Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

He’s not Crucified Yet!


Stations of the CrossIf you’d done a google search three years ago on Orthodoxy and the stations of the cross, you’d have found more material explaining why this post-schism Roman Catholic devotion, as part of a general distortion of the gospel, frames it too much as an obsession with Christ’s “passion” (or suffering). These days, it’s not popular to put up articles like that. Instead, you’ll get information on Orthodox adopting the devotion at ecumenical gatherings or as part of a Western Rite, which in some quarters is showing off its new Roman Catholic getup and gear and fitting in nicely as the ‘Catholicism’ of the golden age (i.e. the 1950s). You know – Catholics w/o all that Vatican II stuff, or a history of pedophiles. Or, if you will, Anglicans w/o women priests and homosexuals.

“The second thing to remember is that this is an imaginative exercise. Its purpose is not a historical examination of “what really happened” on that day in history. It’s about something far more profound. This is an opportunity to use this long standing Christian prayer to let Jesus touch my heart deeply by showing me the depth of his love for me. The context is the historical fact that he was made to carry the instrument of his death, from the place where he was condemned to die, to Calvary where he died, and that he was taken down and laid in a tomb. The religious context is that today Jesus wants to use any means available to move my heart to know his love for me. These exercises can allow me to imaginatively visualize the “meaning” of his passion and death.” – Filipino Chaplaincy, St. Joseph’s Parish, Penrith
“The central reason for avoiding exercise of the imagination in prayer is theological. God is present everywhere. Christ is present by His Holy Spirit in the depth of the being of every Christian living the reality of Baptism into the death of Christ. If we live our Baptism, sealed with the Seal of the Spirit, then the Risen Christ lives in us, by His Holy Spirit, and we live the Risen life in the Spirit. We do not need to imagine Christ as present: He is present: we need to remind ourselves of His presence.” – Orthodox Church of Estonia, Icons, 2/27/08
“The Catholic Faith is caught rather than taught. In this regard, it is vitally important to emphasise such devotions as Benediction, the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross, devotions to Our Lady and the Sacred Heart of Jesus” – Western Rite Catholic Church
… in 1870 they unanimously agreed that the Pope of Rome is infallible whenever defining faith or morals for the Church… The Orthodox were aghast. Expecting some Catholics to seek refuge in Orthodoxy, the Russian Church approved a Western Rite Mass for them (their offer had few takers). – Pocket Church History for Orthodox Christians
Let us enter the Fast with joy, O faithful. Let us not be sad. Let us cleanse our faces with the waters of dispassion, blessing and exalting Christ forever. – First Friday Matins [The Lenten Spring]
Let us begin the Fast with joy. Let us give ourselves to spiritual efforts. Let us cleanse our souls. Let us cleanse our flesh. Let us fast from passions as we fast from foods, taking pleasure in the good works of the Spirit and accomplishing them in love, that we all may be made worthy to see the passion of Christ our God and His Holy Pascha, rejoicing with spiritual joy. – Forgiveness Sunday Vespers [The Lenten Spring]

It’s an odd thing to watch, this clamour to adopt devotions not out of devotion itself, certainly not out of the heart of Orthodox feeling, but out of a desire to fit a mold. We need to start doing this, add that, and we’ll be having this on Wednesday. By the way, have you bought a rosary yet? At the moment, they’re gearing up for the Passion of Christ. One remembers a hideous film by that name, and we’re not really that far off: When you’d walk into one of the Roman Catholic churches they’d like to emulate, you were greeted with scenes of judgment, Hell, suffering, torture, and gore. And that was before the service.

While the rest of us are with Christ in the desert, battling temptation with him, sharing his fast, as expressed in our presanctified liturgies, the neo-Western Rite crowd, for that’s what they are, will already be going through something the rest of us reserve for the balance and dignity of Holy Week (i.e. Passion Week). While we wait for the sepulchre, they are already calling for the crucifixion, without even a triumphal entrance into Jerusalem. And they will not do it once, but repeatedly. For them, this is an extended time of agony.

