I realize there are many parishes here in the United States where EO churches are conducted primarily in English…However, just out of curiosity, is any one EO church in the U.S. more or less friendly to English speakers (for instance, is the “Orthodox Church in America” more English-speaking heavy than the “Greek Orthodox Church”?)
I am not Orthodox; I am just curious. It seems to me that this is a big barrier for Orthodoxy in the West still.
My cousins are Russian Orthodox of Irish, Scottish and English descent. I have visited two of their parishes for weddings. Baptisms and funerals. Although the congregation has many non Russian members. their Divine Liturgy is celebrated in Church Slavonic. They are very welcoming to all nationalities and speak English at church functions.
The OCA almost exclusively uses English - the one time I heard another language in the liturgy was on Easter, when our Deacon chanted a few of the petitions in Slavonic. Otherwise everything is English.
The Greek Orthodox churches vary - but the two I’ve gone to will switch back and forth. Sometimes they say Kyrie Eleison and some they say Lord have Mercy. Sometimes they will chant one of the responses to the Antiphon in Greek (Tes presvies tis Theotokou,. Soter, soson imas), other verses they will chant it in English (Through the prayers of the Theotokos [Virgin Mary], Savior, save us!)
At my church which is, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio we celebrate Divine Liturgy in English. Yes, there are some hymns that are in Russian for American me, they make no sense. To any Catholic reading this, please realize that the Orthodox Church is united as one. I go to a Catholic High School and this ticks me off so much!
I don’t think the language of Divine Liturgy matters st all Orthodox Churches, a translation in English is available so anyone can participate or follow along.
In the Roman Catholic Church, all the English Masses, at least locally in CA, are removing English and replacing with Latin for many parts of the Mass yet, no Catholic around age 45 yrs old and younger understand Latin and no non Catholic visiting, understands it either yet there are no English translations to what the choir is saying and there are no Latin classes held at the local Catholic parishes where someone interested in learning can attend. If it were important for English only speakers to fully understand, then the Roman Catholic Church wouldn’t be reverting back to a languages that so many generations don’t understand.
I’ve only once been to an Orthodox service where English was not sung at least half the time, and that was at a monastery. I have been to many Roman masses where there was no English at all, entirely either Latin or Spanish. The language didn’t make any difference to me, it’s never difficult to follow what was going on, and if it’s your first time in a new liturgy it’s probably better to not attempt to follow along anyway, but just absorb everything.
I was just in Chicago for my Godbrother’s wedding. If you’d like a guide through the Liturgy I could ask for him to meet you at his parish if you’re willing to go out to Wheaton. All English. His priest is very polite.
as have I. it only take a few visits to learn the words because it’s all chanted & then once you know the words, you just follow along in the English translation and learn the beauty of what it all means.