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Lenten prayer of St Ephraim - Differences between Greek and Slavonic versions

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#21 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 09:23 AM

I assumed everybody did: not weekends, of course. My metanias are not elegant these days as I get older, bigger, and stiffer in the joints. Maybe I just ought to do them more often!


I only discovered this prayer a few years ago, Andreas. Perhaps there are many that are not acquainted with this particular prayer.

"Older, bigger, and stiffer in the joints"....... flexibility is not just about the above, it might also be the way our bodies are made i.e. my husband is much slimmer than I am and yet I am much more flexible than he is, always have been!

Lead us not into temptation :

Something more on this :

James 1 :12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him 13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."

13 : "neither tempteth he any man" is quite clear I think.

So what does "Lead us not into temptation" really mean? Could this be a mistranslation of the original words? We all know that words might have many meanings.

Effie

#22 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 12:36 PM

Dear all,

I’m very grateful for an e-mail I received from a reader-but-not-poster of the Discussion Community, who, having read our thread above, put into his letter the full editions of St Ephrem’s prayer in Greek and three Slavonic revisions. This saves me an immense amount of effort and time in trying to type them up myself; so, to Mr William Hencz, many thanks indeed.

Below are the versions, together with my own translations of the full prayer. My thanks to a number of people who have assisted me with sorting through the Slavonic vocabulary (on which I am by no stretch of the imagination an expert).

Greek version

Below is the standard Greek version of the prayer, followed by my translation:

Κύριε καὶ Δέσποτα τῆς ζωῆς μου, πνεῦμα ἀργίας, περιεργίας, φιλαρχίας, καὶ ἀργολογίας μή μοι δῷς.

Πνεῦμα δὲ σωφροσύνης, ταπεινοφροσύνης, ὑπομονῆς, καὶ ἀγάπης χάρισαί μοι τῷ σῷ δούλῳ.

Ναί, Κύριε Βασιλεῦ, δώρησαι μοι τοῦ ὁρᾶν τὰ ἐμὰ πταίσματα, καὶ μὴ κατακρίνειν τὸν ἀδελφόν μου, ὅτι εὐλογητὸς εἶ, εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμήν.

O Lord and master of my life, give me not a spirit of sloth, idle curiosity, lust for power and idle talk;

But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brother; for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Notes on this translation:

  • In the first petition, I’ve rendered περιεργίας as ‘idle curiosity’, which seems the best translation. It does, however, create repetition with ‘idle talk’ (ἀργολογίας) at the end of the petition, which some might feel isn’t terribly euphonious. In that case, περιεργίας could be rendered metaphorically as ‘meddling’ (in patristic Greek the word essentially means ‘futile questioning’, thus ‘idle curiosity’; but it also refers at times to interfering with other’s affairs). I do not feel that this option quite captures the spirit of the Greek, however, and think the slight jab at euphony caused by the repetition of ‘idle’ is justified for the theological content of the terms.
  • In the second petition, there has traditionally been a fair amount of commentary on the word σωφροσύνης, namely whether it ought to be translated according to another category of its usage in ancient Greek, namely ‘soundness of mind’, ‘prudence’, etc. There have been some commentators (including Orthodox) who have noted that these might be useful translations of the word in the context of this prayer. However, they are in the minority, and the usage of σωφροσύνης as ‘chastity’ in the patristic ascetical writings is clear-cut enough—and particularly when translating into Greek a prayer by a monk living in such an ascetical context, for reading by other ascetics—that it certainly ought to be ‘chastity’ here.
  • In the final petition, the clause καὶ μὴ κατακρίνειν τὸν ἀδελφόν μου (‘… and let me not judge my brother’) is often rendered in English as ‘… and let me not judge my brother and sister’; and sometimes also in the plural for liturgical use, as ‘… and let me not judge my brothers and sisters’. I do not see anything wrong with any of these options for usage, though I’ve kept my translation reflective of the original. The prayer was originally composed by a monastic for monastics, hence in and for a pool of monks. Expanding the language seems entirely reasonable when the prayer itself is translated from that context to a broader liturgical usage.
Oldest Slavonic version

The following is the translation of the prayer into Slavonic, as employed prior to Patriarch Nikon’s reforms, and still used by the Old Believers; followed by my translation:

Господи и владико животѹ моемѹ, духъ оунынїѧ, небре жεнїѧ, срεбролюбїѧ и празднословїѧ ѿжεни ѿ мεнε.

