Parishioners Exhausted after Nine-hour Agape Vespers Service

Reading the GospelFLAGSTAFF, 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


About Your Intrepid Blogger

I live in the Tacoma area. When not writing things some people think are funny, I teach technology to 7th and 8th graders at a local middle school.

8 comments on “Parishioners Exhausted after Nine-hour Agape Vespers Service

  1. East Cleveland and Ferengi….nice! Soon I will be hearing the Gospel in a new language myself, Pittsburghese.

  2. Yep, we did this once. We don’t do it anymore.

  3. And what about Klingon?

  4. […] Parishioners Exhausted After 9 Hour Agape Vespers Service [The Onion Dome] […]

  5. Excellent as usual. This service is the most bizarre of the year. The Orthodox goal to confuse as many people as thoroughly as possible in the least amount of time is fulfilled in this annual disaster.

  6. Personally, I like it. The easy way to limit the number of languages, however, is not to repeat everything in full in every known language. The languages can be used as a way of indicating the global reach of Orthodoxy either in using English (in the U.S.) and the Diocesan origin language (ROCOR, Russian; GOA, Greek) as they have done already with simple refrains from the languages of parishioners’ ethnicity. In OCA, you’d mix English with the parish’s founders’ language . . . I do believe that in the States, English should be predominant but exclusively the language used. The insistence of those who believe that American Orthodoxy must use it exclusively reminds me of the missionaries, Catholic and Protestant, who tortured indigenous populations, banning the use of their language; and those who wish to hear Russian- or Greek-only services are putting “nation” above religion, but the English-speakers who demand that they forego hearing the language they grew up with in Church are being just as dictatorial and unempathetic as they cannot understand that Church was a place to be at ease and forget WASP cultural norms temporarily for Easterners.

  7. Humor has always help me survive my struggles. Having found Orthodoxy after a 30 year stint as a Anglo-Catholic Episcopalian (having been baptized in a Baptist church as a youth), finding this humor yesterday, revived my humor and soul. I now have a new spiritual Father, my new priest since October, and I’ll become a catechumen in a few weeks in my Antiochian parish. I am blessed! BTW, I told Father today after sending him this earlier this morning, next year it’s Scottish Gaelic for me.

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