Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

The Mystery of Ancestry

Mormon Geneology Books“There’s something very comforting by being able to worship in the same tradition as our ancestors. I can assure you that great cloud of witnesses, that communion of Orthodox Saints in the West, St. Patrick being one of them, have been praying for those of Irish, Scottish, English, French, and German heritage, to be able to pray, and chant, and worship as they did.” – Fr. Mark Wallace, St. Elijah Antiochian Church 1/17/08

Incongruously, the priest goes on to say there is neither East nor West (after having said that heritage is a source of heavenly intercession, and rites based on ancestry (“descent”) are the object of it). Will next we devote ourselves to following a person’s geneaology as spiritual DNA to determine which rite the Saints want them to use? One almost hears a quasi-Mormonism or crypto-Judaism.


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


  1. Imagine. A heavenly lingua franca. 🙂

    Comment by tuD | February 18, 2008 | Reply

  2. Saints in heaven speak Latin, of course.

    Comment by hieromonachusaidanus | February 18, 2008 | Reply

  3. Perhaps you’re right.

    It’s really the larger scheme of thought that’s of concern, and only here that part of it seems to be a heavenly mandate based on an ambiguous ancestry and selective application of heritage, especially in a nation in which a dominant Orthodox form of worship exists. Do we really need a set of Australian or Korean Orthodox churches in the US? Is there such a mandate?

    I question this assumption that every middle american whitebread folk needs to think about where our great-great-great grandfather was born, and seek to adopt a set of rites, implements, devotions, and religious environment (or rather ask it of American Orthodoxy) to match. Besides, I question whether any generic Western Rite can ever honestly be said to represent Scottish, Irish, German, French etc. That sounds like propaganda from the 1930s – a greater Europeanism that is somehow mystically-imperially linked together by this rite that didn’t develop in the bosom of any of those cultures – not really. Propaganda.

    I think its presumptuous to assure anyone that the Saints in heaven are praying that their ethnic counterparts (what happened to “American” orthodoxy) are each getting to pray the same rite they prayed (which they certainly aren’t). That’s a heavenly mandate, and its made up. Like a word of prophesy. Rather, if anything, the Saints pray that we are Orthodox and in the Church, and in Heaven there is no distinction of Jew or Greek.

    Besides which, do each of these French, German, Irish actually speak those native languages? So, really, again, it’s just propaganda that doesn’t even make sense.

    Comment by tuD | February 17, 2008 | Reply

  4. In my humble opinion, I think we ought not criticise an Orthodox Westerner for his appealing especially to St. Patrick and other Western Saints, and to his Western heritage, nor criticise an Orthodox Russian for appealing to St. Vladimir and his Slavic heritage, nor criticise an Orthodox Greek, or Serb, or Romanian, for the same. I think serious consideration should be given to the proverbial “Pastilla Frigoris.”

    Comment by hieromonachusaidanus | February 17, 2008 | Reply

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