Implicit in this mistaken obsession with the Passion is the notion that the primary work of Christ’s Incarnation is pouring out his agony and suffering as propitiation for the wrath of God – the very quasi-Calvinist and eminently Latin juridical approach to the Atonement that the Orthodox have rejected all this time as a facet of hyper-Augustinism. If the filioque were translated into a soteriology, it would look like this. In the same way, Orthodoxy has rejected the neo-Nestorian worship of body parts (e.g. the Sacred Heart). In the same way, the Orthodox have warned against the use of imagination in prayer (e.g. the Rosary). All we need now is a weeping Romanesque madonna and a teenager with a fatima-like vision, and we can scrap all this stuff about not being just the Roman Catholics’ kissing cousins.

Indeed, some Western Rite proponents cite building the Western Rite as an ecumenist bridge as their actual motivation – desiring to Give Rome a Home when they ‘unite with us’ – they fail to realize that, when that happens, the Roman Catholics do not become Orthodox, but rather we become Roman Catholics. Rather than giving them a home, the Western Rite finds it’s home in Rome. Perhaps that’s why they don’t yet have Western Rite bishops; they’ll be getting a new one, to put it mildly.

Statue from St. Augustine's Church in Denver (WRV)Then too, instead of an icon painter, trained in the ancient patterns, perhaps, as is now done, a local artist of any sensibility can be commissioned to carve the Madonna. It will not be long then before we can turn to modern composers, likewise, to do musical settings for our liturgies, for there is no difference. Besides, organ music could use the revival. Make no mistake, adopting Latin pieties is also a matter of also adopting the dominant culture, whether of the Renaissance or the post-modern. Sure, we’ll start out being 50 years behind – not the Church of Antiquity but the Church of Antiques, yesterday’s Rome, a living time capsule for the disenchanted contemporary. A museum of devotion from the most recent bygone golden age.

Let us ask: if we’ve no problem with all these heterodox pieties, not only post-schism but, if you think about it, Post-Christian, then why have a problem with heterodox mystics like St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, yea even St. Ignatius of Loyola? Why not? If you’re going to do it, do it boldly. Don’t be surprised when those books come out in “Orthodox” editions, with accompanying studies of their ‘benefit’ and ‘virtue’ – though, by then, there won’t be any need to publish Orthodox editions anymore. And if these Franciscan devotions are to be the norm, why not equip the churches with statues of Francis? Think it couldn’t happen? Don’t be too sure. In fact, why don’t we just make a list of post-schism Roman Catholic devotions, visions, mystics, saints – basically everything but doctrines (we’re saving those for later – though even then, not always) – put them in a book, and call it a manual for the new Western Rite? Seriously: why not? What, exactly is wrong with it? This is the question we put to Western Rite adherents.


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February 27, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite -- Sacred Heart, Western Rite -- Stations of the Cross, Western Rite -- The Rosary, Western Rite Pieties | , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Thought you said the clothes make the man?


It is not uncommon to hear WRV priests citing as an “authority” the Ukase of Met. Sergius in 1936. It’s interesting that protocol 10 of that Ukase states that “At their ordination they are to be vested in dress of Western form.” Albeit, the 1958 edict of Met. Anthony said nothing about it either way, but if you’re going to cite something as an authority, do you get to pick and choose? Not that we have any issues with the wonderful Eastern vestments used in the recent round of WRV ordinations, but don’t they? I mean, you know, how can they be at home in… you know… another culture’s clothes?

Anyway, we think it’s time you had a real dose of Western culture. Why not? The clothes are cooler, the music’s more romantic, and the history is more accurate. From the days when might made rite:

January 28, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Weirdness | , , , , | 1 Comment

The WR in 10-20 years.


Many of you liked the timeline. Think about this: It won’t be long now, maybe 10-20 years, that you’ll hear questions like: “You used to be Episcopalian, and you’re from Omaha, so why aren’t you Western Rite?” If you try to ask what your former religion and your ethnicity have to do with it, you’ll hear that this is the way Westerners are supposed to worship. In other words, we’ll be reaching a time when if you’re born in the West, you’ll be thought odd and morbidly fascinated with esoterica if you prefer the fullness of churches that sing the Eastern liturgies to the crypto-Anglicanism of the WRV.

