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Letter to Editor

Letter to the Editor: On the Greek Language in the Divine Liturgy

November 29, 2023

To the Editor:

 

Due to indisposition I stayed at home last Sunday and watched the Divine Liturgy from 10 o’clock until almost 12. The Liturgy is broadcast from the Holy Resurrection Church with presiding priest Fr. Panteleimon Papadopoulos, the former deacon of Archbishop Demetrios, and is mostly in English and the impressive thing is that now the cantors chant in English, too, because now there are also cantors who were born here in the United States.

And I will briefly recount the course of English in the Church.

When I came to America in 1955, the Archbishop was Michael and the Liturgy was held only in Greek because at that time the entire congregation was from Greece. All the priests were from Greece and just a few knew English, until Michael died and Iakovos came, who in 1970 had the Gospel readings, the Creed, and the Our Father said in English in the Liturgy. And then there was a big uproar because most people didn’t want English. Then came Spyridon, who was in favor of the Greek language even though he was born here, but Spyridon only stayed three years. Then came Demetrios during whose time English entered the Church for good because Greeks were no longer coming from Greece. Our children entered the Church for good, there are more priests born in America and so English came by itself. But Demetrios always gave his sermon in Greek and added a little in English. And after Demetrios came Archbishop Elpidophoros who found the congregation and priests American-born and their English very advanced. Elpidophoros always gives his sermon in English and also puts in a little Greek and the less Greek we speak the faster we lose our Greekness and I am terribly sorry that this is the reality, that English is a given and Greek is unlikely to return.

 

Dimitris Georgopoulos

Queens, NY

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