Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

Timeline in the Future


tempus actum praegressus est

2038 The largest and fastest growing (for an estimated 25-30 years) group of Orthodox in the US has been using a Western Rite and refers to itself as Western Orthodox. It is essentially a revised Anglicanism with the filioque stripped out and a few technical changes. The Western Orthodox Church becomes normative for converts to Orthodoxy, and even for children of immigrants, as the older generation dies off. A process of dual-rite and then, in some-cases wholly Western rite services becomes the norm for many historic Orthodox Churches in America. This is never entirely the case, as in fact a new fascination for the perceived byzantine and ethnic content of the old rites is popular in some circles. A trend of condemning such “ethnic-fetishism” prevails.

2039 A US law is passed at the behest of powerful Church leaders, exempting from corporate audit discretionary funds of any amount which are in the direct or general control of a hierarch of any Church which can show existence pre-dating the US Constitution. Critics cry that religious groups are given special favor not available to corporations, and the Act is later modified somewhat, with interesting concessions granted to corporate entities that qualify for a new “super-corporate” status.

2040-2043 A pan-Orthodox American council is convened, out of which a single American Orthodox Church is declared. In 2042, the Metropolitain of the former Orthodox Church in America, who some say was placing too many conditions on union, is forcibly removed from office and placed in a mental institution. Critics are placed under a ban of silence, threatened with deprivation of the mysteries. A suit is filed in US Federal Court in 2043, but the Met. Mark of All America and Canada dies while under care, effectively silencing the argument. Some suggest the death was mysterious, but an official investigative commission is appointed, composed of federal and ecclesiastical representatives, and its official report finds that the Metropolitan’s deteriorating mental condition was due to a physical defect, and no foul play was found. The results of the 2043 sobor essentially eclipse concern about this and it is quickly, in most circles, forgotten.

2044 Following the death of the head of the Syrian/Monophysite Church, a council is convened with the Patriarchate of Antioch, and resulting in the union of both confessions. In this year, Athens and the EP are accused of sponsoring a campaign of arrests and evictions of monastics from the Holy Mount Athos. Kelliote monasticism is forbidden.

2047 Both Russia and Greece conduct campaigns to “clean up” religious groups that violate new laws in those states which prohibit “anti-government”, “anti-society” religious bodies that “promote a worldview of prejudice and economic non-participation”. Numerous “new martyrs” are claimed among followers, in the wake of deaths resulting from excessive force.

2048 Rome deletes the filioque from the Creed, declaring it to have been a pastoral addition for the benefit of the Church for a time, but for the same reason now a barrier to the unity and compassion of the Church. This follows on the heels of some symbolic changes have been occurring over a 40-year period, beginning with the Pope praying facing the East.

2049 The Patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Russia, and heads of the Churches of Athens, Serbia, Romania, and America, as well as numerous autocephalous churches gather with the newly styled Universal Bishop of Rome, sign a joint statement proclaiming one Universal Church that is Orthodox and Catholic, Eastern and Western, and concelebrate in the hierarchical mass of all hierarchical masses.

2050 The first intended semi-centenary provisionally-titled Roman World Religious Council is formed, and delegates from all of the “great” world religions gather with the Universal Bishop (Pope) – practically speaking, his legates – moderating a dialogue aimed at “Unity in elevating the soul of man”. All Orthodox Churches are represented, with the exception of the remaining splinter groups from several Christian, Moslem, and Jewish confessions.

2051 A legal accord is signed by most of the states of Europe, as well as Korea, Japan, and the US, requiring that any religious group wishing to retain legal or tax-exempt status (depending on the laws of each national entity) must provide delegates to the World Religious Council in Rome. In some participating states, dissenting groups are labelled religious “associations”, and property real or electronic that is held in the name of a particular religion, is ruled the property of the recognized hierarchy of that Faith.

2052 The World Religious Council in Rome takes the permanent name of simply, The Council of Faith (it sounds better in Latin), and it is agreed that this body will hold formal congress on a continual basis, serving in format as two congressional bodies, one for all religions, and one specifically for all Christian religions (with an existing conciliar tradition), and in purpose therefore as both an permanent, ongoing ecumenical counsel and counsel of Faith.

2054 Canterbury enters into communion with Rome, the Pope visits Lambeth, and a hierarchical mass is concelebrated. Uniformity of rite between Rome and Canterbury will occur over the next two years, with Rome blessing married clergy as a local expression tied to the English and American form of the liturgy.

