OrthodoxWiki talk:Style Manual

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Using "Saint" with saint names

Since we are all Orthodox here, should we not always refer to Saints with the word Saint preceding their name? I think it would be proper. 11:03, 23 Dec 2004 (CST)

That can be taken care of in the body of the article. Not only would it mess with alphabetization and searching to have every article name for a saint start with "saint," but there would also be potential issues with regard to which form we use: Saint, St., St, S. or S (all are currently in use in English convention). Additionally, there are potential quibbles over which persons are considered saints or not (Augustine of Hippo, Saint Augustine of Hippo, or Blessed Augustine of Hippo). Not using "saint" for article titles also means that moving articles will be lessened should a person already with an article be declared a saint. The note can simply be made in the article body. --Rdr. Andrew
Agreed with respect to article names. However, within articles, we should probably determine a standard way of doing this. Using "Saint" or "St." for every single instance of a saint's name (for example, in an article on that saint) seems a bit over the top. Perhaps the first time a saint's name is used within an article? Also, should it be spelled out or abbreviated? I recommend spelled out, since that cuts down on the argument factor and also is more professional. —Basil
I agree that not every instance of a saint's name in an article should be prefixed with "Saint" (etc.), though I don't think that it should only be at the beginning. I've seen variation in other scholarly work, and I think it works in terms of the rhetorical style of those writers. I do agree, though, that it would get tiresome for it to be used at every instance.
I'm not sure yet what I think about limiting "saint" usage to one particular form. It depends somewhat, I think, on the tone of the OrthodoxWiki project -- are we seeking to have singularly stylistically homogeneous set of documents, or are we wanting to give the impression of something a bit more eclectic? As it is, we're likely to get spelling variants based simply on different international varieties of English. Do we enforce "center" or "centre"?
I'll have to think on it a bit more, though. I'm not entirely against standardizing to "Saint" (if we were to standardize, that would be the way I'd go), but I'm also not completely sold on it, mainly because of the implications in terms of the much more thorough set of rules which would be required by the Manual, standardizing all sorts of things which English-speaking scholars vary on in terms of style.
--Rdr. Andrew 09:16, 10 Jan 2005 (CST)
I understand the hesitance with regard to ecclectic versus standardized. I guess I'm more on the side of standardized myself. Probably my military background. I think we should agree on an American spelling of things, personally. So far, we're all Americans, so British English writers will understand that they are contributing to an American project. On the other hand, if we wanted to promote an international flavor, we could standardize on British variants. I can go both ways, but I think we probably should standardize on one or the other.
I also recognize the validity of not enforcing a "one 'saint' and one 'saint' only" standard; that, too, would be a little over the top. --Basil 11:00, 10 Jan 2005 (CST)

"Catholic" Churches

Surely in an Orthodox context RC churches should be designated "Roman Catholic" and not simply "Catholic"?

In most cases, that is the protocol being used. However, especially when referring to some of the smaller bodies within the RCC, referring to them as (e.g.) the Syrian Roman Catholic Church (rather than simply Syrian Catholic Church) could be misleading -- for one thing, most Eastern Rite (Roman) Catholics explicitly do not use Roman to describe themselves. Further, the use of Roman in those cases might mislead one to think that such churches were using the Latin Rite, which most are not. The relevant articles will certainly make explicit that such churches are subject to the Vatican. --Rdr. Andrew
It should also be noted that Middle Eastern Christians tend to regard the term "Roman" as equivalent to our use of the term "Byzantine." --Basil 11:03, 10 Jan 2005 (CST)

Excellent work Reader Andrew! Thanks, FrJohn 23:27, 2 Jan 2005 (CST)

RFC on Capitalization Style

Request some direction on capitalization. There are some in the Church who would capitalize nearly everything, resulting in sentences that look like dissertation titles: The Lord gave to The Apostles and Their Successors the Power to Absolve and Remit sin. I have always been more of the opposite tendency. So before I go uncapping sentences willy-nilly, I recommend the following be capped:

  • God and Trinity
  • Church (when referencing the Church catholic; not when used as a generic reference for a local church)
  • titles: Lord, Lady, Theotokos, Christ and titles with names, for example: Saint John, Apostle Peter, Bishop Basil, etc., but not saint, apostle, bishop, etc., as regular nouns
  • proper names: Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Jesus, James, John, etc.
  • Feast days: Pascha, Annunciation, Theophany, Transfiguration, etc. (however, within texts for a particular feast, it is not the title which is being referenced, but the event, so capitalization is unnecessary: "Your birth..." or "Thy nativity...," not "Your Birth..." or "Thy Nativity...")
  • O (as in "O Lord"; sorry, pet peeve there)

Other terms I recommend leaving uncapitalized. Though I'm open on personal pronouns referencing God, I prefer to leave them uncapitalized. Without a style guide for this, we'll have vastly inconsistent articles. One I write will have only the most necessary things capped, while the next article will cap nearly everything. This will lead, inexorably, to editorial wars between cappers and non-cappers. Perhaps one group would even get anathematized by the next council. --Basil 14:27, 9 Jan 2005 (CST)