Likewise: you’ll hear, as someone gasps at icons whose saints have vaguely “Eastern” names: “What are those Saints doing there? Isn’t this a Western Rite parish? Why can’t we have all Western saints?” Doubt it? It’s already being discussed on the web, in exactly those words. And it amounts to asking what to do about the “Eastern question” or the Eastern “problem”. It only takes one academic who needs an original term paper to use the word “problem”. Feels like the 1930s.

You’ll hear things like, “Well, we have St. Nicholas, and he’s Eastern, but I grew up with Christmas, and we do it in a Romanesque style, so it’s ok. But we limit that; we don’t want a bunch of Eastern icons everywhere.” Yes, Eastern will just about become a swear word. You’ll quote a saint, and someone will say, “Well, of course that’s an Eastern saint, whereas I’m Western Orthodox.”

What we’re making is not the fullness of an Orthodoxy re-imagining that glorious cross-fertilization of ancient times, when Eastern fathers like St. Photius venerated with great reverence the pious St. Augustine in the West, asking “Who dares speak against him?”, and yet those Eastern Fathers like St. Photius, St. Maximus, and St. Mark of Ephesus also saved the Church, when St. Augustine’s speculations would have made us all into worshippers of imaginary concepts, as indeed the West became when it went whoring after the imaginary god and into schism.

But in our heyday, East and West were not the Americanists we see finding justification now, in an ecceliastical parliament of xenophobes, busy ethnically-cleansing the Church of all that smacks of the East, rather than letting a gradual and actual conversion occur. Much of what is being done is not creating a home in Orthodoxy for WR converts, so much as creating a separate religious confession. Not so much Western Orthodox, but something actually neither Western nor Orthodox. Hegel gave us this. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis. The WR, in many ways, is the religion of synthesis, rather than the fullness of cross-fertilization of the whole Church.

It’s becoming a camp, not of converts but of concepts. It should be called the rite of St. Augustine, except it would be so irreverent to that saintly man, and Rite of Augustinists just isn’t catchy. Maybe the Rite of Pat Buchanan’s Immigration Policies. Didn’t he want to build a wall too? Yes, it won’t take long before you’ll hear the ultimate expression of liturgical correctness: “He’s not a real Western Orthodox. He’s Western on the outside, but Byzantine in the middle.” Americanism as a liturgical expression that becomes an ecclesiological politics. This is going to be just great.

January 25, 2008 Posted by | -- Phyletism, -- What is Western?, Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

St. Tikhon never heard of it!


Just as attaching the name of St. Gregory to the WRV “Gregorian Rite” is dubious, so is attaching the name of St. Tikhon to any such rite. Fr. Michael also makes the point, as did Roman Catholic author Klaus Gamber, that Orthodoxy has never been about mere adequacy, merely not containing error; Orthodoxy is about the fullness of the fullness of the Faith, and never less.

Father Michael Johnson, pastor, St Nicholas Church, Tacoma, WA:

Second, the “Liturgy of St. Tikhon”: However inappropriate the “Liturgy of St. Gregory” may seem for Orthodox worship, it can’t hold a candle in this regard to the other “western rite” liturgy now in use, which has somehow gotten itself named after a 20th century Russian saint. St. Tikhon served as the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in North America before being elected Patriarch of Moscow in 1917. During his tenure in America, he apparently received a petition for the use of a “western rite” from a group of American Anglo-Catholic Episcopalians. St. Tikhon then forwarded their request to the Holy Synod in Moscow, which examined this proposal carefully and granted the possibility of a “western rite”, provided far reaching changes in the Book of Commo n Prayer were made. The Holy Synod left the final decision to St. Tikhon, who – for whatever reason – never formally authorized the establishment of a “western rite” during his pastorate in America. It therefore seems farfetched in the extreme to name th is liturgy after St. Tikhon. He is not the “father” of this “western rite” in even remotely the same way that St. John Chrysostom or St. Basil the Great are the fathers of the Liturgies which bear their names. Furthermore, even if St. Tikhon had authoriz ed the use of a “western rite”, every administrative decision made by a saint should not be considered infallible.

