Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

Questions and Answers: AWRV

Q&AThis is a selection of questions and answers from “The Protomartyr” published in The Spotlight, a newsletter of the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate in New Zealand:

QUESTION: Must the sermon follow the recessional hymn on normal Sundays?
ANSWER: . Not at all. The sermon is to be delivered after the Gospel, if the “Turner Missal” is used (old Tridentine style), or after the Creed if the Anglican style Liturgy is used. There is no provision for it being delivered at the end of The Liturgy.

QUESTION: Is the use of a confessional permitted for the sacrament of Penance?
ANSWER: If you like. Some of us prefer to hear confessions at the altar rail, or in front of an icon of Christ as is done in most Orthodox churches. We feel that it is important that our people make their confessions in our parish in the same way they would if they were attending any Orthodox church. In Orthodoxy, confessions do not follow the same legalistic pattern as is followed by Roman Catholics or Anglicans.

QUESTION: would our stautues have to be replaced with icons? Would we have to use icons at all?
ANSWER; No, You may keep your statues if you like, as long as they are not of post-schism “saints” or of events depicting things not accepted by Orthodoxy. (The “Immaculate Conception, for instance.)

QUESTION: Must blessed bread be distributed following Mass in a western-rite parish?
ANSWER: No! if you don’t want to. It is a very symbolic and useful custom, however, and something which may be distributed to all present, even if thcy are not orthodox. Sacraments, including Holy Communion, may not be administered to non-orthodox. (This, of course, does not include the initiatory sacraments of Baptism and Chrismation which bring one into the Orthodox Church.)

QUESTION: How would the architectural setting of the church be affected?
ANSWER: If your church is a traditional western catholic church, it would not be affected at all. The Mass may not be said facing the people, however, so if that is your practice and your church is set up for it, you might have to make an architectural change.

QUESTION: Why did you choose the Antiochian Archdiocese rather than one of the other jurisdictlons?
ANSWER: Because it is the best jurisdiction! In addition, it is the only cannonical Orthodox jurisdiction which has a western rite and actively supports and encourages it. There are many other reasons, including the fact that Orthodox churches from the Middle East are less influenced spiritually and pietistically by national or ethnic customs since they were never the “Established Religion” in the country of their original background. Many practices which non-Orthodox believe to be of the essence in Orthodoxy, and which they find somewhat hard to take, are actually nothing more than Russian ethnic
customs which have become important to those of Russian background and appear to those outside as “part of the Faith”. Such things are not as obvious or paramount in the Orthodox from the Middle East.

QUESTION: Is it permissable for women to serve on the vestry or board of trustees in an Orthodox parish?
ANSWER: But of course! We have four women on our vestry, and there are at least two women on the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees. We hear that some jurisdictions won’t allow women to serve in that capacity, but we like women! Women cou1d never even be considered for the priesthood or other ministerial offices anywhere in Orthodoxy, however, for that would be impossible for theological reasons.

QUESTION: Are western-rite parishes expected to “easternize” later on?
ANSWER: Positively not! As a matter of fact, they are not allowed to do so. Thc western-rite parishes operate under the Western-Rite Vicariate of our Archdiocese, and as such constitute a most important missionary outreach for Orthodoxy. We would certainly not have many W-R congregations if they were expected to “easternize”.


March 4, 2008 - Posted by | -- Phyletism, Western Rite -- Tridentine Mass, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , ,


  1. Yes, but what of “Good King Wenceslas”? It’s a nice carol, that. 🙂

    Comment by tuD | March 15, 2008 | Reply

  2. There is much disagreement, even amongst historians, regarding the supposed promise sworn to Duke William by King Edward the Confessor. What is undeniable historically, is that King Edward spent his entire life in England, as king, promoting a heavy Normanisation of all aspects of church life in England. In fact, we might call King Edward the Confessor the “Apostle of the Normanisation of England.” He was keen to Normanise England liturgically, monastically, in the appoint of Norman and other French bishops to English sees, and in points of church discipline. For that reason, he was very beloved both by the pious Anglo-Saxons, and by the pious Orthodox Normans. Let’s also remember that King Edward’s entire spiritual formation occurred within the world of Norman Christianity. He was definitely saintly, like many other mediaeval Western people, but he reposed well after the Schism.

