A Providential Typo From God
by David Barrett, Southbury CT
I thank God for the varied and insightful editorials and reflections that have recently appeared on this website, specifically by Mark Stokoe and Matushka Donna Farley. They validate some of the points I made in my last reflection (“The Synod of Bishops – In the Wrong Place in Egypt”). Sadly, as all the recent posts on this site have predicted, none of these warnings, pleadings, or observations have had any impact on present circumstances.
In fact, things just seem to be getting worse.
An example of this is the recently released new edition of the Divine Liturgy service book for priests. After allowing the last edition to become unavailable by being out of print, our ever-predictable Metropolitan has come up with a new version, more wieldy in size (some priests are already complaining that it does not conveniently fit into the pockets of their cassocks or riasas) and with some backwards-moving changes. The new version is replete with dozens of references/rubrical instructions on each page for prayers to be “secret” or “said secretly”. One wonders if these supra-clerical (meaning, anti-laity) clerics are even aware of the First Epistle of Peter, where the entire Body of the Church (specifically, in this context, the laity) are referred to as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people” (1 Pet 2:9). As the recently retired (should have been deposed) Bishop of Alaska, Nikolai, once told his flock in his diocese when asked why he said the liturgical prayers silently, “Those are my prayers!” This is the typical, mutated type of ecclesiology one expects from a hierarch who never finished his theological education.
Another not only sad, but very skewed, change is in the petitions of the litanies that pray for our hierarchs, specifically the Metropolitan. Previous editions of this service book read, “For the holy Orthodox patriarchs, for our Metropolitan _____ ”. Now, this has been superceded by, “… for our lord, Metropolitan _____ ”. I recall from my studies in Church History that our calendar contains martyrs who shed their blood and lost their lives for refusing to call any emperor (Roman, Byzantine, or otherwise) “lord”. And yet, here we have our so-called spiritual “leader” putting that very title for himself in the Liturgy service book.
What are also found numerous times throughout this new edition are typographical errors. It seems that the Divine Liturgy is not important enough to warrant a proofreader/editor before the new service book is printed and released. However, there is one typo that stands out. On page 17, in “The Liturgy of Preparation”, the text of the new edition reads, “By being nailed to the Cross and pierced with a spear, Thou hast poured immorality upon men.” Not “immortality” as the text calls for and previous editions have stated, but “immorality”.
On one level, this may seem to be just another typo among many. Yet, on another level, it may be a providential typo allowed by God. Just as God spoke to Elijah, not in the strong wind or the earthquake or the fire, but in the “still small voice” (1 Kg 19:12), so now, God often speaks to us in the silent, small details of daily life, if we are only quiet within and without, having eyes to see and ears to hear. This typo is a pronouncement and a summation of the “ministry” of Metropolitan Herman, who, consistently and unwaveringly throughout this crisis, has poured out immorality upon the Church in America. One does not have to look far to find examples of this. In fact, Matushka Donna Farley mentioned the latest one in her reflection, when she stated that the Metropolitan gave a clergy award to the priest who is being sued for breaching pastoral confidentiality, and she fittingly referred to this incident as “pastoral carelessness”.
(David Barrett is a MA & MDiv graduate of St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York. He has been a choir director in the OCA for thirty-two years, currently serving at Christ the Savior parish in Southbury, Connecticut)