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19 Liturgical Language and Vernacular Tongues in Eastern Christianity

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Chapter Summary

In many Eastern Churches, there is tension between the language that is used in worship and the actual vernacular tongue. This issue has to do with cultural and religious identity, questions of unity and uniformity of ecclesiastical worship, and with the intelligibility of liturgical rites. In this article, firstly, I sketch the current situation in diverse Eastern Churches (Syriac, Armenian, Coptic and Ethiopian-Eritrean Christianity, Byzantine-rite Churches, and the ‘diaspora’ in the Western world). Secondly, I discuss some fundamental theological and ritual-liturgical considerations on our subject.


10.1163/9789004347083_021
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