ATHENS HEIGHTS – In a move that surprised exactly no one (except perhaps Mr. Stanley Majors of Pretoria, South Africa), Father Irmanos Spartopolis of Athens Heights, Greece was sent to his room without supper by His Grace Bishop SPARTOS Irmopolis for translating the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom into modern Greek.
“If ancient Greek was good enough for Moses and Abraham, it’s good enough for us,” said His Grace Bishop SPARTOS through an interpreter.
“But nobody can understand what we’re saying!” complained Father Irmanos.
“Bah! What is understanding compared to grooving on the melodious sound?” demanded His Grace.
Orthodoxy was first brought to the Slavic peoples of eastern Europe by Sts. Methodius and Cyril, who translated the Liturgy into the Slavonic language. St. Innocent of Alaska made the Liturgy available to the native peoples of Alaska by translating the Liturgy into their language, and advised translating the Liturgy into English for the English-speaking people of North America. It has long been the practice of the Orthodox Church to make the liturgy accessible in the language of the worshippers.
“Bah! Is it our fault the Greek people have twisted the language away from the pristine beauty of the language of the Apostles?” interjected His Grace. “If people want to worship God, they need to learn to speak God’s language.”
“Which is, of course, Slavonic,” opined His Holiness Patriarch FEOFAN, Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church In Russia Where It Belongs (ROCIRWIB).
“Ancient Greek!” suggested His Grace.
“Slavonic!” insisted His Holiness.
“Ancient Greek!” repeated His Grace.
“Slavonic!” re-emphasized His Holiness.
“Faux Elizabethan English!” interjected Father John Johnson, rector of All Saints of Middle Class America Orthodox Church, Takoma Park, Maryland, USA.
“Hebrew!” suggested Rabbi Maximillian Goldberg of Temple Beth Shalom L’Chayim, New York.
“Um,” said His Grace.
“Well,” said His Holiness.
“Er,” said Father John.
“Which is all well and good, but nobody in Athens Heights speaks Ancient Greek, Slavonic, Hebrew, or even faux Elizabethan English,” complained Father Irmanos.
“Their loss!” chorused His Grace, His Holiness, Father John, and Rabbi Goldberg.
“I give up!” said Father Irmanos. “I’m sorry I translated the Liturgy. Can I have my supper now?”
“Write 50 times, ‘I will not translate the Liturgy into Modern Greek,'” instructed His Grace, “and you can have supper.”
“I suppose you want that in Ancient Greek?” inquired Father Irmanos.
“Nah. I can’t write in Ancient Greek. I certainly don’t expect you to,” said His Grace.
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