    Comment by hieromonachusaidanus | March 15, 2008 | Reply

  3. In the section on which juristiction is the best:

    “Many practices which non-Orthodox believe to be of the essence in Orthodoxy, and which they find somewhat hard to take, are actually nothing more than Russian ethnic.”

    Notice the emphasis is on the non-orthodox and their ability to take things which are pious “Russian Ethnic”. This sounds like ecuminism to me. We as Orthodox must change all things which are holy so as to make the Heterodox feel comforatable. Lets go back to when the Catechumens departed before it is too late!!!!

    Comment by cpp123 | March 13, 2008 | Reply

  4. The fact that something is a later development has no relevance to its use. Take the policy of celibate bishops, for example.

    Secondly, it does not diminish one’s life to not make statues of him or put him on the calendar, either. There are more saints off the calendar than on it, and without images than with.

    Again, your arguments stem from a theoretical approach rather than one coming from within the living Church.

    Comment by tuD | March 12, 2008 | Reply

  5. But nevertheless, Edward was reckoned by all Englishmen to be a saint. Everyone that knew him recognized his holiness. The only people who did not were the Norman conquerors who subjected the English to the tyranny of Rome. The idea of a special commission declaring someone a saint is a later development. The early church had no such procedure. It was simply a matter of popular veneration being acknowledged by the local bishops, and a proclamation proceeding from it. So the greatest evidence of Edward’s sanctity is precisely the love and veneration that the English people gave him before, during, and after his death. Just because England found herself on the wrong side of history after the Invasion does not diminish the life of one of its greatest and holiest kings.

    Comment by orthomark | March 12, 2008 | Reply

  6. That’s precisely one of the problems, however. Individual people picking and choosing who they think should be venerated and what practices they think should be all right. Local venerations abound but, in these matters, the mind of the Church is what counts, not the opinions of individuals to the contrary.

    Granted there are times when the individual has the mind of the Church and those who presume to speak on its behalf do not, but regarding canonization who of us can decide for a Church to hang up icons there and based on our own opinions, reconstructions, cultural archaeology (there aren’t any 1000 year old English running around America, at least, even if there are such things as faeries over there). There are those of us who venerate departed that we know, some as though saints, but all as asking intercessions, yet we would seek permission to make a holy portrait even, let alone an icon.

    And even when that permission is granted, under the guise of the practice of a ‘local’ church (usually, it’s anything but – but rather has more to do with international politics, internationalism, and ecumenical ecclesial affairs), even then there is reason to question it when it is part of a concerted campaign to either construct or presume to reconstruct something in the name of Holy Orthodoxy. It affects all of us and rightly, and especially when occurring on US soil, should be the subject of a pan-Orthodox decision, for many reasons already discussed.

    We might all have opinions of things we would do, not do, tweak, etc. But these are matters for the pious to teach us, the bishops to decide, and the academics… well, I can’t see what use they are in the first place. One of us may wish to restore an actual and real dismissal of catechumens, another might wish to reconstruct the way catechesis was done in Alexandria in the early centuries, another wishes the recovery of married bishops – but these restorations, reconstructions, and recoveries, need the mind and wisdom of the whole church and not the advocacy of a small, ideologically charged part of it.

    Comment by tuD | March 11, 2008 | Reply

  7. I would cite popular English veneration and recorded miracles as evidence that Edward has found favor with God. Accounts of his holiness are recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, because the English people venerated him as a saint immediately after his death. King Harold certainly did, as we have an account of Harold calling upon Edward in prayer at the shrine of the Black Cross of Waltham in 1066. I think the only reason Edward was not canonized until 1161 was the fact that England was ruled by Norman conquerors who hated the very idea of elevating an English king and national hero to the rank of saint.

    After all, the Apostle Peter “gave” England to William, right? LOL

    Comment by orthomark | March 11, 2008 | Reply

  8. I certainly agree that “William the Bastard” fully earned his name. However it is historical fact that William had a significant influence over Edward for many years. This would certainly answer the question “WHY”… but I digress.

    Politics aside, King Edward died in 1066 and was not canonized until 1161. Regardless of being a “pious Christian king and man of God”, should we not ask ourselves what proper Orthodox authority has elevated the good king to the honors of the altar?

