Mother’s Psalms: A foreword before The Foreword.
Abbess Maria translated The Psalms over a period of years and her completed “exploration” was published in 1973 from the first abode of the Monastery of the Assumption of the Mother of God, in Filgrave. I make this point to illustrate that the previous edition of The Psalms: An Exploratory Translation predates all of the other pamphlets and booklets produced by the Monastery.
In the Monastery’s later works whenever Mother’s Psalms were used they had been adapted for worship. In reality, Mother Maria, Mother Thekla and Mother Katherine were very keen to use the Exploratory Translation of The Psalms in their services and in so doing they revised the wording and format. I have simply attempted to carry on that initiative, I have renumbered the Psalms, from the Masoretic to the Septuagint, substituted “thee and thou” for “you and yours”, changed” Jawhe” to God or Lord and presented the Psalms in a way used in the Holy Orthodox Church. I have given each Psalm its own rightful page and yet each sits neatly with its appropriate neighbours in the Kathisma.
It has taken far too long for me to be satisfied with the final version of The Psalms. I had severe doubts on many occasions that it was simply wrong to change so much of Mother’s template. And yet, I feel now that we have a completed working version. I have been encouraged firstly by Mother Thekla who thought that if I was mad enough to even want to republish the Monastery’s works, then I should have complete editorial freedom. I have been supported in this venture as ever by my matushka, Elizabeth, who has entirely agreed with Mother Thekla: that I am indeed mad!
I am very grateful for the help and support from Father Deacon Ian Thompson not only for proof reading The Psalms but also for his tactful suggestions in my choice of alternative words and formatting the script. Sister Margaret (Saint Bride’s Hermitage on the Holy Loch (ROCOR)), agreed to “read or use” as did scholarly and learned Finnish friends Irene and Katariina Usano, (professionals who have studied in English) and Mother Kristodouli (Lintula Convent). Mother Kristodouli mentioned that they were beautifully fresh and perfectly usable. Irene Usano explains that :
“even a non-native speaker could, without struggling, follow and understand the texts. The wording was beautiful, the Holy Spirit has been transmitted throughout The Psalms. I would strongly recommend that these texts be published and adopted. I did not find cause for any adverse remarks. Thank you for giving me this opportunity!”
Being Finnish allowed them to read Mother Maria’s Psalms without comparing them to older and sometimes much loved English translations.
There are many people who were influenced by Mother Maria’s writings enough to use The Psalms as they were first printed; in their own private worship. Wendy Robinson (Exeter, psychotherapist and educator who sadly died before this work was finished) used the original version everyday of her life after becoming Orthodox and gave me two suggestions: that they be reprinted in a small enough format to fit into a handbag and that they should be ring bound. These suggestions may come to fruition one day.
Finally and most importantly I would like to thank Archbishop Jean of Chariopolis who has given his blessing for this project. Coincidentally Mother Maria became Orthodox in the Cathedral of Saint Alexander Nevsky in Paris under the guidance of Father Lev Gillet in 1937.
Ardnamurchan September 2018