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The eucharistic liturgy of the Orthodox Church and the history of its translation into French

Article

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Abstract

This paper purports to study the history of the various translations in the French language of the Eucharistic Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostomos, the main religious service in the Orthodox Church. Roughly speaking, there are two types of translations that circulated amongst the various Orthodox communities which settled and developed in France, because this paper will approach only the Metropolitan France. On the one hand, there used to be French translations accompanying the Slavonic (and also Greek) text, which lay at the basis of the religious service in the parishes of Slavic (or Greek) tradition. As a rule, these would circulate as hand-made stitch books and their main role was to accommodate linguistically the French-speaking parishioners who could not speak the languages of the traditionally Orthodox communities whose services they attended. On the other hand, there were also translations by outstanding members of the clergy to celebrate them in mostly French-speaking parishes or in certain (also French-speaking) monastic communities. In this case, we may speak about a liturgical-ritualistic role par excellence of these translations, the text of the Holy Liturgy being translated with the explicit purpose of its use in French.

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