The incredibly gifted Archimandrite (a senior priest) Serafim chants the 53rd Psalm (in the Eastern Orthodox reckoning, which follows the Septuagint; I believe it is Psalm 52 in the KJV, RSV, and other versions of Scripture which follow the Masoretic text) in Aramaic, with his chorus of parishioners, including an amazingly sweet-voiced young girl.
This rendition (sometimes erroneously referred to as the Lord’s Prayer) occurred during a visit of the current Pope to Georgia, where Fr. Serafim and his people have taken refuge. Some might question whether this is technically “of the West,” as it is Eastern Orthodox (Syriac / Assyrian) Christianity, and Fr. Serafim himself and many of his parishioners are Syrian.
To that objection, I have these things to say in response:
- This chant is in Aramaic, the language of Our Lord Himself, during the time of His Incarnation. That’s good enough for me.
- Middle Eastern Christians are among the most persecuted on Earth. The Middle East was the cradle of Christian civilization, until it was overthrown by the Muslims in the 7th century. Fr. Serafim and his people fled to Georgia, a European country, to escape Islamic persecution. That’s good enough for me, too.
- Syria is not our enemy. As I have commented previously, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is not a Western liberal democrat (thank God!), but he protects the rights of women and minority religions, including Christianity, in a way which is all too rare in the Middle East (and elsewhere).
If these considerations are not sufficient for you, you are of course free not to follow The Anglophilic Anglican. Go in peace, with my blessings.