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Winners of First Biennial Lambertsen Award in Liturgical Translation Announced

The Lambertsen Award Committee is delighted to announce the two winners of the first biennial Lambertsen Award in Translation. The first-place award of $1,000 went to Walker Riggs Thompson for his translation of the service dedicated to the Memory of the Holy Fathers and Brethren of the All-Russian Local Council [1917-18] who Suffered for Christ (November 5). The second-place award of $750 went to Subdeacon Gregory Levitsky for his translation of the Akathist to the Holy Hierarch Philaret of Moscow and The General Service to a Russian Hieromartyr of the 20th Century, Hierarch or Priest.

Both translations make important contributions to the corpus of English translations of Slavonic texts. Given Monk Joseph Lambertsen’s many labors under the auspices of ROCOR, it is especially appropriate that two of the submissions deal with the tragic twentieth-century events that increased the number of holy martyrs in the Russian Orthodox Church.

Walker Riggs Thompson’s translation is an impressive work of scholarship, citing Biblical prototypes for individual phrases, identifying the many individuals described in the service, and providing historical context. Mr. Thompson showed particular assiduousness in tracking down the authors of the original texts and consulting them and in including a history of the service. Thanks to his annotations, those who use the English-language service may become better acquainted with the saints venerated than those who use the unannotated original.

Subdeacon Gregory Levitsky’s skillful translation of The General Service to a Russian Hieromartyr of the 20th Century was also a labor of love: His great-great-grandfather is Holy Hieromartyr Joachim of Nizhny Novgorod, and his firstborn son is named for the saint. His translation of the Akathist to the Holy Hierarch Philaret of Moscow notes the enduring cultural relevance of the saint’s legacy, including his correspondence with the poet Alexander Pushkin. Both of Levitsky’s translations show that the émigré tradition of bringing Russian Orthodoxy to a larger audience is alive and well.

With their translations, the two winners have enriched the English-language corpus of liturgical texts coming from the Church Slavonic tradition and continued the good work established by Reader Isaac/Monk Joseph Lambertsen. Their work both continues Monk Joseph’s rich legacy of liturgical translation and honors it. We look forward to hearing both winners speak as guests of the next Lambertsen Conference on Liturgical Translation in 2022.

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