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A scathing attack on Arabic, English, and perhaps other languages (3)
  • This hymn is the shortened Watos aspasmos:
    1. [coptic]ni,eroubim ceouwst `mmok @ nem niceravim ce]wou nak[/coptic]
    Note that the two segments match musically, and if you count the vowels/syllables in each, they are basically the same. However when you sing it in Arabic (or English (in some churches) unfortunately):
    الشاروبيم يسجدون لك، والسيرافيم يمجدونك
    you will notice that there is a slight raising of the tune at the end of the aforementioned segments, and that is because the number of vowels/syllables differ. This then corrupts the meaning conveying a false sense of stressing out on how the seraphim praise the Lord.
    2. notice the very same tune for [coptic]agioc agioc agioc[/coptic] which conveys the meaning of Three Persons in One (of Co-essential energies) (ref: Bshp Raphael).
    That is completely distorted in Arabic and English (although I heard that in some place in England they sing it to the Coptic tune keeping the very same tune for the three "Holy").
    [coptic]oujai qen `P[C[/coptic]
  • [quote author=ophadece link=topic=9904.msg121294#msg121294 date=1288031828]
    This hymn is the shortened Watos aspasmos:
    1. [coptic]ni,eroubim ceouwst `mmok @ nem niceravim ce]wou nak[/coptic]
    Note that the two segments match musically, and if you count the vowels/syllables in each, they are basically the same. However when you sing it in Arabic (or English (in some churches) unfortunately):
    الشاروبيم يسجدون لك، والسيرافيم يمجدونك
    you will notice that there is a slight raising of the tune at the end of the aforementioned segments, and that is because the number of vowels/syllables differ. This then corrupts the meaning conveying a false sense of stressing out on how the seraphim praise the Lord.
    2. notice the very same tune for [coptic]agioc agioc agioc[/coptic] which conveys the meaning of Three Persons in One (of Co-essential energies) (ref: Bshp Raphael).
    That is completely distorted in Arabic and English (although I heard that in some place in England they sing it to the Coptic tune keeping the very same tune for the three "Holy").
    [coptic]oujai qen `P[C[/coptic]


    we sing all the english responses on the coptic hazzat.
  • Good but not good enough for my liking
  • I hate to say this, but I think we need music for the language of the congregation. Using the translation doesn't always work.

    I admit, i'm burdened by the need to pray in Coptic also. I don't want this language to die out either.

    I guess Ophadece is that what you are saying is that we ought to just sing in Coptic?

    Frankly speaking, it seems to me reasonable - especially with this hymn. I think the Coptic is very simple to understand, and its a short hymn. THere's no point in singing the translation of it.
  • Thanks Zoxsasi. I hope every one gets that point...
  • Ophadece,

    This topic has been discussed to death (then resurrected several hundred times before being discussed to death again-- this time, apparently in three threads simultaneously :P!).

    While I can appreciate your zeal and love for the Coptic language, we are, first and foremost, Orthodox.  Languages and tunes don't define Orthodoxy, they are a part of a rich heritage that comes secondary to the Faith. 

    We have received a Biblical command to praise with understanding.  I don't recall any Biblical command to attack those who choose to follow that order.  If you have time to study the Coptic language as a hobby and understand, great. I wish you success in your task and applaud your efforts.  But please don't place a stumbling block before those converts and non-converts who can only experience prayer in their native tongue, or make "scathing attacks." 
  • [quote author=gr link=topic=9904.msg121300#msg121300 date=1288043063]
    We have received a Biblical command to praise with understanding.  I don't recall any Biblical command to attack those who choose to follow that order.  If you have time to study the Coptic language as a hobby and understand, great.
    that biblical command is misunderstood allllll the time. how in the world are we not "praising with understanding"?! isn't the translation of the language is right there before you?

  • [quote author=minagir link=topic=9904.msg121305#msg121305 date=1288049870]
    [quote author=gr link=topic=9904.msg121300#msg121300 date=1288043063]
    We have received a Biblical command to praise with understanding.  I don't recall any Biblical command to attack those who choose to follow that order.  If you have time to study the Coptic language as a hobby and understand, great.
    that biblical command is misunderstood allllll the time. how in the world are we not "praising with understanding"?! isn't the translation of the language is right there before you?