Духъ же цѣломѹдрїѧ, смиренїѧ, терпѣнїѧ и любве дарѹй ми рабѹ твоемѹ.

Ей Господи Царю, даждь ми зрѣти моѧ согрѣшенїѧ, и еже не ωсуждати брата моегω, якω благословенъ еси во вѣки. Аминь

O Lord and master of my life, take from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, lust for money and idle talk;

But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brother; for blessed art Thou unto the ages. Amen.

Notes on this translation:

  • In the first petition, on ‘take from me’ instead of ‘grant me not’ (as in the Greek), see notes above in post #4.This Slavonic version has no equivalent of the Greek’s first clause, ‘spirit of sloth’ (πνεῦμα ἀργίας). For ‘despondency’ (оунынїѧ) instead of ‘idle curiosity’ (περιεργίας in the Greek), see notes above in post #9. While the Greek has ‘lust for power’ (φιλαρχίας), the Slavonic here has the more specific ‘lust for money’ (срεбролюбїѧ).
  • In the third petition, ‘mine own faults’ (моѧ согрѣшенїѧ) could also be rendered ‘mine own transgressions’. The closing phrase, which confesses God’s blessedness ‘unto the ages’ (во вѣки) is different from the Greek, which reads ‘unto the ages of ages’ (εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων).
Revised version of the Kievan Sluzhebnik of 1639

The following is a later Slavonic edition, still (though only just) pre-Nikonian. Slavonic experts will notice that dative possessives have become genitive possessives, and there are other minor grammatical and orthographical ‘updates’ to reflect the evolving language; but essentially the prayer is the same as the older Slavonic version, with two exception:

Господи и владыко живота моегω, духъ оунынїѧ, небрежεнїѧ, любоначалїѧ и празднословїѧ ѿжεни ѿ мεнε.

Духъ же цѣломѹдрїѧ, смиреномѹдрїѧ, терпѣнїѧ и любве, дарѹй ми рабѹ твоемѹ.

Ей Господи Царю, даждь ми зрѣти моѧ согрѣшенїѧ, и не ωсуждати брата моегω, якω благословенъ еси во вѣки вѣковъ. Аминь

O Lord and master of my life, take from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, lust for power and idle talk;

But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brother; for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Notes on this translation:

  • Apart from minor updates to grammar and current terminology, there is a change in the first petition, where the older Slavonic’s ‘lust for money’ (срεбролюбїѧ) has become ‘lust for power (любоначалїѧ), echoing the Greek.
  • In the final petition, the conclusion of the benediction has changed. The older ‘unto the ages’ (во вѣки) has become ‘unto the ages of ages’ (во вѣки вѣковъ). Whether this represents an attempt to mirror the Greek, or simply to bring the closing into conformity with more widespread liturgical practice, is unclear.
Slavonic version of Patriarch Nikon’s 1656 service books; the version still in use in most Russian Orthodox and Slavonic-speaking Churches

Господи и владыко живота моегω, духъ праздности, оунынїѧ, любоначалїѧ и празднословїѧ не даждь ми.

Духъ же цѣломѹдрїѧ, смиренномѹдрїѧ, терпѣнїѧ и любве, дарѹй ми рабѹ твоемѹ.

