TAKOMA PARK, MD – In a move which took him from the front of the nave, through the back door, and out into the parking lot, catechumen Phil (“no saint’s name yet because he’s still just a catechumen”) Smythe departed the Church of All Saints of Middle-Class America (Rump OCA) this past Sunday, just before the litany of the faithful.
“When I said, ‘Catechumens depart,’ I never thought he’d actually do it,” said All Saints’ pastor, Father John (“of Patmos”) Johnson. “I’m pretty sure I explained in the inquirer’s class that the whole ‘Catechumens depart’ thing was no longer enforced, since we no longer conduct our catechumens’ classes during the second half of the Liturgy. Maybe Phil was absent that day.”
“Here we are seeing good reason to conduct services in Slavonic,” opined Father Vasiliy Vasileivich, official spokesman for the Church Overseas of Russian Orthodox Christians (COROC) and former Australian national break-dancing champion. “You say, ‘Catechumens depart’ in Slavonic and nobody is knowing what you say. Heck, you could say ‘Church is on fire’ or ‘Saint of day is hating your guts’ and nobody would know. Not that I ever would say such thing,” Father Vasiliy added hastily. “But some days I am sorely tempted.”
“But then again nobody knows what ANY of it means,” said Father John. “The service becomes an exercise in listening to pleasant-sounding gobbledygook.”
“If Slavonic was good enough for Paul and Silas….” began Father Vasiliy.
“Paul and Silas spoke Greek! Sheesh!” interrupted Father John.
“Okay, okay. If Slavonic was good enough for Cyril and Methodius—” began Father Vasiliy.
“Speaking of Greek,” horned in Father Apollo (“of the Seventy”) Dionysius of St. Helen’s Very Greek Orthodox Church, Erie, Pennsylvania. “We mostly say that ‘Catechumens depart’ stuff silently. Not that anybody except the yayas would know what we were saying.”
“I miss it,” complained Mrs. Dorothea (“of Gaza”) Heliopolis, resident yaya at All the Greek Saints of Greece Very Greek Very Orthodox Greek Orthodox Church of Pasadena, California. “It gave me a chance to fix my lipstick after the gospel reading.”
“Actually,” said Phil Smythe, catechumen in question, “I had to use the restroom. I knew that I wasn’t expected to depart when Fr. John said, ‘Catechumens depart,’ but that’s when the pain became unbearable and I had to leave. It was either that or dance around like a fool.”
“I am not sure this is not more than I am needing to know,” said Father Vasiliy.
“What he said,” said Father John, Father Apollo, and Mrs. Heliopolis.
“Sorry,” said Smythe.
“Here we see a classic case of misinterpretation due to temporal coincidence, arising from—” began Yeraslav Penguin, Onion Dome dry-as-dust theological correspondent and sometime visiting professor at St. Toucan’s Seminary and Roadside Icon Shoppe.
“Make him stop!” said Fathers John, Apollo, and Vasiliy.
“No, wait, this sounds interesting,” said Mrs. Heliopolis.
“What?” said Fathers John, Apollo, and Vasiliy.
“What?” said Professor Penguin.
“What?” said Smythe.
“What?” said your intrepid Onion Dome editor.
“Done?” said Mrs. Heliopolis.
“Yes,” said everybody else.
“In that case, I would like to hear your explanation, Professor Penguin” said Mrs. H. “Please continue.”
“SOMEWHERE ELSE,” said Smythe, the Fathers, and your intrepid editor.
“Okay, okay,” said Professor Penguin.
Copyright © 2003-2011 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.