    No, quite frankly, it's not enough to have a translation next to you to praise with understanding.  I've spoken with enough Coptic advocates who don't even know what "Ep Ooro" means (who, by the way, used the very same argument you just used).  I've been to enough churches where a Psalm that's being chanted is stopped mid-sentence, as the reader (and the congregation) has absolutely no clue that he's only mid-way through and that there is a printing error in the book.  I've seen enough readers, who, when their priest asks them if they know what they've just read have no idea. 

    If that is to be said about the readers and teachers, how are people who are unfamiliar with the Liturgy supposed to follow along at a reasonable pace and also pray with understanding?  How are they to participate actively in the Eucharist?  Should the congregational responses be limited to those three or four chanters who can keep up?  Should non-Egyptians be forced to learn a language that is not their own so that they can pray with us?

    Sorry; I disagree.  Having a printed translation is not a sufficient condition for declaring understanding.

    I'm not anti-Coptic, I'm anti-ignorance-- a condition that seems to be rampant.  Too often our culture is confused with our religion.  It would be far more beneficial for those who can understand Coptic to use their skills to translate some of the untranslated gems to languages that the rest of us can understand, and to teach us the language so that we can advance ourselves and preserve our heritage--not because it's needed to sing things "right" or to praise God in a more "fitting" way.  Someone who can't speak a word of the Coptic language is more than capable of being just as (or more) Orthodox than someone well versed in the language. 

    I believe my point has been made, and I'm going to withdraw from this discussion as it's clear (as usual), that this issue is contentious and that few will ever change their minds, and so that I don't lose my own peace. 

    keep me in your prayers.

    /gr
  • i would like to see somebody say tai shori in English, maybe even hiten, pekethronos, avichinon, omonogenees, pikhristos aftonf and other things in English.
  • Dear gr,
    Thanks for your comments. If I am as you say resurrecting this topic for the millionth time, then at least I am lucky to get you to reply to my thread so that I can learn from every body's opinion. However, you seem to be forgetting many things in the Bible when you say "Biblical command to praise with understanding".
    First of all, if you are referring to St. Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 14, then you are not entirely in agreement with what he teaches. He teaches that we can communicate with God in any way. The Holy Spirit rectifies what we don't fully understand (even if it is mere language, like Coptic, or whichever other) with murmurs that are inexpressible.
    Secondly, you keep saying (not only you apparently but many other people) we have to spread the ORTHODOX faith. How do we really spread the Orthodox faith? Isn't it done through these very hymns in Coptic. Look back about fifty or one hundred years ago - you will see that monks in monasteries (at the very least) kept singing hymns, even till very recently in Coptic ONLY, and how was the church through all of those ages. Look at us now, and at the congregation now - can we really say that we are able to give up our souls or spirits for God, or for the faith? I am afraid, without being judgmental or pharisee, I don't think we can. Is it a resultant, or a cause, that we are looking to set Coptic aside to the byline.
    Thirdly, THIS IS HOW THE COPTIC ORTHODOX FAITH IS SPREAD... yes, exactly... through these tunes, as I am pointing out above.
    [coptic]oujai qen `P[C[/coptic]
  • I think what Ophadece is trying to say, and what you have all misunderstood, is that when you change the language and keep the Coptic melody, what you'll find is that the emphasis of the words changes.

    The Coptic Melody gives meaning to the words. When you keep the melody, and change the language, you put emphasis on the wrong words, and therefore change the meaning of the hymn.

    For example - here's the Greek song: Agios Otheos.

    Look at the words:

    Agios Otheos
    AAgayos Esherois
    Agayos (high) Athanatos.. .

    The 3rd Agios is high.

    Now change the words to Arabic.. the tune will not be the same.. the emphasis on the words will be different. If the emphasis is different, the meaning is different.

    In fact if you sing Agios in either English or Arabic, it does in fact corrupt the song.

    Every prolongation, every hazzat in the Coptic music gives meaning to the hymn.

    Here's another example:

    Arepsalin:

    The recording on YouTube is quite nice.. they sing well together, but do you agree its not really the same melody? The melody is altered to fit the syllabals of the English words.

    Maybe I havent given you the perfect examples that you can relate to, but I understand his point. This is a different topic than before.

    I think the point of this thread is not to discuss whether we should be singing in Coptic or English, or Arabic, but to point out that if we sing in a language foreign to what the Coptic Melody was designed for, it will change the meaning.. you are not living the fullness of what the prayer/hymn was designed for.

    Now, I would agree that this is a problem. Its true. It is a problem! Its like eating Tiramisu after having an operation at the Dentist.. its pointless, you can't taste anything because your mouth is numb, but you're eating.

