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Two interesting articles from the Old Orthodox Wiki...

One on the evil and curse of petroleum because it is formed from the remains of evil people who have died and not dissolved in the earth

http://oldbelievers.wetpaint.com/page/Petroleum+Warning

The other on the evil of the English language and its unsuitability for use in Church

http://oldbelievers.wetpaint.com/page/English+is+Hodge-Podge+and+Mumbo-Jumbo

I am presenting them because these are new to me and I wonder how typical this is of Old Believer belief. I think this is a website of the Strict Pomorsky group, also known as Stranniki.

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Father bless,

I am not an Old Believer and cannot advise as to how common these beliefs may be among them.

However, I have seen the Lord work in mysterious ways.

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... the evil and curse of petroleum because it is formed from the remains of evil people who have died and not dissolved in the earth ...

Perhaps the eternal fire into which the wicked pass includes the inner workings of internal combustion engines?



The Lord has instructed us to preach the gospel to all nations. And also to love our neighbor. One of the basic parts of love is respect for those who are loved.

It seems to me that communication is required to do these things. To call someone's language evil because it is made up of all sorts of words and phrases thrown into a pot would seem to me to be a hindrance to communication.

If we encounter a nation that speaks and reads and writes in Slavonic, and not in any other language, it would seem necessary for the Church to use the language of the people to communicate effectively.

Popes Adrian II and John VIII realized this in authorizing Saint Methodius to use Slavonic in the Liturgy.

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... the evil of the English language and its unsuitability for use in Church ...

If we encounter a nation that speaks and reads and writes in English, and not in any other language, it would seem necessary for the Church to use the language of the people to communicate effectively.





John
















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I have been a member of this forum for some time - but am rarely inspired to post.

I have to say - reading that essay on the evils of English Language was enough incentive this time. I am yet to decide whether I should laugh at its ignorance or to be infuriated.

First, allow me to note some relevant points:

1) I am a native English speaker with little (I'd say almost none) Russian. Certainly no Slavonic.

2) I live in a Anglo country where English is the only form of communication in schools, and everyday life.

3) I am an Old Ritualist - by birth - as is my entire family.

I make these points to demonstrate that firstly not everyone who wears that label 'Old Rite' is a backward thinking ethnocentric. My language skills may be poor - and whether you believe them to be a product of my socio-economic demographic - or perhaps my parents did not dedicate enough time to have me learn my heritage - however the fact remains that I need to read/write and study in English to acquire knowledge of any sort. Does this somehow prejudice me as a less worthy Christian? Perhaps due to this it is impossible that I could ever be seen as anything rather than evil in the eyes of the Saints and the Church? I think not.

I look to my late Grandmother. She was an Old Believer through and through. She was born in Russia, raised in China and had children and a life of her own there until she moved to the new world. She was a devout woman, who ensured her children attended Church, she prayed diligently for anyone and everyone, numerous times a day. She did not however have the skill of literacy. Like many White Emigres that fled the persecution of the Boshelviks, she could not read or write. The concept familiar to many Slavic people of common-stock was of an 'oral tradition' whereby the songs they sang, stories they told and faith they shared was passed down from one generation to another through the spoken word. Similar I may say to that of the people who lived in this world some 2000 years ago.

The language they used to convey their stories was Russian. Modern-day Russian if you will. To speak in Old Slavonic would have been to exclude many people from hearing the Good Word. Like has been commented on this forum already, Ss Methodius & Cyril likewise 'adapted' the Greek they used to create a new Lingua Franca in the Slavic world whereby those people could also hear of the Good Word. They were sainted for these works. Now when a parish priest tries to do this, he is condemned.

It is not a language that is evil, it is the person who uses that language to be vicious, hurtful, or crude that is. To think that perhaps the Lord's Prayer only holds true if it is said as Otche Nash rather than Pater Nostrum or, heaven forbid "Our Father". The words and sounds we use to glorify the Saints, Holy Fathers and God are merely a vessel by which we bring them forth. To pray in numbers is universally considered a good idea. To then exclude people from this because of their linguistic skills seems ansurd, and I believe: unchristian.

