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My mother attended the concert and Divine Liturgy in Scranton last week and cannot stop praising it. While she loved the concert she said the Divine Liturgy was incredibly tremendous, and that it was almost exactly like she grew up with (right down to the accent that the visiting celebrating priest used). She and her friends all believe that if they could just get these seminarians to move to Scranton and sing this Divine Liturgy every Sunday the church would be full again. I agree.

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Originally Posted by Administrator
...She and her friends all believe that if they could just get these seminarians to move to Scranton and sing this Divine Liturgy every Sunday the church would be full again. I agree.

John,

I believe that there are still enough of us "old timers" around who can fully respond and participate in the Divine Liturgy in Old Slavonic, if only given the chance. I learned the OS DL as a child by listening to and participating along with my parents and their contemporaries. Sadly, my own children, now grown, have not been exposed to this same opportunity for probably the past 20 years or so. Stands to reason that they'll not be able to pass it on to their children...

...and so it dies with us.

I agree with your mom's assessment (and yours!). I, too, like to believe that the churches would once again be full - would that we were only given the opportunity to find out! True, the magnificent voices of the seminarians singing in our mother tongue would be wonderful to have! But, given the high degree of unlikeliness that they'll actually move to Scranton (or Pittsburgh, or Passaic, or Homer Glen, et.al.), that leaves the future (if there is, indeed, a future) of the Old Slavonic Divine Liturgy in America totally in our hands. Perhaps we should somehow be more assertive in our requests to see more Old Slavonic Divine Liturgies celebrated in our parishes, even if only on a "now & then" basis...

...before it truly becomes too late.

Al (a pilgrim)

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Courage! About 35 years ago a friend and I (we're both now in our sixties) were honestly convinced that we were the last of the Mohicans where Church-Slavonic was concerned. I've seldom been so happy to have been mistaken.

The two best things to do for Church-Slavonic are:

1) learn it - for real, and

2) use it.

Try it - you may like it!

Fr. Serge

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Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
The two best things to do for Church-Slavonic are:

1) learn it - for real, and

2) use it.

Bless, Fr. Serge,

Thank you for the "ray of hope" you offer! Fact is, the impetus for an individual to accomplish your item #1 above is probably directly proportional to the opportunity to employ your item #2. I suspect that very few individuals will take the time to learn Church-Slavonic unless an outlet is provided for them to use it regularly.

I clearly recall as a youth seeing the words "Thine of Thine Own, we offer unto Thee, in behalf of all and for all" inscribed in cyrillic text around the sanctuary arch of our church (we had no iconostas in those days). Inquisitive kid that I was, that inscription became my "Rosetta Stone" and I took great delight in using it as a basis to begin to decipher the mysteries of our Church's mother tongue! Had FUN doing it, actually! Of course, it was easier back then because I actually heard the language on a regular basis.

But I digress...

Here's a thought that recently struck me... and please excuse my feeble inability to articulate my innermost feelings:

From all accounts (not the least of which are evident in this very thread), the re-introduction of Church-Slavonic that is being provided to us by these wonderful seminarians (mnohaja l'ita to these fine young men!) is being met with resounding accolades in parish after parish, across the entire metropolia. We've even heard of some folks being moved to tears. Now THAT certainly speaks to a liturgical language that touches the very heart! Could this entire concert tour possibly be the very work of the Holy Spirit? Are we being given a "clue" as to what's expected of us with regard to the custodianship of the sacred liturgical language we've been entrusted with? Are we missing the boat if we now merely sit back and say something like "Those young men were great! The people were really moved by once again hearing our Church's mother tongue! We'll have to invite them back in a few years!"

...or...

Should we (all of us - laity, clergy and hierarchy) be seeing the resounding success of this magnificent tour as a catalyst for action on our part??

Begging your blessing,

Al (a pilgrim)

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So someone needs to put together a primer for parishes to teach pronunciation, reading, and such. The only thing stopping my parish from using it more is that almost no one knows it. For those that do it is rote memorization more than real understanding; they can sing through a liturgy but have no idea how to write it out or transmit basic ideas.

