Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

4 out of 5 Dentists say: “Tridentine”.

“This leads to a second point: the simple fact is that what is being done in WR parishes in the AOA is NOT pre-schism. It is Tridentine (16th century). Whether it is the Anglican or the Roman ordo missae, it is essentially the Tridientine rituale that is being followed. Certainly some of those practises, especially various rites surrounding Baptism and Holy Week can be traced back as far as the fourth century in terms of their origins, but that doesn’t mean that either the texts of the prayers or the ritual is the same. For example, the Stations of the Cross sprang from the same practise in Jerusalem as the Byzantine reading of the Twelve Passion Gospels during the Mattins of Holy Friday. In Rome, they kept the act of making a procession from one place (statio) to another. In Constantinople, they preserved the readings, which have varied relatively little over the centuries. (I wrote my M.Div. thesis on the Byzantine lectionary for Holy Thursday-Pascha.) There are other points in which the Roman practise reflects the ancient Jerusalem practise to which the pilgrim Egeria bore witness toward the end of the 4th century, and to which the Armenian lectionary bears some testimony at the beginning of the fifth century.

It is not possible, however, to jump from this to saying that the Tridentine ordo and rituale are ‘pre-schism.’ That is just too much of a stretch. If you want to learn about pre-schism ritual, read the Ordo Romanus Primus, which reflects the pontifical liturgy at Rome toward the end of the 7th century. Ironically, it is far more like the Byzantine Rite on the one hand, and the Novus Ordo Missae, which WR people, Anglican or Roman, are trying to escape because it is so mixed up with the theological deviations and other modernisms of the present-day Anglican and Roman communions.” – Mark Harrison 7/9/2006

That’s another interesting point: do we sanction the use of a clearly heterodox devotional practice like the stations of the cross, because it corresponds to a similar Eastern practice. Same argument could be made for the rosary. But is mere correspondence in superficial form sufficient when there is such non-correspondence in the implications of those pieties for the Faith?


January 18, 2008 - Posted by | Western Rite -- Stations of the Cross, Western Rite -- The Rosary, Western Rite -- Tridentine Mass, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. The practice of keeping up a number of processions is a unique quality and strength of pre-Reformation Western rite. In pre-Reformation WR there are processions around the church every Sunday of the year, and on a number of feasts the procession goes outside and around the church. There is daily procession at Vespers, sometimes processions at Matins, and so forth. This ancient practice does survive in the Byzantine rite, but in an attenuated form.

    Comment by hieromonachusaidanus | April 12, 2008 | Reply

  2. The excerpt does touch on an interesting point regarding the Western rite. In countless ways, there is preserved in the Western rite liturgy a whole body of customs and practices which were familiar to Orthodox Christians of the first millennium, but are no longer preserved in the Byzantine liturgy/rite. To foster Western rite in the Orthodox Church is to keep a valuable link to our Orthodox heritage, a link that otherwise would be lost. And this is even more true of the pre-Protestant-Reformation forms of the Western rite, the Sarum being just one of many examples, than it is of the post-Protestant-Reformation forms like the Tridentine rite.

    Comment by hieromonachusaidanus | April 12, 2008 | Reply

  3. The ancient Ordo Romanus Primus has much more similarity to the Sarum use, than to the Tridentine use, of the Roman rite.

    Comment by hieromonachusaidanus | April 12, 2008 | Reply

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