Ей Господи Царю, даруй ми зрѣти моѧ прегрѣшенїѧ, и не ωсуждати брата моегω, якω благословенъ еси во вѣки вѣковъ. Аминь

O Lord and master of my life, give me not a spirit of sloth, despondency, lust for power and idle talk;

But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brother; for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Notes on this translation:

  • This version now almost exactly reflects the Greek (which was Patriarch Nikon’s intention), save for the divergence in the first petition between the Greek’s ‘idle curiosity’ (περιεργίας) and the Slavonic’s ‘despondency’ (оунынїѧ), which remains in the Slavonic from the older versions. This term has been moved, however, so that праздности can be inserted immediately after духъ, thus beginning ‘a spirit of sloth…’ as in the Greek. The older Slavonic’s preference for petitioning that God will ‘take [these things] from me’ (ѿжεни ѿ мεнε) has now given way to the Greek’s ‘give me not’ (reflected in the new не даждь ми).

Edited by M.C. Steenberg, 21 March 2008 - 10:00 PM.
Minor corrections


#23 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 01:10 PM

William (who kindly provided me with the Greek and Slavonic versions typed up, so I didn't have to type them), has just e-mailed to say that he himself got them from an on-line article (found here). For those who are interested, that is an additional resource (though I note from a cursory reading that the translations on the page, as well as the commentary on terminology, suffer from many errors).

Thanks again to William.

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#24 Nina

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 05:49 PM

I must pray to the utmost that I do not ever suffer torture for I'm sure I could not 'bravely resist'!


Additionally: The grace of God helps those who are exposed to torture.

And:

"The angels are not absent when the saints perform their acts of courage, but keep them company."


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 330):

#25 Peter S.

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 08:06 PM

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brother; for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.

I personally like this last petition very much because it can lead one to humility for a while. And lead us to think that "I am the biggest? / only? sinner." Maybe both?

We are all in the same boat, and sometimes we do resist the temptation, and sometimes we dont. I guess this is the situation for most of us.

This is from the Explanation of the Lord's Prayer of St. Nicodemus that Nina showed us:

Concerning painful bodily temptations and trials, let us not conduct ourselves haphazardly, with pride and audacity. But let us ask God that they might not come to us, if that is His will, and that we may be pleasing to Him without undergoing these trials. And if they do come, we should accept them with complete thanksgiving and joy, as great blessings. This only should we ask: that He might give us the strength to conquer the tempter until the very end. For this is what “lead us not into temptation” means, that God might not let us fall defeated into the throat of the noetic dragon. In the same way, in another place the Lord tells us: “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation,” namely, be alert and constantly praying, so as not to fall into temptation; that is, so as not to be conquered by temptation, “for the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mt. 26:41).

What I ve marked in bold is an answer of why we pray "give us not a spirit of....": I think "give us not" means that God should give us strenght by His grace to resist the temptations that must come and that we so often fall into. We ask God to give us the grace so we can have strenght to resist.

Peter

#26 Kyprian Galbraith

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 09:16 PM

I'm quite put to shame by the better grasp of Greek many members of the forum here have. Although I've studied it most of my life, my grasp is minimal. From my gleanings and stuides I have put an essay together regarding the prayer of Our Holy Father Ephram the Syrian, and am curios of those who have a better grasp of Greek what they think of it?

It can be found on my blog " A Pilgrim's Progress " and this is a permalink to the essay in question.

I've often thought Greek has "more ways to conjugate a verb than there are stars in the heavens", but I s'pose if you're born speaking Greek (what a blessing) you'd have a better grasp of the Koine no?

Oh, and anyone who wants to tutor me in Greek would be most welcome! LOL I'm the type that has to learn by actual usage, "book'ing" it doesn't quite "do it" for me.
'umbly,
Kyprian

#27 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 09:32 PM

I've just had it pointed out to me that the older Slavonic's ѿжεни ѿ мεнε, in my translation 'take from me...', might also be translated 'drive away from me'. There is some interesting additional ascetical nuance in this.

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#28 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 09:53 PM

Dear Kyprian and others, you wrote:

I have put an essay together regarding the prayer of Our Holy Father Ephram the Syrian, and am curios of those who have a better grasp of Greek what they think of it?