Again, I hope the seminary will turn some of their programs (like Church Slavonic I) into a distance education format. I've called Fr. Custer enough on the topic that I'm surprised he doesn't just hang up on me.

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Slava Isusu Christu!(Glory to Jesus Christ!)
Slava na Viki! (Glory forever!)

Thank you sir, for voicing what I had been thinking. I'm in the hospital and float in and out at times and so haven't been able to check on the Forum in a few days. But as I read the posts on The Seminarian's Tour, the same thought struck me.

Here we are, over a year and a day, talking and talking about the Divine Liturgy that so few of us can remember in our heads and even fewer can bring our parched throats to pronounce---and suddenly we hear the full beauty of what it can be when done properly! And performed where? A concert hall? A performance stage? No--a church, arranged plainly in front of the altar. In some cases in a Cathedral--where the Eparch's are guaranteed to be present to relive what they surely must have heard regularly as they were children, before joining the Seminary. What memories flit through the Eparch's minds as they listening to the Seminarians sing this joyous noise unto the Lord? Did they sing along? At least in their heads? How many times did they hear this as children--before they decided to become priests.

A coincidence? If you wish to think so. A sign from the Holy Spirit telling us (and more importantly our Eparchs) what to do with Church Slavonic? If you wish to think so. An opportunity to actually DO something about getting our "gutter, kitchen language" back? If you wish to think so. One last bit of nostalgia (thrown like a bone to a dog) before we die and slip away, like our contribution to God's voice on earth? If you wish to think so.

I'm reminded of a line from Shakespeare (who surely was a Carpatho-Rusyn at heart) when in Hamlet the title character says "There is nothing either good or bad but THINKING makes it so." The capitalization is mine. The words are from ACT II, Scene II if you wish to look them up. Hamlet is talking to his friends Guildenstern and Rosencrantz about his "prison."

Do we sit back and do nothing, letting something wonderful and perhaps God given, slip away? Or do we take advantage of the situation and make a positive move?

Tim

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Well one thing for sure, they have gotten to see up close and personal the beauty of America. I truly hope they have enjoyed their travels as they have shared their wealth of Chant with the Church.

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Who is Father Michael?

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My wife and I attended the concert at Epiphany parish in Annandale, VA on Saturday night. It was glorious! My wife insisted that we do some Christmas shopping.

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A friend told me that when they sang at his parish he felt like he was at a funeral for our Church.

Another told me that it was a chance to celebrate our Liturgy and get away with it.

I think the bishops were afraid the concert tour might rekindle the memory of what is ours. They haven’t destroyed it yet. Watch for more attacks wherever people raise their heads and ask for the Real Divine Liturgy.

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I attended last night's concert at St. Anne's in Harrisburg. It was wonderful!

In attendance were: a Ukrainian Catholic priest, two local OCA priests, the Latin diocese's Vicar for Clergy, two seminarians from the Mount (me and a friend), and Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Latin diocese of Harrisburg,who was presented with two complementary CDs by Fr. Taras. The Latin diocese and St. Anne's have historically had very warm and healthy relations, and Bishop Rhoades is continuing that tradition.

Congratulations to the organizers of this event! The seminarians from Uzhorod and Fr. Taras will be in my prayers.

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I attended the concert in Virginia on Saturday night and the Divine Liturgy on Sunday. The singing was incredible and Spirit-filled. May the Lord God richly bless these seminarians and may they serve the Church in Europe well.

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Dear Pilgrim Al,

thanks for your positive response to my urging people both to learn Church-Slavonic and to use it. So here's some more free advice:

Get yourself some sort of prayer-book (there are several around, some of which give a parallel English text) in Church-Slavonic - no, not in the Latin alphabet! - and start practicing how to read the prayers aloud. This is easiest when done in private; one feels less self-conscious that way.