Of course, I am rambling (which no doubt is exclusively an English thing to do!) but I feel that we Old Ritualists have come so far in the last few years. I am not saying that we have anything to prove, but I personally like other jurisdictions of Orthodoxy (and Christianity in general)understanding us, often embracing us - as opposed to fearing us and hating us for being different. Mutual understanding and acceptance is a wonderful thing - and by relaying concepts such as "English is Evil" only hurts us all.

No doubt there are those from my jurisdiction of Orthodoxy that would not embrace what others do. I for one am a big fan of the work of the Old Ritualists of the ROCOR in Erie. Their prayer books in English and Slavonic have opened the doors to numerous young people to enter the church actively. They are now more knowledgable of church life and texts than their traditional parents ever were. In my own church, I sometimes see young people with their copy of the prayer book - following a service they know front to back in Slavonic - reading it in English so that they can fully comprehend the liturgy.

How anyone can state that such a thing is not good I do not know. I personally welcome the day when BK Old Rite churches hold some services in English. It will bring the youth back to the church. It is evidently clear here that young people do not participate as fully as they once did - and that the one barrier is a lack of understanding of the lanaguge. Now perhaps one could argue that their knowledge of English and little else is to blame for this and that English is the root of all evil. I woul say rather than looking at English as the cancer, perhaps English could be the cure? Use it to promote a Christian way of life - not blame it for its demise. Speak the language of the people and they will listen. Curse them for it (when it is not their own fault) and they will turn away.

I apologise to everyone for rambling on so. It just seems that there are so many small minded people out there who are so bent on seeing the world through their own eyes, that the bigger picture is often missed. The nuemrous divisions within the Eastern (and Western) churches is testimony to this.

My final little 'tongue poking' to the authors of that article is this: this website is a place, under the auspice of Catholics, whereby children of the Holy Catholic Church, both Eastern and Western liaise with children of the Holy Orthodox Churches (again Eastern and Western I believe) with perhaps some others in for the mix. And what is it that this mixed-bag does? It discusses the Old Rite. It shares common thoughts, shares prayers in times of need. It educates and provides a forum of learning. That cannot be a bad thing. And guess what? It is all done in English! Perhaps the authors ought to notice that.

Finally a quick question: did the authors write their essay in English originally or was it translated? Perhaps they shoudl only have published in Old Slavonic... but then again I guess they realise that not many people would hten have an opportunity to hear their word! wink

My two cents!

Cheers,

M

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MICHAEL78:

Glory be to Jesus Christ!!

Well put!! Well thought out!! Well phrased!! Your contribution to our ongoing dialogue here is most welcome and edifying.

Keep being inspired to post!!

BOB


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[quote=Michael78]I
1) I am a native English speaker with little (I'd say almost none) Russian. Certainly no Slavonic.[/quote]

To be fair, they seem be equally condemnatory toward modern Russian. From what I've read, if I'm not mistaken, Slavonic is like Classical Chinese insofar as it was never really spoken by anyone at any time.

Something I found odd was the application of ancient remarks about Old English to modern English. Anyone who's tried to read Beowulf in the original will realize that modern English is almost an entirely different language!

I too am happy to hear from the perspective of an Old Ritualist- please don't hesitate to post more often, Michael!

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I apologize, but I stopped reading the article when I read that petroleum was defiling...

I am sorry, but this is just plain nonsense.


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One thing to keep in mind about Alaska: Until 1865, it was russian turf. Until 1900, significant numbers of villages spoke russian. Until 1986, it was not required to teach in English, tho English language was a requirement since the 1960's.

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These linguistic super-fundamentalists are not representative of the Russian Orthodox Old-Ritualist Church, which has no particular opposition to the use of English - there is an interesting article on the parish in Erie in an early issue of Tserkov published in the nineteen-nineties; it states quite plainly that there can be no objection to the use of English for those who speak this language. It is understood, of course, that there must be accurate translations of the needed materials and every effort to adapt Znammeny chant to English.