I've had a look at your text, which offers some interesting reflections. Since you asked, a few thoughts:

You reflect on πνεῦμα ἀργίας as meaning 'idleness / inertia'. Certainly 'idleness' suits both the Greek and particularly the Slavonic (праздности). I think a more common translation is 'slothfulness': i.e. idly dragging one's feet and not rising to the spiritual task. I'm not sure that 'inertia' suits as well. It's not impossible, nor unrelated - and certainly as you gloss it in your reflections, useful.

In your reflections on the next term, you conflate the two textual traditions of the prayer: namely the Greek πνεῦμα περιεργίας (spirit of idle curiosity) and the Slavonic духъ оунынїѧ (spirit of despondency). These represent two different traditions of the prayer, and can't really be provided as a composite. 'Idle curiosity' represents the passion of a mind that has not developed vigilance and a guarding of the nous, and thus wanders about all manner of thoughts without focus or discernment. 'Despondency' represents what Fr Ephrem Lash called 'the classic monastic vice' that is in Greek akidia, which is something akin to a despondent ennui; of a mind 'stuck in a rut'. There is something in this of the 'inertia' you talk about in your preceding section. What is significant is that there are two distinct traditions of this prayer being represented: the Greek tradition follows 'sloth' with a wandering intellect; the Slavonic tradition follows sloth begins immediately with 'spirit of despondency', without inserting 'sloth' (until Nikon).

In your section 3, on πνεῦμα φιλαρχίας (a spirit of lust for power), seems composed of very helpful reflections on the prideful nature of the desire for power. I find it interesting that the older Slavonic focuses this in on money: 'lust for money' (срεбролюбїѧ). Perhaps this is a deliberate harking to the injunctions against riches in the Gospel; and the Gospel's correlating 'mammon' with power and the desire for control. So the prayer speaks of desire for material wealth, which ultimately is a desire for power and control.

I very much like your comments in section 4, on the implications of 'idle talk', as indeed the remaining sections. Thank you for sharing this with us.

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#29 Kris

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 10:12 PM

Would anyone happen to know where I could find the original Syriac text of the prayer? I've been wanting to have a look at it, but am not sure where to look, or if it even still exists.

Thanks!

#30 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 10:15 PM

For those interested, a reflection on the terms of the Lenten Prayer, by the late Fr Alexander Schmemann, is on-line as a PDF file.

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#31 Kyprian Galbraith

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 12:49 PM

Dear Father you said:

...I think a more common translation is 'slothfulness': i.e. idly dragging one's feet and not rising to the spiritual task.... I'm not sure that 'inertia' suits as well. It's not impossible, nor unrelated ...
First, thank you for your kind reflections...

I think inertia was certainly a textual jump for me, meant to be more of a paraphrase, and probably should have said that. In my own personal experience when one drags one's feet (I do love that image/idiom) it leads to intertia, the inability to move, in the same way that depression given into leads to despondency or the I not only feel bad but "don't give a d*mn"...

In your reflections on the next term, you conflate the two textual traditions of the prayer: namely the Greek πνεῦμα περιεργίας (spirit of idle curiosity) and the Slavonic духъ оунынїѧ (spirit of despondency). These represent two different traditions of the prayer, and can't really be provided as a composite.

LOL, as I've mentioned in earlier posts, I most definitely am only a "textbook scholar" and not a real one. I know that in my college work, one of my weaknesses has been the combining of viewpoints (blindly) with untenable or unlikely conclusions.

'Idle curiosity' represents the passion of a mind that has not developed vigilance and a guarding of the nous, and thus wanders about all manner of thoughts without focus or discernment.

This is good stuff...hence, that would be like my (prior to Orthodoxy) tendency to "suck up" or "sponge up" all kind of philosophies of men, which eventually had my so confused I went from being a believing Christian, to an agnostic, and finally even atheistic, due to the profound confusion created by indiscriminately absorbing the teachings of these different idea, no?

...In your section 3, on πνεῦμα φιλαρχίας (a spirit of lust for power), seems composed of very helpful reflections on the prideful nature of the desire for power. I find it interesting that the older Slavonic focuses this in on money:...

