At the end of August at the International Congress of Slavists held a meeting on the use of national languages in the Liturgy the Orthodox Slavs. The organizer of this meeting Alexander Kravetsky tells, what benefits can bring the simple believer such discussions.
- Disputes in Russian about Church Slavonic language
- Church Slavonic or Russian – opinions of the clergy
- Olga Vasilyeva: to Learn Church Slavic language – not much difficulty
- Church Slavonic language: the words for meanings
- “If women hear thou,” or to the question of translation
“Prayer in tongues barbarian more effective”
If you are going re-write of liturgical language and the problems of liturgical translation, you begin to feel anxious. Very specific way to read the texts on the subject. The reader is in a hurry to figure out who is the author of soul mate or enemy, and realizing, the text loses all interest. And if the end of the second paragraph and will not be able to determine which camp the author belongs to the readers ‘ expectations and not be deceived. A moot point means that you need to argue, waving fists, to stigmatize and not to be distracted by the lyrics and historical digressions.
But throwing a punch is not the best way to clarify the truth. In any conversation about the simplification of the liturgical language of emotions start going wild and normal reasoned conversation becomes impossible. If you turn off the emotions and enable the mind, then the position of the reformers, and the conservatives are quite vulnerable.
The willingness of conservatives Breasts to defend the Slavic Liturgy from the assassination of “heretics Renovationists” seems strange.
Still, we must realize that this fight is not for the purity of Church teaching, but only for the preservation of the usual way, for the opportunity not to change anything. No less perplexing and pathos of the reformers who believe that translation into Russian language, we will ensure the conscious participation of the laity in the Liturgy, then people will be flying into the temples.
To give this debate more constructive is to look at the problem in a broader context. For example, to see how the problem looked like 50 years ago, 100, 500, and 2,000 years ago. Defenders of immutability of liturgical language would be greatly surprised to read of Clement of Alexandria to say that the prayer in tongues barbarian more effective than prayers in Greek literature (the idea of the linguistic and liturgical unity will appear later, during the construction of the rigidly centralized Church structures). And the followers of the ideas of Russification of worship will be interested to know that Russian peasant of XVIII-XIX century, the Church Slavonic language was more understandable than the language of Pushkin and Gogol.
No less useful is and the experience of other Slavic peoples. As they solve the problem of understandability of worship? How to respond to attempts to use the temple of the native language? For instance, most Serbian churches parts of a Church service sounded in Church Slavonic and the other in Serbian. And the faithful positive about this coexistence of the two languages.
A few years ago, we held a large-scale survey of Serbian believers to find out their attitude to the Liturgy in Serbian and Church Slavonic languages, and found that for the freedom of choice of liturgical language, expressed 59,8% of respondents (against 37%), and to the idea of complete rejection of the Church Slavonic language the majority of respondents (71,8%) reacted negatively.
If you keep in mind the whole range of opinions and the diversity of liturgical practices, reflections on how the Russian Church will solve the language issue, will be much more interesting and informative.
The dispute about the language of the Church can have no Church
In the last decade in Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, Poland and other Slavic countries there are linguists trying to understand what in our days is with the language of the Church. The objects of their interests are quite diverse. This history of the national variants of the Orthodox divine service, and the degree of understandability of liturgical texts, and the relationship of Church and secular components in Slavic cultures, and more.
Until recently, these works were parallel, but gradually began to appear the idea of international cooperation. This idea is rather long floated in the air, and finally we decided to try to hold the International Congress of Slavists, which was held in Belgrade in August of this year, the thematic block “Liturgical languages in Slavia Orthodoxa New and the Newest time”.
The Congress of Slavists is an event which has been held since 1929 every 5 years (of the Congress stopped only in connection with the political events preceding the Second world war, but since 1946, the congresses resumed). Here you can meet representatives of almost all existing institutions that study the languages and culture of the Slavs.
It seemed to us that this event will provide an opportunity to unite researchers working in the language of worship. Managed to gather speakers from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Serbia and Poland (the reports see the link). To hear stories about how different Slavic countries react to the liturgical translations, it was very interesting and instructive experience. From the stories about the situations in different countries clearly shows that the subject of debate, wrangling and discontent is not the actual Church issues, and linguistic or political.
For example, in the Slavic world, the Church Slavonic language is often associated with Russia (historically, this Association is justified: in the XVIII-XIX centuries by Russian Synodal printing house supplied liturgical books a significant part of the Orthodox Slavs). Therefore, it was noted that the preservation of the Church Slavonic of the service, the people are often correlated with the orientation on Russia, while the introduction of the worship of the national languages is associated with the autonomy and development of national cultures. So, in one of the reports cited characteristic accusation that “the Patriarchate and the Belarusian Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church banned the use of indigenous language and title in the state of the people.”
The reports also noted that the translators have often chosen not to missionary tasks, and literary or linguistic. And that means that they have prepared translations should be considered in the context of the Church, and literary polemics.
For example, in 1743-1744 years of Lomonosov, trediakovskii and Sumarokov as the argument in the dispute about what size you should write a solemn ode, prepared and published three experimental poetic translation 143rd Psalm. These transcriptions are among the early translations of the Psalter in the Russian language. Of course, the authors do not assume any Church use of these texts.
Another example. In the first quarter of the nineteenth century reformer of the Serbian literary language Vuk Karadzic, claiming he created a new variant of the Serbian language, has prepared a translation of the gospel. He did this not in order to convey the gospel text to the General reader, and in order that the Serbian language has become the language of Scripture, equal to the other literary languages of Europe.
Such comparative reflections on the fate of the Church Slavonic language in the Orthodox culture of the Slavic peoples seem to be very productive, as they enable more extensive look at the language problems facing the Russian Church.
To the noun “coffee” kept the masculine, people are willing to fight
Between discussions at international conferences and the emergence of popular texts aimed at a wide audience, usually takes a long time. But we still will try strongly not to tighten. The fact is that for several months of work on the creation of the Internet portal “Church Slavonic language today” (the project is being implemented by a presidential grant).
Creating this resource, we have several goals. First, there will be an annotated catalogue of the available online materials regarding the Church Slavonic language. What does it do?
Hammer into a search engine query associated with the Church Slavonic written language or language of Ancient Russia, and you will fall links to articles about Slavic runes, Veles book, or about the fact that Sanskrit is derived from the language of ancient Rus.
The people involved in the history of the language, as a rule, I regret the time and forces and not to enter into polemics with the theories, the absurdity of which seems obvious. But for an untrained reader of such texts, rife with paradoxes and bold comparisons and often produce an impression. Therefore and the necessary navigation system to help users find reliable information.
Working on the portal, we mean the widest possible audience. Journalists and popularizers will find links to reliable resources for Slavic studies, students study materials and literature, people interested in self-study is a popular publication and video lectures. By the way, especially for this portal will be written to the cycle of lectures that will read the leading modern historians and linguists working on the language of the Orthodox Liturgy and the history of Church Slavonic literacy.
In addition, the portal will host the electronic version of the Large dictionary of the Church Slavonic language of the New time, which is prepared in the Russian language Institute RAS im. V. V. Vinogradov. This portal should become the intermediary between researchers liturgical language of the Russian Church and all those whom the subject interests. And she is very interested in many. As you know, residents of Russia language issues, interested in not less than inflation or changes in the retirement age. That the noun “coffee” kept the masculine, people are willing to fight with a zeal worthy of a better cause.
Declaration of love to the liturgical language assume familiarity with this language and its history. And the portal “Church language today” should perform this educational function.