Clearly, the objection to English is coming from the extreme Bezpopovtsy.

Fr. Serge

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I have to admit, I know next to nothing about Old Believers. Basically, I know what is found on the wikipedia page. As I was reading the article on English, I really thought that I was reading satire. I read it through a few times to make sure that he was actually serious. Also, I found his own grasp of English to be somewhat limited. His vocabulary was basic and the entire piece was written at about a high school level.

It is good to know his attitude isn't representative of Old Believers.

Elizabeth

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These linguistic super-fundamentalists...


Dear Father Serge,

I love the way you worded that! hehehe!

Alice

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Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on us sinners.

Dear Michael78,

Am I correct in thinking that in your expression "BK Old Rite churches" the BK is an abbreviation for Bielaia Krinitsa? If so, we may have a couple of friends in common, which would be pleasant.

You mention that travel is your hobby. If so, and if you come to Western Europe, do come visit Ireland. Much as I prefer Irish, I speak English reasonably well! I'm also working on a complete translation of the pre-Nikonian Divine Liturgy into English.

For the sake of Christ, forgive me.

(Archimandrite) Serge and my Guardian Angel

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The Blessing of the Lord!

Dear Aliki,

It is always nice to be appreciated!

Fr. Serge

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Originally Posted by Pani Rose

The village in question in this village is still (even now) Russian Speaking, one of a dozen such villages on the Kenai Peninsula.

One town has all its signs in Cyrillic, Russian Village. Nikiski and Nikolaevsk also are mixed Russian-English. Between religion, culture, and isolation, these communities are still ethnically mixed native and russian, and culturally russian. I've been to Nikiski in the last few years; it's culturally Imperial Russian, not American, albeit a bit modernized. The Old Believers there ARE the majority, and are predominantly Russian speaking; all speak some English, most with thick accents and poor writing skills.

Further, 15 miles either direction from home are OCA RO parishes; there are also a large number of highly visible Old Believers here in Eagle River. I've heard from children that the OB have a chapel in the home of their priest, somewhere in the Eagle River valley, and I've spotted at least 30 distinct individuals. Men in Rukhavij, women in sarafan and wearing a particular type of head-scarf not shown in that video.

In Anchorage, I'm aware of at least one other Old Believer group, again from public school students. Their women wear triangular headscarves, usually quite large, rolled to form a brim, and tied behind the neck, with the ends hanging loose. Again, the men wear Rukhavij, rather than normal shirts, tho a few wear them without buttoning them up to the top.

Both of these groups use modern vehicles, and shop at Wal*Mart. (Which is where I encounter most of the adults.)

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Michael,

Great post - do it more often.

As regards the articles in question - and the OldOrthodox Wiki in general. I just did a little research on it. There are only 23 people who contribute to it - and 17 of them are designated as admins or editors. But, 3 people, all admins, account for almost all the articles and edits of same.

One of the 3 (the one with the second-highest count) is the person who appears to have created the 2 articles, and/or to have been their principal editor. His user name rang bells with me and, altho I don't know whether he posts by it elsewhere (not here), I knew that I had chatted with him somewhere.

Looked around and found a thread elsewhere, which began as a friendly discussion of Old Believers, but ended with him basically anathematizing me, all Catholics and pretty much all Orthodox. He regards himself as Stranniki (want to know a bot more about them, check out my older threads in this forum on the various Old Believer bodies) - and took umbrage at my suggesting that true Stranniki (Wanderers) are pretty uncommon in modern times, as the constant push of society into wilderness areas makes it a lifestyle and spirituality that is difficult to live.

Anyway, bottom line is - as Michael pointed out - that the extremist thinking that went into those pieces is so far from reality that it certainly should not be viewed by anyone as representative of mainstream Old Belief Orthodoxy.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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