View Orthodox:Church Slavonic
Church Slavonic is a rich and vibrant part of our Orthodox heritage. This liturgical language is not simply a remnant of our Orthodox past but part of the very fabric of our communal worship of God today. All Slavic Orthodox Churches were influenced by Slavonic. Our rich hymnography and music are imbued with its rhythm and meter. While English translations and musical arrangements have made huge strides in conforming to traditional Orthodox style, rarely do they approach Slavonic’s spiritual majesty and splendor.
Although Slavonic is far from extinct in its usage, there is a natural pressure in America to use English in the Divine Services. English speaking converts and even many “cradle Orthodox “, immigrants and American-born alike, have little understanding of Church Slavonic. Having spent my youth hearing Slavonic every Sunday, it is only now in adulthood, and some twenty years away from the Church, that I finally have come to understand the Divine Services after participating in services in English. Early in my return to the Church I found myself constantly saying “oh… this is what that means” as I regularly discovered something new in the services. Like it or not, services in English are crucial to bringing American Orthodox in step with traditional Orthodoxy. However, it would be a great tragedy for us to loose touch with this fundamental part of our spiritual heritage.
In reality few of us have the time, motivation, nor perhaps the ability to assimilate a new language, particularly one as esoteric as Slavonic. Yet, some might welcome the chance to learn a prayer or two in Slavonic. The Church Slavonic E-Tutor was developed with this in mind. Its purpose is to help make Slavonic more accessible and, God willing, promote interest in preserving its usage.
The Church Slavonic E-Tutor
How E-Tutor Works
The E-Tutor takes a simple approach. Common prayers are displayed in Church Slavonic as they appear in service books with an accompanying audio track broken down into short phrases. Short phrases make it easier to repeat words and hear vocal nuances. The audio track is activated by placing the cursor on a phrase and clicking with the mouse.
The E-Tutor includes the Slavonic Alphabet with English letter equivalents as well as explanations of a few basic rules one must know in order to read it. At this stage the E-Tutor does not provide help with grammar or word definitions.
Many users will simply want to memorize the prayers rather than learn to read Slavonic. The E-Tutor will make this process much easier since the audio track can be repeated over and over until one masters the prayer. The E-Tutor does not use transliteration to assist in word pronunciation.