What, then, is the “Liturgy of St. Tikhon”? First of all, it is not the Eucharistic rite of the Book of Common Prayer as ever approved by the Episcopal Church. Rather, it is based on a strange amalgam commonly known as the “Anglican Missal.” This missal was developed by Anglo-Catholics to make up for deficiencies they perceived in the Book of Common Prayer . The Anglican Missal contains the anaphora and other prayers from the BCP, folded together with parts of the anaphora and other prayers from the Tridentine Mass translated from Latin into King James English. As now used in the “western rite” of the Antio chian Archdiocese, it contains still further additions and corrections made by the Orthodox. A more confusing liturgical hodgepodge could hardly be imagined! The “Liturgy of St. Tikhon” is the Reformation rite of Thomas Cranmer, with additions from the C ounter Reformation rite of the Council of Trent, with still further superficial tinkering in order to make it “more Orthodox.

In defense of this rite, some Orthodox are saying that we should accept it because it contains “nothing heretical.” Unfortunately, that itself is an Anglican argument. An Orthodox rite must do far more than avoid heresy – it must clearly proclaim and tea ch the Orthodox faith. In Communist Russia as in Ottoman Greece, the Orthodox Liturgy alone maintained the faith through long years of persecution. Bearing in mind that Cranmer was probably a Zwinglian who designed his rite to express “the real absence” of Christ in the Eucharist, it is easy to see that the “Liturgy of St. Tikhon” could never meet the basic criterion of being an Orthodox Liturgy.”
The Priest. A Newsletter for the Clergy of the Diocese of San Francisco. Issue No. 5, May 1996

January 17, 2008 Posted by | -- Anglican, Western Rite -- Tridentine Mass, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Seminal Material | , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The East/West argument vs. Cyril & Methodius


Fr. David Abramstov wrote: “Unless a truly indigenous African Liturgy can be foreseen, a truly indigenous Indian and Chinese Liturgy, composed according to the one unique structure of the Liturgy (a structure imposed interiorly, having its source in dogmatic and mystical theology—in the true sense of those words—and not exteriorly by stifling the life of other Liturgies, as was the case historically speaking, where St. John Chrysostom’s Liturgy is concerned), the truly Orthodox vision of the world has not yet been seen. Uniformity, imposition, external authority are the death of Orthodoxy, for she is a precious box encrusted with a thousand different (but equally lovely) jewels, each of which reflects the light of truth in a manner particular and unique.” – On the Western Rite Edict of Metropolitan Anthony (Bashir)

Response: It sounds good, especially the appeal to these other cultures. But liturgical development has always been organic. It was in the West and the East. It was never something merely invented or reconstructed whole cloth. The liturgy in foreign lands was always the rite of the Orthodox missionaries who planted Churches there. St. Cyril and Methodius gave us the Orthodox model – we translate the liturgical books into the native language, and lead people to Christ. Never has there been a policy of questioning the rite being used, or which rite was appropriate, or suggesting that this or that rite is more appropriate to this or that culture. If Western missionaries founded missions, they used their rite; if Eastern missionaries founded missions, likewise the Eastern rite was used. That is living, breathing liturgy brought by living, breathing Orthodox. What we’re discussion now is liturgical reconstruction for setting up parallel Churches on different calendars, different fasting rules, different readings, and doing this with the argument that it’s somehow indigenous.

