Service for Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth

We will soon be commemorating the New-martyr Elizabeth, martyred by the Bolsheviks along with the Romanov royal family. This service to the Grand Duchess Elizabeth was obtained from with the website of St. Elizabeth Convent in Minsk, but some editing was needed.

Changes were needed, not because of any inadequacies in the original text, but partially to help the meaning of the words come through when sung to the melodies used here at our parish. I would assume that the original Russian/Slavonic wording was created “straight into” the Church tones. Once translated into English, it would again need a little “massaging” to really help the meaning shine through.

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Zephaniah – Zechariah – same difference

In the process of preparing text to be sung in our services, I often run across questions about the meaning. I try my best to reword unclear passages so they will make sense to the hearer, who, in almost all cases, will only get one chance to hear that particular text, and that, sung by the choir, no less. It is a bit of a musical, poetic, biblical, historical puzzle.

Sometimes the unclear passage is a reference to something in the saint’s life: “thou didst offer an incense of sweet savor with thy martyr’s hand” (Barlaam, 19Nov). We understand the words, but it raises questions in our minds. Sometimes, it is an unclear combination of the saint’s life and and a particular scripture passage; the irmos portions of Matins do this fairly often.

This coming Sunday, we will be celebrating the prophet Zephaniah. Something about the kontakion hymn for him, and the quote from the prophecy included in it, caught my eye and I looked it up. I just copied the words into the search engine, and was a bit surprised to find the results listed as Zechariah…a different Z-prophet. This is a problem I have not seen before.

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