants in English expression.

I don't have anything against liturgical English, but clarity and meaning is important for me, i.e. are the words translated so that I may know what they mean within the lexicon of most Americans-which usually is only a few thousand words, if even that. To get the liturgy to 'say what is means'is vital for transmission of the faith. The task of the liturgical translator is to to give the liturgy a voice so it can speak to people in the pews and transmit the mystery of Christ--and not dry literal translation. If the Church took a poll and asked most people to explain what the words and concepts in the liturgy meant they couldn't or would have great difficulty, minus the arm chair guys and the experts--that is the importance of pastoral liturgical translation--in my view. To the elite--this is "dumbing down" and compromise--to most people in the pews it would be a grace, especially, in regard to evangelization. A critical liturgical translation understood in its historical context and made accesssible to the people is important for the clergy and laos to truly know what they believe--so that, as in the Eastern paradigm, the prayer of the mind may descend into the heart and become the prayer of the heart. But, how can people pray with their minds if they do not understand the liturgical words spoken--how can then prayer in the nous descent to the heart? Again, I advocate for discretion and pastoral sensitivity to parish needs--not academic exercises in futility or ego stroking by liturgical scholars--just good ole' horse sense.

The main point here is to look at context, use a variety of sources critically, properly catechise the people on the historical roots of Byzantine liturgy, and make liturgy truly prayer of mind and heart for everybody--not just experts or liturgical connoisseurs.

I have heard the sacral English used many times, and I continue to find it more dignified and beatiful than more contemporary English. Since it is our goal to express beauty in worship, I have no problem with its continued use. My understanding in regards to the Antiochians is that the sacral English translations are not the works of committees, liturgical scholars or specialists; but were in many ways driven from the bottom up. It was a lay woman IIRC for instance that was responsible for translating portions of the prayer book from Arabic in to English.

It seems to me people proclaiming the need to modernize the texts and make them accessible (though I have no problem understanding what is said in a liturgy using sacral English) are in fact what you describe as the "elites" - i.e. the liturgical specialists and academics.

It also seems the Eastern paradigm is to give weight to tradition, and not innovation and modernization.

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My understanding in regards to the Antiochians is that the sacral English translations are not the works of committees, liturgical scholars or specialists; but were in many ways driven from the bottom up. It was a lay woman IIRC for instance that was responsible for translating portions of the prayer book from Arabic in to English.

As someone very involved in this discussion while an Antiochian priest, I can assure that IN NO way was the move towards Sacral English "From the bottom up." IN fact, the AEOM had its own translation when they converted. This was modern English. We used modern language translations for years. Then, all of a sudden, the word from above came down. Metropolitan Philip decided to do away with all non-hieratic English and imposed (I do mean this word in the strongest possible sense) this language on the Churches. As someone who had been praying modern English services, I can testify to the angst and anquish this "from the top down" language change created among the people. Everything changed -- from the way we said the Trisagion Prayers to the way we sang the Liturgy. And the change was enacted IMMEDIATELY.

I should also note that the new language (i.e., the hieratic English) we used was completely done by scholars, most of whom were not Orthodox. For example, Hapgoods' translation depended on Protestant scholars. And the same can be said of the "5-pounder" still used in Antiochian churches (i.e., Nassar). The Liturgikon used by priests was the work of one man, Fr (now Bishop) Basil Essey.

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The Antiochian texts in use existed long before the formation of the AEOM; the work of Ms. Hapgood, Fr. Nassar and others.

I guess you can see what mandated changes do to people though.

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Originally Posted by Robert Horvath
The true gist of this conversation is that Eastern Christians don't like people, especially bishops or committees, messing with our liturgy--and how in the Hades did we not learn from the Latins?
Tradition is the memory of the past. Our ways and manners and even our way of chanting is tradition. Tradition has been circulating in our blood for centuries and today it is more meaningful and more "modern" than anything we can call "modern." Let us remember what happened to our sister, the Roman Church. By surrendering its tradition she harvested chaos and disappointment.
Kyr Joseph Archbishop Raya

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Originally Posted by AMM
I have heard the sacral English used many times, and I continue to find it more dignified and beatiful than more contemporary English. Since it is our goal to express beauty in worship, I have no problem with its continued use.
In �Byzantine Daily Worship� I was enticed to use the second person plural form in addressing our God for the fallacious reason that people would be better served. The pretext was �Everybody does it.� Everybody says �You� so I abandoned the formal �Thee� and �Thou� and replaced them by �You�.

This substitution proved to be a step in the wrong direction, a spiritual disaster that added fuel in the laicization of our religion. It re-enforced our carelessness and unconcern before the awesomeness of our God. We already were engulfed in confusion before the sacred and holy. We came to treat God as a next door neighbor. �Hey, you do this�You do that�� The �you� is too casual, too simple and easy. The use of the �Thee� and the �Thou� is more difficult. It requires attention and care and the form of verbs requires, sometimes, a challenge for a tongue twister. But the elegance of it all and the respectability are worth every effort in using them properly. They might open a path for the recovery of sacredness in our relationship with God. We are now so �laicized� that Christ, our Lord and God, became some kind of pragmatic prophet. He became simply �Jesus.� So now we have Buddha, Aristotle, Mohammed, Jesus, Martin Luther King, or any other benefactor of humanity. If the world does not know that �That Jesus� is our Lord and God where would they go to find out if they do not hear it from us? Besides, the �Thee� and the �Thou� have an elegance worth the effort they demand.