January 17, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Questions on the Edict


In 1958, Met. Antony issued his Edict of August, setting forth the general and provisional basis for establishing Western rite parishes within the Antiochian Archdiocese. Among the Edict’s stipulations are the following (with commentary):

1. All converts to the Church must accept the full Orthodox doctrine of Faith.

This is probably the most serious areas of concern. It is easy to say that one accepts the doctrine of the Faith in toto, but can one accept it truly with insufficient understanding of and education in it? Does this mean just the creed? The speed at which many converts are being funneled into the WR, and the inadequacy of the catechetical instruction and requirements, is a reasonable point of concern. Is it really acceptance of the *full* Orthodox doctrine of Faith, if that faith is not adequately understood.

2. Parishes and larger units received into the Archdiocese retain the use of all Western rites, devotions, and customs which are not contrary to the Orthodox Faith and are logically derived from a Western usage antedating the Schism of 1054.

This is probably the second most serious area of concern. One the one hand, how can churches that barely observe the pieties and pious customs of the East ensure that Western Rite missions they’re setting up are observing the genuine and full expressions of Orthodox piety. In parishes where there is barely any keeping of the fasts, where liturgy and the liturgical prayers are spectator behaviors, where the non-Sunday services are barely attended, Confession barely a regular practice, and nearly all semblance of the asceticism that shapes *all* Orthodox worship is missing, from where is this surety to come? And in the absence of such things, will we not see the filling of the void with precisely such heterodox devotions as the Roman Catholic rosary and the Stations of the Cross. There is a very real dearth, in theatre-like Orthodox Churches, of anything approaching a full expression of Orthodox worship, devotions, and customs.

3. All individual converts must be integrated into parochial life; there can be no individual converts to the Western rite unless to an established parish.

Again, another area of concern. In parishes that are “planting” Western Rite Missions, converts are easily run through a quick catechesis and given a choice of “going East” or “going West”, and then it’s a rush to get the storefront built out, and the clergy chrismated and ordained, and everyone into their building. Just as children are stunted if they do not spend adequate time building relationships with adults, one worries about creating parallel communities that aren’t truly integrated with each other, and so have a false basis for integration in their separate communities.

7. Western rite parishes and clergy are subject to the canons of the Orthodox Church and the laws of the Archdiocese.

To what degree are they or their parent churches really familiar with the canons to treat them with due reverance and observe them faithfully? It is of some interest whether the canons are truly being respected in general, but what about their observance in the conduct of a Western Rite in the first place? Will the canons be observed with regard to fasting? Are they known? etc.

The goal in asking these things is to convey substantial and justifiable concerns with what is and is not being done in the name of setting up Western Rite missions and parishes, aside from the cheerleading in various media.

January 17, 2008 Posted by | -- Catechesis & Conversion, Western Rite -- Stations of the Cross, Western Rite -- The Rosary, Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Historical Revisionism, Liturgics, and the BCP


“The vision of the Western Rite as an essential part of the Orthodox Mission in America belonged to Archbishop Tikhon of the American Archdiocese under the Moscow Patriarchate. About ninety years ago he examined the existing Anglican Book of Common Prayer and sent it to the Holy Synod of Moscow. That Liturgy, derived from the ancient use of the Orthodox West, and first expressed in English in the edition of 1549 by authority of King Edward the Sixth of England, was corrected and approved by the Holy Synod for Orthodox Church use.” – WesternOrthodox.com (1/16/2008)

Question: Why all this quoting of pedigree, pre-schism pedigree, post-schism pedigree, when it’s basically a revised Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer? Even the Anglicans, with their notions of doctrinal development collaborating with liturgical development, didn’t bother so much as to claim this flawless a pedigree for their innovations. Is this rewriting history?

January 17, 2008 Posted by | -- Anglican, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

General Absolution


Someone sent in a comment indicating that large numbers of cradle Orthodox in a particular parish have the notion that there is supposed to be a General Absolution on the way to the chalice, so that they don’t have to go to Holy Confession. Apparently, this used to be a practice in their large parish, and they resent now having to change their habits by going to receive the Mystery of Penance, which they are advised they should pursue 3-times per year, and of occasionally being asked not to approach the chalice, since some of them are unwilling to do this. For the sake of avoiding scandalizing anyone, the parish will not be mentioned.

