19 December 2007, 14:10
Divine service fragments to be read in modern Russian, Russian Orthodox Church's representative
Moscow, December 19, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church's representative under the European International Institutions, Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria believes the time has come to reform the liturgical language partly.
‘It is impossible to abandon Slavonic and translate the whole divine service into Russian. However, certain fragments of the service can be read in Russian. For instance, psalms, epistles of the apostles and the Gospels’, Bishop Hilarion stated in an interview published in NG-Religii newspaper.
He thinks that ‘most complicated festival canons’ can also be read in Russian. It is necessary to organize prayer meetings for youth after divine services, to explain words of prayers pronounced at the service and to distribute texts of the services in Slavonic with parallel Russian translation.
‘We should balance rational conservatism with creative attitude to the church practice. If our parishioners do not understand the words of prayers, it is a very grave problem and it should be addressed’, the Moscow Patriarchate’s representative noted.
According to him, ‘man of the street’ is kept back from the Church by various ‘linguistic, cultural, psychological and other’ barriers and clergy does not ‘do enough’ to help a person overcome them.
Bishop Hilarion reminded that Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia had given the clergy a ‘missionary task’ to make people understand the point of the divine service.
‘Until the task is completed, the question of liturgical language will be on the agenda’, the Russian Orthodox Church’s representative believes.