Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Old Church Slavonic, a lost language......almost

Slowly, it seems, there is an immutable force driving a noble church language into the realm of a truly dead language. This force is actually the force of many individuals who actively and passively do not care for this once prolific language used in the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic churches of the Slavic variety. The reasoning given for not using it is that "no one understands it" or " we never sing it". of course both lines of reasoning are self fulfilling. By not using a language, it will automatically die out.

It becomes more frustrating when a younger generation wishes to learn this language and its beauty while an older generation looks askance and dismisses anyone who wants to learn it.

Why learn Old Church Slavonic? We have translations in English now so there is no more need to bother with that 'dead' language anymore. While we are trying to kill the language, we are at the same time desperately preserving the music which was set originally to that language!!! The irony! If there was truly a desire to rid our church of Slavonic, then why bother to keep a musical tradition which utilised the multisyllabic nature of Slavonic? It seems the answer has more to do with a hierarchy that cares not to know the language than the faithful who still long for hearing the Liturgy in the language of their ancestors.

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