It might seem normal these days for church services to be conducted in the language the congregation actually speaks, but it’s a big step in Greece, where the church has stuck to the New Testament Koine of two thousand years ago. According to a Kathimerini article:
Worried that worshippers cannot understand services, Archbishop Christodoulos, head of the Church of Greece, has instructed churches in the Athens area to start conducting New Testament readings in Modern Greek later this month, a report said yesterday.
Until now, the New Testament has been read in the original Hellenistic “Koine” or common language, a version of Greek spoken from the late fourth century BC to fifth century AD. Christodoulos is anxious that the young especially do not understand this form of Greek and cannot follow services, according to the Eleftheros Typos daily.
In a major step for a Church that clings to its traditions, the archbishop received approval from the Holy Synod to start a pilot scheme in Athenian churches on September 19 which will see New Testament texts read in the original language before they are read again in Modern Greek.
Let’s hope it doesn’t cause riots.
(Thanks for the link, Dimitris!)
Incidentally, in researching this post I ran across a Wikipedia article on “Greeklish,” the online writing of Greek in Latin characters. Who knew it was so complicated?