2056 The first pan-American Christian Council is convened, expressing concern for the presumption of the Pope in 2054, but proclaiming a single (Western) rite for Christians who share communion, between Rome, Canterbury, and the American Orthodox Church. A patriarch-elect is chosen: Roman Catholic Archbishop Francis of Chicago.

2058 The first Patriarch of America Francis I is enthroned.

2063 Delegates to the first World Congress, take the example of the Council of Faith, and begin ecumenical dialogue on streamlining a world monetary and banking system. Critics accuse the Congress of forming a political superstructure, and several participating states respond with comments like “That is what we’re trying to do.”

2064 Late in the year, the newly formed Congress of Southern Africa requests military support from the World Congress and the sanction of the Council of Faith to combat religious extremists resistant to participation in both. The Council of Faith gives its blessing, but the World Congress does not provide military assistance, since it does not yet have the means to levy upon member nations any real military clout. China, however, makes a separate agreement with the CSA and with the previously given blessing of the Council of Faith begins joint efforts to eradicate resistance on both continents.

2065 A cadre of federal police forces with military support storm the compound of a group in the US calling itself, “The Order of Mark” (after the deceased Metropolitan Mark, which it considers a Saint and a Martyr). Press reports indicate that a small explosion was heard during the seventh day of seige, and all members of the sect are found dead. Internet publications of the group’s Locum Tenens refer to something called the “Seventh Peale” and this is taken to be a promise of mass murder-suicide. In the following months, a series of car-bombings throughout the Middle East cause a crackdown by the AIIC (Afghan-Iraq-Iran coalition).

2068-2074 THEMA, a pan-Christian organization of Protestant, Charismatic, and other groups forms to address the widespread absorption of members “into an increasingly catholic identity”. The group begins a comprehensive study of “traditional forms of the Faith” and produces an online encyclopedia which quickly becomes a source of electronic dialogue between its member and Christians of the American Patriarchate.

2071-2072 The World Congress and UN form a single body, the United World Congress (UWC), and this body now has access to almost universal military clout. The doctrine is described, which is accepted by the Council of Faith, that the two bodies form separate but inseparable, indispensible organs of authority in the world. The Council of Faith issues a proclamation that it is concerned with the soul, and the UWC is concerned with the body. This union is proclaimed, by the Christian congress in the Council of Faith, as the Age of the Spirit.

2074 The delegates of the THEMA gathering of 2074 issue a statement declaring the end of Protestantism, that all Christians and indeed all people of Faith are Charismatic, and lays out conditions for union with the American Patriarchate. The Patriarchate responds that some of those conditions can be met but proposes a process of unification that addresses these as pastoral needs as part of the process. By 2075, however, the majority of the THEMA members gone through officially approved classes of the AP and agree to join, essentially, en masse, abandoning some of the conditions. This becomes a process into the AP that will take place to an almost total extent over the next three years.

2076 The UWC and COF begin discussion of the formation of a tripartite structure of authority, with the UWC representing the body, the COF the soul, and the third body, to be an executive structure, the spiritual union of both. The Christian congress of the COF declares this to be in keeping with Christian teaching concerning the Kingdom of God as analogous to the Trinity, citing as their authority St. Augustine of Hippo. The other congress of the COF proposes the title of Augustine for the “executive of world government”, and that title (EWG), with the “Office, Power, and Principality of “Augustine” is taken by the United World Congress as the working structural design for the new office.

2078 The formal description of the new Augustine or Executive of World Government is finalized by the UWC, blessed by the COF, and search begins for a candidate.

—//—

This is a fictional work. It may be considered provocative, by some, ridiculous by others. Art can be devastating, or it can be revealing, or it can be both. To some, it may be simply boring and absurd. All of these reactions are part of and assumed in the work itself, in some way. Art unites subject and object in a way that nothing else does. Make of it what you will.

الماضي هو بداية المشهد
το παρελθόν είναι πρόλογος
оно што је прошло пролог јесте
cea ce a trecut este prolog
що є продовженням проглогу
прошедшее это пролог
le passé est une introduction
il passato è un prologo
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January 19, 2008 - Posted by | -- Eschatology, Western Rite -- Pan-Orthodoxy, Western Rite Weirdness | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Even though the timeline is fictional it is easy for one with a conspiritorial mind to link the True with the proposed (fictional) timeline. It does not really matter if the activities are a conspiracy or not, it does matter that we are progressing toward ideas that are neither Christian or Orthodox. When the people put their earthly vessel and ahead of their theosis then we see the progression of the timeline as stated above. I recommend Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future by Fr. Seraphim Rose. He talks about the Charismatic movement brought into the Orthodox Church.

    Comment by orthodoxmichael | January 19, 2008 | Reply


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