Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Our Children
All important for the preservation of Orthodoxy

When parishes are forced to close, it is not just because the children have moved away, and the old folks have died off. The problem is much greater than this.
With increased numbers of immigrants joining parishes, often with the expressed desire to preserve their Russian identity, we can easily fall prey to believing our churches are on solid ground, and will thrive into the next generations. In our collective joy at seeing our churches packed for Sunday Liturgies, we forget about previous influxes of immigrants, whose children, upon growing into adulthood, became so Americanized that they saw the Orthodox Faith as relevant only for their parents and grandparents, but meaningless to themselves.

The remedy, I believe, in forestalling another great exodus of our youth, is to wage a concerted effort to help our youth embrace Orthodoxy as their own. This means they must be able to understand the services, and since they are unlikely to learn Church Slavonic, or liturgical Greek, we must admit that it is time to serve in English. The Ancient Church saw the language of the people as the vehicle for teaching the faith, and passing Orthodoxy on to the next generations. Saints Cyril and Methodius helped to Slavic people receive Orthodoxy by translating the services into a language the people understood. Thus the Greek language did not remain the liturgical language of the newly illumined people of the Slavic lands.

I believe Church Slavonic has it's place, for as a common language it can be a point of unity, especially when used during joint services among Slavic peoples from different countries. Church Slavonic, as well as Liturgical Greek, are both lovely languages, and have their place in the life of the Church. However,  that most lay people do not understand these languages (beyond the parts that are used during each service), should be a wake up call. If the changeable parts of the service are not understood by life-long Orthodox faithful, what does this mean for our children, and for visitors who might be looking into Orthodoxy? The romantic attachment to an ancient language is just not sufficient if we want the Faith to be delivered to both the heart and the mind, and become the mainstay of our life. The Roman Catholics discovered this truth when they dumped Latin as the normal language for Mass, in favor of the
vernacular, and the move has worked very well in those places where the Mass is served with the dignity and tradition of the ancient Western Rite.

The early missionaries knew the importance of teaching the faith so as to accommodate the local population, and allow newly converted people to really know the Orthodox Faith. Just as was the case when
Saints Cyril and Methodius brought Orthodoxy to the people of Kievan Rus, our children must be able to understand the services, and be taught the faith. Our children must understand why we do the things we do, why we fast, and why we worship the way we have worshiped for almost two thousand years. If these changes are not implemented by the local parishes, our youth will see Orthodoxy as nothing more than a quaint religion of a bygone age, meaningless to their own lives as modern Americans, and they will depart from the faith.

Since a priest is allowed to celebrate only one Liturgy per day, the introduction of English Liturgies could be gradually introduced, with one Sunday given over to English, and the second Sunday to Church Slavonic. Another option, in the beginning, might be to balance the service by using both English and Slavonic in equal amounts.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: The large buck, together with this doe and her fawn, have been frequent visitors to the monastery.

Wednesday August 13, 2014 / July 31, 2014
10th Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Forefeast of the Procession of the Precious and Life-giving Cross of the Lord.
Righteous Eudocimus of Cappadocia (9th c.).
New Martyrs Benjamin, metropolitan of Petrograd, and those with him: Archimandrite Sergius and George and John of Petrograd (1922).
Martyr Maximus (1928).
New New Hieromartyr Vladimir priest (1937).
New Hieromartyr John priest, Martyr Constantine priest, Virgin-martyr Anna, and St. Elizabeth (after 1937).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1941).
New Hieromartyr Basil, bishop of Kineshma (1945)
Martyr Julitta at Caesarea (304).
Martyr Dionysius of Vatopedi, Mt. Athos (1822).
Righteous Joseph of Arimathea (1st c.).
St. Germanus, bishop of Auxerre (448) (Celtic & British).
Venerable Neot, hermit in Cornwall (877) (Celtic & British).
Twelve Martyrs of Rome (Greek).
Translation of the relics of Apostle Philip to Cyprus. (Greek).
Consecration of the Church of the Most Holy Theotokos of Blachernae (Greek).
St. John the Exarch of Bulgaria (900).
St. Arsenius the Bishop of Ninotsminda (1082) (Georgia).

You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.

"Blogs and social networks give us new opportunities for the Christian mission...Not to be present there means to display our helplessness and lack of care for the salvation of our brothers." His Holiness Patriarch Kirill

The Scripture Readings for the Day

1 Corinthians 16:4-12
But if it is fitting that I go also, they will go with me.

Personal Plans

Now I will come to you when I pass through Macedonia (for I am passing through Macedonia). And it may be that I will remain, or even spend the winter with you, that you may send me on my journey, wherever I go. For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits.
But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
10 And if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do. 11 Therefore let no one despise him. But send him on his journey in peace, that he may come to me; for I am waiting for him with the brethren.
12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to come to you with the brethren, but he was quite unwilling to come at this time; however, he will come when he has a convenient time.

Matthew 21:28-32

The Parable of the Two Sons

28 “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ 29 He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. 30 Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?”
They said to Him, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.

I invite my readers to listen to my
Ancient Faith Radio podcasts:

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery is a monastery of the Western American Diocese, under the omophor of His Eminence Kyrill, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America. The Monastery is a non-profit 501 C3 organization under IRS regulations. All donations are therefore tax deductible.

We depend on the generosity of our friends and benefactors. You can donate to the monastery through PayPal, or by sending donations directly to the monastery's mailing address.

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery  
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

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