To clarify, the pronouns 'thee' and 'thou' and so forth are both singular and informal (like the Greek 'σου' and the French 'tu'). 'You' is both formal and plural (as in the Greek 'σας' and the French 'vous') . We address God as 'Thee' (and 'σου') because He is our friend. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we should arguably always use the singular/informal in languages which continue the distinction, but, of course, this does not happen. I am not familiar with OCA texts but the idea of addressing God as 'Thee' but the Mother of God as 'you' is nonsense. It is imposing a mistaken linguistic theology upon the language which it does not bear. As in the texts used by HTM and the Monastery of St John the Baptist, Essex, there should be fidelity to the norms of early modern English. As an example of what can go wrong take the 'Common Bible' based on the RSV. There, in Exodus chapters 3 and 4, we have the linguistically and theologically bizarre and illogical spectacle of God addressing Moses in the formal 'you' and Moses addressing God in the informal 'thee'. (The LXX uses 'σου' for both.)
Obviously officially in dictionaries, Thee and Thou may be informal, but today, I think they are understood as very formal, being higher language not used anymore in English.
I dot think we are imposing formality to Thee and Thou, the formality already exists in common understanding, even if it isn't so in dictionaries and not understood as such by linguists.
Honestly, I'm absolutely against trying to preserve English as it should be according to various dictionaries, we should be flexible and allow changes, especially to current words as terminology.
Also, as for the original topic, I think we need a little flexibility in liturgical texts. Churches using Byzantine Chant cannot use the same text as those using Slavic Chant. I've read different English texts for some hymns, and some of them will never fit Byzantine Chant, and those translations shouldn't be imposed on churches using Byzantine Chant.
Look at differences in translating the first stasis of the Lamentations service.
It could start:
"O my sweet Lord Jesus, my salvation, my life. How art Thou now by a grave and its darkness hid?"
"O Christ, the Life, you were laid in a tomb."
"In a tomb, they laid You, O Christ the Life."
"In a tomb, they laid Thee, O my Christ who art Life."
"In a grave, they laid Thee, O my Christ and my Life."
Some of those translations flow better with Byzantine and some with Slavic, and as such, I don't think we should be reduce to one translation.
Edited by Devin B., 29 July 2013 - 03:55 PM.