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.? --[[User:ASDamick|—Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!)]] 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. —[[User:ASDamick|—Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!)]] 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


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