    What Ophadece is saying is that not only is the hymn being "wasted" or "not appreciated" (by not using Coptic), but at the same time, the meaning will have changed because it is the melody that gives the meaning.

    This is a fact.

    I know several cases of where people became Christian just on hearing Thok-Te-Gom and Golgotha whilst passing by the Church. They understood the meaning from the melody. THeir hearts understood it.
    Believe it or not.


  • [quote author=Zoxsasi link=topic=9904.msg121340#msg121340 date=1288104049]

    I know several cases of where people became Christian just on hearing Thok-Te-Gom and Golgotha whilst passing by the Church. They understood the meaning from the melody. THeir hearts understood it.
    Believe it or not.




    Thanks Zoxsasi - that is what no body seems to believe these days. Well, we are in the 21st century; we can't believe anything unless we debate it to death (eh... well, yes... again!!!)
    [coptic]oujai qen `P[C[/coptic]
  • [quote author=ophadece link=topic=9904.msg121341#msg121341 date=1288104358]
    [quote author=Zoxsasi link=topic=9904.msg121340#msg121340 date=1288104049]

    I know several cases of where people became Christian just on hearing Thok-Te-Gom and Golgotha whilst passing by the Church. They understood the meaning from the melody. THeir hearts understood it.
    Believe it or not.




    Thanks Zoxsasi - that is what no body seems to believe these days. Well, we are in the 21st century; we can't believe anything unless we debate it to death (eh... well, yes... again!!!)
    [coptic]oujai qen `P[C[/coptic]



    No, I appreciate your point. This is not a matter of debate.

    What Ophadece is saying - by all means its better to make your own melodies tailored for the language of the congregation RATHER than translate a Coptic Hymn and sing it with a foreign language. It doesnt work.

    The effects are quite serious. You really have altered the meaning.

    I took this hymn lesson once and the teacher really brilliantly explained how the highs and lows of the hazzat and the melody gave meaning to the words. In fact - the melody WAS the meaning.

    This is not the same as debating whether we should be singing in Coptic or English. This is pointing out a serious issue with translating a hymn from Coptic INTO English, and using the Coptic Melody with English, or Arabic words. It is best to sing in English and use a melody made for that language, with words that fit the melody of that language.

    I am a witness that at least 2 people I know personally have ended up being baptised thanks to the Coptic Melodies (in COPTIC!).
  • I am officially separating myself from the COC because of the fact it refuses to use a language that is universal so that converts can understand. I should not have to complain as much as I have. I just want converts and people who are interested to atleast understand what we are saying, I would like to understand the liturgy as to what is going on IN the liturgy and why. It is clear to me that the COC, atleast this one, has no intention of evangelizing the community, even though they ignorantly talk about it. Just an FYI, I am tired of banging my head against a wall trying to keep the converts we HAD. Nobody has batted an eye that one left for Islam and the other took her Coptic husband to some cheesy charismatic church. Out of sight, out of mind. The church has failed us. (go ahead and say the usual thing, I know its my fault and the clergy knows all, I must be over-reacting and lying.)
  • [quote author=Ioannes link=topic=9904.msg121343#msg121343 date=1288105820]
    I am officially separating myself from the COC because of the fact it refuses to use a language that is universal so that converts can understand. I should not have to complain as much as I have. I just want converts and people who are interested to atleast understand what we are saying, I would like to understand the liturgy as to what is going on IN the liturgy and why. It is clear to me that the COC, atleast this one, has no intention of evangelizing the community, even though they ignorantly talk about it. Just an FYI, I am tired of banging my head against a wall trying to keep the converts we HAD. Nobody has batted an eye that one left for Islam and the other took her Coptic husband to some cheesy charismatic church. Out of sight, out of mind. The church has failed us. (go ahead and say the usual thing, I know its my fault and the clergy knows all, I must be over-reacting and lying.)


    Seriously Ioannes, your spiritual life should be independent of whether the Church sings hymns in Coptic, French, or Swahili.
  • [quote author=Ioannes link=topic=9904.msg121343#msg121343 date=1288105820]
    I am officially separating myself from the COC because of the fact it refuses to use a language that is universal so that converts can understand. I should not have to complain as much as I have. I just want converts and people who are interested to atleast understand what we are saying, I would like to understand the liturgy as to what is going on IN the liturgy and why. It is clear to me that the COC, atleast this one, has no intention of evangelizing the community, even though they ignorantly talk about it. Just an FYI, I am tired of banging my head against a wall trying to keep the converts we HAD. Nobody has batted an eye that one left for Islam and the other took her Coptic husband to some cheesy charismatic church. Out of sight, out of mind. The church has failed us. (go ahead and say the usual thing, I know its my fault and the clergy knows all, I must be over-reacting and lying.)