    Comment by occidentaltourist | March 11, 2008 | Reply

  9. I would respectfully disagree with “hieromonachusaidanus” and encourage him to check his facts again. St. Edward the Confessor lived and died BEFORE the Norman Invasion and I think we can safely say that the only true account of St. Edward’s acts and intentions during his life are those related by King Harold Godwinson and the English nobles that were on the losing side of Hastings. William’s account of Edward’s conveyance of the kingdom England to him while living in Normandy is EXTREMELY SUSPECT. Why would Edward do that? Aside from fraudulence on the part of William, this makes no sense. I cannot emphasize that enough. William was a liar and a robber, through and through. So given a choice between believing his account or that of King Harold, I would definitely go with Harold. King Edward the Confessor is rightly honored as a pious Christian king and man of God, as his life would clearly indicate.

    Comment by orthomark | March 10, 2008 | Reply

  10. What I am about to say is by no means a put-down or a slight or a sneer. It should not be taken as such. But the AWRV Western rites are the most highly byzantinised of any WR thus far used in the Orthodox Church with the exception of the exceedingly byzantinised Reconstructed Gallican rite. Still, the byzantinisation is AWRV-wide instead of individually or locally generated, and once a parish is on an approved AWRV rite ER and WR may not be mixed according to its own lights. Which seems a prudent boundary to affix.

    Comment by hieromonachusaidanus | March 10, 2008 | Reply

  11. You’re right – there’s nothing at all on the horizon pushing WR parishes to be ER – quite the opposite. For one thing, if they’re needed for the bridge w. Rome, you have to have them.

    I appreciate the willy-nilly, but it seems to me a lot more cross-fertilization happened when the WR was truly organic than when it’s being created whole cloth like it is today.

    I wonder, too, if the policy about switching from WR to ER is different between the AOA and ROCOR. The AOA would seem less likely to even allow it.

    Comment by tuD | March 10, 2008 | Reply

  12. The writer that WR Antiochian parishes are “not allowed to easternize.” If that means not allowed to mingle Byzantine liturgy with Western liturgy willy-nilly, it is correct. But if “easternize” mean “go over entirely to the Byzantine rite,” be it known that that is by no means disallowed to WR parishes. A number of them have ended up Byzantine rite in the end. In some cases, the switching of a WR parish to Eastern rite was precipitated by freshly-installed clergy’s (agitation or persuasions, take your pick based on your point of view). What has not occurred is a general requirement that WR parishes eventually become Byzantine rite. People whisper about it, but I just don’t see the evidence that eventual changeover to ER is a general agenda.

    Comment by hieromonachusaidanus | March 10, 2008 | Reply

  13. Yes, this is a stage by stage process which will prepare the union with Rome. It’s my contention that this is the reason for the hysterical reaction against any criticism. The truth is the lion’s share of WRV converts of late seem to have a general ecumenism indistinguishable from that of the freemasons except in flavour. In any case, it starts like this.

    Look at it this way: if an illicit union with Rome is going to happen – a gradual Florence – then how would it look when it began occcuring. It would have begun quite some time ago. It would feature overtures from Rome which parallel those from the Orthodox. We’d need to overcome the basic barriers first – things like hagiology, mysteriology, ecclesiology (the WR folks are working on that continually), and we’d have to meet Rome half way – they’d go back to the 1950s, and we’d race ahead to them.

    It’s popular to poo poo all this, but difficult to refute it.

    Comment by tuD | March 7, 2008 | Reply

  14. My point, which I forgot to add, was that the writer displays a traditional Orthodox sensibility in excluding post-schism saints from imagery in potential WR convert parishes. That is a good thing.

    Comment by hieromonachusaidanus | March 5, 2008 | Reply

  15. It is interesting that the writer says post-schism “saints” are to be excluded from the statuary. I know of many AWRV churches which have up for veneration, or have hosted, on special occasions, images of post-schism saints such as King Charles II of England, an Anglican widely considered in those circles to be a saint of God and a fit subject for Orthodox iconography. Even some segments of ROCOR have begun venerating post-Schism Saints (such as King Edward the Confessor of England, the Apostle of Normanisation). Just 20 years ago this was unthinkable. We live in unusual times.

    Comment by hieromonachusaidanus | March 5, 2008 | Reply

  16. It isn’t clear to me… does this go out in the application packet when requested by disaffected Anglicans?

    Comment by asimplesinner | March 4, 2008 | Reply

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