I wish I could recommend a good recording of the texts read aloud by someone who knows how to do it. The problem is not that there are no such people - quite the contrary - but that Church-Slavonic has several pronunciation systems, so you might find yourself learning beautiful pronunciation but according to a system which you would have some dificulty using. If it's any consolation, the same problem occurs in English (don't speak Pittsburgh in Chicago; you'll have difficulty making yourself understood). I have my own preferences, but my preferences are of no consequence for you unless you are in Dublin.

Jordanville sells an excellent Church-Slavonic grammar - in an English translation, believe it or not, by Father John Shaw, who puts me to shame with his amazing knowledge not only of Church-Slavonic but of several Slavic languaes. By all means get a copy of the book (from the Jordanville book-store). Learn the alphabet, and learn some more.

Of all the modern Slavic languages, Russian is probably the closest to Church-Slavonic, so you could do worse than to take a Russian course. Naturally there are important differences, but the Russian course at least will help. Bulgarian is derived from Church-Slavonic, but modern Bulgarian is rather distant from its origin.

Before you can use the language yourself, you need to hear it in use, fairly regularly, and bring along the texts you expect to be hearing. Again, the books can be found with a bit of searching - you don't indicate where you are living, but all that means is less work for me; you'll have to do your own scouting and find a church which still makes some regular use of Church-Slavonic, and start showing up when you can and when you know that Church-Slavonic will be in use. As you go on, it becomes easier. You can also purchase recordings of the various services; follow the recording in a prayer-book, and you'll pick up some more.

It's amazing how soon you can become an expert - just knowing the alphabet (not the Latin alphabet, not the Russian alphabet, not the Ukrainian alphabet, not the Belarusyn alphabet - the genuine, authentic Church-Slavonic Cyrillic alphabet (there is also the older Church-Slavonic Glagolitic alphabet, but you don't need to learn that - and when you see it, you'll thank me for excusing you from it!).

This is certainly work - and, alas, unpaid work - but if you really love the language, you'll find learning more of it and putting it to use quite a reward. You may also, even in your own parish, find people who themselves want Church-Slavonic but are diffident, for lack of a chanter or reader. You will also find clergy who don't know Church-Slavonic themselves, who don't want to know it, and who feel threatened by people who do know it. Such is life.

You're a pilgrim - so, now and then, make pilgrimages, to places where you will hear LOTS of Church-Slavonic. Such places do exist, and the monasteries in particular will make you welcome. When they know that you want to pray, and you want to learn something, they will be especially pleased to see you.

Anyway, go to it, and by all means enjoy it!

Fr. Serge

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A last report ...

The seminary concert tour finished with a "bang" last weekend. Last Thursday, they sang to a full church at St Michael's in Mont Clare, PA, a traditional "Greek Catholic" church and iconostasis over 100 years old. Then likewise, a great visit to Patronage Church in Baltimore after a short tour of the Inner Harbor and Aquarium.

On Saturday, we visited Washington, DC including stops at the White House, Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, and Basilica. Saturday evening was a dinner and concert for over 200 people at Epiphany Church in Annandale, VA, and then Sunday morning liturgy with a SRO church. Sunday afternoon included another liturgy at St Gregory's in Beltsville, MD.

The tour concluded with liturgy Monday morning and concert in the evening at St Ann's Church in Harrisburg, PA, again to a full church of over 200. The guys flew home from NYC on Tuesday evening, and I've had confirmation from Father Taras in Uzhorod that everyone made it home safe and sound.

The group traveled some 4000 miles, visited nearly 30 churches, and sang concerts for almost 4000 people. Media sales and donations also exceeded expectations producing a significant contribution to the seminary's financial support.

Photos week by week can be found on the concert tour website at:

http://www.seminaryconcerttour.com/

Recordings, CD and DVD, can be ordered online at the OL Conference website at:

https://ssl.webvalence.com/ecommerc...dia&class=DVD&group=concert-tour

or www.olconference.com [olconference.com] then choose Online Catalog, Special Events, Seminary Concert Tour.

Jack




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Please include Dublin the next time!

Fr. Serge

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