I have to say I've never heard the terms Holy Ghost or world without end in any U.K. parish I have attended.
I hear it all the time from recordings on AFR, as well as in some of the podcasts from parishes there. It must be Anglican influence on Orthodox parishes.
Saints did indeed translate liturgical texts and the Holy Scriptures: SS Cyril and Methodius did exactly this for the Slav peoples. This is what Elder Sophrony of Essex wrote about Church Slavonic (and what he writes can be applied to Church Greek):
"Human language is used for expressing realities at different levels: there is the worldly level of natural everyday needs; there is the linked but nevertheless distinct level of primitive human feelings and passions; there is the language of political demagogues; there is a language for science, for philosophy and for poetry. And finally, above all these, there is the language of divine revelation, of prayer, of theology and of other relations between God and men, namely liturgical language.
The distracted consciousness of our existence has its roots in metaphysics; here belong science, philosophy and above all, the knowledge of God. Words which express knowledge of this type, as well as the Names of God, issue from the metaphysical sphere of wisdom. At the same time, there words characteristically cause different reactions in the mind or in the heart, and in this sense they are ‘conditional reflexes’ and have an instantaneous automatic character.
Each language has its own task, namely to take the listener or the reader to that sphere to which that particular language belongs. Taking into account the ‘conditionally reflexive’ energy of words, we must pay particular attention to liturgical language which is meant to suggest in the minds and hearts of the faithful a sense of another, higher world. This is achieved by the use of names and concepts which belong exclusively to the divine level; and also by the use of a small number of specific forms of expression.
Providentially, the Slavs have been blessed with a sacred language which has been used for centuries for divine services, for the Holy Scriptures and for prayer. It has never been used for base everyday needs, nor even for Church literature. We are absolutely convinced of the necessity of using this language for divine services. There is absolutely no need to exchange Church Slavonic for some everyday language which would inevitably lower the spiritual level and thereby cause damage. Arguments such as that many of the modern generation, and even those who are educated and generally literate, allegedly do not understand the Old Church Slavonic are irrelevant. For such people to acquire a small vocabulary of words not used in everyday life would be a matter of a few hours. Everyone, without exception, makes huge efforts to master the complicated terminology of different scientific or technical fields, of political and social sciences and jurisprudence, of poetry and so forth. Why inflict on the Church the loss of a language which is needed to express the characteristics of the highest forms of theology or spiritual experience?
Everyone who sincerely wants to partake in the life of the Spirit will easily find opportunities to acquire the priceless treasure of the most holy Slavonic language, which in a most astounding manner corresponds to the great mysteries of the divine services. Certain features of this language help to renounce the everyday passions: ‘Let us now lay aside all earthly care . . . ‘
If we should use during the Liturgy our everyday language, then it would cause a reaction of a base kind in the souls and minds of those present, namely of our physical existence. The human word is a form of the Word of the Father of all eternity. ‘By the word of the Lord the heavens were made . . . for he spake and it was done; he commanded and it stood fast.’ (Ps.32:6 & 9). So our word, too, contains a creative force. ‘The word of our God will stand forever’ (Is.40:8); and equally our word reaches eternity if it is spoken within the confines of His will. The Holy Sacraments of the Church are accomplished by calling the Names of God, including the transformation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of our Lord.
The words of the Liturgy and prayer in general are not just human words but are given from on high. The language of the Church relates to divine existence: it must reflect the revelation of the Spirit and the means suggested by the Spirit. Through ‘hearing the words of God’ (Rom.10:17) man is inspired to have ‘a faith which conquers the world’ (1 John 5:4; cf. 1 Thess.2:13)."
This is entirely wrong.
The production of the texts of the divine services cannot be determined by popular error.
These points are answered by Elder Sophrony. If people go to church very occasionally and do not take any trouble to acquire some knowledge of Church Greek, they will not understand the divine services. The false logic of saying, ‘I don’t go to church because I don’t understand it’ is obvious. There is no ‘terrible situation’ in Europe. Certainly in Russia, and I think in Greece, there is no demand for the use of modern language. And in the case of Russia, modern Russian is incapable of conveying the Church’s theology as Church Slavonic does.
The differences mentioned here are not significant. The problem with English translations around the whole Anglosphere (not just the USA and the UK) is that there are so many of them in varying styles.
But much has already been said elsewhere in these forums about these matters.
The idea that a specific language can be "especially holy" IS Roman Catholic. Elder Sophrony is just one man. The simple and plain fact, is that Koine Greek was the common language back when it was first used in the liturgy. We need to purge our church of these heretical Western influences, and the fact that the Greeks are so heavily influenced by the heretical Roman Catholics from Italy, and that the Russians have been also so heavily influenced from the heretical Roman Catholics from Western Europe shows that these ideas of a "holy liturgical language" is absolutely a western influence, and has absolutely no place in our church.
The languages of our church has ALWAYS been the vernacular. Yet somehow, Greeks and Slavs have started to become museums of linguistic antiquity, preserving the ancient languages because they mistakenly think they are more holy than the vernacular.
The absolute, most important thing, is for the people to understand the liturgy. The primary point of most of the liturgical language is not to somehow just bring our minds on high, but was primarily to help teach the faithful, to help catechize them, and also to worship.
To be quite honest, 99% of Orthodox aren't linguists, and will not care one iota to learn "extra words" for Liturgy, just because someone thinks such antiquated language is somehow more holy when it isn't.
Look at the Gospels, look at the early Liturgies, they were in Koine, not because that was "high" Greek. In fact, it was the opposite, it was the vernacular, it was commonly spoken. If they wanted to use a higher Greek, they would have gone after Attic Greek or some other form. This is an absolute fact. That is one reason why Christianity was so despised by many in the educated sectors of Greece and Rome, because the Holy Texts, and the Liturgy was served in the lower form of Greek, rather in the higher.
It doesn't necessarily matter to me what 20th Century holy men say about this issue, because they can be wrong too, and are very inclined to be influenced by the influences of heretical Roman Catholicism. Yet if we look at not in the last 100 years, not in the last 500 years, but if we look beyond that, to the last 1000 years, last 1500 years. You will absolutely see that I am right, and it was a later innovation that language can be "holy", and it was actually a Roman Catholic influence on Orthodoxy that brought about the ridiculous idea that Koine & Church Slavonic are somehow more holy than common Greek or Russian (or Serbian, etc...).
We've had a lot of reform in our church, and a lot of outside influences. I'm not for preserving ancient practices, but I am in favor of keeping to the ancient ethos. This includes rejecting outside influences from heretical groups, such as the idea of "sacred language" coming from Roman Catholicism.
I respect Elder Sophrony, but people tend to quote and cite him like people do Fr. Seraphim over here in the United States, and those people need to realize that holy men are guides for the spiritual struggle, but not for scholarly study, not for historical study and not for things relating to church history and historical fact.
The simple fact is, that we do have a lot of influences on our church that come from Roman Catholicism, it's been 1000 years since we've been in schism with them, and during that time, both Greeks & Slavs have had heavy influence by them.
Edited by Devin B., 30 July 2013 - 06:43 PM.