Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church
Grand Junction, Colorado

Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (AD 73)
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (AD 1922)
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver (AD 1979)

METROPOLIS OF DENVER
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Worship Service Language Policy
Our worship services are in English!

Saint Nicholas Orthodox Christian parish exists to serve the spiritual needs of all people living on the western Slope of Colorado. It ministers to all who are Orthodox Christians, or who wish to know more about Orthodox Christianity.

The worship services celebrated in the Orthodox Church are ancient. They evolved simply and logically from the the Old Testament Temple and synagogue services. In their present form they were compiled (not composed) between the fourth and seventh centuries, and have been handed down to us in their original New Testament (“koine”) Greek language.

The texts we use today are therefore absolutely identical to those that were common usage in the universal, undivided Christian Church of the first two millennia. These were the services of Western Christendom, which evolved into the Roman Catholic Church and her Protestant denominations in the eleventh and fifteenth centuries, respectively.

The only change to our services from the first centuries of Christianity is that they were translated from “koine” Greek into English for use in our parishes in the twentieth century. In other parts of the world they have been translated into Romanian, Spanish, French, etc. This was in keeping with their translation into the Latin vulgate for Western Christians in the fourth century, and into Slavonic (an early Slavic language) for Russian-speaking peoples in the tenth century.

We are blessed to have an occasional opportunity
to hear some parts of the Divine Liturgy
in its original language!

To reflect this rich, ancient liturgical tradition, whenever a hymn or refrain is sung more than once in a service at Saint Nicholas parish, it may be chanted in both its original “koine,” New Testament, Greek and then in English translation. By doing this we express the exact preservation and continuity of our services in the language spoken commonly at the time of Christ throughout the Mediterranean world.

In general, the following “thumb rules” apply when we determine “which language” to use during the services:

  • All of our services will be in English.
  • We may (or may not) use the ancient, New Testament (koiné) Greek language for those verses, hymns, or prayers we repeat more than once, viz.:
    • The verse, “Through the intercessions of the Theotokos...,”
    • The verse, “Save us, O Son of God, who are...,”
    • The resurrection Apolitikion on Sundays,
    • The hymn at the Consecration, “We praise You, we bless...,”
    • The Koinonikon (the hymn before Holy Communion), “Praise the Lord...,”
    • The Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father...”
    • The hymn after Holy Communion, “We have seen the Light...”

  • Note that if we chant one or more of the above in Greek, it will always be repeated in English so there is no question of doing anything “only in Greek.”
  • We also may (or may not) intone the “Small Litany” at the beginning of the Sunday Divine Liturgy in the koiné Greek, and/or in Slavonic (Russian), and/or in Spanish.
  • The Lord’s Prayer may (or may not) be recited in as many languages as might be represented in the congregation. Usually the Our Father is recited in its Biblical (koiné) Greek original, as well as in Latin, Ukrainian, Dutch, Spanish, and English.
  • The above is exactly as the Sunday Liturgy has been celebrated for over two decades at Saint Nicholas parish; there has been no change to our “policy.”

Quite simply, Orthodox Christianity is “for all people, at all times, and in every place.” All are invited and welcomed.

Email: fr.luke@denver.goarch.org
© 2003-2016, Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church
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