Languages Worthy of Praising God
I love this tenth century quote about Constantine (who changed his name to Cyril) who translated the Scriptures into Slavic languages, much to the displeasure of the authorities in Rome.
“Tell us O man, how is it that you now teach, having created letters for the Slas, which none else have foun before, neither the Apostle, nor the pope of Rome, nor Gregory the Theologian, nor Jerome, nor Augustine? We know of only three languages worthy of praising God in the Scriptures, Hebrew, Greek and Latin.”
And the Philosopher answered them: “Does not God’s rain fall upon all equally? And does not the sun sine also upon all? And do we not all breath air in the same way? Are you not ashamed to mention only three tongues, and to command all other nations and tribes to be blind and deaf? Tell me, do you render God powerless, that He is incapable of granting this? Or envious, that He does not desire this? We know of numerous peoples who possess writing and render glory unto God, each in its own language. Surely these are obvious: Armenians, Persians, Abhkazians, Iberians, Sogdians, Goths, Avars, Turks, Khazars, Arabs, Ebyptians, and many others. If you do not wish to understand this, at least recognise the judgment of the Scriptures. For David cries out, saying” ‘O sing unto the Lord, all the earth: sing unto the Lord a new song’ (Ps. 96:1). And again: ‘Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice an sing praise’ (Ps. 98:4). And likewise: ‘Let all the earth worship Thee and sing unto Thee; let it sing to Thy name, God on High’ (Ps. 66:4). And furthermore: ‘O praise the Lord all ye nations: praise Him, all ye people. Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord’ (Ps. 117:1; 150:6). And in the Gospel according to Johnit says: ‘But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the children of God (John 1:12). And again in the same Gospel: ‘Neither peray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe in Me through their word, that they all may be one; as Though, Father, art in Me and I in Theee (John 17:20, 21).”