Capitalizing "God" Is a Return to Tradition, Says Russian Orthodox Church

Originally appeared at: Global Orthodox

Russian Orthodox Church considers capitalization of the word "God" a return to a tradition long lost.

Writing the word "God" with a capital letter would be a return to a tradition lost in the Soviet times, Vakhtang Kipshidze, deputy Chairman of the Synodal Department for Relations with Society and the Media, told RIA Novosti.

Earlier the Ministry of Education published a draft decree "On Approval of the basic rules of Russian spelling” on the official Internet portal of legal information. The draft recommends to capitalize the names of the three persons of God and supreme beings that are the subject of religious veneration in monotheistic religions, including: God, Lord, Creator, Almighty, Savior, Holy Spirit, Holy Trinity, Jehovah, as well as such words as Heaven, Church, Providence when used in the spiritual sense.

The Senate of the Russian Federation supported the proposal to capitalize the words "God" and "Church." "Writing the word God with a capital letter is a return to a tradition, which was broken during the atheistic period of our state. That way the state demonstrated its disrespect for the feelings of believers," Kipshidze said.

He stressed that when adopting the spelling reform, the opinions voiced by representatives of all traditional religions in our country should be taken into account. Speaking about the spelling of such words as "Satan," "devil," "demon," and "antichrist," he suggested it would be wise to be guided by the same pre-revolutionary practice. "There must be a comprehensive study of this problem, but in my opinion, the reference point is the norm that developed in the pre-revolutionary period. Words like 'Satan' were written with a small letter. Perhaps it would be logical to use a capital letter for 'God' and a small letter for 'Satan' and 'devil,'" concluded the representative of the Russian Church.

Archpriest Maxim Kozlov, head of the Russian Orthodox Church's educational committee, explained to RIA Novosti that in pre-revolutionary Russia, the words "Satan," "Antichrist," "devil," "evil one," and "enemy of the human race" were commonly written with a lowercase letter, while "God," "Holy Trinity" and so on - with a capital letter. "A change in the rules is a change in the established norm. At Soviet times, all these words were written with a small letter. Now that norm is changing - the words 'God,' 'Trinity,' 'Providence' are spelled with a capital letter, and thank God for that," Fr. Maxim Kozlov said.

Metropolitan Amvrosy (Ermakov) of Tver and Kashin also told RIA Novosti that it is perfectly natural for a believer to capitalize the word "God" and write "satan” with a small letter. "This is the way our language has developed: to write a word with a capital letter means to show exceptional respect for the one you are writing about. If we do so referring to a person, and see it as a norm of language and an indicator of tact, then all the more so should we write about God. Accordingly, he continued, when we write about things that evoke opposite feelings - antichrist, satan - we do not use a capital letter," the Metropolitan stressed. Besides, he added, "demon," "satan," and "devil" are nominal names, "as opposed to, for example, the devil's own name when he was an angel - Dennitsa - which is capitalized.

  • Shqip
  • العربية
  • English
  • Français
  • Deutsch
  • Bahasa Indonesia
  • Italiano
  • Português
  • Русский
  • Español