Recently, Anna Kolesnikova, a translator at the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, visited with several students at Nashotah House on her role in visiting the House and the things she has come to enjoy while visiting here. Among fellow Christians, Ms. Kolesnikova has noticed the fellowship and charity given and received while at the House. The House extends their thanksgiving for her visit this autumn and winter, 2013.
by Anna Koleskiova
Working as a translator at the Russian Orthodox Church, I am getting deeper and deeper involved in that divine and marvelous area of the English language, which we call ‘ecclesiastical English’. It is a blessing, but at the same time, a tremendous challenge. Each field of knowledge is proud of its own bunch of terms, and theology is not an exception. I suppose, even some native speakers might not be able to hide a puzzled expression which appears on their faces when they bump into such words as transubstantiation, epiclesis, hypostasis and hebdomedarian.
With the blessing of Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokomask, I have come to the Nashotah House Seminary in the hope of improving my ecclesiastical English, so that English-speaking eminent theologians and zealous seminarians might cast a glance at the website of the Russian Orthodox Church and not stumble over the terms and grammatical structures misused. There are some issues that divide our Churches, and I do not want errors in English usage to be another stumbling block. I hold my profession in high esteem and see translators as those blessed peacemakerswho help people from different traditions and cultures understand each other and find common ground. And is understanding not a necessary step towards true love and respect?
I thank God for this opportunity to experience the life of Nashotah House Seminary. I am happy to share with its students unforgettable moments of joy when, while reading a book or listening to a professor, we realize that what we have learnt reveals something new about the unfathomable living God, helps us grow in faith and strikes us with awe at the great love and mercy of the Lord.
I am grateful to the faculty and students of the Seminary for embracing me as one of the members of the community. Practicing what you teach and learn here, you live according to the faith, and when your voices join together under the vaults of the chapel, you stand united in your faith, praising the Lord with one mouth and one heart for His abundant grace and love for humanity.
One may speak about differences between the East and the West; yet what I have realized here is that sometimes it is more difficult to find common ground with people from my own country than with those who speak a different language but who are my companions in faith, and for whom Christ is a lamp unto their feet and a light unto their path.
I pray to the Lord, asking Him to remind me every day of my life who I am in the first place – not a citizen, not a member of a political party, not even a member of a professional guild – but a Christian.