This all makes good sense to me, honestly. Would you care to write something up and then put it somewhere I can grab it (e.g., in User talk:ASDamick) and then incorporate it into the Manual? --Rdr. Andrew
Certainly. --Basil 11:05, 10 Jan 2005 (CST)

Ah, looking at the article on Holy Scripture, I see a few items which I forgot:

  • Scripture and Tradition (Tradition should be capitalized when referring to the mainstream beliefs and practices held by MCB churches to be binding on Orthodox Christians; it is not capitalized when referring to local traditions which are not binding in character)
  • Orthodox and Christian

This may seem to be obvious, but I have actually vacillated on these last few in my own writing. Also, it is not universal custom, in my experience. --Basil 16:21, 10 Jan 2005 (CST)

Noted and added. --Rdr. Andrew 16:28, 10 Jan 2005 (CST)
Just wanted to chime in that I agree with these. I think it is important keep some of the basic ecclesiastical conventions in this regard. As a side note, I think the Church should be referred to as "she" rather than "it", but maybe that's just me. -FrJohn

I like "she," too, but I don't think this is one that needs to have standardization enforced, if only because there are so many sources already using "it." We would be trying to enforce a somewhat idiosyncratic usage. --Rdr. Andrew 06:46, 11 Jan 2005 (CST)

RFC: Greek/Russian/etc. terminology

The developing articles on vestments got me thinking -- for many technical terms, there are often cognates between the various languages of Orthodoxy (e.g., epitrachelion and epitrachil) where there's no big difference. There are a goodly number of instances where the words aren't remotely related (e.g., epigonation and palitsa or exorasson, riassa and jibbee).

I propose that for article names, we favor the Greek terminology over others. The reason for this proposition is that the formational years of our tradition essentially happened in the Greek-speaking world, and even in the non-Greek languages, there still is a certain favoring of Greek terminology, so it's already got a more universal character.


--Rdr. Andrew 19:59, 10 Jan 2005 (CST)

I think that's the right way to go -- the Greek is used even in the Slavic world. Maybe we can have refresh or jump pages if we need them for the Slavic terms. I'd also suggest a line under the title giving the terms in the various languages used for Orthodox liturgics. I guess that would be basically Slavonic and Arabic.


Word up, yo. I'll write up a bit for this one. --Rdr. Andrew 06:37, 11 Jan 2005 (CST)

Spelling conventions

Maybe we should talk about spelling conventions too, e.g. using "icons" rather than "ikons." Generally speaking, I think it would be best to go by "standard English usage". A gray area for me here is in the names of biblical figures from the Septuagint. Can you think of other examples?

Another thing is to be explicit about international characters -- i.e. Velimirovic -- how to do that with the accent? I guess I'd need to learn accent characters on my keyboard, or to cut and paste with Word or something. Shall we decree that page titles be unaccented or ... ?


A lot of those non-standard characters simply can't be in page titles for technical reasons. If people want to figure out how to put them into articles, fine, but I also don't think we should mandate it.
I agree about "standard English usage," though of course that will vary for some of us from non-American Anglophonic lands. After all, for most spelling differences, the line is generally drawn between everyone else and us. I'll write up something this morning addressing this in the Style Manual.
--Rdr. Andrew

Episcopal titles, articles and lists

Perhaps we could have clearer guidelines on how to title articles: for instance, should the article for Herman Swaiko, Metropolitan of All America and Canada, Archbishop of Washington (and New York) reflect his title of Metropolitan or that of Archbishop (cf. OCA)? It seems that the title of Metropolitan would be less variable.

Also, what are your thoughts on having some sort of template in each bishop's article like they do at Wikipedia showing the person who occupied that seat (or seats) before and after, e.g., the bottom of the article on John of Gaunt? --magda 08:47, 2 May 2005 (CDT)

The way I've been doing it thus far is to use the primary title of the bishop's see. For most bishops, this is the city where his primary cathedral is located. For others, the primary title can be more general, as with the GOA's "Archbishop of America." With Metr. Herman, his primary title is (now) "Archbishop of Washington and New York."
Regarding a template, sure, that might be interesting, though it could cause some potential problems WRT the uncanonical situation in the New World. For instance, there are currently multiple bishops "of New York." Who gets listed as the predecessor, successor, etc.? --—Dcn. Andrew talk random contribs 21:46, 2 May 2005 (CDT)


As per the discussion in User_Talk:Joe Rodgers, I'm making parts of the Style Manual modular. If anyone objects, we can always revert. ——Dcn. Andrew talk random contribs 14:08, 28 Jun 2005 (EDT)

Alphabetization of categories

I removed the info about alphabetizing categories, as it is impossible to enforce such an ordering with the introduction of categories added by templates. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 12:57, November 28, 2005 (CST)

Thanks, that's a sharp catch. Fr. John


Plese put the intwerwiki [[bg:Двери�?:Ръковод�?тво за �?тила на пи�?ане]] in the page. I can't do it myself, because the page is protected. Thanks! --Gregg 15:36, June 17, 2006 (CDT)

Done. — edited by sτévο at 17:40, June 17, 2006 (CDT)
Thank you. Gregg 17:42, June 17, 2006 (CDT)

