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A Victory for the Saints

The draft proposition of the Russian Orthodox Church to move towards using a more accessible form of Church Slavonic as its liturgical language marks a victory for the Church. She has taken the way of the Saints, adopting the path recommended by St Theophan the Recluse (+ 1894) and St Tikhon the Patriarch (+ 1925), but not implemented because of the Western atheist regime established in Russia between 1917 and 1991.

The agreement to progress in this direction marks a defeat for the modernist party, the ‘Kochetkovtsy’, who wanted to use everyday street Russian in Church services. This small group, backed by marginal, modernist intellectuals in Paris, Oxford and New York, has now lost its cause. On the other hand, at the opposite extreme, obscurantists who wished to keep unknown Greek words, elsewhere translated into Slavonic, and the use of complex Middle Greek syntax, which prevented the faithful from understanding texts read and sung in Church, have also lost their cause.

The Russian Orthodox Church, with over 160 million members worldwide, has chosen the path of moderation against all extremes. She will keep the historic beauty of Church Slavonic, while making it accessible to the people. She has chosen the path of the Saints.

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