    Dear Ioannes,
    I would like to make it very clear to you that if you got offended and I acted like a stumblestone to your personal, spiritual, or social life then I do apologise.
    Here is my sincere opinion: if you want to blame some people leaving the church because of meanings of hymns, and my steadfastness in sticking to them (I wish), then I can confidently and positively assure you, you are not the first one. There goes the argument that "let's convert the church hymns to some Arabic (or in this case English, or whatever language you may want to choose) Christian carols and songs... something tacky to sound better to the new generation. Of course you don't need me to tell you where this led to. You don't need me to tell you either, which is something I believe you know, that Dr. Ragheb Moftah stood up against this, and that was the point where he started his project in developing the HICS, and the hymns we have now.
    Now the last thing I want to happen is for people to leave the church for whatever reason, but if they are stubborn enough to do that, then who would stop them? If God will interfere He will by some means... do the Coptic hymns stop them practising and being true Christians? Then let's find a way for them to be. Teach them Coptic hymns, and they will love the church even more if they know what Coptic is telling them in their own language.
    Lastly, if you live in England, please go to any (and I mean it ANY) COPTIC Orthodox church (not even British) and look for the number of British, or non-Egyptians/Sudanese attending. If you find less than one in any day, please bring it up with us here...

    [coptic]oujai qen `P[C[/coptic]
  • Dear Ioannes,
    Again I hope I haven't offended you...
    Please don't forget us in your prayers...
    [coptic]oujai qen `P[C[/coptic]
  • I pray and ask for everyone’s forgiveness here as I use the following harsh words in an attempt to bring us all away from this argument.

    I fear that we have lost the meaning of these forums, but more importantly, we are decidedly forcing the Holy Spirit out of our spirits. This is not a righteous anger that we are feeling here. I judge no one here, but in observing your words and actions, I fear that we are not acting in a very Christ-like manner. This may upset some of you, as I’m sure that the theoretical thought of not being Christ-like is disturbing, but in reality, in truth, in actuality, how are we being Christ-like in our responses to one another on this topic, or on many of the other topics that are on this forum?

    Our command is to love God with all our hearts, souls, minds, strength, and to love one another as Christ Himself has loved us. Is this love that we are showing to one another? Surely, reading such words will cause some of you to feel incensed and inflamed, but let us be true to ourselves and realize that our actions and words are lacking in the love that we are supposed to be showing one another, a love that is to be expressed in such a manner that I consider the other before I even consider myself. Am I so proud that I feel that I have a right to be angered when someone suggests something to me or points out a flaw? Does my pride rise to the level of reading the very words of Christ and fooling myself into thinking that I am following them, all the while being blinded by the darkness that I have not only allowed to reside within me but which I encourage whole-heartedly to fester and grow?

    I ask that we all take a deep breath, not only a physical one, but a breath of God, the Holy Spirit, and attempt to calm ourselves. We are not gaining anything by many of these discussions, and certainly, if I am honest with myself, I will see that my reactions are not only inappropriate, but they go against the very fabric of my calling in this world. If Christ resides within you, if you allow Him to do so, if you truly not only believe what we all discuss here in terms of theoretical knowledge, but seek to practice it to the fullest… then this argument would not have started to begin with.

    Let us consider this as a chance to repent, a chance to firmly acknowledge the mistakes that we have made, that which we have said, and to struggle to correct them with Christ in our midst. Let us take this as an opportunity to realize the pride that lives and grows within us, that drives us to anger, rage and wrath, that makes our tongues to be completely unbridled, that encourages us to be disrespectful to everyone who is around us so that our own points and mindset may be understood and acknowledged.

    May God have mercy on us all.
    childoforthodoxy
  • I have removed many messages from this thread since they detract from the topic which the thread is about.

    Let us keep to the topic.

    And please let us all be charitable towards one another. There is no point insisting on being Coptic Orthodox if we are not even Christian in our love for one another.

    May the Lord have mercy on us all

    Father Peter
  • Thanks fr Peter.

    Let's at least try to learn Coptic hymns in Coptic before we dismiss it completely.


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