Athens, Greece — In an exciting move literally unprecedented in Orthodox history, scientists at the University of Athens this week discovered a ninth Orthodox hymnographic tone, where only eight were believed to exist for well over a thousand years.
“I guess nobody ever looked in the right place before,” explained Father Boutros Bgali Wau, liturgical scholar at the University. “Probably this is due to the fact that most people have looked to the right of Tone Eight, whereas we found the extra tone in between Tones Five and Six.”
“So it’s sort of a Five-and-a-halfth Tone?” inquired our intrepid Onion Dome reporter.
“To be precise, it’s the square root of 29.”
“Is outrage!” opined Father Vasiliy Vasileivich, official spokesman for the Church Overseas of Russian Orthodox Christians (COROC) and one-time Australian ping-pong champion. “If scholars in Nineteenth Century Russia couldn’t find tone, is not tone to be found.”
“I can assure you it’s there,” said Father Wau. The famous scholar then sang “Lord I Call Upon Thee” in the new tone, as well as the first three stikhera from the praises at Vespers, and the first ode of the Canon in Tone Square-root-of-29.
“Is possible new tone exists,” admitted Fr. Vasiliy. “But Russians are not interested in adding tone. You Greeks — always innovating. We Russians like to stay with what has always worked.”
“But don’t you think God wants us to use all of the Tones he has provided?” asked Father Wau.
“Is God wanting us to use all of our fingers to make sign of cross? No, God was happy when we used two. We were happy when we used two. Then you Greeks were insisting we use three. Like fools we listened to you. Then, after you gave us the finger, we had big schism. So we are NOT adding new tone.”
“Look,” interjected His Holiness Patriarch FEOFAN of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, and all the Russias Besides, “are you not to thinking that God might have shown us this tone before, if He was so much interested in us to use it? Besides, all other tones are integers. Patriarchate is not adding new tone either.”
“Here we see a typical conflict in the interpretation of Holy Tradition among Orthodox scholars,” began Yeraslav Penguin, Onion Dome dry-as-dust historical correspondent and sometime professor at St. Vlad the Inhaler Seminary.
“Actually,” said Professor Penguin, “I was fired at St. Vlad’s. Now I teach at St. Toucan’s Orthodox Seminary and Roadside Icon Shoppe. Friendly place to teach. Could use a coat of paint, though.”
“But what about the typical conflict?” asked our intrepid Onion Dome reporter.
“Well there isn’t really that much of a conflict between St. Toucan’s and St. Vlad’s. It’s not like we have rugby teams or something that are arch rivals. In fact neither seminary has any sports teams at all. Now, it’d be nice if our press were as well-known as theirs is, but–”
“Um,” interrupted our intrepid Onion Dome reporter, “I was referring to the conflict between Fathers Wau and Vasiliy?”
“Ah. That conflict. I don’t know, really. It’s all so new. I’m used to reading about things in books. Give it a few years or so, and when somebody has written a book about it, look me up again.”
And with that, the article ended.
Copyright © 2003-2011 by Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
If you like Alex Riggle’s Orthodox-themed satire, you might enjoy his recently-released book, Is Outrage!, which gathers all (but one) of the Father Vasiliy articles from the Onion Dome under one cover. It’ll make you sing with joy!