The Orthodox Liturgy has not changed much in the last thousand years or so. Yes some of us priests like to cut parts out to shorten the liturgy so our parishioners don’t complain. When I arrived here in the village almost three years ago, that does not seem possible and I will blog on that another time, the liturgy was short and sweet. As the new guy on the block with new vestments and a newly printed degree from seminary I was going to serve the Liturgy cover to cover. So I did. Boy did I hear about it. But now three years hence Liturgy runs about and hour and fifteen minutes to and hour and half depending on how much I have to say.
Here in the village we use English as the liturgical language. That switch was made years before I arrived. You see you are in the third generation, and the fourth generation is about to graduate from high school. The sad part is that most of the people only have a passing knowledge of the language of their ancestors. For me language is culture, and although we are in America we should be proud of where we have all come from and language is part of that. So we use English with a smattering of Romanian and this seems to work.
There is the argument that if the language is not English then converts wont come to the church. So I have been here almost three years, and the language has been English, and I have not seen any converts that were not already here. But the argument still goes on. I guess people could argue that the younger generation does not speak their native language so they feel left out. That could be, but Fr. Greg at St. Spyridon’s in Worcester will tell you about the full church on Sunday and the language goes back and forth between Greek and English. While here I average 35 out of 75 members on Sunday and the language is English!
I think we have lost some of the mystery of liturgy. Liturgy is not entertainment it is worship. We as priests need to set an atmosphere of worship and prayer not a concert where people hold up lighters at the end. Although now I understand concert goers hold up their cell phones and not lighters.
This draws the point to preaching. I have written about this before and received lots of responses both here and in the email. Preaching is not about being PC or saying what people want to hear. As a Priest my job is to teach and correct. We are called father, and that is the roll of the father in a family to teach and correct his children. Sometimes the topic is uncomfortable but we need to discuss it none the less. Christianity is not a habit it is a life style. Not a piece of clothing we put on on Sunday and then take off on Monday. It is something we wear all the time.