Kyr Joseph Archbishop Raya

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Originally Posted by PrJ
Then, all of a sudden, the word from above came down. Metropolitan Philip decided to do away with all non-hieratic English and imposed (I do mean this word in the strongest possible sense) this language on the Churches. As someone who had been praying modern English services, I can testify to the angst and anquish this "from the top down" language change created among the people. Everything changed -- from the way we said the Trisagion Prayers to the way we sang the Liturgy. And the change was enacted IMMEDIATELY.
Multiply that "angst and anguish" by a thousand and you might begin to understand how hurt we Ruthenians are by the RDL.

Keep writing Rome!

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Christ our true God, through the prayers of His all-spotless and all-pure mother, of our Father among the saints John Chrysostom Archbishop of Constantinople (of the saints of the church and of the day) of the holy and just ancestors of Christ Joachim and Anne and of all the saints, may this same Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us and save us, for He is good and loveth every human being.
Kyr Jospeh Archbishop Raya
The Divine and Holy Liturgy of our Father among the Saints John Chrysostom
Alleluia Press, 2001


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While I have the greatest love and respect for Archbishop Jospeh (Eternal Memory!) he is mistaken here: "so I abandoned the formal 'Thee' and 'Thou' and replaced them by 'You'."
Thee, Thou, Thy, Thine are not formal they are familiar.

Fr. Deacon Lance



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Originally Posted By: AMM
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I have heard the sacral English used many times,


No form of English is sacral. It is the Liturgy that sanctifies the language by being celebrated in it not the language that sanctifies the Liturgy.

Fr. Deacon Lance


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I am simply using the terminology used here

Quote
The Antiochian Orthodox Church, according to Archimandrite Daniel Griffith, has been characterized by strong loyalty to �sacral English� since it began to encourage the use of English over ninety years ago. It is due to the Antiochians that the Hapgood translation has been kept in print since 1956, and where and when there have been revisions (or additions, such as the translation of other services and of the Septuagint Psalter) the same fundamental outlook has prevailed, with revisions being made primarily for the sake of greater intelligibility or for the correction of mistakes in Hapgood; nor is there any likelihood of major changes in the foreseeable future. It was agreed on all sides that a common English translation for Orthodox Christians is, at best, a remote prospect.

In the article "East Meets English"
http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=12-04-110-r

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Originally Posted By: Recluse
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Perhaps it is you who misunderstand LA? I think LA is quite clear. But I would like to see more language about this issue coming from Rome.

The Corrected RNAB and NRSV Lectionaries were approved by the same Congregation that issued LA. The American Latin bishops have submitted their translation of the Roman Missal with the same inclusive language used in the RDL. Yet in the face of evidence that Fr. David and Fr. John understand LA correctly you refuse to admit you are wrong in attempting to use LA to support your position that no inclusive language can be allowed or even address the fact that the above have happened since LA was issued.

Fr. Deacon Lance


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I am simply using the terminology used here

That is OK. They are wrong too. wink

Fr. Deacon Lance


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Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
Originally Posted by Recluse
Perhaps it is you who misunderstand LA? I think LA is quite clear. But I would like to see more language about this issue coming from Rome.
The Corrected RNAB and NRSV Lectionaries were approved by the same Congregation that issued LA. The American Latin bishops have submitted their translation of the Roman Missal with the same inclusive language used in the RDL. Yet in the face of evidence that Fr. David and Fr. John understand LA correctly you refuse to admit you are wrong in attempting to use LA to support your position that no inclusive language can be allowed or even address the fact that the above have happened since LA was issued.
What evidence that they understand LA correctly? The fact that Rome approved the documents does not mean that the translations hit the mark, and could certainly mean some compromise was made. "Should be allowed" and "is allowed" are two different things. In another discussion, Father John posted an article about the approval of the Canadian Lectionary which included the following:

Quote
�I don�t know who won and who didn�t,� said Archbishop Weisgerber. �I actually think it�s kind of a compromise, and kind of a happy compromise between our tradition and more modern kinds of translation.�
Here we have Archbishop Weisgerber of Winnipeg saying that it a compromise. So the point is logical and supportable. And when we think that Father Robert Taft has stated to several that he was the only reviewer of the RDL, that he only reviewed the texts (as he was not asked to review the rubrics) and called Liturgiam Authenticam �unfortunate�, the idea is very logical. Don�t forget that LA came just a month or after the approval for the revised text of the RDL. The delay in promulgation of six years allowed plenty of time to fix the problems.

Let�s also remember that the issue is not about �inclusive language�. It is about �gender neutral language�. �Who for us men and our salvation� is inclusive. Removing the word �men� makes it potentially exclusive according to the now retired head of the Congregation of Divine Worship.

There is certainly nothing inappropriate about petitioning Rome about this matter.

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