Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

The East/West argument vs. Cyril & Methodius


Fr. David Abramstov wrote: “Unless a truly indigenous African Liturgy can be foreseen, a truly indigenous Indian and Chinese Liturgy, composed according to the one unique structure of the Liturgy (a structure imposed interiorly, having its source in dogmatic and mystical theology—in the true sense of those words—and not exteriorly by stifling the life of other Liturgies, as was the case historically speaking, where St. John Chrysostom’s Liturgy is concerned), the truly Orthodox vision of the world has not yet been seen. Uniformity, imposition, external authority are the death of Orthodoxy, for she is a precious box encrusted with a thousand different (but equally lovely) jewels, each of which reflects the light of truth in a manner particular and unique.” – On the Western Rite Edict of Metropolitan Anthony (Bashir)

Response: It sounds good, especially the appeal to these other cultures. But liturgical development has always been organic. It was in the West and the East. It was never something merely invented or reconstructed whole cloth. The liturgy in foreign lands was always the rite of the Orthodox missionaries who planted Churches there. St. Cyril and Methodius gave us the Orthodox model – we translate the liturgical books into the native language, and lead people to Christ. Never has there been a policy of questioning the rite being used, or which rite was appropriate, or suggesting that this or that rite is more appropriate to this or that culture. If Western missionaries founded missions, they used their rite; if Eastern missionaries founded missions, likewise the Eastern rite was used. That is living, breathing liturgy brought by living, breathing Orthodox. What we’re discussion now is liturgical reconstruction for setting up parallel Churches on different calendars, different fasting rules, different readings, and doing this with the argument that it’s somehow indigenous.

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January 17, 2008 - Posted by | Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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