When rereading the Russian classic The Way of the Pilgrim, I was somewhat surprised to come across a passage which implied that a pocket copy of the Gospels intended for personal devotional reading was in Church Slavonic rather than Russian. This got me wondering what the contemporary practice of the Russian Orthodox church and other churches which use the Church Slavonic liturgy is. Specifically, which of the following are likely to be in Church Slavonic, and which are likely to be translated into a modern version of the local language?

  1. Bibles for personal reading
  2. Memorized, customary prayers like the Our Father and It Is Truly Meet
  3. Prayer books, psalters, akathists, and other things intended for private prayer but not typically memorized
  4. Saints' lives, the Philokalia, the patericon, and other educational books

(I'm not aware of any Slavic-speaking Orthodox community that uses a contemporary language for the liturgy itself, but I'd be curious if there is an exception to that.)

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