In the spirit of Evagrius, whom I believe ravished saving the truths of God that existed within even the pagan religions as afterthoughts/afterreflections:

In Advaita a spirit of lust for power would be directed towards only three things,
1)Money
2)Food
3)Sex
Money being "personal power" or obsession with control over one's environment, food with "control" over one's body, and sex with "control" over others.

Anyways, getting back to the Church, I think money is a universal symbol, of course scripture doesn't call money the root of evil but the love of money, which I find telling.

I very much like your comments in section 4, on the implications of 'idle talk', as indeed the remaining sections. Thank you for sharing this with us.

I also tried drawing from personal experience in this section...in other parts of my blog, I mention my particular struggles, and I find that Narcissus is a perfect image for that struggle. A young beautiful man, so enamoured with his "reflection" that he is paralyzed by it, eventually drowing in his own reflection...and to point out that after a certain point he is obsessed with not his true reflection but an imagined one. In short Narcissus is his own god, we placing ourselves/myself on the throne of my own heart rather than the Creator.

Hence love of others unconditionally, putting them first, has for me been the most powerful medicine that exists in my life....and I'm not claiming I've "bested" this...I still turn my nose up to the medicine often, the way a child does to that [ICK} Castor Oil mum used to feed us in the morning!

Years ago I had been blessed to live alongside a monastic community that had a HUUUGE library of patristics, and with my disabilities I cant' readily study from internet texts on a monitor, although I try....I mentioned in another part of the forum that when I saw all the wonderful stuff on this site I though my brain was going to POP! lol

Thank you for your input father,
please pray for me a sinner,
Kyprian

Edited by Fr Raphael Vereshack, 22 March 2008 - 02:47 PM.
removed quote tag from Dcn Matthew to avoid confusion


#32 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 10:07 PM

Dear Kyprian, you wrote:

'Idle curiosity' represents the passion of a mind that has not developed vigilance and a guarding of the nous, and thus wanders about all manner of thoughts without focus or discernment.

This is good stuff...hence, that would be like my (prior to Orthodoxy) tendency to "suck up" or "sponge up" all kind of philosophies of men, which eventually had my so confused I went from being a believing Christian, to an agnostic, and finally even atheistic, due to the profound confusion created by indiscriminately absorbing the teachings of these different idea, no?

This seems to resonate very well with the notion of 'idle curiosity' in the prayer. As such, it is particularly well-suited to a prayer used during Great Lent: a season dedicated to true spiritual discernment is punctuated by a prayer that asks that this discernment come, not through a mind wandering aimlessly between any vaguely-interesting-sounding source of 'enlightenment', but to the true Spirit who gives real discernment.

You also wrote:

...In your section 3, on πνεῦμα φιλαρχίας (a spirit of lust for power), seems composed of very helpful reflections on the prideful nature of the desire for power. I find it interesting that the older Slavonic focuses this in on money:...

Money being "personal power" or obsession with control over one's environment, food with "control" over one's body, and sex with "control" over others.

Anyways, getting back to the Church, I think money is a universal symbol, of course scripture doesn't call money the root of evil but the love of money, which I find telling.


This certainly seems to lie behind the move from 'love for money' to 'love of power' even in the older Slavonic forms of the prayer. The two are clearly connected.

Given that it was just the Sunday dedicated to St Gregory Palamas, it is interesting to note in this context that he writes, in his Letter to the Nun Xenia, that no person should under any circumstances seek material wealth, 'even if it be for a good cause'.

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#33 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 25 March 2008 - 03:10 PM

Given that it was just the Sunday dedicated to St Gregory Palamas, it is interesting to note in this context that he writes, in his Letter to the Nun Xenia, that no person should under any circumstances seek material wealth, 'even if it be for a good cause'.

INXC, Dcn Matthew


No excuses at all, then, for buying lottery tickets!

