Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

So that’s the Difference!

“The clergymen said there are several differences in worship style between the Eastern and Western rites. … Some worship differences involve music, they said. In the Eastern Orthodox rite, only a cappella singing is allowed, while the Western rite allows the use of an organ.” [source 2/16/08]


February 17, 2008 - Posted by | -- What is Western?, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , ,


  1. Some could say that the heyday of the Western rite in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia was back in the 1960s. One of the reasons it did not subsequently flourish was the influx of ideas which swept through the Russian Church Abroad from the Holy Transfiguration Monastery. These ideas included a rejection of things Western (which extended even to the West’s Orthodox heritage); a very strong feeling that the new calender is tantamount to heresy; a stronger notion that other Orthodox Churches have fallen away from the faith; and so on. It took a long time for these attitudes to subside. Furthermore, since HTM left ROCOR at least one of their leadership has looked carefully into the possibility of some of their people celebrating a Western rite. The Russian Orthodox Church has historically led the other local Churches in expanding the role of the Western rite within Holy Orthodoxy.

    Comment by hieromonachusaidanus | February 20, 2008 | Reply

  2. Wow.

    No, I doubt you find anything like that in a monastery.

    But hmmm – maybe that’s one of the reasons for the differences in character between the ROCOR and WRV parishes – the connection to monasticism. The ROCOR strikes me as much more integral that way – the Russians haven’t really relied so much on an emigre culture – you just don’t see this huge Russian food festival thing, do you? But instead, they retain their traditional ties w. the monastics, and so a lot of things just don’t get as easily out of whack. At least that may be so.

    I find the ROCOR parishes something of a mystery. They’re just quietly going about their way and not really doing the triumphalist thing or these mass conversions or engaged in a constant enterprise of digging up the latest new “Western” thing. The very absence of these things seems to impart a dignity to what they’re doing. It seems to be a difference of psychology and attitude.

    But I confess I know less than I’d like to about it; perhaps that’s why; they’re just not waving giant flags everywhere and beating up anyone w. a concern. At least, I certainly don’t think it’s ROCOR people doing it.

    Makes me curious why the got involved w. the WR to begin with. That’s never been clear to me. Why would they bother? Does the growth of their WR have anything to do with the shift in attitudes w. the millennium and the union w. Moscow? There are reports that there was a kind of signal to go along and let hierarchs worry about such things and then, out of the blue they start getting more WR activity. Or so it seems at first blush.

    I think a lot of those folk, if they mentioned being WR at some conference, it would be like mentioning that they’re old calendar – it’s interesting for a second, but really no big deal. On the other hand, they do get on the forums about it, and there’s a certain vehemence in such places that can get ugly when you touch a sensitive spot. Do they go around hammering down critics? I dunno. That’d be the watershed for me – the prohibition on concern, or at least persistence in concern. If they’re basically being really decent about it, then it’s an argument over just the text, and that’s simply, if the Russian Church holds true, a matter of time for their self-correcting, self-perfecting mechanism to kick in. It doesn’t work on everything, and can take a helluva long time, but lock a bunch of Russian atheists in a room, and deprive them of a few comforts, come back in a week and they’ll all have converted to the Orthodoxy of their grandparents and be looking for a priest. It’s embarrassing to those of us who would complain the whole time.

    Comment by tuD | February 19, 2008 | Reply

  3. Some parishes of the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate (AWRV) also utilise a full orchestra at divine service. I do not know whether WR parishes or monasteries of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia use musical instruments in their worship, but I don’t think any do.

    Comment by hieromonachusaidanus | February 17, 2008 | Reply

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