Brethren, there is no such mystery of General Absolution in Orthodoxy, let alone a “drive by” format that occurs on the way to the chalice. The old habit is heterodox and the new one Orthodox, though three times a year will be viewed as not a little bit scant by those of us who consider “a recent confession” to be far more frequent, not to mention attendance at Holy Vespers in the first place, where possible, and a keeping of the fasts of the Church. The reason for concern in this case is that the parish is also generating a Western Rite, and our desire is that no such heterodox notions follow the newly Chrismated involved.

January 17, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Pieties | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AA WR & Roman Catholic pieties (e.g. Rosary)


Initiation into the Piety of the RosaryFor those concerned about the replacement of genuinely Orthodox pieties with Roman Catholic mariology and pieties, take for example the [Instructions for Praying The Rosary] at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church, complete with “history” and “how to”.

Likewise an article from The Walsingham Way (Vol II, Num. 1, Fall 99) instructs one that the Rosary is an Orthodox devotion. It makes reference, however, to perfectly normal venerations of the Theotokos, as presumably examples of praying the Rosary. This is the fallacy of equivocation. If one, for instance, compares the 15 prayers of the Elder Zosima to the 15 prayers of the Rosary, the Roman Catholic obesession with the suffering and passion of Christ (and the suggested hetereodox Soteriology if not Christology) becomes as evident as it is in contemporary Roman Catholic “iconography” and in the stations of the cross. Where the Roman Catholic Rosary concentrates on the agony and gore, the Orthodox devotion concentrates on the miraculous triumph of Christ, and on the Theotokos as such. Compare them, using the above two links, if you will.

The Rosary is not Orthodox Soteriology or Piety or DevotionFr. Seraphim Rose: Again drawing from the Holy Fathers, Fr. Seraphim counseled his spiritual children not to trust in or get carried away by their imagination, especially in prayer. Fr. Alexey Young recalls how, when he was still a Roman Catholic preparing to become Orthodox, he was given an important lesson by Fr. Seraphim: “I asked Fr. Seraphim about meditation, which my wife and I, still under the influence of our Roman Catholic background, had made part of our regular routine of morning prayer. We did not yet realize that the Orthodox understanding of meditation is quite different from the Western Christian view. In conversation, Fr. Seraphim explained that the use of imagination in Western spiritual systems of meditation—viz., while saying the Rosary, reciting the Stations of the Cross, or doing the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, etc.—was not compatible with Orthodox spirituality and was forbidden because imagination came into use only after the fall of Adam and Eve; it is one of the lowest functions of the soul and the favorite playground of the devil, who can and does use human imagination in order to deceive and mislead even well-meaning people.” – Fr. Alexey Young, Letters from Fr. Seraphim, pp. 12–13.

Continue reading

January 17, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite -- Sacred Heart, Western Rite -- Stations of the Cross, Western Rite -- The Rosary, Western Rite Pieties | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

AA WR Sources of Liturgical Instructions


In the case of St. Augustine’s Church, where the Gregorian Rite (the oldest Liturgy of the Orthodox Church) is utilised, the authoritive source for our ceremonial is the exhaustive work of eminent ceremonialists Adrian & Fortecue and the Revd J.B. O’Connell, S.J. in their monumental work, The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described ninth and previous editions). Those parishes which use the rite of St. Tikhon receive ceremonial direction from Ritual Notes (eleventh and previous editions) which is and resource based almost entirely on the seminal work of Fortescue and O’Connell. In some cases, more recent editions of each book may also prove to be useful, but the older editions are always better sources for specific ceremonial directions.