Singular vs. plural article names

Is there a rule on the usage of plural/singular article titles? On Wikipedia, singular forms are typically used even if the subject is used in a plural context. Here we have articles such as Hours and Great Feasts that probably should be Hour and Great Feast instead. --cholmes75 15:29, January 4, 2007 (PST)

There probably should be a preference for singular forms; this seems appropriate. However, I would not want to be strict or legalistic in following a rule like that. To look at your examples, Hours would not be helpful at all (or even make much sense) to be in the singular, while Great Feasts probably could be made singular without much confusion. Let's see what some of the other sysops say, and we'll consider making an entry in the Style Manual. --Basil 19:44, January 4, 2007 (PST)

I think we need to watch the context of the title. Graet Feasts is a good example. While it would be proper to use the singular in, for example, the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord as a title, but making the title of the article of Great Feasts that discusses all of them as Great Feast seems very odd.Wsk 06:35, January 5, 2007 (PST)

I would certainly argue against using the singular when multiples are being discussed. To use the above examples: the Hours (as a service) are referred to in the plural, and in the singular when speaking about a specific (e.g. First Hour), and the article talks about multiple services which have the same structure (hence the plural); the Great Feasts, and their article, are similar. — edited by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 06:47, January 11, 2007 (PST)

Musical tones

I've noticed that by default, the preference on OrthodoxWiki seems to be towards referring to the tones by their Slavic names (e.g., Tone 8) as opposed to the Byzantine usage (Plagal of the Fourth Tone.) This seems to contradict the style guideline that the Greek terminology is to be preferred.

Having said that, I have no problem if we elect to use the Slavic forms as a standard for the names of the tones, but there probably should be a statement to that effect in the Style Manual one way or another so that we have a consistent practice. Paterakis 21:38, June 30, 2007 (PDT)

English saint names

It really drives me crazy when I come across transliterated Greek names in English language Orthodox material. Brings back memories of attending a Greek parish, where I always explicitly introduced myself as Basil, and was constantly called "Vasily" and, especially when receiving communion, "Vasilios," as if my English name was not good enough. This practice drives me nuts. Really.

With respect to saints names, I would like to recommend, as an amendment to the existing style guide, that less common names be cross-referenced to a few standard places. I recommend, first of all, the calendar published on The Protection of the Mother of God parish site. It seems to get most of these names right. Another would be to consult the Catholic Encyclopedia on New Advent. The Catholics, though we may disagree with them on several points of theology, have been Englishing Christianity for a wee bit longer than we have. (England was Catholic for centuries prior to Henry VIII, and Anglicanism retains much of the language inherited from English Catholicism.) Many less common names still have English counterparts, even if they are merely latinized spellings with anglicized pronunciations. Evangelicals won't be familiar with them, but it's fairly certain that Anglicans and Catholics probably will be, to greater and lesser degrees, depending on their education level.

I welcome other ideas on this. --Basil 01:17, April 15, 2008 (UTC)

Almost understand and empathise until I consider what the strictest Orthodox actually have to say on the matter .... Mount Athos fathers absolutely HATE the fact that we anglosaxonise our names, not opposed to something like Vasilios to Basil but more something like, you are baptised Katherina and bc you dont like it you call yourself Karin! LOL :-) Agree, it would be nice to have an adopteed consistency in the translation but I would not want to used the Catholics as our template. The Orthodox church (perhaps those best to do this as representatives would be from the OCA?) should lead the example ... we also long overdue for a Synod on various contemporary matters but until the church meets on this level and re-defines the 'rules' we have an OBLIGATION to be OBEDIENT to the Orthodox Church - even if it doesnt agree with our point of view :-) Vasiliki 01:54, April 15, 2008 (UTC)
With all due respect, this is not at all what I mean. Karin is not the cognate for Katherina, Catherine is. (And that's what we call the saint after whom the Sinai monastery is named.) Neither is Jimmy the cognate for Demetrios, Demetrius is. This is not a matter of using a different name to fit in to an alien society, but of using the name for the saint that has been in use in the culture for over a thousand years. As in, using John instead of Ioann. That's obvious, clearly more obvious than using Ignatius rather than Ignatios, but the issue is the same. --Basil 10:11, April 15, 2008 (UTC)
Hi Basil, I know exactly what you were talking about, I was just chatting in the above paragraph - hence the smiley faces :-) ... my paragraph is cut in two, the first is about the way we change our names (nothing to do with ur question) and the second was about how I AGREE WITH YOU! But was expressing that the Orthodox Church as a whole needs to take ownership of this matter and put it down ...and I think I used OCA as a good example of who can do this. :-) Vasiliki 23:05, April 15, 2008 (UTC)
While Athonite monks are going to tend to be the authorities on the spiritual life, whether they are authorities on English usage will depend a great deal on which Athonite we are talking about. I have a Vasily in my parish, who is of Russian extraction, and I call him by that form of the name, because that is the form he uses. However, when I speak of St. Basil, I use the English form of the name, because it is the English form of the name, and I am speaking in English. Frjohnwhiteford 11:14, April 15, 2008 (UTC)