#34 Kyprian Galbraith

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Posted 25 March 2008 - 06:06 PM

No excuses at all, then, for buying lottery tickets!


Who? Meee? >:) Well, I never! LOL
(Not on Sundays anyhow! ;)

#35 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 10:27 AM

Kyprian Galbraith Quotation:
Originally Posted by Andreas Moran
No excuses at all, then, for buying lottery tickets!

Who? Meee? >:) Well, I never! LOL
(Not on Sundays anyhow! ;)


Buy them and pray not to win, and if you do win, contemplate the conundrum of unanswered prayer!

#36 Kyprian Galbraith

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 01:21 PM

Waa Wa wa Waaaa,
To the tune of: "If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make any noise?"

Buy them and pray not to win, and if you do win, contemplate the conundrum of unanswered prayer!



#37 Theodora E.

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 02:19 AM

The OCA (or at least St. Tikhon's Seminary) seems to be in the process of really tweaking the older OCA translations.

The Orthodox Daily Prayers book, first edition of 1982, has St. Ephraim's prayer in this translation:

O Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk.

But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.

Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou, unto ages of ages.

Brand-spanking new second edition reads as follows:


O Lord and Master of my life, grant me not the spirit of idleness, despondency, lust for power, and idle talk.

But grant me, Thy servant, the spirit of whole-mindedness, humility, patience and love.

Yea, Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions, and not judge my brother, for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages.

#38 Alice

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 11:04 AM

Hmmmm...I find a big difference in the way my mind perceives 'chastity' and 'whole-mindedness'.

When I pray this at Lent (and other times), I feel that 'chastity' is the self control which our Orthodox faith demands of our bodies. Especially at Lent, as on other fasting days, we are trying to abstain and exhibit self control in our bodily passions:

(noun1. abstaining from sexual relations (as because of religious vows) 2. morality with respect to sexual relations )

I think that, especially in this day and age of physical indulgence and cultural obsession with the physical, this word should definitely not be changed to be made more ambiguous.

I understand that:

(the Greek word "σωφρόσυνη/sōphrosunē" is usually translated as "chastity," however, the word carries the meaning of "whole mindedness." Therefore the prayer asks for the restoration of wholeness...from Orthodoxwiki)

But when I think of 'whole mindedness', I would really have to concentrate and contemplate what that means, whereas chastity and or integrity are more spot on and direct.

Does anyone else here feel that way? Am I totally off the mark?!?

In Christ,
Alice

#39 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 02:00 PM

Alice wrote:

Hmmmm...I find a big difference in the way my mind perceives 'chastity' and 'whole-mindedness'.

I understand that: (the Greek word "σωφρόσυνη/sōphrosunē" is usually translated as "chastity," however, the word carries the meaning of "whole mindedness." Therefore the prayer asks for the restoration of wholeness...from Orthodoxwiki)
But when I think of 'whole mindedness', I would really have to concentrate and contemplate what that means, whereas chastity and or integrity are more spot on and direct.


It is the same with целомудрие which is what is written in the Slavonic version of the prayer. Taken as two separate words or perhaps etymologically this could mean whole mindedness. But even in modern Russian this word means chastity.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#40 Theodora E.

Theodora E.

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 05:16 AM

The "whole-mindedness" in the revised OCA translation sparked something in my brain, so I went and pulled Schmemann's Great Lent out. Bingo!

On page 36, Fr. Alexander writes:

"Chastity! If one does not reduce this term, as is so often and erroneously done, only to its sexual connotations, it is understood as the positive counterpart of sloth. The exact and full translation of the Greek sofrosini and the Russian tselomudryie ought to be whole-mindedness. Sloth is, first of all, dissipation, the brokenness of our vision and energy, the inability to see the whole. Its opposite then is precisely wholeness. If what we usually mean by chastity the virtue opposed to sexual depravity, it is because the broken character of our existence is nowhere better manifested than in sexual lust - the alienation of the body from the life and control of the spirit. Christ restores wholeness in us and He does so by restoring in us the true scale of values leading us back to God."




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