The clergy are required and morally bound to follow these authorities in their parishes ceremonial. The are not authorised to “make it up as they go along.” Pastors may be forced to adapt and modify the directions of ceremonial authorities, because of local circumstances and church design, but the authoritative guides are always followed as closely as possible. Certainly no modification of ceremonial in a modern and contemporary direction is ever to undertaken. Orthodox Christians are “maximalists” not “minimalists” (as the modernists are called). — St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church 1/16/2006

January 17, 2008 Posted by | -- Anglican, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AA WR uses Roman Catholic Calendar


The Sanctorale calendar of the western rite is the Roman Martyrology, with any post-schismatic heretical “saints” and feasts expunged. The western rite uses the common Orthodox date for Holy Easter, and the Temporale Calendar is based on that date. The Western Rite Vicariate publishes and annual ORDO delineating the feasts, fasting rules, and regulations regarding the Calendar and similar related matters. – St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church 1/16/2008

Note: The Orthodox West for the entire span of their Orthodoxy used the Old (Julian) Calendar rather than the new calendar innovation, so it would not be accurate to deem this a return to the calendar of the Orthodox in the West. Likewise, the fasting rules, time frames for some feasts/fasts, etc. would be quite different.

January 17, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Pieties, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AA WR uses 1950s Roman Catholic Fasting Rules


The fasting rules, vestments of the clergy, clerical attire and other ceremonial details of the western rite are those of the dissident west in 1950. This date, it is to be noted, considerably precedes the invocations of the so-called second Vatican “council.” In fact, the authorized western rite forms antedate even the earliest wave of changes instituted in the West in the mid-and late 1950s. – St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church 1/16/2008

Note: 1950, besides being before Vatican II, and signifying a nostalgic cultural era in the hearts of many Roman Catholics, is the year the Pope Pius XII declared that the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven was the “infallible” dogma of the Roman Catholic Church.

Note also: The fasting rules of the pre-schism (i.e. Orthodox) West were notably more severe/devout than those used by Roman Catholics in 1950. Arguably, though, they are also moreso than those practiced today by many Orthodox members of large Antiochian churches.

January 17, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Pieties, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

AA WR contains few modifications


The theological modifications to the Western Rite Orthodox text are subtle and hardly noticeable to even the most regular worshipper. Two of these alterations include the deletion of the Filioque [and the Son] clause in the Nicene Creed and the addition of a stronger epiclesis (invoking of the Holy Ghost) in the Canon prayer said by the priest at the consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. – St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church 1/16/2008

In addition to these two changes, the Western Rite includes other minor changes that Roman Catholics familiar with the pre-Vatican II rite and most Anglo-Catholics (High Church Episcopalians) would find to be either familiar or certainly acceptable. The Orthodox Western Rite allows western Christians to retain familiar, traditional forms of worship. Thus insuring themselves of remaining within an ecclesiastical communion, under Apostolic bishops who attempt to teach and practice the ancient Gospel of Jesus Christ as it speaks to the needs and concerns of today’s men and women. – Ibid.

January 17, 2008 Posted by | -- Anglican, Western Rite -- Tridentine Mass, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Antiochian WR & Roman Catholic Mysteriology


The Western Rite parish provides to its members the seven sacraments of the historic Church.
These are: Holy Baptism, Confirmation (Chrismation), Holy Communion (open only to confirmed/
chrismated members of the Orthodox Church), Confession (privately to a priest), Marriage (only
between a man and a woman. The Orthodox Church does accept remarriage after a period of
penance), Holy Orders (the Apostolic succession of bishops and the male only priesthood) and
the Anointing of the Sick (healing services)and the Dying (Extreme Unction). – St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church 1/16/2008

Note: The Orthodox Church rejects the notion that there are seven mysteries, that mysteriology can be neatly defined, and that the mysteries mentioned above correspond exactly to the mysteries as understood by the Orthodox Church (e.g. Confirmation/Holy Chrismation)

January 17, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WR as Refugee Camp


The Western Rite Orthodox Parish is a parish consisting entirely of converts. These are people,
who much like you, became unhappy with changes in the churches they belonged to. Some
found the responses of their former churches to their personal life situations to be rigid and
lacking pastoral sensitivity. The reinstitution of the traditional Western Rite is to provide a home
for people whose Christian roots, be they ever so fragile today, are in the ancient tradition of the
western Church. These are usually, but not necessarily, churches that have had a strong sacra-
mental or ceremonial nature to their worship services, such as the Roman Catholic, Episcopalian
or Lutheran traditions. – St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church 1-16-2008

