Well! We have been put in our place! Our old friend ‘anonymous’ has driven by and trolled us, saying this in a comment to our post Nicene Creed:
dear neophyte monk:
please correct. "We believe" is corporate and is the original creed, so you are teaching innovation
maybe get some education and read original in greek
it NEVER said "i believe"
you must be a convert from protestantism cause your lack of theology is blinding
Dear Anonymous: Undoubtedly you are right about our being a neophyte monk and demonstrating a complete lack of theology. You don’t know the half of it. We also have a complete lack of virtue.
However, anonymous, to check one of the collections of the Acts of the Ecumenical Councils we would have to travel some distance to a university and our dog-sled is on the kaput, so would you be so kind as to do the following? Would you go to your local university and ask for one of the collections of the Acts of the Ecumenical Synods? Explain to the theological librarian that you want the original form of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed in the original Greek, that is, the Creed after it was established in the Second Ecumenical Synod of Constantinople in 381? Could you photocopy the original Greek text of the Creed as it was established in the Second Ecumenical Council and email it to us (by means of a scan) together with the title page of the reference work? If it is possible, you could do the scan directly in the library and, if you have a laptop with you and the library provides a link to the Internet, you could email the scan directly. Of course, if you have one of the collections of the Acts of the Ecumenical Councils at home, so much the better.
When we translated the Nicene Creed (from the Greek) we used a service book published by the
Since we were not in a position to check collections of the Acts of the Ecumenical Councils directly, we looked a little on the Internet. The Greek-Orthodox Archdiocese of America provides a translation which begins “I believe”. They don’t provide the Greek but they are a Greek jurisdiction, so they must know something.
Any of our readers in a position to clarify the historical evolution of the first word of the Creed? (Not from Wikipedia, we can look there too.)
Thanks very much. Our email address is orthodox dot monk dot blog atsign gmail dot com.
And thanks for putting us down, anonymous. We needed it.
Orthodox Monk Neophyte Monk
Someone who writes under the name orrologion has left us a comment:
The Creed, as approved by Nicea I and
Not sure what difference it makes since it has such an ancient, wholly Orthodox pedigree, or why such vehemence on the part of Anonymous, but perhaps something was lost of the subtlety and thoughtfulness of his comments in translation.
Thank you very much for this comment Orrologion.
Liturgical use is clearly a very strong witness to the faith of the Church: that the norm in the Greek Church is to use in a liturgical setting the singular of the verb ‘believe’ in the Creed—where with our modern sensibility we might expect the plural—is a witness to the underlying meaning of the confession. It is a personal confession.
In liturgical studies, Russian practice is often an excellent witness to more ancient Greek practice: Russian liturgical usage is very conservative, remaining very close to the texts that were received by the Russians from the Greeks upon the Russians’ conversion (taking into account of course the later reform). Hence, Russian liturgical practice might still have the plural (we are guessing) and that might indicate that the Greek practice of using the singular is subsequent to the introduction of the Greek liturgical texts into
We suspect that anonymous belongs to a Russian jurisdiction, one that is perhaps a little rigorist—and that is why he has had such a radical response. Of course, he is welcome to post a reply to explain more fully how he sees things. Of course, if he goes overboard, we might not accept to publish it: we have some informal standards of decency and courtesy.
We would like to point out that comments posted as comments in the comments section cannot be edited by us but only accepted or rejected by us. We ordinarily accept comments unless they seem to add nothing to the matter at hand or unless they seem to be beyond our standards of decency and courtesy.
Only when we copy comments into a post so as to discuss them are we able to we edit them. In such cases we will sometimes clean up the punctuation and spelling. However, we always indicate any major changes or ellipses. In any event, our practice is to accept any comment that we are going to discuss in a post, so that the original comment is always accessible to the blog reader. Unless we are pressed for time we will even back-link to the post on which the comment was made.
In the case of anonymous’ comment we didn’t touch a thing. Anonymous seems to be a regular reader of our blog, so the question would arise—well why? If you don’t like the blog, there are literally millions of other blogs to read. You can even write your own. We always have the newspaper we love to hate, the blog we love to read that drives us nuts. But still, anonymous, don’t you have anything better to do than waste your time with a theological illiterate?
Orrologion has made another relevant comment on this post:
The only people I have seen that use the plural are Westerners. The OCA [Orthodox Church in America, follows the Russian Typikon] and GOARCH [Greek Orthodox Church in America, follows the Greek Typikon of the Patriarchate of Constantinople] parishes I belong to use only the singular, and the ROCOR [Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, follows the Russian Typikon] English-language parish at Synod HQ in NYC also only used the singular. Perhaps Old Believers [those Russian Orthodox that did not accept the reforms of Patriarch Nikon referred to above, around 1655] use the plural, which would be telling re your comments on the conservativism of Russian practice. (Fr. Georges Florovsky once quipped that Russia got everything she has from the Greeks, too bad they didn't keep any of it.) [The clarifications in square brackets are from Orthodox Monk.]
Reply: Well, given that ROCOR is pretty conservative, if ROCOR uses the singular, chances are that the use of the singular entered into the Russian Typikon in 1655, with the reforms that Patriarch Nikon introduced into Russian practice, or even earlier, but we are guessing. It would take a liturgiologist to explain. Obviously it’s not something that came into the Orthodox Church from Western Protestant practice in the last few months.
As for your remark from Florovsky, we’re a little out of our depth on this but it seems that part of Patriarch Nikon’s reforms was to remove local Russian accretions to the Russian Typikon that diverged from the practices the Russians had received from the Greeks at the time of their conversion. However, we also understand that Patriarch Nikon was also introducing Greek practices that had been introduced into the Greek Typikon after the transmission of Orthodoxy to Russia. We understand that the present day Russian Typikon is a good witness to older Greek practice that does not reflect changes that have occurred in the Greek Typikon since Patriarch Nikon’s time. The Greeks are somewhat less intimidated by their Typikon than the Russians and more at ease with reinterpretation.
Thanks for the good comments, Orrologion.