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Thursday, September 24, 2009

an article about Fr.Alexander Winogradsky

This is from the AV_A blog:

"This article was published in Fall 2007 in the OCMC
Magazine. As we come to the end of 5768, a year of shmittah\שמיטה release and
rest for the earth, the 150th anniversary year of the birth of Eliezer Ben
Yehudah. He revived Hebrew, a dream that came true.

The Orthodox
Christian Mission Center (OCMC) recently began supporting the
work of
Archpriest Alexander Winogradsky in Jerusalem. Fr. Alexander leads a small
community where he performs the Liturgy in Hebrew. Offering Church services in
the native language of the Israeli people has allowed Fr.Alexander to build
bridges and reach out to those who are seeking Christ in this ancient
Holy Land. Fr. James Bernstein of St.Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Brier,
Washington, interviewed Fr. Alexander about his remarkable ministry.

James/ Fr. Alexander, you are authorized to serve the Divine Liturgy and other
services in Hebrew in the Holy Land. Is the servicing of Orthodox
in Hebrew a recent development?

Av A./ Hebrew is the language of the Old
Testament or First Covenant, and is held in very high esteem because God Himself
chose to deliverHis first message in this language. This is why I call Hebrew my
“Father tongue,” and indeed the Lord’s Prayer begins as Jewish prayers often do:
“Our Father Who art in Heaven – Avinu shebashamayim\אבינו שבשמים.” It is a
paternal tongue, only written with consonants. Hebrew is also the major language
of the Mishnah or Talmud, the oral tradition that explains the First Covenant.

The Church was born from first century Jewish Semitic Christendom, and
thus the Greek Scriptures used by Orthodox Christians contain a lot of Semitic
phrases or expressions. Hebrew has always been a living tongue,though at times
limited to scholars and pious disputes. The revival of modern Hebrew as a spoken
language is due to the insightful courage of Eliezer Ben Yehudah, who, in the
nineteenth century, envisioned the ingathering of the exiled Jews, in the Eretz
Israel (Earth of Israel – cf. Matthew 2:21). He thought that they would need a
common language. Ben Yehudah was from Poland and met, in Paris, an Algerian Jew,
and they simply began to speak the Hebrew they had learned from use in the
prayers! He could have chosen Esperanto or any other language, but he chose
Hebrew, feeling it was a special time to revive and make Hebrew a living spoken

The use of traditional and Biblical Jewish phrases common to
both Judaism and Christianity enables the Christian faith to be connected with
its roots. Hebrew is ancient, yet new, in its use within the Church. The Moscow
Russian Mission in Jerusalem proposed a translation of the Liturgy in about 1845
that was blessed by the Holy Synod at that time. The version is excellent, and
this is the text I use (with slight corrections or updates) when I celebrate the
Divine Liturgy. It is used within the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Hebrew is also my “liturgical mother tongue.” As a child I learned to
write in Yiddish, which is written with Hebrew letters, and I often read the
prayers and the Psalms in Hebrew. Some find it astounding that an Eastern
Orthodox priest knows so many of the prayers and Psalms in Hebrew by heart. In
Jerusalem, both Jews and Christians read the Psalms regularly, and
constitutes a significant link between us. As a priest whose ministry is to
develop and organize Hebrew-speaking Orthodox Christian communities in Israel, I
meet with a lot of Israeli people, Jewish or Christian faithful, for whom Hebrew
is their primary language.

Over three decades, Hebrew grew into a mature
colloquial language. This has a real impact on the children who go to church. At
home, the children usually continue to speak Russian or Ukrainian with those of
the previous generation, but speak mostly Hebrew among themselves. And indeed,
this does have a real impact on the way they think, speak and pray. Our words
contain a mixture of Hebrew, Yiddish, Arabic and Greek which connect us with
thousands of years of history and diverse cultures. The use of Hebrew has
appeared as a great prophetic sign as we now speak the language of the

To read the rest please visit AV_A



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