January 17, 2008 Posted by | -- Catechesis & Conversion, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anglican + Roman Catholic + Some Modifications = AA WR


WESTERN RITE ORTHODOXY is the use of the traditional Roman Catholic or Episcopalian Services and Devotionals, as they were done before the changes of the last fifty years. The Antiochian Archdiocese has made some modifications, which reflect proper Orthodox theology. The primary service is the Gregorian Rite Roman Mass, or its Anglican derivative, the 1928 Book of Common Prayer (BCP) Holy Communion Service. – St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church 1/16/2008

January 17, 2008 Posted by | -- Anglican, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WRV


Excerpts from the WR Dept page of the AA web site 1-17-2007, with questions and/or comments.

————–> Continue reading

January 16, 2008 Posted by | -- Anglican, -- Catechesis & Conversion, Western Rite -- Tridentine Mass, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Seminal Material | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restoration or Cobbling Together?


“In summary, the “Liturgy of St. Tikhon” has no historical validity whatsoever. The “Liturgy of St. Gregory” can be traced back to that great saint only in a very attenuated way. The simple fact is, neither of these liturgies represents an authentic retur n to the pre-schismatic Orthodox worship of the ancient Christian west.” – Father Michael Johnson, The Priest. A Newsletter for the Clergy of the Diocese of San Francisco. Issue No. 5, May 1996

January 15, 2008 Posted by | -- Anglican, Western Rite -- Tridentine Mass, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It is reasonable to ask…


“We are now witnessing a dismantling of the traditional values and piety on which our [Roman Catholic] faith rests. Added to this state of affairs is the shocking assimilation of Protestant ideas brought into the Church under the guise of the misunderstood term ecumenism with a resulting growing estrangement from the ancient [Orthodox] Churches of the East; that is, a turning away from the common tradition that had been shared by the East and the West.”

It is reasonable to ask whether, in creating a rite specifically for those fleeing the dismantling of their confessions, we risk dismantling our own confession in the process, which has never been something shared with the heterodox over “bare essentials” of doctrine (itself a Protestant notion) which merely need a bit of help. Make no mistake, good, old-fashioned Anglican, Protestant, and Roman Catholic thinking, piety, and worship are more alien to us, than their latest innovations are to the refugees. They still have far more in common with each other, than either their ecumenist or continuing jurisdictions have with Holy Orthodoxy, and a hasty, inadequate catechesis, quick ordinations, and relatively instant mission creation without sufficient time to live the Orthodox Faith (assuming their host churches can really teach them that at all), is unfair to them, offensive to the confessions they’ve fled, and dangerous to the salvation of all involved, ourselves included.

As one current Anglican said, “If they’re going to convert to Orthodoxy, they should convert to Orthodoxy, and not just treat it as a door to remaining Anglican but without the responsibility to live in a Anglican community.”

January 1, 2008 Posted by | -- Catechesis & Conversion, -- Ecclesiology & Ecumenism, -- Evangelism, Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anglican/RC converts feel at Home in the ER?


This writer makes a point. What about all the ones that have and quite happily are?

“At one time, people were saying that it is not reasonable to expect Anglicans or Roman Catholics to adopt the Byzantine Liturgy. I cannot agree with that for two reasons: The main reason is that my own experience, and the experience of all of my own ex-Anglican, now Orthdoox friends, has been adoption of the Byzantine Rite, with the sole exception of the priest to whom I referred previously. Even his daughter, however, who is a friend from our seminary days, has always been in a Byzantine Rite parish. It is far from impossible or inconceivable for Western Christians to adopt the Byzantine Rite.” – Mark Harrison 7/9/2006

One gets the feeling sometime that to be a true Westerner, a true former Anglican, you have to be at least somewhat unsettled in the Eastern Rite. If you’re perfectly happy with it, you’re Rite on the outside and Byzantine in the middle. Or something like that.

December 21, 2007 Posted by | -- Catechesis & Conversion, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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