FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Parishioners here at the multi-ethnic Church of All Saints of North America Originally from Somewhere Else were exhausted on Pascha afternoon after a 9-hour Agape Vespers service. In keeping with an ancient and widely-observed Orthodox tradition, All Saints of Somewhere Else celebrates Agape Vespers by having the gospel passage, John 20:19-25, read in as many languages as possible. At Somewhere Else, many, many languages were possible.
After the usual Greek, Russian, German, Romanian, Arabic, Swahili, and five most common dialects of Scottish, the church’s parishioners continued to come forward with translations of the gospel in more and more languages.
“There are languages I never even knew existed!” said parishioner Barb (“–ara the Great Martyr”) Stimmelfeldt. “Where do they speak Quenya? In Kenya?”
“I thought the 17 Algonquin dialects were lovely,” said Stimmelfeldt’s husband, Joe (“—seph of Aramithea”). “And who knew that East Cleveland had its own language? Or that Bill Crawford could read it?”
As the fifth hour of readings came to a close with no let-up in sight, the parish priest, Father Martin (“of Tours”) Mbala allowed the congregation to sit, which got him into hot water with the newly illumined Thomas (“You’d better believe it”) Schoenfeld, who knows his canons and has the Rudder memorized “in the original Slavonic.”
“The Rudder was originally in Greek, not Slavonic,” noted Father Martin.
“Everything was originally in Slavonic,” said Schoenfeld.
Schoenfeld himself read the Gospel in Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Tonga, Turkmen, and Ferengi.
Copyright © 2012-2016 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.
H/T to Father John